33 Innovative School Fundraising Ideas (You Have to Try)
Our Favorite School Fundraising Ideas For All Ages
Students, parents, teachers—everybody at your school loves their cell phone! Why not take advantage of them as powerful fundraising tools?
Text-to-give does just that by enabling anyone to quickly make a donation using just their mobile phone. Incorporate text giving at your sporting games and school fundraising events so that everyone is aware of this super simple giving process.
Email is a classic, instant communication method that almost everyone relies upon to get in touch with one another.
By including email donation buttons in parent and student e-newsletters and dedicated fundraising emails, you can spread the word about your campaign with everyone you know. Plus, supporters can easily forward the messages along to their address books, too!
Crowdfunding is a popular school fundraising idea for any grade, so why doesn’t your school can take advantage of it too!
With crowdfunding, your school sets up an online fundraising page where anyone can donate and get updated on your progress. The most successful crowdfunding campaigns are fueled by social media, so make sure parents and students are actively sharing your page!
There’s nothing more universal than a love for T-shirts. Everyone wears them, so why not take advantage of them to raise funds for your school?
When organizing a T-shirt fundraiser for your school, choose a shirt manufacturer that doesn’t require payment upfront, like Bonfire. With the Bonfire fundraising platform, you can design and sell your shirts during a scheduled timeframe, then take home 100% of the profits.
Want a way to push your unique school fundraiser to the next level? Promote matching gifts programs to your supporters!
Include a matching gifts search tool on your donation page so your donors can check if they’re eligible for matching gifts through their employer. Using the database, donors can easily access the proper forms to ask the company to increase (or double!) their donation to your school.
The silent auction is a fundraising staple for a reason: it’s a versatile, engaging, and incredibly lucrative event that any organization can pull off!
You can adjust your auction to match your school and project. But no matter what kind of silent auction you host, you can make it easy by using mobile bidding tools to simplify and streamline the process for your event-planners and guests!
What’s something that every student in your school has? Shoes! What if you could turn those shoes into money for your school?
With Funds2Orgs, your students can donate their new or gently used shoes to those in need, and your school gets a check in return! And the best part? Funds2Orgs comes to pick up the shoes themselves, so you don’t have to worry about the logistics. You just worry about getting your students together for a good cause.
Looking for the perfect school fundraiser? Consider an “event-a-thon” fundraiser such as a walk-a-thon, bike-a-thon, or read-a-thon!
Using event-a-thon fundraising software from a provider such as 99Pledges, students receive customizable donation pages that they (or, for younger students, their parents) can share with friends and family via text, email, and social media. The pages come ready to share, so there’s no technical setup required!
How do you know which of your students and their families have the most to give to your school, and which are most likely to give?
With prospect research, you don’t have to guess who your most likely major donors are! By taking into account markers of wealth and philanthropic interest, you’ll know where to focus your marketing efforts. Prospect research might be most useful for institutions of higher education, especially when focusing on alumni outreach.
Elementary School Fundraising Ideas
Break out the classic state fair games and attractions for this elementary school fundraiser! A carnival is the perfect way to have some family fun while raising money.
You can charge for admission or per game. Don’t forget to sell concessions—who can resist cotton candy and funnel cakes for a good cause?!
Nothing beats the simplicity of a pajama day fundraiser. Your school will raise money and kids can sleep in—what could be better?
Charge students $1 or $2 to wear pajamas for a full school day. You can amp up the fun by serving breakfast for lunch in the cafeteria.
What’s better than watching a good movie with friends? Watching one during the school day (and raising some money while you’re at it)!
Elementary students will love donating a few dollars to get out of class to watch a fan favorite film. Don’t forget to bring the popcorn and juice!
By the time spring rolls around, there’s nothing kids want more than to go outside and play. That’s why field days are amazing fundraising ideas for elementary schools!
You can charge general admission or to participate in individual games. Invite parents and set up merchandise and concessions stands, as well as a general donation booth, to bring in maximum donations.
Your school’s students can be amazing fundraisers, but let’s not leave out the parents! A parents’ party is a fun event to get parents together and rally for a good cause—your school!
Host your event at a local restaurant to get the community involved in school fundraising, too. Most importantly, don’t forget to offer childcare!
Sometimes principals get a bad reputation for being serious and authoritative. This elementary school fundraising idea will change your students’ minds and raise money for your school.
Students donate to see their principal do something silly, like getting pied in the face. Set a reasonable goal so that students are sure to see the payoff.
Middle School Fundraising Ideas
Middle school students might be hiding a multitude of talents, from comedic chops to belting out a Broadway tune.
Give these kids their chance to shine by hosting a talent show fundraiser. Charge a small fee to participate as well as an admission fee for spectators.
A school picnic fundraiser is a fantastic way to get kids out of the cafeteria and into the sun on a nice spring day.
Students can donate a small fee to attend a picnic during an extended lunch period. Make sure to offer plenty of snacks and games!
Combining education with a little friendly competition is sure to spell success for your middle school fundraiser.
For the spelling bee fundraiser, have students find sponsors to donate for each word they spell correctly. Add a twist by having a teachers’ bonus bee at the end!
When it comes to seasonal middle school fundraising ideas, almost nothing outranks (or out-spooks!) the haunted house during October.
Work with parents and teachers to build a haunted house and have students pay a small fee to walk through. You can keep the haunted house open during school hours or host a nighttime event during a weekend.
A guaranteed way to make reading cool for middle school students? Add a competitive element by turning reading into a fundraiser!
Students should obtain sponsors to donate based on the number of pages they read throughout a quarter, semester, or even a full year. Don’t forget to offer prizes for each milestone students hit.
Scavenger hunts are easy to organize and fun for all ages. Make the clues a little more challenging, and middle schoolers are sure to partake!
Students can pay to form teams and embark on the hunt throughout a full school day (or even longer). Bonus points if you can tie the clues into your teachers’ lesson plans!
High School Fundraising Ideas
Battle of the Bands
Music is a hobby for many high school students, so give them the perfect venue to share their passion: a battle of the bands fundraiser!
Like a talent show, charge groups a fee to participate (or audition) as well as an admission fee on the big night. Don’t forget to plan for rehearsals and sound checks.
High school students know the value of a clean, good-looking vehicle. That’s why they’ll love a car wash fundraiser!
Set up a car wash in the high school parking lot during a weekend in the late spring, and have students take shifts cleaning the cars. Advertise to parents well in advance so they know to attend!
Prom Dress Drive
There’s one thing on almost every high school girl’s mind: what to wear to the big dance, of course!
Whether you plan this fundraiser around homecoming or prom season, you’re sure to get a big turnout. Ask members of your community to donate old formal dresses, which you’ll sell at a discounted price to your students.
The classic walkathon can work for all ages, but high school students especially love this fundraiser when you add a competitive edge!
Students can have friends, classmates, and relatives sponsor them to walk or jog a certain amount of laps around the school track during a designated time. You can plan a field day in conjunction with your walk/jog-a-thon for even more fun (and fundraising)!
This high school fundraising idea is perfect for parents who have a hard time persuading their students to get their chores done.
An audience can bid during a live auction to have students complete errands or other mundane chores. Teachers can task students with cleaning classrooms, while classmates may enjoy seeing their friends clean their lockers—for a price!
Summer Sports Camp
Student athletes love to share their hard-earned skills and expertise with the community, so why not do it for a good cause?
Have members of your high school sports teams donate their time to host a community sports camp during the summer. Children can pay a fee to learn from the greats, with all the money going back to your school!
College and University Fundraising Ideas
Dorm Decorating Contest
It’s hard to spruce up a cramped space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try!
Have residents pay a small fee to enter their dorm in the contest, with the winner taking home a coveted prize (and bragging rights). You can even make this college fundraiser a holiday-themed competition!
Perfect for fraternities or other social clubs, a beard challenge is a fun, silly way for guys on campus to raise money for their organizations.
Participants obtain sponsors to donate toward their beard-growing endeavor. The more money you raise, the longer you have to keep up the challenge!
For this fundraiser, students will have to get out of the dining hall and into their kitchens!
Charge students a fee to enter their best dish in a themed cook-off (think: chili, baked goods, or burgers). Guests can judge the entries by making donations.
Lip Sync Showdown
You might not actually be singing or playing instruments, but this fundraiser still requires a lot of talent!
Students can pay to form teams to participate in a lip sync showdown and “belt out” their favorite hits. Have the audience pick the winner by their applause, or ask esteemed members of your campus community to be the judges!
Great for students and alumni, this fundraising idea for universities gives individuals a chance to have a lasting impact on their university.
Offer students the opportunity to have their name engraved on a brick to be placed in a walkway or courtyard on campus. Time this fundraiser around graduation, so that soon-to-be alumni have a way to leave their mark!
There’s no better fundraiser to get everyone involved on campus!
Students pay to have friends thrown in “jail” at the center of campus. To get out of jail, the individual must match the initial donation. Make this more fun by posting a Most Wanted list of notable campus figures, each with a high bail amount that they must meet if caught.
Additional School Fundraising Resources
Text-to-Give Software: A Comprehensive Guide
Text-to-give is a great fundraising strategy for any age group. Read this thorough guide to learn how to get the most from your text-to-give campaign and raise more.
45+ School Fundraising Ideas from Funds2Orgs
Leading shoe drive fundraiser Funds2Orgs compiled their own list of top school fundraising ideas. Continue your fundraising research and check out some more ideas!
What to Know About Nonprofit Email Newsletters
Email newsletters are a natural way to keep parents, students, and alumni updated on your campaign progress. Learn how to create an effective newsletter!
Fundraising Ideas for Fraternities and Sororities
If your Greek organization is looking for unique ways to bring in funds for your chapter or charity, OmegaFi has got you covered with these 14 creative fundraising ideas!