The Definitive List of 36 Unique Cheerleader Fundraising Ideas
When you’re a member of a cheerleading team, fundraising is a given. In most teams, cheerleaders and their parents have to pay for some or all of the costs of their uniforms and various other expenses. With effective fundraising, you can offset some of the financial burdens that come with participating in the rewarding world of cheerleading.
For fundraising, there are some classic ideas that are tried and true, but it’s also fun to get creative and find new ways to raise money. Sometimes the classic fundraising opportunities work well, but when you have more than one fundraising technique, you maximize your money-raising opportunities.
Check out some of the cheerleading ideas for fundraising below and use these to brainstorm the best cheerleader fundraising options for your group.
1. Face Mask Fundraiser
Selling face masks is a new opportunity in the era of COVID. Most people have masks, and why not sell some that show school or team spirit? Similar to a branded t-shirts, you can have custom face masks printed with your team’s logo and color scheme.
ABC Fundraising is one company that offers custom face masks. Alternatively, you can partner with a local printing shop, which would have the dual benefit of helping a local business.
2. Virtual Cooking Night
For a fundraiser that people will genuinely enjoy, consider a virtual cooking night. To do this fundraiser, partner with a local restaurant whose chef can teach your donors how to cook a signature dish.
Since it will be done virtually, deliver all of the ingredients to your participants before the event. In some cases, the restaurants may even provide the ingredients and include the cost in their fee.
You will then set the price for the virtual event and watch as your supporters learn to cook a delicious meal.
3. Ted Talk Style Virtual Events
This type of fundraiser is excellent because there are usually no costs for the cheerleading group. Find a speaker who is willing to donate their time for a good cause. This person could be a business leader, motivational speaker, technology guru, or activist.
Attendees find this type of event appealing because they get something of value in return for their contribution. Everyone loves to learn new things, and attending virtually allows them to support your team safely while also learning something new.
4. Fundraising Letters
Fundraising letters are an old-school method of raising money, and during COVID, it may be time to revive this classic fundraising technique. You can send your letters in a contact-free way through regular mail. Follow these tips for optimal success.
- Personalize your letter as much as possible by using the potential donor’s name.
- Use a meaningful anecdote or store to capture your reader’s attention.
- Clearly state the impact their donation will have.
- Keep your letter to one page.
- Pull together a mailing list from local business leaders or the Chamber of Commerce.
- Be sure to target both businesses and individuals.
- Make it easy for them to make donations by including a self-addressed envelope or link to your online giving page.
Traditionally, fundraising letters are sent out at year’s end so that it’s timed well with your donor’s desire to receive a tax credit. Nevertheless, a fundraising letter can be sent out at any time during the year.
5. Online Bake Sale
Everyone loves a great cookie or cupcake, and the good news is that you can easily conduct one online. If limiting contact is a concern for your team, your donors can pay for their yummy treats via an online platform or apps like Paypal, Cashapp, Venmo, or Facebook.
Your customers can pick their goodies up at a centralized location, or you can deliver them to their doorsteps. Another idea is to partner with a local bakery and share the proceeds from the sales of the baked goods sols on a designated day. The bakeshop will probably appreciate the extra revenue and the possibility of attracting new fans.
Lots of money has been raised for worthy causes thanks to online crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe. It may be the easiest fundraiser of all since it’s mostly passive. The main work of this type of fundraiser is getting the word out and sharing the link to the fundraiser on social media.
Besides GoFundMe, several other crowdfunding platforms will work well for your needs. To make this type of event even more appealing, you can consider offering a perk like t-shirts, face masks, or coupon books. Online fundraising is a fast, simple way to get money for any fundraising campaign.
7. Virtual Auction
Another classic fundraiser, auctions are a lot of fun for participants. These days, you can easily do your auction virtually. To conduct an auction, you collect items that have some value from local businesses.
Some examples may include a gift basket from a local boutique, handmade items such as soaps or gourmet foods from artisans, gift certificates from restaurants, and more.
8. Text-to-Give Campaigns
Modern fundraising offers several unique opportunities to raise money, and one of those is a simple text-to-give campaign. Work with a service provider that offers this service and promote the fundraiser as a standalone campaign.
However, you can also incorporate your campaign into other school or group activities. For example, football games are a great way to use text-to-give campaigns. You can announce the number to text over the loudspeaker before the game or at halftime.
9. Virtual Concerts
Similar to the Ted Talk fundraiser, a virtual concert is an easy way to raise money. Simply partner with your high school band or some of the smaller bands within the group. For example, most bands have a jazz band or drum corps that do concerts separately from the larger band. Another option is to engage your school’s choir.
If you work with your high school band or choir, it would be a good practice to share the proceeds from your fundraiser with them because they need funds as well.
Alternatively, you can work with a local musician or group who would provide the concert. You can find someone who will gladly volunteer for a worthy cause.
For this type of fundraising event, you’ll need to set up an admission fee or allow your supporters to donate the amount they want to donate. For broadcasting, you can use Facebook Live or Instagram Live. There are also live options on YouTube.
10. Virtual Craft Night
A virtual craft night is similar to a virtual cooking night. Include the cost of the craft supplies in the donation fee, and deliver the gift bags with the required craft supplies to your donors in advance. This can be a completely contactless fundraiser.
Set up your event registration page and use social media and your email list to spread the word about your fundraiser. For the instruction and demonstration, ask a local artist or your school’s art teacher to facilitate the event.
Use Facebook Live, Instagram Live, or YouTube Live as your demonstration platform. Participants can ask questions that they may have in the comments, and your team can answer them live.
11. Watch Party
A fun event for the whole family, a virtual watch party involves finding a family-friendly movie and using Facebook’s Watch Party feature for everyone to enjoy the film together.
During the film, you can ask people to donate via your donation page online. You can even charge an admission fee and grant permission to join to users who have donated.
12. Celebrity Meet and Greet
Do you have a celebrity in your community with who someone has a connection? You can ask them to host a virtual event for you. A local celebrity could be any of the following.
- Community leaders, such as the mayor
- Local authors
- Popular recording artists or bands
- Your TV meteorologist or news anchor
- Popular teachers
The event could be in the form of an “Ask Me Anything.”
13. Talent Show
A popular classic fundraiser, talent shows are fun for people of all ages. They have the added bonus of allowing the talented folks in your group and at your school to showcase their skills and talents.
You can sell admission to your talent show, but don’t forget the opportunity of making even more money by selling concessions.
To make it more interesting, consider doing your talent show “American Idol” style by allowing your audience to vote via a text-to-give tool.
14. Concession Stands
School groups already utilize concession stands to sell food and snacks at sporting events, but you can take this concept into your community as well. For example, will a local church allow you to sell donuts and coffee before services on Sunday or during a weeknight Bible study? If donuts are what you want to sell, see the section about donut sales below for more information and ideas for implementing a donut fundraiser.
15. Summer or Spring Break Camps
There are scores of little girls and boys out there who dream of being a cheerleader when they’re older. Offering summer sports camps are another classic cheerleading fundraiser.
Facilitating a summer sports camp is time-consuming, but it is an effective way to raise money and also helps to usher in the next generation of cheerleaders in your community.
16. Bumper Stickers and Car Decals
Everyone loves to show their school spirit, especially the parents of the kids who attend school with you. Selling bumper stickers or car decals is a tried-and-true way of raising money. Work with a local print shop or an online company to get the best price.
Be sure to target not just parents but grandparents as well. For example, customized stickers that say, “Proud Grandparent of (your school) student” will sell well.
17. Ice Cream Social
Who doesn’t love ice cream? Offering an ice cream social where you create extravagant sundaes will raise a lot of money. You can also sell just plain ice cream cones if you want to keep it simple.
For an ice cream social, location is everything. If you can get permission to sell your frozen treats at one of these places, it will be a win for your team.
- Outside a grocery store
- After school
- At the local park
- Before sporting events
- After church services
- At a local carnival
18. Dad BBQ Cookoff
It’s not always easy to get the dads involved with fundraising, but most dads love to show off their BBQ skills. Consider a picnic at a park where dads are dishing up their best hamburgers and hotdogs.
Dads will gladly donate the food they cook, and you can not only sell the hotdogs and burgers, but you can also ask your donors to vote on which dad dished up the best food.
Raffles are one of the easiest ways to raise money. You will need to find a local business that will donate an item or service, then raffle off tickets. People love a contest, and raffles are a proven classic fundraiser.
Find your prize and then decide on how much you’ll charge for the raffle tickets. One way to maximize your donations for this type of fundraiser is to give a discount to someone who buys more tickets. For example, if you’re selling one ticket for $5, consider offering five tickets for $20.
Your team can sell these to their contacts, but you can also promote your raffle on social media and send the tickets to people in the mail.
20. Sell Cookie Dough, Candy Bars, or Popcorn
Selling treats is a tried and true fundraising technique. People love to buy cookie dough, so find a company like Adrenaline Fundraising that can help you facilitate these types of sales.
Depending on the season in which you’re doing your fundraiser, choose your products wisely. For example, selling chocolate bars in the heat of summer isn’t the best planning. The classic candy bar fundraising company is World’s Finest Chocolate, and it truly is delicious.
However, keep the outside temperatures in mind when you’re deciding what to sell. If you need to do a summer fundraiser, consider selling popcorn or beef jerky, for example.
While some schools require uniforms, some schools have a standardized dress code that allows kids to wear jeans and spirit t-shirts. If you live in or near a district that operates this way, selling spirit t-shirts is a great fundraising opportunity.
Parents and kids are always looking for unique spirit tees, and if you’re selling them, they’ll feel good about paying a little extra to support a group. Be sure also to target parents and grandparents. They love to wear their t-shirts to sporting events, band concerts, and even around town.
Offer a variety of varying styles to best maximize your sales. If you don’t want to hold stock, you can set up an ongoing campaign with different styles on websites like Teespring, which operates on a print-on-demand basis. You simply upload your design, and when someone wants to buy a t-shirt, they go to the site.
You can even find an artist at your school to design the graphics you’ll put on your t-shirt. This is an excellent option that goes beyond the huge chain store options.
22. Mugs and Other Products
The same sites like Teespring that allow you to sell t-shirts via print-on-demand also sell mugs, stickers, blankets, and nearly everything else that can be printed. You can create your own virtual store on the platform, and this is an excellent passive fundraiser that can operate year-round.
The initial work involves getting your designs created and uploaded. Then you just wait for the money to roll in steadily. Promote your online listings via social media.
23. Holiday Candygrams
Raising money with holiday candygrams is a fun way to involve your entire school in your fundraising efforts. For this fundraiser, you allow fellow students to send a personalized message via candy to their friends at school.
Find a candy that’s appropriate for the season or holiday and design creative message cards. Your donor then writes a message on the cards or asks you to write one for them. Choose a day for candygram delivery, and make sure it’s a good time for the school. Ideally, you would deliver these candygrams directly to the classes where the students are.
Don’t limit yourself to just students, though. Your donors can buy candygrams for teachers and school officials like that hard-working lunch lady. You can also allow students and other people in the community to deliver candygrams to their parents at work. This is a fun way to include your whole community in your fundraising.
24. Yard Sale
Having a yard sale is another classic fundraiser. Nearly every family has stuff they want to get rid of and will gladly donate it to you just to get it out of their houses. If every member of your team participates, you’ll have tons of stuff to sell.
But don’t just rely on your team members and their families. Get the word out that you’re having a community yard sale and accept donations from anyone in your community who will donate their “junk” that may become someone else’s treasure.
You’ll need to reserve time to pick up people’s donations, and if there are some parents with trucks, that will make it much more manageable. Many people will donate furniture items, and this requires a larger vehicle.
The great thing about a yard sale is that it’s an excellent last-minute way of raising money quickly. However, if you plan in advance, you’ll have the most success. Here are some tips for maximizing fundraising from a yard sale.
- Partner with a storage facility to keep things dry and safe before your sale.
- Find a good central location to host your sale.
- Borrow tables and other supplies from local organizations.
- If you’re selling clothing, put everything on hangers and borrow clothing racks from area businesses. Crafty moms and dads can also make some temporary clothing racks.
- Place signs all around the community on bright-colored poster board.
- Advertise your sale on social media.
- Keep the pricing simple so that you don’t have to price every single item. For example, “all books $1” or “all jeans $1.”
- Place large signs with prices near the items that you’re selling.
Also, since a lot of people will be gathering at your sale, use this opportunity also to sell some concessions. Think bottles of water, snacks, soda or lemonade. This also is a great opportunity to have a bake sale.
25. Craft Fair
Most cheerleaders have some crafty parents or family members. Pull these crafts together in a craft fair, where the items will be sold to people who want them. This is a great fundraiser to do around the holidays since people will be looking for unique gifts.
This type of fundraiser can be done virtually, or in the same way you would do a yard sale.
26. Email Campaigns
An email campaign is similar to sending fundraising letters, but it’s via email. This is a direct way to get giving opportunities out into your community. In your email, include both a link that directs people to your giving site and also a physical address where they can send a check if that’s how they prefer to donate.
At the end of your email, ask them to forward it to other people who might be interested.
27. Car Washes
Another classic, a car wash is a fun fundraiser that communities love. The downside is that it’s a lot of work and requires the entire team, plus some dedicated parents, to pull it off. You’ll also need to find a location that serves as your water source.
Borrow buckets and sponges from your family members and start washing cars. The key to a successful car wash fundraiser is to advertise well and have lots of signs up letting passersby know what you’re doing. Having people stand by the road holding a sign and waving is another way to lure in customers.
28. Sell Gourmet Popcorn
Everyone loves a good gourmet product, and gourmet popcorn is one of the easiest things to sell. Popcorn has a good shelf life, and most people love it. You can sell your gourmet popcorn around school and at sporting events. Be sure to be sensitive to whichever group runs the concession stands. You don’t want to take sales away from them.
Another way to sell a lot of gourmet popcorn is to go to local businesses or send flyers with parents to work. People at the office love to support causes, and they also find a treat like popcorn to be a welcome interruption in the workday.
29. Sell Candles
Candles are great fundraisers because they’re very popular with customers. You don’t have to worry about spoilage as you do with various food products, and people love to buy them as gifts.
There are numerous companies out there that offer candle fundraisers. Look for an online wholesaler and pull together your own flyer and order form. You can cut out the middleman and pocket all of the profits for your team.
30. Sell Bath Bombs
Bath bombs continue to be hugely popular with people of all ages, and there are companies that you can work with to use bath bombs for fundraisers. Just For Me Candles and Soaps is one such company.
Planning this type of fundraiser before the holidays is a great idea because both men and women will buy these as gifts for people in their lives. Be sure that you do your fundraiser far enough in advance that people will receive their bath bombs in time for holiday gift-giving.
31. Donut Sales
Everyone loves donuts, and they’re a good fundraising opportunity because they’re inexpensive enough that most people can buy one from your team. Even better, big companies like Krispy Kreme love to partner with school groups to sell donuts by the dozen.
Krispy Kreme is even offering “Digital Dozens,” which allows your group to sell donuts in a way that’s contactless. It’s a seamless way to get your donuts into the hands of your donors and supporters. Simply collect donations and distribute your donuts via email. Your supporters will receive a coupon for a dozen or Original Glazed donuts the next time they visit a Krispy Kreme location or drive-thru. The company makes it incredibly easy for your team to get started with this fundraiser.
Krispy Kreme also offers other fundraising options, including group members physically delivering the donuts, one-day sales, and pre-sell fundraising.
In addition to companies like Krispy Kreme, your local donut shops will usually enjoy participating in this type of successful fundraiser. It helps raise awareness about their products and also gives them good standing as supporters of community groups.
32. Gift Wrapping
Frazzled parents, teachers and other professionals enjoy having their holiday gifts wrapped nicely, but most don’t have time to do the wrapping. In most cases, they wait until the last minute and stick their gifts in a bag. Wrap their gifts for them with your cheerleader squad. This is a fun service to provide to busy people.
The best way to do this unique fundraiser is to partner with local stores and set up a table outside. As people finish up their shopping, they ideally will stop at your table to have their gifts wrapped.
To prepare well in advance for a gift wrapping fundraiser, shop after the holidays to get gift wrap and supplies for up to 75% off. Then store them at someone’s house, and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running for the next holiday season.
33. Portrait Sales
In the era of digital photos, it’s rarer than ever for families to have professional portraits shot unless it’s for a special occasion like a wedding. One fun way to provide portraits via a fundraiser is to do vintage or period-style portraits.
Go through your grandparents’ closets or shop at thrift stores to find cool vintage outfits and accessories. Then, find an area photographer who will donate their time to take the photos for your team. The benefit for the photographer is the free advertising they’ll get from all of the beautiful portraits you sell.
To sell your portraits, put together a portrait packet that will yield you a large profit. You can have them printed online or at your local big-box store or pharmacy.
34. Fresh Fruit Sales
In a more health-conscious world, selling fresh fruit is a good alternative to selling candy. To get a reasonable price on fruit, approach your local grocery store to see if they will sell fruit by the case at a better price. You can also work with area farmers or farmers’ markets in your locale.
Find some reasonably priced baskets online or at a home store and create beautiful gift baskets to sell. If someone sponsors your fruit or supplies, be sure to give credit to your sponsors on an included card or tag.
35. Sell Gourmet Lollipops
Anything gourmet is a trendy item to sell. People love delicious treats, and gourmet lollipops sell easily. You can sell gourmet lollipops in various shapes and flavors. Find companies online that offer these for sale in fundraisers or consider making your own to sell.
36. Pancake Breakfast
Who doesn’t love pancakes? To have a delicious pancake breakfast, you can pull in all the griddles you can find and have both squad members and parents cooking pancakes in the school gym, a church, or another venue.
Be sure to have a wide variety of toppings and syrups. You’ll find even more success if you offer options like chocolate chip pancakes and blueberry pancakes.
Some additional fundraising ideas for cheerleading not mentioned above would include:
- Bleacher seat cushions
- Pep rally
- Popcorn fundraiser
- Offer gourmet snacks
- Cookie dough fundraising (a very popular option)
- Discount card fundraising
- Fundraising thermometer
- Candy fundraisers
- Scratch card fundraiser
- Holiday fundraising
- & Coffee fundraisers
How to Get Started
Fundraising is challenging and requires a lot of creativity and work regardless of how you choose to raise money for your team. At Adrenaline Fundraising, we have spent years working to refine our program so that we can deliver the best service to your group. We do more than 13,000 fundraisers every year and also support finding a cure for cancer.
If you’re ready to take your fundraising efforts to the next level, contact us and we’ll help you get started today.
For more great fundraising programs, fundraising tips and unique fundraising ideas, be sure to check out some of our other blogs here. We cover a lot of other sports fundraising ideas fro schools there.