Let’s be honest: school activities, events and trips are expensive! Whether you are a teacher or parent, knowing how to raise money for your students is crucial. Not every student can afford the trip to the All-State Concert Band Competition and not all schools can afford to pay out-of-pocket for updated lockers in Freshman Hall. If you have a child that’s involved in sports, then you understand the need for fundraisers! Football uniforms don’t fall in your lap cheaply.
Are you out of fundraising ideas? Don’t worry! We have compiled a helpful list of ways to raise money that will also teach your kids about worth ethic AND how to have fun at the same time. The result? You raise the funds needed, great memories are made, and lessons are learned. Let’s look at some creative fundraising ideas!
1. Garage Sale
Most people have things in their homes that they desire to throw away or clean out. This will also teach the students that it’s good to give up excess and give to others. What is one person’s trash may be another person’s treasure, right? If you advertise the garage sale well in advance and host it on a Saturday, you can walk away with a thick stack of cash.
2. Lock Ins
Nothing excites students more than overnight lock ins! If you’re trying to raise money for a necessity such as band uniforms, these events are not only fun for kids but encourages them to donate for a good cause. It works something like this: set up a sheet for sign-ups and the donations to be made. The goal is for students to stay awake as long as they can. (Ensure that they have parents to pick them up the next morning. You don’t want students who drive to drive home sleep deprived.) Allow them to set up stations for board games and video games. Snacks and pizza are always popular at these events! Remind them to bring a sleeping bag as well. Many schools try different contests so do what’s best for you! Moreover, it’s a great idea to award the person who stayed awake all night OR who won the most board games as the winner of the lock-in. It’s the little things in life that bring much joy! These are memorable ways to raise money for your school’s organization.
3. Chess Tournament
Speaking of chess players, it’s a great idea to raise money with a chess tournament. Simply set things up in your school’s library or gymnasium and invite people to play for a small tournament fee! You can set up the tournament by age category, grade category or chess levels. To each his own!
4. Car Wash
A classic way to raise money are car washes! Many people would rather pay someone to wash their car than to do it themselves or ride through a machine-operated car wash that never does a great job. Be sure to advertise the car wash beforehand! Students often enjoy creating their own posters and flyers to place around the town for advertisements. On the day of the car wash, select students for the cleaning duties and students to stand alongside the street to advertise with posters. This will help bring the customers to your car wash AND help you raise the needed cash for your cause.
5. Host a Marching Band Competition!
If you can persuade other area schools to participate and cooperate, you can host a marching band competition at your school! Everyone enjoys the half-time shows so why not charge a small fee for folks to see the half-time shows minus the football? Just like other band competitions, you can offer an award trophy to the best performing band. It’ll become a night to remember and perhaps an annual tradition!
6. Student/Teacher Basketball Game
Not much is more exciting than competition between students and teachers. Why not host a basketball game between the teachers and students? We don’t recommend allowing the basketball team’s students to play; they would likely defeat the teachers. The key here is to have comedic relief. Place students in the game that aren’t on the basketball team but know how to play. Allow any teacher to play except for the basketball coaches. Then, charge a small fee for attending the event and have fun!
7. Flag Football Game
You can host a flag football game with the students and charge a small fee for attendance. There are many ways to create a fun game with this option! You can divide up one grade, you can have two different grades, or you can have the parents play each other! You can choose to set up a tournament system or keep it simple with one game. To draw people to the event, build their excitement by offering an award for the winner. Perhaps it can be a featured photo in the yearbook or a trophy. Regardless, it’s a great idea for raising money! You can also use events like this to sell concession foods, baked goods and more.
8. Have a Bake Sale
This is a classic way to have a fundraiser! Choose a particular day or days to have a bake sale and advertise it around your community and in your school. Bake sales offer an inexpensive opportunity to raise money as they don’t require much cost for operation. Simply provide a sign-up sheet for desired participants and instruct them to bake goodies such as brownies, cookies, cupcakes and more. If you successfully advertise the event, you’ll have a great turnout!
9. Chocolate Bar Sale
This has always been a popular way to raise money and for good reason! People love chocolate bars; especially the caramel chocolate bars. This encourages students to delve into the world of sales and business. You can award the highest selling students with incredible toys are trophies. In sale fundraisers such as this one, awarding the winners with popular toys and gadgets provides a better incentive than trophies. In most areas, communities anticipate the sale of chocolate bars! They aren’t available anywhere else and are delicious.
10. Talent Show!
Every school hosts a talent show once a year. Who said that you can’t host a second talent show? With this one, turn it into a popular, money-making ordeal by asking students and teachers to contribute monetarily towards a specific goal. This goal should be something exciting! For example: You can reveal an unexpected talent from a teacher. The funnier the talent, the better! If you can pull in more than one teacher, do so! You can invite students to perform their talents until you build the show toward the comedic relief in the end. It’s the special goals that make this talent show stand out from the yearly talent show.
11. Breakfast at School
How many kids come to school early? You can raise easy money by selling breakfast to the students and faculty that routinely arrive to school early! If you prefer to advertise for one, singular event, then you can encourage people to arrive early for chocolate chip pancakes, sausage, eggs, bacon, biscuits, bagels and more! This would be an easy way to earn money and will provide a memory-making event for the kids.
12. Easter Egg Hunt
The younger kids love to hunt for Easter eggs. You can plan the egg hunt on a Saturday and charge an entry fee. We recommend hiding the eggs in the playground area as that makes for an exciting and fun experience! You can time the hunt and give an award to the child that found the most eggs. Most kids love to be awarded with candy and a certificate for events such as this. In addition to this, kids love to play at school on non-traditional school days!
13. School Movie Night
Students will snub the movie theater if they are offered movie night at school! It’s unique and different to them. Choose a popular movie that is appropriate for children, set up pizza, popcorn, nachos and sodas and pull out the pillows! You can earn money by selling homemade tickets to the event. Many schools choose to set the movie screen up in the gymnasium so everyone can spread out on their pillows and blankets and have plenty of space.
14. Sell Candy grams for Valentine’s Day
This is a popular fundraising event for many high schools. By the time students reach high school, they start to find their sweethearts. Valentine’s Day is often celebrated at school, so why not sell paper candy grams? They are Valentine-themed cards filled with a sweet, small message and candy cane from a sweetheart. Some candy grams are anonymous while others are not. Many students like to buy them for their friends and favorite teachers as well. You will only need red and pink construction paper, pens and candy canes!
15. Water Dunking Tank
What better way is there to get back at teachers? Dunk them in a water tank! This is often seen in school festivals and fairs. However, you can charge a small fee and make it a fun, singular event! (It won’t be much fun for the chosen teachers, but the students will gladly pay to participate!) Students can take turns throwing bean bags at the target until it dunks the teacher. Better yet, if you don’t want to charge a participation fee, you can charge a fee for every dunking attempt!
16. Host an Auction
This event is a great way to get the entire community involved. Many local companies may also be interested in participating in this event! Ask people to donate items and with all items that are sold, you will receive the profit.
17. Fall Festival
Host a fall festival! Everyone loves pumpkins, hay bales, caramel apples, scarecrows, hot apple cider and pumpkin spice pies! On the school property, you can set up carnival games such as apple bobbing and corn hole toss. Costume contests are also a fun activity for fall festivals! Folks can dress up in overalls and straw hats and you can judge who does it best! Other ideas for fall festival activities include tractor pulls, hay rides and square dancing.
18. Penny Jar Wars
This is another fundraiser favorite for schools! Everyone has spare change that usually ends up, well, everywhere! Everyone has spare change that usually ends up, well, everywhere! If you’re a teacher, place a large glass jar in the classroom and instruct the students to place their pennies in it. Encourage them to find and collect as many pennies as they can and place it in the jar. The classroom with the most pennies wins the penny jar war! You can allow the penny collection for as little as a week or for as long as a month.
19. Christmas Gift Wrapping
You can send a letter home to the parents about having one Saturday devoted to wrapping Christmas gifts. (Be careful not to let children see their unwrapped gifts from Santa!) Many busy families would happily pay someone to wrap their Christmas gifts. Teachers have all the tools needed to wrap gifts and turn the event into a fun experience! Place out flyers to let the community know about the gift wrapping day, turn on some Christmas music and get to work! You can charge an overall fee for all gifts, or you can charge by gift quantity and size. It’s up to you!
20. Sell Hot Chocolate during School Hours
When the winter months come around, the classrooms can get chilly rather quickly. Nothing would excite the kids more than to pay 50 cents for a cup of hot chocolate! You can set this fundraiser one day a week and earn a little money for the school.
21. Create Custom-made Christmas Cards
Have your students pull out their art tools and teach them how to create Christmas cards! This can be a fun hour everyday in the classroom with Christmas music and laughter. Once your students have made enough Christmas cards, sell them to the public. Children’s artwork has a way of bringing smiles to saddened faces. Christmas time is often filled with sad and lonely people. This would be a worthy cause as well as a great opportunity to raise money.
22. Host a Valentine’s Day Dance
For middle school and high school students, you can host a Valentine’s Day dance. This allows students that have sweethearts to create memories that will last a lifetime! This gives students the chance to get fancy on a Friday night. We recommend passing out candy grams during the school day so the moment will build into the dance. You can raise money by selling tickets in advance!
23. Creative Fashion Show
If you want to get creative, let your students create fashion outfits and then wear them in a school fashion show! Students can make outfits from paper, cardboard boxes, material and more. The funnier, the better! You can advertise a few months in advance so the students have time to work on their outfit projects. You can raise money by selling tickets for the event. There’s plenty of fun twists that you can use with these hilarious fashion shows!
23. Host a Book Fair
Book fairs are also a popular way to raise money in schools. Ask local businesses and families if they would like to donate books for the cause. Once you have a large collection of books, open your doors for the sale!
24. Color Run
Color runs are becoming more popular every year! Kids love them because of the bright colored powders that rain on them during the run. If you’ve ever needed motivation to get your students to exercise, a color run would be one of them! You can sell the basic white shirts to all participants and charge a small participation fee. All participants gain new memories, and you raise the money necessary for the school. It’s a win-win!
25. Timed Obstacle Course
Who doesn’t love a good obstacle course? Make it even more exciting by timing the participant in the obstacle course! Reel in the teachers and parents for an exhilarating experience on the timed obstacle course! The person that completes the course in the fastest time, wins the trophy. You can also allow students to participate if the course is kid-friendly.
26. Trivia Competition: Who’s the Smartest Teacher?
For fun, you can host a trivia competition during the school day that will entertain students and offer a break from their studies. Test the knowledge of teachers with basic trivia questions! The winning teacher awards her students with a week of no homework. This gives students the incentive to buy tickets!
You can also do this for students and charge a small fee for the public to view the competition. The winner would win a certificate and anything else of your choosing.
27. Host a Kid-Friendly Concert!
If you have access to a local band or a popular band, invite them to play at your school! Concerts tend to attract large crowds so raising money from them are usually a big success. Offer food and drinks while folks enjoy the music!
28. Coloring Contest
Charge a small participation fee for students to enter a coloring contest. Give them copies of a coloring page and let a panel of judges decide who did the best job with their coloring skills. It’s a wonderful way to challenge students to do their best at all things.
29. Lemonade Stand
Here’s a classic way to raise money: a lemonade stand. If you set up a lemonade stand during lunch hours in the cafeteria, you’re guaranteed to raise money! Everyone loves lemonade. It also provides a students and teachers a change from the usual cafeteria drinks such as milk, tea and water.
30. Debate Competition
Debate competitions are popular in high school and college. They’re also great ways to raise funds for important causes and needs. Let students sign up in advance so that you can determine the main topics for debate. Folks will buy tickets to see the tension on the debate table and to learn both sides of a single topic. It’s an overall fun experience! Besides, everyone needs to learn how to get along despite opposing views.
We have given you 30 ways to raise money for your school! This list is not an exhaustive one as there are many creative ways to host fundraisers. However, these fundraiser ideas are favored among many students and teachers! Whether you’re hosting a goofy talent show, baking brownies and cookies or running through a timed obstacle course, you’re guaranteed to create lasting memories for a lifetime. Students never forget their days in school as that’s where they learn to grow, laugh and cry.