Engaging School Fundraising Ideas Students, Teachers & Parents Will Love

Raising funds within your school system is an excellent way to rally the entire school community behind a common cause, raise school spirit, and benefit a good cause. Not only does it get students of all ages involved, but successful fundraising efforts can have a significant impact on your school’s ability to hire, build, and expand.

If you are a teacher or PTA member, you may need to come up with outside-the-box, great fundraising campaigns at some point. But the challenge of creating and implementing a successful campaign can sometimes seem a little daunting.

Don’t get overwhelmed! Always remember this event should be fun and exciting for everyone participating.

There are countless ways to motivate the local community to donate money toward your cause. You just need the right mindset and tools to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Before You Start

While you are still in the brainstorming phase, it is important to consider a few key factors that will make everything a breeze later on.

  • Clearly state your fundraising goals. Setting a specific amount of money as a fundraising goal is often a good starting point. But more than simply assigning a number to your campaign, try to envision the impact that money will have on your school or partner charity. Saying “we’d like to raise $10,000” sounds nice, but “we’d like to raise $10,000 to update our classroom with student-facing computers” is better, more involved, don’t you think?
  • Understand your timeline. Every decision you make during the fundraising process will need to stick to your allotted time frame. Knowing how much time you have to implement your campaign will dictate if you can launch a campaign throughout the school year or run a more aggressive, rally-style event to raise the most money in a short amount of time.
  • What resources are at your disposal? As a PTA member or teacher, you have access to the school’s extensive network, so it is worth asking yourself which of those connections can contribute to your campaign. Student committees, sports team coaches, morning announcement teams, the official school website, and even entire teaching departments can serve as excellent resources for spreading awareness and promoting involvement in your school event.
  • How will you accept donations? Do people need to donate in person at the event itself, or will you accept mail-in or online donations? If you are accepting online donations, you will need to create a secure donation page. If you are accepting mail-in or hand-in donations, you will need to create a physical donation form to distribute to potential donors.

Take the time to consider your goals and available resources. Skipping past this planning stage and moving straight into the fundraising event might hinder your event from reaching its full potential.

17 School Fundraiser Ideas Sure to Engage Your Students

Tired of the same old door-to-door cookie dough sales? Check out the following school fundraising ideas to breathe new life into your next event.

1. Service Day

Setting aside a day where students can participate in some service is a great way to spark enthusiasm. Let’s face it: students appreciate breaks from schoolwork. They’re sure to sign up en masse to lend a helping hand, whether for a nonprofit organization outside the school or helping fix or clean up around the school property.

2. Cook-Off

Arranging a friendly competition is always a good practice, and many students will chomp at the bits (literally) when they have a chance to enter a cook-off or bake sale. You can also sell tickets to the event to other students who do not necessarily want to bake but are still interested in testing out the baked goods.

3. Field Day

This is perfect for high schoolers and elementary school students alike. Setting aside one day each semester for fun activities is an excellent way to excite the student body and offer them a change of pace. Additionally, you can monetize this event to help the school or your charity organization with a modest entry fee. You may want to work with the physical education department to arrange fun games, so students look forward to it each semester.

4. Read-A-Thon (or Similar Event)

Peer-to-peer fundraising is always a hit as it encourages students to involve their friends or even their families. One of the most tried-and-true methods? Scheduling a read-a-thon. In this scenario, students are sponsored to devote time toward reading. You can also do a variation of this event in the form of a walk-a-thon, dance-a-thon, color run, or perhaps another creative avenue.

5. Trivia Night

This method is an excellent way to engage the broader community beyond your student body. Designate a night (preferably a weekend) where parents and other family members can also attend. You’ll need an emcee, a microphone, and some fun categories. These events are often a hit as they encourage adults to contribute to the cause, helping raise funds along the way. Bonus points if you also provide food or a pizza party along the way.

6. Sell Fundraising Bricks

Of the many fundraising strategies listed here, this avenue offers community members the chance to invest in a lasting legacy. We have seen the “Buy a Brick” fundraiser concept motivate donors time and time again. Not only do fundraising bricks allow donors to see their names (or the names of their loved ones) displayed in a public forum, but when visitors or other potential donors see or read about the bricks, they are likely to follow suit and become donors themselves.

7. Silent Auction or Raffle

Selling raffle tickets is a low-cost form of crowdfunding. In theory, it is quite simple — designate a handful of prizes for the selected winner and assign a value to each ticket you sell. You can even have thresholds where more prizes are drawn if you raise a certain amount all together. This way, the more people who buy in, the more freedom you have to reward participants. Gift cards to local restaurants, discount cards for local businesses, tickets to theme parks, or vouchers for a haunted house around Halloween are excellent starting points.

8. Wacky Dress-Down Day

A simple but great opportunity to raise extra money is setting a thematic date where students are encouraged to dress a certain way. Maybe it’s a crazy hair day, pajama day, dress as your favorite Disney character day, or anything else you can come up with. The point is to get students dressing in a fun and different way while supporting the cause.


9. Jelly Bean Count

This method is a classic. You get a jar full of jelly beans (or some other object that is special to your school) and offer a reward for whoever can guess the closest to the exact number of jelly beans. You can price each guess at $5 or so.

10. Battle of the Bands/Talent Show

This event is a fun way to get people involved; it is better suited for middle school or high school students. Participants don’t necessarily need to be in a band, though. Maybe they sing a karaoke version of their favorite songs. The point is to get them on stage with their fellow students observing. You could also spin this content as a school-wide talent show.

11. Request In-Kind Donations

Online fundraising and social media promotions have taken the fundraising world by storm. One way to capitalize on this trend is by creating an Amazon Wish List of items the school needs. You can send this wish list to the student body’s parents and request in-kind donations, where they purchase the supplies on your behalf. An important thing to do here is to find a way to offer some reward or recognition for their small donation, thereby increasing the engagement.

12. Sell School Merchandise

You can combine this one with many others to help make your special fundraising event more, well, special! Tacking on a “Field Day 2021″ t-shirt or “I survived Read-A-Thon 2021″ will help make your event more memorable while giving an additional avenue to collect funds.

13. Host a Drive

Something like a shoe or canned food drive is a great way to engage students. This avenue effectively teaches students the value of crowd-sourced support and the impact their small donations can make. This method also leads to a material impact on the community beyond your school.

14. Car Wash

Car washes are classic fundraisers for a reason. They’re easy and affordable to run while raking in the donations. All you need to do is provide student volunteers with access to running water, wash rags, and soap. That’s it! And donors get to both support a good cause and get their vehicles squeaky clean — a real win-win!

15. Board Games and Movie Night

For a small fee, you can organize board games and movie night for your local community. There are endless possibilities with this concept. You can have different people form teams to compete in a board game tournament. You could also host a themed movie night, with student or parent volunteers working a concession stand that offers snacks and refreshments for a small donation amount, further increasing the amount of money you raise.

16. Scavenger Hunt

Get the entire community engaged with a scavenger hunt fundraiser. You can allow both individuals or teams to register for the event for a small donation fee. Then, provide each group with a list of items they need to collect (and what methods are allowed for collection) and a deadline. Your participants will have fun working together to find hidden items while benefiting a good cause. The winning prize can be anything you want — a gift basket to a local business, a portion of the registration fees, or something else.

17. Yard Sale

Host a school-backed fundraiser! Clean out the school’s closets and let students drop off unwanted items to populate your yard sale. Have student, teacher, or parent volunteers run the yard sale to get the entire school community engaged.

Enlist Your Fundraising Experts

As the experts in engraved brick fundraising, we can help you with your fundraising campaign.

Our experts want to put their decades of experience to work helping you raise money in the area of fundraising for non-profit, for-profit, public, and private organizations. We’ll show you how to use donor bricks to transform even the most ambitious or underperforming fundraising campaign into a surefire success.

Contact us today to learn how we can take your upcoming fundraiser to the next level.

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