41 Simple But Effective School Fundraising Ideas

Funds is a critical part of any project be it for its development or sustenance. When it comes to school fundraising, it becomes even more critical. Everything from renovation, new construction, general maintenance, buying new supplies for a particular class, school or library comes , all depends on funds raised by the school during an academic year.

It could look like a tough part of the job for an education institution to dive into this. Setting financial targets for each academic year can set achievable targets makes such appeal for funds simpler and fun . This way the staff and the school community work towards a set goal.

The bright side of the holding such charity-events at school, be it primary, middle or senior, is the power of the enthusiasm of young students, waiting to be tapped. Students not only come up with the best ideas but have the inner drive to pull it off, if given proper guidance.

So if your school is planning for the successful fundraiser, we have 20 interesting ideas for you to consider.


As the name suggest, crowdfunding is basically gathering funds from the crowd. In a world which is always online, crowdfunding is the perfect way to widen the geography of your fundraising zone and make it open to the world. This is good for all schools, no matter how big or small you are in terms of capacity and facilities. Doing things online has advantages that it can run for a longer time, without physically occupying any real estate.

To start a crowdfunding for your cause, you will first need to select a crowdsourcing website and get going from there. Sharing the page setup for crowdfunding can also be easily shared on social networking sites with your staff and parent body. This will help spread the word. A simple share on Facebook by one supporter could result in many more donations.

2. Dime or dollar war:

Easy to set up at no cost at all, This is a simple yet very effective way of raising fund for your school. It can go up for a week or for an entire term. The idea here is to set up a large glass jar for each class/ grade. The jar which gets most money wins. The students, however, need to be told that every 100 cents is changed to a dollar and 10 gold coins replaced with a $10 bill. This keeps the excitement going as even though the collections keep piling up, the donation in the jars will keep squeezing. This keeps the suspense of who the winner is, till the last.

3. Handmade Greeting Cards:

A lot of parents, friends and family cherish a handmade greeting card made by children. It carries timeless innocence, creativity rare to find and showcases unique ways of expressions. A sure shot winner, fundraising done with handmade greeting cards raises a good amount of cash while children exploring their creative best. Also, this can involve students of all age groups- be it pre-kinder to high school.

4. Principal Challenge.

We all secretly wish to play truth or dare with our Principals and hope to punish them by daring them to do weird things. Well, this fundraiser is a fun way to get your school Principal to do some daring stuff and for students to have fun too. The way it works is pretty simple- choose a few activities you want to challenge your principal/ staff with. The activities could be dying the hair, dressing up like a clown for a day or dunking the face in a pie. Set up different jars for different punishments/ activities. The punishment which gets the maximum funds is what the head of the school will do on the chosen day. It might be a good idea to have the entire staff engaged in the activity too.

5. Straw Draw.

Super simple and low-cost involvement in setting up, is the reason why Straw Draw gets popular with school early. One has to take a handful of straw and attach a reward to each. Place the handful of straws at a prominent place in the school office. The children can purchase a straw for a price with guaranteed rewards.The rewards could be ‘no uniform day for the child the next day’ or extra recess time etc. This is a win-win idea.

6. Relay Race.

Cross Countries and Sports days are not the only days the athletes in your school practice for. A competitive sportsman practices and focuses on his performance throughout the year. Why not make use of this effort? Announce a relay race where each participation would require a gold coin donation. Coordinate with your sports teacher to set a track and then sell tickets for a gold coin donation or more for the spectators too. It is not only a way for hidden track and field stars to shine but a good way of celebrating sportsmanship and raising money of course!

7. Stick Post-it Challenge.

Who doesn’t like messing with post-its? Sell a bundle of 20 post-its for a dollar to students and then organise a competition to see who can stick the most on a wall in a minute. This idea may not raise lots of funds but will certainly create excitement for your next announcement for similar fundraising.

8. Popcorn Sales.

Food is a very fast and easy way of generating funds and when it comes to popcorns, it’s always a hit. All you have to do is partner with a company which makes gourmet popcorn and buy in bulk. You could either choose to sell them during a big school event or on a particular snack break at school with the help of student volunteers.

9. School Calendars.

There is a huge fundraising potential here. It can be targeted at the end of academic year and more specifically to the passing out batch. Have the artwork, creativities, moments captured throughout the year, in this one resource. The students with good photoshop and graphic designing skill can employ their knowledge and come up with a calendar. This can help the school save funds on hiring designers and instead use the money for quality printing. If done under proper guidance, this can be a huge success for the school.

10. Trash Bag Sale.

Every House buys trash bags for garbage disposal. Why not capitalise on this one fact and buy garbage bags at a wholesale price from a supplier and sell it in and around your community.

11. Cookbook.

A cookbook with great photographs is still one of the hottest selling books by publishers around the world. A simple reason for this being that people love the tactile element and love drooling over photographs of yummy treats. The school with a huge database of parents should certainly try this form of fundraising.

12.Fish tank fundraiser.

With no setup cost involved, the fish tank fundraiser can be run either for a week a term or an entire year. It simply requires a small fish bowl to be placed at a prominent location, preferably near school cafeteria, uniform shop or school office. Students, teachers and visitors can drop the spare change or bills.

13. Lemonade stand.

There is no substitute for a cool refreshing drink like a freshly squeezed lemonade. Particularly a hit on hot days, these stalls can churn out funds for your school, you would not have expected. Ideally, put up at an open ground close to school pick up time, the lemonade or fresh juice stall will surprise you with its success.

14. Jellybean count.

Looking at a jar full of jelly beans is pure delight for children and adult alike. Well, there is more you can do with it. Have the students pay $1 for a simple game of guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar. It not only checks their estimation skills but also gets money raised for your school. It is a good idea to hold a stall on an open day when parents are expected to visit the campus.

15. School Dance.

Students of all age groups like dancing. Organising a dance party at school is an excellent way of getting the school children involved with the classmates outside of school. This event acts as a social night for students without realising it is a fundraiser.

16. Hike Day.

Students love outdoors. Organise a day out for hiking near the school by charging a little participation fee for students. You may also consider it as an event where students can bring their friend along. With no investment, students are sure to have fun outside of school hours and generate funds from individuals.

17. Balloon lucky draw.

This is another super simple idea for fundraising at school. All you need is balloons and the same number of raffle tickets. Before inflating the balloon put a raffle ticket in each of it. Sell them for a price you think optimum for the crowd. Once your balloons are sold, announce the winning raffle. The people then pop the balloons and the lucky winner is found.

18. Yard Sale.

Particularly effective for high school, the sale of students’ belongings which they have outgrown, is a great thing for school fundraising. Often clubbed together with the school fair, these stalls get a lot of attention and money.

19. Pajama Day.

Isn’t it fun to come to school in pyjamas? A simple, children-driven occasion, is as simple as walking to school in your pyjamas. Simply make an appeal to students to bring a gold coin for donation purpose. Specifying where the money will be spent, will add motivation in students to participate.

20. Talent Show.

Your school is full of talent, ready to be showcased. Organising a talent show is a fantastic way of organising a low-cost event for your school and fundraise in a good amount at the same time. Who doesn’t like showcasing their talent in front of the school? Get the enthusiastic students to participate with an entry fee. With elimination rounds, zero in on talents your school will want to showcase. This can be done across grades. Once you have shortlisted the performances, you hold a Talent show ready. Parents and their friends will be more than willing to visit the show by purchasing tickets to the event.

21. Community grants.

Spending a little time finding out which companies offer community grants to not for profit organisations near your area and contacting them can open lots of doors for your appeal for funds.

22. In-Kind Donation.

A very simple and straightforward donation is asking the community around you- be it parent or businesses about what your school services or products the school is in need of. The parent database is a very strong tool in hand for schools. They are skilled and connected with the institute day in and out. Communicating with them for a website redesign, accounting help will help you a big deal. Also, there are businesses who are generous enough to donate education supplies out of goodwill.

23. Matching Gifts.

If you have a parent base with diverse portfolios or rich base of alumni who are now working in different companies, the idea of matching gifts fundraising will be quite effective. The way it works is if you have a donation from a company, you request your contacts to match it with another gift of similar monetary value. This slowly builds your collection. You can auction it on a suitable day and generate funds.

24. T-shirts.

Everyone wearing customised t-shirts in a team brings the team spirit and oneness. If you have a cause that you want to hold events around, throughout the year, printing t-shirts and selling them to new participants is a great idea. Designing and printing t-shirts are simple step process these days.

25. Online Auctions.

Doing the event online has big advantageous- little to no cost in setting up, round the clock accessibility by participants and no limit to a number of times the event can be held. It requires uploading images, describing the item and the cost. The parents go online and bid for the object. They could even buy it instantly if they find the buy now price enticing.

26. Amazon’s affidavit program for non-profit organisations.

Believe it or not, it is as simple as sharing a link to Amazon.This program provides a share of all sales generated from links to Amazon’s website to the nonprofits who share those links on their pages. If you are wondering how much cash your nonprofit earns, it is up to 10% in advertising fees from Amazon’s affiliate program for each purchase made through these links. In the internet world where thousands of transactions take place, the 10% of the fee will quickly pile up to a big number. The best thing is you don’t have to move a finger.

27. Online donations.

This requires setting up a good online donation tool on your school’s website. There are philanthropists who believe in giving back to society. And when it comes to school, your donor could be anyone from your alumni, parents, businesses or companies backing your school’s motto. It is important you set up a good online donation tool for a smooth and secure user experience.

28. Team Volunteer grants.

Did you know that if you have a strong group of volunteers, your school can apply for school volunteer grants? These are corporate programs which reward employees which volunteer in groups.

29. Volunteer grants.

Very similar to team volunteer grants, even if there is one person who donates his time in an organisation, the volunteer grants are distributed evenly. Promoting the idea with parents and alumni is a good starter.

30. Shoe Drive:

In a young and growing family, someone is always outgrowing their shoe size before it is worn out. Often they are as good as new and you wonder how you could best use it. Well holding a shoe drive for fundraising at your school is a simple, fast and effective way of getting the cash register ringing. All you have to do is tie up with Funds2Orgs, request the school community to donate unwanted pairs of shoes and send it back to Funds2Orgs. This organisation will, in turn, send you a cheque based on the weight of the shoes your community donated.

31. Hat Day:

Standing out as a privileged one at school is every student;s dream. Well, this fundraiser does exactly that. After getting permission from the school, organise a Hat Day at school, where students and staff can wear a Hat of their choice with a simple gold coin donation.

32. Hula Hoop Contest:

Who doesn’t love doing hula hoops? Mixing fun with fundraising is always a good recipe that works without fail. Gather a handful of good hula-hoopers and organise a competition with a minimum entry fee for participants and for spectators. Hold as many rounds of hula hooping to see who can do it for longest, till you have a winner. You could also open it for all, towards the end for larger fun and publicity for your next similar event around.

33. Students serve-a-thon:

Requiring effective communication and a bit longer dedication, this idea requires at least two weeks or more of time from setup to execution. But the benefits are multifold.

Each class gets a sponsor and picks up an activity to serve the community. It can be- helping clean up a park, painting a community building, mending a vegetable patch. The learning, students get out of this kind of community care is multifold and the school benefits in the process as well.

34. Teachers in jail:

Hold a coin donation in class for the teacher you want to be sent to jail- basically for not holding a class for that day. The more boring your class finds a teacher the more will be the price the class has to pay for him/ her to stay away for one period.
An effective idea at the end of the term or year which brings in a kick to the students and teachers alike.

35. Engraved Bricks:

Young or old, everyone wants to be an integral part of their school, college, even once they have passed out. A brilliant way to do so is selling the students engraved brick spots on a walk way which is to be built.

36. Photography content:

Suitable for high school students, the school community which is always on Facebook and Instagram sharing pics, can do so with school. Students vote for the best pick regularly by dropping a gold coin donation for the photo they like most. The winner gets a small percentage of fundraising and the rest goes to school. An ideal way to engage the young students without making them raise a finger.

37. Spelling Bee:

A win-win situation for all, this is fund raising idea which will pump in excitement for everyone. Each class gets a sponsor and chooses a theme. Each class receives money for the number of spellings they spell right. This will gear up students to brush up their spellings and exhibit it for fun and money.

38. Book Sale:

Students are always on the lookout for second-hand books, be it storybooks, curriculum books or competitive books. This not only makes the buyer happy for getting a steal deal, they also generate good money, fast.

39. Comedy from kids:

A hail and hearty evening, watching kids crack jokes is welcome everywhere and so will be at school too. Make a club of children who are good at cracking jokes and hold an evening for their family and friends and schoolmates with a price for admission. Publicise the event in advance to attract more crowd.

40. Wrap my gift:

This is best held during celebrations around mother’s or father’s day and Christmas, where school generally conduct fundraising. As it is always an attraction to gift a present well wrapped, children seeking to get their gifts wrapped will be in demand and you will generate extra cash for your school too.

41. Gingerbread House Competition:

Ideally held closer to school holidays, organise a gingerbread decoration competition for each class, where the school votes by donating a gold coin to their favourite display. It is a good idea to give simple guidelines to participating classes on materials needed to decorate. Assembling all the gingerbread for display in the assembly hall will serve as a great attraction too.

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