48 Good Fundraising Ideas for Schools (High, Middle + Examples)

May 2, 2022
12 minutes

Welcome, class. We’re so glad to have you with us. Today, we’ll be learning about the best fundraising ideas for schools so that you can raise money, build community, and give every kid the educational experience they deserve. So put on your thinking cap, and let’s get started.

The 48 best fundraisers for schools

In an ideal world, every school would have limitless funds for classroom supplies, technology upgrades, playground equipment, and more. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. If you’re turning to fundraising to raise money for your school, here are the best school fundraisers to support the next generation—guaranteed to make you teacher’s pet.

Our favorite fundraising ideas for schools

There’s no such thing as a bad idea, but there are certainly some that are just a bit better. To kick things off, check out our favorite fundraisers for schools, with fundraising ideas that are sure to teach everyone a lesson. (But in a good way!)

1. Read-a-thon

Encouraging kids to read and raising money for a good cause? It’s all here in one brilliant school peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Friends and family sponsor aspiring bookworms by pledging a certain amount of money per minute of reading or per page read. Then, students turn off the television and read as much as possible to meet their fundraising goal!

2. Farmers' market

A lot of us grow our own vegetables, fruits, herbs, or flowers—and we often find ourselves with A LOT of zucchini on our hands. Instead of the usual bake sale, have students and their families sell their extra produce at a school farmers’ market. And hey, if you want to include a mini-bake sale in the mix, we won’t judge. After all, kale and cookies totally cancel each other out.

3. Stone soup

We’ve all read the folk story, and it is more than a lesson: it’s a great fundraising idea! Get some very large pots, and some very flavorful stones, and have everyone bring one ingredient that they enjoy. Simmer, stir, and then sell bowls of stone soup. And here’s a bonus tip: consider making different stone soups to accommodate various dietary restrictions.

4. Other soup-er soups

While we’re on the soup train (mmm … soup train), why not max out your fundraiser—or hold a follow-up event—by asking families to make a pot of their culture’s favorite soup? From matzo ball and miso to minestrone and mulligatawny, you’ll try some new flavors and learn about different cultures. Consider asking local businesses to donate soups, too! They can hand out 10%-off coupons to entice people back to their restaurants.

Easy fundraisers for schools

Anyone with kids knows how it feels to be short on time and energy, and that means that the best fundraising ideas are the easy-breezy ones. If you want fundraising that’s as easy as ABC, check out these easy fundraising ideas for schools.

5. Cute letters

First on our list of easy school fundraising ideas, ye olde letter-writing campaign. This works best for kids who are still finessing those writing skills because their letters are super adorable. Have all the kids write directly to friends and family members, explaining why they’re raising money in their own words. Hand-deliver the notes to make this a low-cost, high-return fundraiser.

6. Dine out to donate

For this super-easy school fundraiser (and a classic in the world of nonprofit fundraising events), you just need a local restaurant or shop to donate a percentage of their profits for the day to your school. Since you’ll be working with local businesses, you want to help them out, too. By choosing a slow day and advertising the event at school and across social media, you’ll bring them more customers, making up for the amount they’re donating back.

7. Sell yummy things

It’s not the most creative, but it is one of those classic, easy school fundraisers. Plenty of places, from Krispy Kreme to Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, let you buy their goods at a discount and sell them at a profit. Students of all ages can go door-to-door (with a parent for the little ones!) or set up shop in a popular area. Then, just wait for the hungry hordes.

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Fun fundraising ideas for schools

At Funraise, we believe fundraisers should be (wait for it) fun. So naturally, we’ve got lots of ideas for fun fundraisers for schools. Whew, can you say that three times fast? When you just want to let loose and raise funds in a fun way, these fun school fundraisers will get the job done.

8. Photo-licious fundraiser

Kids really, really love taking photos, don’t they? Loan them your iPhones (get a warranty first), buy a bunch of polaroid cameras, or rent equipment. Then, let the kids snap pics to their hearts’ content. Here’s the fun school fundraiser idea: get a volunteer to help kids hone their photography skills and charge a small fee to participate, do some crowdfunding by posting them on social media, and/or select the best photos for a calendar for parents.

9. Iron Chef bake sale

Everyone loves a theme, so make your typical bake sale a bit more exciting by choosing a secret ingredient to feature in all the baked goods. Email it out to everyone a few days ahead of time; they then have to use it in their sweet-and-sticky creations. Chocolate or citrus is easy, but people just might shell out the big bucks to see who can successfully make a kale cake.

10. Board game night

Next up in fun school fundraiser ideas, how about a board game night? Invite students and their families to dress up in their finest athleisure or PJs and engage in a night of friendly competition. Charge a small entry fee and sell popcorn and hot chocolate for extra fundraising oomph. You can even sell raffle tickets and raffle off a few game-themed prizes—old Atari games, anyone?

Preschool fundraising ideas

Fundraising in schools starts young these days! For the littlest students, there are plenty of ways to raise funds and make some memories. Start with these totally tantrum-free preschool fundraiser ideas.

11. Parent-kid talent show

Yes, preschoolers are likely to be less “talented” than older kids, but also any talents they do have will be very adorable. That’s why we like the idea of a caretaker-kid talent show that gets everyone involved in fundraising. The parents, guardians, or caretakers can support the kids in their big stage debut or vice versa. Calling all amateur magicians: a four-year-old assistant sounds very entertaining to us!

12. Parents' night out

For a small donation, teachers and staff play babysitter for the evening. This is a great fundraiser because everyone wins—the school gets some much-needed funds, the kids get to socialize, and the parents get to Netflix and chill (nope, we’re not explaining that to the kiddos).

13. Toy makeover day

Bring in your furless Furbies and Barbies streaked with permanent marker: it’s time for a makeover. Get the art teacher to help, gather parent-volunteers, or hire a professional makeup artist, then give those tired toys a brand-new life with a brand-new look. And here’s a classic fundraising strategy: Post the results on social media and ask community members to vote on the best makeover—for a donation, but of course. The toy with the most votes gets a spa day.

Elementary school fundraisers ideas

We all know that time makes you bolder and children get older. Once kids are in elementary school, fundraising is a great opportunity to contribute to their community and learn about giving back. Below, a few fundraising ideas for elementary schools.

14. Pajama day and pancake breakfast

Who needs pants anyway? A pajama day is a classic fundraiser for elementary schools: everyone wears their best PJs, and you provide the pancakes, toppings, juice, and coffee (for the bleary-eyed parents, of course). Sell tickets to enjoy the brunch-tastic morning. After the parents depart, schedule an early recess followed by a special nap time to sleep off the inevitable sugar crash.

15. Maple syrup fundraiser

Want to make that pancake breakfast a little more refined and up your fundraising efforts? If you live in New England, you can tap trees and teach the kiddos to make maple syrup. Sure, a gallon of sap makes a teaspoon of syrup, so you’ll have to charge $100 an ounce, but … can you really put a price on learning how to make maple syrup? We didn’t think so.

16. No-bake sale

Kids in elementary school are just learning to cook, so no-bake sales are a great way to teach them the ropes without ever turning on your oven—and great fundraiser ideas for elementary schools. Wait until the weather’s good and hot; then, host a sale of no-bake treats to keep everyone cool, even in the kitchen.

17. No-bake sale part 2: even no-bakier

Want to expend even less effort? We get it, soulmate. Here’s your two-for-one fundraiser ideas for elementary schools: Pick up day-old treats from local bakeries and sell them at a mark-up. Trust us, they’re still super tasty!

Middle school fundraisers ideas

Ah, middle school, when you’re not quite a girl, not quite a woman. (Can you tell that we listened to a lot of Britney in middle school?) When it comes to fundraising ideas for middle schoolers, your best bet is to make them as not-embarrassing as possible. With that said, here are some middle school fundraising ideas that make the grade.

18. Nightmare before Christmas

It’s like a haunted house but also Christmas-themed. Throw in some skeleton dreidel bears, maybe a mummy Krampus. Incorporate aspects of winter holidays around the world, from Diwali to Kwanzaa, and then throw in some mummies and ghouls. But please, for the love of all that is Jack Skeleton, consult with students and their families to make sure everything is culturally appropriate—and that nothing is too scary. These are still fundraising ideas for middle schools, after all.

19. Can drive

All those recyclables can really add up! Hold a can and bottle drive with all those nickels going back to the school. You can up the giving back-ness by holding a beach clean-up day, too, where students pick up garbage and then donate any recyclables. You can also hold a drive to recycle electronics, old clothes, and more.

20. Mini-golf tournament

This fundraiser is a hole-in-one. (We know; we’re so clever and subtle with our humor.) All you need is a mini-golf course and a fundraising page to make this a successful fundraiser. You raise funds from selling tickets, asking local businesses to sponsor a hole, and selling additional raffle tickets. Invite the whole school community to join in!

High school fundraising ideas

The years go by so quickly, don’t they? Somehow, we’re already moving on to fundraising ideas for high schools.

21. Go screen-free

These fun high school fundraiser ideas are for all those parents who’d pay a small fortune to get their kids to look up from their phone for 10 minutes—though we bet those same parents could use less screentime, too. Make going screen-free a family sacrifice that pays off by soliciting pledges for every hour (or day) spent off-screen. You can download apps to hold yourself to your surprisingly difficult promise. Consider making it a friendly competition, with the student who lasts longest getting a prize. Another reason to go with this screen-free fundraiser is that it's one in a million free fundraising ideas.

22. Study-a-thon

Let’s be honest: studying is super necessary, but sometimes, it can feel kinda thankless. With a study-a-thon, students get rewarded for putting their noses to the grindstone. For every 20 minutes spent studying for the SAT or working on college essays, the school gets a donation. Then everyone goes to Harvard, and all is well with the world! Talk about our best high school fundraisers.

23. Yard sale and craft market

Gather all those unwanted tchotchkes and put them to good use with a yard sale/flea market! If any students or parents have hidden artistic talents, they can set up a booth selling their hand-knit gerbil hats, too, donating 20% of profits to the school.

Senior class fundraising ideas

Before you head off to whatever lies ahead, you’ll need some fundraiser ideas for senior class to make your senior year the best. Year. Ever. Check out our awesome-blossom senior class fundraisers below.

24. Community dinner

Close out the school year with a cozy, community-building fundraising dinner. The senior class cooks up a main dish and invites other high school students and their families to attend. Each group brings a side—and a donation, but of course. Consider supporting a local nonprofit, too, by asking guests to bring a canned good or toiletry item.

25. School spirit store

Before you go, show your school spirit by hosting an online or in-person school store, selling nothing but school-related merchandise. From pens and notebooks to T-shirts and face masks, everything is branded with your school’s logo or decked out in your school colors. This one requires some upfront costs, but in the end, it can really pay off.

26. Teachers vs. students trivia

Next up for senior fundraiser ideas: it’s a trivia contest, students versus teachers. Form teams and try to split the categories evenly so that it’s anyone’s game. But be warned: you might be surprised by how much pop culture knowledge your math teacher has! You can sell tickets to attend the showdown.

Spring school fundraiser ideas

As the snow melts (if you’re in a warmer climate, it’s a metaphorical melt), everyone wants to get outside and get fundraising! These spring fundraiser ideas for schools are sure to put a spring in your step.

27. Easter egg/scavenger hunt

Kiddos love, love, love an easter egg hunt! But why stop there? Do a combo scavenger hunt and Easter egg hunt (scavEGGer hunt?) and drop off the eggs all over town. Provide clues to the kiddos and offer a special prize to the first one who finds all the eggs! One more tip: now’s the time to stop with the plastic eggs—instead, look for compostable ones, made from cornstarch or paper. Then, fill them with all sorts of eco-friendly treasures, from seed packets to snacks, for this spring fundraising idea for schools.

28. Anything wash

You could hold a car wash—or you could hold an anything wash, where community members bring in anything they need washed and you scrub it clean. Dog? Bathed. Shoes? Shined. Couch? Vacuumed. Apple? Peeled. Well, we’re not sure about that last one, but you get the idea.

29. Block party

The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and we all want to get outside. That makes a block party fundraiser the perfect school spring fundraiser. Make it a potluck or catered, live music or a playlist, BYO lawn chair or seating provided, and make sure you have lots of entertainment for students of all ages—think sidewalk chalk, hula hoops, jump ropes, and bubble wands.

Back to school fundraiser ideas

The lazy days of summer are over, and the kids are back in school. That means it’s time to ramp up the fundraising! Set the stage for a successful school year with these back-to-school fundraiser ideas.

30. School sleepover

Having the kids back in school is a nice break for some parents, but you know what’s an even better break? Having the kids back in school overnight. Kick things off by inviting the whole family to a movie night in the gym. Then, parents leave and students stay until the morning. It’s a party for everyone! Well, except the teachers, but that’s a problem for the PTA.

31. Eternal summer party

Everyone is already missing summer, so why not capitalize on their yearning with a summer-themed school fundraising event? Cover the gym floor in sand, put a slip-n-slide on the lawn, and eat ice cream even if it’s freezing out! It’s all about having one last hurrah.

32. School supplies sale

When a new school year dawns, students of all ages need their pencils, notebooks, and three-hole-punches. Rather than supporting Amazon, selling school supplies to students provides a great opportunity to support the school community. Set up shop in front of the school at drop-off and pick-up.

School fundraisers that make the most money

Maybe you need to fund a new playground or maybe you need to upgrade your computer lab. When you have a big school expense, you need big bucks, and that means you need high-profit fundraisers for schools. Here are a few ideas for school fundraisers that make the most money.

33. Walk-a-thon-dance-a-thon

We’ve all seen many a walk-a-thon and many a dance-a-thon. But what about a walk-a-thon-dance-a-thon? Each participant sets up a fundraising page for online donations, then shakes and shimmies their way to their fundraising goal along a pre-set route. Costumes and original dance moves are highly encouraged.

34. Family field day

When you look up “family fun” in the dictionary, you probably see “field day.” Imagine the adorableness of children jumping in sack races or the sweet clumsiness of a grownup being paired with a kid for a three-legged race. Make this fundraising event a big deal (with big fundraising opportunities) by soliciting sponsorships with local vendors, selling T-shirts and water bottles, and setting up a concession stand. If you’re rained out, you can always go virtual and livestream your egg-and-spoon relay race from your living room—just put down a tablecloth first.

35. Foodie festival

If you’re willing to be ambitious, a food festival can be a great fundraiser. Choose a foodie theme, be it garlic, cheese, or boba, and go wild. You’ll need to source vendors, find a space, and then market the heck out of the event. You can host all sorts of fun headliners, including a themed cook-off, tastings, and lectures. Sell tickets in advance, with higher tiers including additional samples and swag.

Fundraising ideas for school clubs

Most school clubs don’t have the biggest budgets; luckily, we have some school club fundraising ideas to help out. Whether you need airfare for a trip or new uniforms, these fundraisers for school clubs will get you where you need to go.

36. Cultural fashion show

Every culture has food, traditions, and fashion to be proud of! Instead of holding another food-based event, how about educating about cultural fashions, their history, and how they’re a part of that particular culture’s traditions? This is a particularly great fundraiser for clubs based around a certain culture or language.

37. Lessons for good

A classic among club fundraising ideas in high school: offer your academic and experiential expertise in exchange for donations. French club members can teach French, soccer club pros can give private soccer lessons. There’s something for everyone! You can also consider hosting a silent auction, where community members can bid to learn from talented team members. Bonus! If you're looking for fundraising ideas during COVID, this is a great one.

38. Hot drinks across the world

Plenty of clubs sell baked goods or hot chocolate to raise funds. But here’s how you can make it more interesting: sell traditional hot drinks from around the globe. Set up a stand before school, but rather than selling the usual coffee and doughnuts, sell a different warm beverage every morning. Masala chai Monday, Turkish coffee Tuesday …

Food fundraisers for schools

Some people like steak; others prefer tofu. Some are chocolate-holics and others are vanilla beans. But we can all agree that food is great, and that makes school food fundraisers a mighty tasty idea. If you want to reach donors’ hearts, you can go through their stomachs with these food fundraising ideas for schools.

39. Food fight

We’ve all seen food fights in movies, but how many of us have really been in one? Cover the cafeteria with plastic and get out all those foods that are nearing their expiration date. Students get to participate in exchange for a small donation and a canned good for a local nonprofit organization. We’d suggest waiting until last period so that everyone can go home and hose off.

40. Food-eating contest

Rather than forcing everyone to wolf down hotdogs, make it a peer-to-peer fundraiser where each participant chooses their own food to gorge themselves on. Everyone sets up their own page for some online fundraising, sharing what delicious item they’ll be cramming into their gaping maws. Then, they gather and go to town. Personally, we’d choose potatoes, but the allure of eating limitless cheesecake is always there.  

41. Battle of the yams

It’s a battle of the bands but for aspiring chefs. This unique school fundraising cook-off features a dueling duo making their best creation within a set amount of time. Yams are optional but encouraged.

School supplies fundraisers

From glue and glitter to chalkboards and globes, schools require a lot of supplies to provide every child with an exceptional education. In response, many teachers end up purchasing their own supplies for their classrooms. Instead, school supply fundraisers are a great way to raise money for your school. Read on for our school supply fundraiser ideas.

42. Backpack fundraiser

Encourage community members near and far to fill backpacks with much-needed classroom supplies. You can supply branded backpacks for some extra school spirit! This is a perfect matching gift opportunity, too, if you can get a local business to join in. They give the school a certain amount of money for every 10 backpacks filled.

43. Crowdfunding school supplies

If you’re a teacher or staff member in an underserved area, chances are local community members won’t have the funds to help out much. That’s why crowdfunding works so well—it gives you access to a community of donors across state lines and time zones. Set up an online fundraiser, tell your story, and share it far and wide—and across social media channels.

44. Student art sale

Last in our school supply fundraising ideas, it’s a student art sale! This works especially well if you’re in need of art supplies. Have all the students make DIY arts and crafts—they can design their own cards, decorate face masks, make jewelry, or just get out the paints and let their inner Picasso shine. Families and community members can then buy the masterpieces, with all proceeds going to purchase school supplies.

Student council fundraising ideas

Student council members have a lot on their plates, from representing their classmates to planning activities. That means they need to fundraise their way to a fun school year for all—and that’s where our fundraising ideas for student council come in. And remember: the best student council fundraiser ideas double as class events.

45. Giant pumpkin paddle

You know those enormous pumpkins and squashes you see every October and think, “What will they do with that afterward?” Well, here’s your answer. Gather up the largest pumpkins you can find post-Halloween, hollow them out, and hold a race at your local lake or pool. You can form teams and have staff members race student council, with teachers and students betting (i.e., donating) on the winner. Sell cider and seasonal treats to make this an extra-profitable student council fundraiser.

46. Seasonal flower delivery

Celebrate the people you love most—platonically or romantically—by selling single carnations or roses (or go really wild with some dahlias) to your fellow student leading up to V-day. On the 14th, student council members deliver the blooms, bringing all the mushy feels to everyone’s day. But really, you can do this type of fundraiser at any time of the school year. Sprigs of decorative greenery for December, anyone? Anyone?

47. Wrap it up

Offer your gift-wrapping services to parents, teachers, and students alike when the holidays come around. Hit up the dollar store for an assortment of supplies, or make it green by using old newspapers adorned with miniature pinecones and other festive found items.

48. Rap it up

For an extra donation, offer to improv a personalized rap or spoken-word poem for each donor. Honestly, they'll probably be so embarrassed that they’ll just give you the money.

5 most successful school fundraisers

So, what do all these school fundraisers look like IRL? Here are a few examples of successful school fundraising to show you that it really can be done.

1. Jacobs Elementary’s 18th annual read-a-thon doubled expectations

Jacobs Elementary’s 2021 read-a-thon raised $20,000—more than doubling their previous fundraising record from 2018. Students set individual reading goals, tracked how many minutes they read, and asked friends and family to pledge their support. Plus, students surpassed their group goal of 195,000 total minutes of reading by nearly 19,500 minutes.

2. Achieve Plant City’s wine tasting and silent auction raised over $40k

Achieve Plant City, which provides general education, parenting classes, and ESL classes, has relied on its annual fundraising auction to help purchase classroom supplies for the past 10 years. This year, the event raised over $40,000.

3. Fremont Middle School’s walk-a-thon helped students and others

Fremont Middle School’s walk-a-thon raised over $9,000, with students walking laps around the school track. They raised money for student and staff activities but also donated 10% of the funds to help disabled veterans.

4. Lyles-Crouch PTA’s Lion Fest raised almost $50k after cancellation in 2020

Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy’s 2021 Lion Fest Fundraiser raised almost $50,000 through online donations. The event itself included an outdoor scavenger hunt and a photobooth, delighting everyone since the 2020 event was canceled due to COVID.

5. Norwood High School’s Craft Fair was all about community

Norwood High School’s annual craft fair is a popular local event with over 80 crafters from all over New England. But in addition to being a fun way to shop, this successful fundraiser raises money for Norwood High School and other local organizations. The whole school helps set up the event, making it a true community event. In 2021, they raised $10,000 in profits.

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Fundraising for schools: Final points

With all these ways for schools to raise money, you’re sure to get an A for effort—and sure to raise funds for your school community. As with any good class, let’s wrap things up by reviewing what we learned today.

  • Many schools don’t have the budget to purchase necessary supplies and upgrade their technology. That’s where school fundraising comes in—it raises essential funds and builds community.
  • The most effective school fundraising initiatives involve raising money for a specific need, such as new laptops, upgraded playground equipment, or a school trip. Be specific when you share your fundraising goals, both for students and for supporters. Students need to understand why they’re raising money—and why they should strive to meet their fundraising goals. And supporters need to understand why they’re donating to your school.
  • Fundraising volunteers can include students, parents, teachers, staff members, and PTA leaders.
  • Profit margins vary based on the fundraiser. If you choose a fundraiser where you sell products, your school will get a percentage of the profits, so consider fundraisers that allow you to keep 100% of the money you raise.
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