19 Unique and Fun School Fundraising Ideas

Posted by Sydney Myers

November 28th, 2017

You might have several activities planned to make the school year special for your students. However, memorable occasions like Field Day, class trips, prom, and other extracurricular activities require money that your school might not have. So you go on the hunt for school fundraising ideas.

There are staples of the school fundraiser that have been around for years. Lollipops, candy bars, and cookie dough are never in short supply once the fundraising season starts. If you’re burned out on the basics, here are 19 unique school fundraising ideas that will get students (and parents) excited.

Event Fundraisers

Large events can be tough to pull off, but starting with a simple concept will make the planning and execution a little easier. Try these event ideas for your next fundraiser. You could even combine a few ideas to raise more money at one time!

1. Hollywood-Style Movie Watching Night

A movie-watching night is fun in itself, but you can take it to the next level by going “Hollywood”. Roll out a red carpet, get the art team to make some fancy backgrounds, and enlist a few “paparazzi” photographers. Invite the students to dress in formal attire to make their walk down the red carpet even more special. It will be an event to remember!

2. Board Game Contest

Family Game Night is back and board games are getting more creative. Open up the school for a full evening of board games and charge a small entrance fee. Contestants can rotate from game to game or from classroom to classroom. If you’re short on board games, have each student bring their favorite. Assign monitors to give tickets to the winner of each game round, and give prizes to the top scorers!

3. Color Run

Photo: By Chris Phutully from Australia – The Color Run, Grand Prix Edition (Melbourne 2014)

I know, I know. No more “-thons”, right? Well, a color run is not your typical “marathon”. It’s A LOT more fun.

As runners pass through stations, they’re blasted with color from spectators. By the end, everyone is covered in color and probably can’t even remember how far they’ve run.

To raise money, charge a race entrance fee or charge for cups of color powder – or both!

4. Event Services

Are you worried about parking at your event? Have a few volunteers provide valet parking. Notify guests that all tips will be donated to the school.

This works with other service volunteers like doormen, wait staff or servers, and coat checkers. True, you might not normally provide those services at an event, but if the tips will be donated, you might consider adding a few.

Product Fundraisers

Sometimes, the easiest way to raise money is to sell something. But, really, how often do people buy a gallon of cookie dough or a dozen candles? If you’re out of things to sell for your next fundraiser, try these ideas.

5. 50/50 Raffle

If you’re looking for the simplest product fundraiser, look no further. You don’t even have to put together a prize bag.

Invite people to purchase a raffle ticket. The winner gets half of the total earnings and the other half is donated to the school. Buying more tickets not only increases your odds of winning, but also raises the cash prize!

6. T-Shirts

In our post 10 Ways to Build a School Culture with Custom Apparel, we highlighted real t-shirt designs that other schools have used to promote school spirit. Custom apparel is also an excellent way to raise money.

As that article shows, there are many opportunities to sell t-shirts and earn money for your school. Browse our design gallery for inspiration!

7. Local Services Auction

Partner with local businesses and auction off their services to the community. This can include anything from gift cards to one-of-a-kind experiences. The businesses get free advertising and the school raises money. It’s a win-win!

8. Gift-Wrapping

Any service that saves people time is a welcome sight, especially during the holiday season. You can buy simple wrapping paper in bulk for a low price or ask parents to donate rolls to keep the investment even lower. Offer upgrades like ribbons or patterned paper. The options are endless, making this a simple but rewarding fundraiser.

9. Baked Goods at the Game

Here’s an interesting twist on the classic Bake Sale: boost sales by selling the baked goods at a school sports game. You’ll be able to reach more people, most of whom are hungry and already prepared to buy snacks.

Given the choice between homemade brownies and a bag of potato chips, I’ll bet most will go for the chocolate!

10. Coffee

The success of any fundraiser is finding a service or product that people actually want. Coffee definitely falls into that category.

There are many companies that offer services that make this fundraising idea easy. They help organize the fundraiser, offer sales tools, and even customize the package and label to match your school colors and logo.

Super-Simple Fundraisers

If you need something simple and easy, try out these fundraising ideas. They require a minimal investment of time, and some of these can bring in revenue on an on-going basis.

11. SchoolFUNDCenter.com

Up first is an easy “set-it-and-forget-it” way to earn money through your school’s website. FUNDCenter is a free tool that displays a banner on your website, advertising special offers from local stores that you select. When users take advantage of the special offer (sometimes, it’s something as easy as clicking on the banner), your school gets money.

Yup, it’s that easy.

12. Amazon Smile

Amazon Smile donates money to your school each time shoppers make an eligible purchase from the site. It’s super-easy because shoppers don’t have to do anything different. They sign up for an Amazon Smile account, select your school as their charitable organization, and then buy products as they normally would. Go to org.amazon.com to register your school to receive donations.

13. Just ask for money

Sometimes it’s best to just be honest and sincere. One school decided to make that their policy.

Instead of assigning sales tasks to the students, the school sent a form to the parents, asking them to donate any amount of money. It helped that the school clearly has a sense of humor.

14. Dining Night

Bake Sales are great, but why not let someone else do the work? Many local restaurants will do fundraising nights for schools or nonprofit organizations. All people have to do is dine at a restaurant they would probably eat at anyway! The restaurant will donate a portion of the revenue from that day to the school.

Special Day Fundraisers

It’s no secret that enforcing a school dress code is a tough job. Give the kids a few days of freedom and raise some money while you’re at it. Offer students the option to take advantage of certain dress code privileges in return for a couple of bucks. Try one of these ideas or spread them all out throughout the school year!

15. Formal Day

You could pair this one with Homecoming or Prom, or just have a fun, random Formal Day!

16. Pajama Day

You’ll still have to enforce a dress code on this day, but that doesn’t mean kids won’t want to be a part of it.

17. Hat Day

Most schools don’t allow hats to be worn during school hours. If a Formal Day or Pajama Day seem a little risky, a simple Hat Day is a fun option.

School Fun Fundraisers

18. Teacher “Jail”

The appeal of this one is simple: students can put their teacher in “jail” for a class period and hang out in the gym (or another common area). The price can be a set amount or you can pit classes against each other to see which one raises the most money.

19. Principal Punishment

If your principal is up for it, this is a fun way to build a positive school culture and raise some money at the same time.

Have students choose a “punishment” for the school principal and set a threshold for donations that must be met for the punishment to take place. The punishment can be simple things like hair dying, wearing a silly outfit, or getting sprayed with silly string or slime.

If you’re looking for more tips and inspiration for educators, follow the PepWear Educators’ Blog by subscribing to our email newsletter.


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