100+ School Fundraising Ideas [Updated for 2021]

 Check out this list of immersive school fundraising ideas.


If you’re a teacher, principal, PTA member, or part of a student club or society, you know that funding your school’s or organization’s activities can be a real challenge.

If your school needs a boost or wants to fund a special upcoming project, it’s important that you find the fundraising events and strategies best suited to engage your students and community as a whole. What excites these important supporters?

Here at Funds2Orgs, we’ve worked with thousands of schools. After years of working in this sector, we have a firm idea of which fundraisers can set your institution up for fundraising success. With our experience, we’re confident that we can provide your school fundraising team with unique ideas that will engage students, parents, and other members of your community at a safe social distance.

To help you get started brainstorming, we’ve compiled a list of our top school fundraising ideas. Plenty of our suggestions are ideal for virtual learning environments, while others will work when your school shifts back to in-person learning. Use the navigation below to jump between online school fundraisers, high school, elementary school fundraising ideas, along with some of our favorite ideas for students of all ages:

Be sure to read through the whole page, though. Any one of these ideas might spark your next breakthrough!

In a hurry? Check out our top school fundraiser pick right now. Funds2Orgs can help conduct your school’s most successful fundraising drive ever!

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Check out our favorite fundraising idea: shoe drive fundraisers!

Our Top School Fundraising Idea

Shoe drive fundraisers are an excellent school fundraising idea!#1: Shoe Drive Fundraisers

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Any other fundraising events!

Shoe drive fundraisers are an extremely effective school fundraising idea! They’re a fantastic opportunity for your school to raise some impressive revenue and engage your community with an exceptionally unique fundraiser.

Due to the current landscape, schools face unprecedented challenges, from connecting with their communities to handling decreased budgets. Many schools are shifting online or tentatively reopening and then closing abruptly. Shoe drive fundraisers are a flexible way for schools to continue fundraising despite the circumstances.

This school fundraising idea empowers educators and other professionals to sustain operations and keep students engaged outside of the classroom—virtual or not.

You might be asking, though, why shoes? There are a few reasons:

  • Most people have a pair or two they never wear. Why not donate them?
  • Kids outgrow shoes so quickly! Families will have plenty of pairs to donate.
  • Donating and repurposing shoes sets a great example of environmental responsibility.
  • Top shoe drive fundraisers provide a lesson in small-scale global philanthropy.

As a top shoe drive fundraising provider, Funds2Orgs will facilitate your campaign at no cost, provide you with marketing materials and fundraising coaching, collect your donated shoes, and send them to small-scale entrepreneurs in developing nations. Finally, your school receives a check!

With Funds2Orgs, schools and organizations have made thousands of dollars after just six weeks. Not all shoe drive fundraising providers can offer this level of success, so check out our explainer video for more information on how this kind of fundraising campaign works:

Best of all, you could easily combine a shoe drive fundraiser with other school fundraising events—both in-person and virtual! Just tell your invitees to bring their spare pairs for in-person events, or set up drop-off locations around the community for virtual events. Moreover, it’s a great standalone way to raise funds without ever directly asking for money!

When brainstorming school fundraising ideas during COVID-19, these pandemic-friendly fundraisers are the perfect resource.

School Fundraisers During COVID-19

#1: Direct Mail Fundraising Drive

A black isolated mailbox filled with letters, bills, greeting cards and a magazine.

Cost: $$

Earning Potential: ✓✓✓✓

Works Great With: Online Donation Campaign, Shoe Drive Fundraiser

Direct mail is an effective channel to not only directly solicit donations, but also promote any upcoming fundraising drives or events. Especially during COVID, direct mail is ideal because letters are completely contactless while also breaking through the digital clutter online. Keep these essential letter-writing tips in mind as you draft your direct mail fundraising appeals:

  • Make sure to personalize it as much as you can. Using your donors’ names makes the letters much more meaningful than starting them with “Dear Supporter.”
  • Catch the reader’s attention with a meaningful story or anecdote before you get to the donation request.
  • Clearly state the impact a donation can have, such as funding new school supplies or recess equipment, so recipients can visualize the difference that their contributions will make.

Be sure to invest in a dedicated web-to-print direct mail fundraising platform such as GivingMail to simplify the letter-writing and delivery process. 

Device drives are an effective school fundraiser to acquire needed technology for students during online learning.#2: Device Drive

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Business Partnership, Community Grant, Wishlist Drive

As schools have transitioned to online learning in the past year, it’s become painfully clear that not all students have equal access to the tools and resources necessary to succeed. Use a device drive to ask your community to donate gently used technology like laptops and tablets, and ask for donations to sponsor high-speed wifi for students who lack adequate internet access.

It’s also worth leveraging some of your local business relationships to see if any of your corporate partners would be willing to sponsor the purchase of technology for students who need it!

A virtual cooking night sponsored by a local restaurant is a fun school fundraiser to engage parents.#3: Virtual Cooking Night

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Parents’ Party, Virtual Craft Night, Local Restaurant Spirit Night, Business Partnership

Ask a local restaurant if they’d be willing to partner with you for a virtual cooking night fundraiser. For this school fundraiser, a local chef joins a video call with attendees and teaches them how to cook one of the chef’s signature dishes.

You’ll likely want to deliver the ingredients to attendees ahead of time. Consider asking the restaurant to provide the ingredients, or buy them upfront and include their cost in the event registration fee.

Set the price for the event, invite your supporters to attend, and watch as they learn how to cook a beautiful meal! To build a strong partnership with the restaurant, consider splitting the proceeds with them.

A virtual TED talk is an entertaining, educational school fundraiser.#4: TED Talk Virtual Events

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Online Donation Campaign, Online Crowdfunding Campaign, Pledge Drive

TED talks are informative, educational, and entertaining conferences. Speakers are often interesting figures in business, technology, and culture. Invite a relevant speaker to give a virtual TED Talk-style event about a topic that would interest parents (and/or students!), and charge a small admission fee to attend virtually.

Alternatively, to maximize attendance, you could skip the admission fee and ask for donations at the end. If attendees really enjoyed themselves, they may feel extra generous and give a donation that’s larger than what you would’ve charged for admission. Either way, TED Talks are an awesome way to integrate education and fundraising!

Fundraising letters are a classic school fundraising idea to garner support for any cause.#5: Fundraising Letters

Earning Potential:
Works Great With:

Fundraising letters are a tried and true way to solicit funds from your supporters. Especially during COVID, fundraising letters are ideal because you can send them totally contactless! Whether you choose email or direct mail for your letters, it’s important to keep a few essential tips in mind:

  • When you’re writing a fundraising letter, make sure to personalize it as much as you can. Using your donors’ names will make the letters more meaningful than if they start with “Dear supporter.”
  • It’s a standard best practice for fundraising appeals to catch the reader’s attention with a meaningful story or anecdote before you get to the ask.
  • Don’t forget to state the impact a donation can have clearly, so the recipient can visualize their impact.

No matter if you’re raising funds for a specific project or just want to increase your programming budget for the year, fundraising letters are a classic way to reach out to your base.

A grocery drop-off school fundraiser both generates revenue and provides a service to your community.

#6: Grocery Drop-Off

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: T-Shirt Fundraiser, Shoe Drive Fundraiser

A grocery drop-off fundraiser fits the current moment, in which many people—especially seniors—are wary of venturing out to the grocery store due to COVID-19.

Grocery delivery services like Instacart charge a fairly substantial fee to collect and drop off grocery orders. Why not offer the same service they do, but to your school’s supporters? Every delivery fee would go to a good cause. Your students’ grandparents would likely be thrilled to contribute (and to have their groceries delivered to their doorsteps!).

Of course, this option requires you to have a strong base of willing volunteers, as they would be the ones out doing the grocery shopping. Taking steps to ensure their health is prioritized is a must, meaning at-risk populations should stay home.

 A virtual book club as a school fundraiser brings your supporters together for engaging discussion, all in support of a good cause.#7: Virtual Book Club

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Online Donation, Text-to-Give Campaign, Virtual Craft Night

Another great option to connect with parents virtually is by starting a virtual book club!

The first thing you’ll need to do is choose a book you would like to discuss. Choose a book that fits your target audience so they’ll be more likely to want to join the club. You might even survey them to get a sense of what type of book they’d like to read.

Advertise the club via email, direct mail, newsletters, and other communication channels to make sure to spread the word.

You could ask for a small donation to join the club or ask for donations after every meeting. Since this is an all-virtual option, you should definitely push donors to your online donation form or promote your text-to-give number and keyword, if you have one.

Then it’s time to plan the meetings! Choose to meet weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Come prepared with a list of questions to fuel discussion, and you’ll be all set!

A remote restaurant school fundraiser encourages your supporters to order to-go meals from a local restaurant in support of your cause.#8: Remote Restaurant Fundraiser

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: T-Shirt Fundraiser, Food Truck Percentage Day, No Uniform Day; Business Partnership

We all know COVID-19 has been especially hard on the restaurant industry. Social distancing guidelines mean very few restaurants can safely accommodate guests indoors.

Even though indoor dining is a no-go these days, you can still partner with local restaurants for fundraising nights. Encourage parents, students, and teachers to place call-in or online orders for to-go food at your partner restaurant on a given date so that they can enjoy a nice meal in support of two good causes: your campaign and your local restaurant industry.

A digital treasure hunt is a fun and engaging school fundraiser, allowing students to come together to raise money.#9: Digital Treasure Hunt

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Viral Video Challenge, Carwash, Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

A digital treasure hunt can be just as fun for your students as its in-person counterpart. For this fundraiser, send your students all over the internet in search of specific “treasures!”

You could structure your treasure hunt in a couple of ways:

  1. You could have your students register in teams for a flat fee.
  2. You could set a minimum peer-to-peer fundraising amount per student in order for them to participate!

The teams could organize via virtual conferencing software like Zoom with a common set of hints/instructions. You could even edit your school’s website to contain hidden messages and clues.

Regardless, you should have an awesome prize to reward the winning team for encouraging students to raise funds and participate!

An online pledge drive based around a virtual event is a good school fundraiser to secure donations from your students’ family and friends.#10: Online Pledge Drive

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Phone-a-thon, Virtual 5K, Online Donation Form

While pledge drives usually take place as a direct response to a crisis, they don’t necessarily have to. We’ve all heard the seasonal pledge drives that local radio stations implement a couple of times a year—consider doing the same for your school.

Fall and spring online pledge drives could be just what you need to sustain programming throughout the year. Ideally, a pledge drive needs about a month or so to ramp up awareness, so October and March are ideal months. Consider structuring your campaign around a virtual event like a walk-a-thon, where donors could pledge a certain amount per mile that their child walks.

A month or so before your event, disseminate online registration forms to parents and have students send pledge requests to their family and friends. The pledge requests should link directly to an easy-to-use, well-optimized donation page, so you don’t lose any donations to donor exasperation!

When coming up with new school fundraising ideas, account for the digital landscape with these online school fundraiser ideas.

Online School Fundraisers

An online bake sale is a delicious school fundraiser to launch.#1: Online Bake Sale

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Virtual Restaurant Fundraiser

Regardless of whether your school is in-person or online, a virtual bake sale is possible (and yummy!). If you’re concerned about limiting contact at your school during COVID-19, have parents and students pay for baked goods on an online platform and pick them up from a designated location.

If your school is entirely virtual, you could still have volunteers bring baked goods to a designated location during specific times and arrange pick-ups after making online purchases.

Of course, you’ll need to heavily advertise your bake sale to make sure all of the students and parents know when and how to purchase baked goods ahead of time.

If that sounds too complicated, another option is to collaborate with a local bakeshop and share the proceeds from baked goods sold on a certain day or between designated hours on a specific day.

A social media contest is a fun, interactive school fundraising idea to appeal to middle and high school students.#2: Social Media Contest

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising, Crowdfunding Campaign, Viral Video Challenge

Since students already spend so much time on social media, you might as well try to harness the power of their screen time!

Consider setting some rules for a contest that students and parents can participate in on social media. You’ll want to designate a hashtag for the game, specify the time it’s happening, and explain the terms. Perhaps it’s a school spirit contest, where the most elaborate or outrageous school spirit photo wins a prize.

To make sure your fundraiser is effective, designate a rule that the link to your online donation form must appear in participants’ posts.

Encourage your community to share and challenge each other to participate in the contest, and get creative with the challenge requirements to catch people’s attention.

Crowdfunding campaigns are a great school fundraising idea that empowers schools to expand their reach through social media!#3: Online Crowdfunding Campaign

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: T-Shirt Fundraiser, Serve-a-thon, Coupon Books

Crowdfunding campaigns are a great way to make it easy for your community to support your school, whether it’s for a specific project or more generally.

Teens will enjoy being able to share your crowdfunding on their social media pages with their extended networks. There are plenty of great crowdfunding platforms to choose from, specifically designed for nonprofits and educational institutions.

Be sure to offer your online donors some incentives or incorporate your crowdfunding campaign into other fundraising projects. Coupon books and t-shirts make great donation rewards!

A virtual 5K is a great online school fundraising idea.#4: Virtual 5K

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Business Partnership

Chances are, you might already hold an annual 5K for your school, because they make fantastic school fundraisers. These powerful events get students and their families up and moving, all while raising money for your school. Thanks to advancements in technology, you can now reap the benefits of these powerful school fundraisers at a safe social distance.

For a traditional 5K run, participants simply register and run the specified route on the day of the event. For a virtual 5K, participants complete the race independently and report their results back to your team after the fact. There are a few ways to go about this, such as:

Have participants run at their preferred location on the same date and time.
Have participants run on the date and time of their choosing, so long as they complete it within a specified period (such as two weeks).

Just make sure your participants have access to some sort of way to measure their results, whether with a free smartphone app or a fitness watch. Then, incentivize others by featuring the top participants on your social media.

As with any athletic fundraiser, this is a great chance to pair this idea with a shoe drive fundraiser. So, consider placing collection boxes around your school and community as your virtual event approaches. Bring in some extra fundraising dollars by lining up sponsors as well.

An online donation page pairs perfectly with any other school fundraising idea—virtual or not.#5: Online Donation Page

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Any online fundraiser!

At the core of any successful online fundraising strategy is a well-designed donation page. This page serves as the foundation of your digital approach because this is where you’ll drive traffic across any of your school’s fundraising campaigns.

When designing your donation page, ensure it’s:

  • Branded to your school. The last thing you want is your community to think they’ve somehow wound up on an untrustworthy third-party site. Combat this by featuring your school’s logo and colors. These subtle, branded cues can make a huge difference!
  • Mobile-responsive. According to Statista, mobile devices generated 51.53% of all web traffic in the second quarter of 2020, meaning mobile usability is imperative for your school’s donation page. A responsive form will easily adjust page elements (e.g., fields, text size, and graphics) to any device.
  • Accessible. Your donation form should comply with web accessibility guidelines, so people with disabilities or impairments can still interact with it. For instance, you’ll want to use high-contrast colors, clearly label fields, and add alt-text to images to help users who use screen reader technology.

These are just a few of the ways you can create a great online donation page for your school. Check out Donately’s donation page guide to explore 30 tips and ways to optimize your form. Plus, you’ll see some great examples that may inspire your own design!

A virtual auction is a fantastic school fundraising idea for engaging your community at a distance.#6: Virtual Auction

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Virtual Concert, Raffle, Giving Kiosk, Business Partnership

Schools and other organizations have relied on auctions for quite some time because they’re some of the most lucrative fundraisers you can host. If you’ve never been to a school fundraising auction, these events are simply an in-person or digital event where your school puts donated items up for bidding.

Your guests for these events are usually parents and other community members who bid on items, packages, and experiences in hopes of winning them. When someone wins an item, your school receives the donation in return. You can even use digital auction tools at an in-person event, so everyone can participate how they’d like—whether in person or from the comfort of their own homes!

With the right combination of items, supporting software, and strategies, you can pull off a successful virtual auction that keeps everyone fully engaged. However, keep in mind that auctions tend to require a heavier investment of time and resources than other school fundraising ideas, so get started early!

Using this online school fundraiser idea, you’ll hit them with a campaign where they’ll notice you — their cell phones!#7: Text-to-Give Campaign

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Viral Video Challenge, Outrageous Bet, Trivia Night

Text-to-give capabilities are now an essential part of modern fundraising. If your school hasn’t considered them, check out this list of the top text-to-give service providers to get started.

You can promote a standalone text-to-give campaign or easily incorporate your text-to-give options into other activities, like sporting events. Text-to-give tools are a great way to engage attendees at any live event quickly, but make sure your students (and their parents) fully understand how the mobile donation system works to avoid any confusion.

A virtual concert is a great school fundraising idea.#8: Virtual Concert

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Text-to-Give Campaign, Online Donation Page

Jam out with your community at a virtual concert. This school fundraiser is especially great for promoting the arts. Reach out to local musicians and see if they’re willing to donate their time to support your school. Alternatively, you might ask members of your school’s band or choir to perform solo if they’re up to the task.

There are two ways you can go about this school fundraiser:

  1. Set an admission fee and make tickets available online beforehand.
  2. Let supporters’ generosity lead the way and encourage them to donate instead.

Once it’s time for your virtual event to go live, broadcast the concert to your social media feeds from a live-streaming platform for viewers to join and enjoy.

A matching gift drive is a phenomenal school fundraising idea that will help you increase donors’ impact.#9: Matching Gift Drive

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Online Giving Day, Business Partnership

If your school receives regular donations, you probably have a ton of matching gift opportunities in your donor base. According to our unique fundraising ideas guide, “matching gifts are a powerful, simple way to maximize the donations you’re already receiving.”

Go about your matching gift drive one of two ways:

  1. Have your fundraising team scour your online donor database and reach out to any match-eligible donors.
  2. Encourage your school’s recent and potential donors to research their eligibility and submit their match requests.

Make sure to leverage a matching gift database to make sure no opportunities get overlooked. All donors have to do is search for their employers’ names. Then, the system will compile all available information regarding their eligibility, and they’ll receive instant access to any available next steps or forms.

A virtual craft night is a great school fundraising idea that will encourage families to explore their creative sides.#10: Virtual Craft Night

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Text-to-Give Campaign, Online Donation Page

Encourage students and their families to explore their creative side with a virtual craft night. While doing this from your kitchen isn’t quite the same as a traditional craft night, you’ll still entertain your community while raising a few extra dollars for your school. Simply set up your event registration page, and spread the word across your social media platforms and email contacts.

Advanced registration is essential because you’ll need to send or deliver the craft supplies to participants. With the help of some volunteers, put together gift bags containing everything crafters will need. Then, on the night of the event, have your school’s art teacher or a local artist instruct the class.

Invite students to participate in an open mic night for your next school fundraiser.#11: Open Mic Night

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Online Donation Page, Online Crowdfunding Campaign, Raffle

Put a twist on the traditional talent show and showcase your students’ creative skills with a virtual open mic night. For this school fundraiser, you’ll need to sell virtual tickets. Then, have attendees join a group video call at a set day and time.

From poetry readings and monologues to musical performances and comedy routines, invite all sorts of acts to participate. Your students will love showing off their talents and stepping into the spotlight, and their families will enjoy watching them shine!

Giving days make for great online school fundraisers because they instill a sense of urgency.#12: Online Giving Day

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Online Donation Page, Text-to-Give Campaign, Matching Gift Drive

Online giving days are a type of school fundraiser that leverages the power of social sharing. These online days of giving have proven to work for all kinds of organizations—big and small! In short, these are fundraising challenges that aim to reel in as many donations as possible within 24 hours.

Chances are, you’ve encountered the most notable giving day out there: Giving Tuesday. Last year, this worldwide day of giving generated $1.9 billion for the nonprofit sector. It just goes to show that a sense of urgency paired with a philanthropic mindset works wonders for schools and charitable organizations.

All you’ll need to do for this school fundraiser is to share your giving page and text-to-give number, urging individuals to make contributions. Make sure to leverage social media, email, and any other platforms where your school’s supporters are active. Plus, you can pair this with your matching gift drive to encourage even more donations. After all, 1 in 3 donors says they’d give a larger gift if matching gets applied to their contribution.

A watch party is a great online school fundraiser that brings everyone together virtually.#13: Watch Party

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Bake Sale, Concessions Stand

Find a family-friendly film and host a watch party where people gather to watch it together virtually. Facebook makes this super simple with their Watch Party feature. Simply choose a movie, schedule a time, and ask for donations to your online donation page. Alternatively, sell tickets and drop off or ship movie snacks and baked goods to attendees.

Then, create a watch party on a Facebook page, where you can grant permission for users to join. Just make sure to check into any copyright information and follow the procedures to obtain permission first.

A digital rubber duckie race is a school fundraiser that helps tap into your supporters’ competitive spirits and spur more donations.#14: Digital Rubber Duckie Race

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Crowdfunding Campaign, Serve-a-thon, Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

You’re probably wondering how a digital rubber duckie race could ever raise funds for your school.

Here’s the idea: choose several (3-5) projects or initiatives you’d like to get funded. Then, set a monetary goal for each of the projects, and choose an online donation page to display each project’s progress toward its goal.

Ideally, the online donation page would allow sufficient customization for you to add an image for each project so that the audience can watch different items “race” to the finish line. People often choose images of rubber duckies (hence the name of the fundraiser), but get creative! Try sailboats, bicycles, or cars.

The hope is that the school fundraiser’s structure taps into your supporters’ competitive spirits and spurs more donations. It’s smart to incentivize donations by offering a small prize (maybe merchandise or a fun experience) for those who donate to the winning initiative.

Hosting an event with a well-known local figure is sure to draw eyes to your school fundraiser.#15: Virtual Celebrities

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Business Partnership, Virtual Concert

If there’s someone relatively accessible in your community who still has some “star power” or draw, ask them to host a virtual event as a fundraiser for your school. Who could you choose? Some options include:

  • A local author.
  • A community leader.
  • A popular band.
  • A local news anchor.
  • A TV Personality.

An author could give a reading, a band could put on a virtual concert, or a TV personality could do a Q&A. Just make sure to tailor the event to the “celebrity’s” field of work.

A good way to collect funds for this type of event is to charge a registration fee. You could add some additional requests for funds from the celebrity host, hoping to encourage extra donations during the event! If you choose this route and find yourself needing some guidance, check out our tips for celebrity fundraising.

There are quite a few school fundraising ideas that work for all age groups.

Best School Fundraisers for All Ages

A pet party an awesome school fundraiser to thrill students of any age with a mid-day visit from their pets.#1: Pet Party

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Pajama Day, Bake Sale, No Uniform Day

Everybody loves pets. That’s why a pet party is a perfect option for a fundraiser for students of any age. For a pet party, let students and parents know ahead of time that there will be a designated “pet party” during the students’ lunch period on a specific day for a small donation per pet.

Your students’ parents can bring their cats and dogs (and maybe other animals!) for a round of show-and-tell. Just make sure they’re all friendly, and consider inviting parents to participate and help look after their pets. This is the perfect event to have outside in a courtyard or on a sports field on a warm day.

Don’t forget to set up donation tables at the party. You might even assign a donation box to each pet and have parents give to their favorite furry friend. Students will love seeing which pet wins the most donations!

Selling advertisements in your school’s yearbook is a convenient school fundraiser to cover the costs of the yearbook or raise funds for another project.#2: Yearbook Ads

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Business Partnership, Fundraising Night Out, Local Restaurant Spirit Night

Getting yearbooks printed can be expensive, and you’ll need a way to cover the costs. Consider selling advertising space in your school’s yearbook to local businesses.

A great place to start is seeing if any of your students’ parents own local businesses that would be interested in buying ads. Even if they aren’t business owners, parents who work at local companies could still serve as good contact points and advocate for their company’s ad purchase.

Another way to find ad buyers is to pay attention to where your students like to go outside of school hours. Maybe there’s a smoothie place down the street from your school where students like to get a treat after the school day, or a local sporting goods store where the football team always gets equipment. Businesses that have a connection with your school are more likely to buy your yearbook ad space!

A restaurant spirit night works as a school fundraiser for any age group.#3: Local Restaurant Spirit Night

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Trivia Night, Giving Kiosk, No Uniform Day

If your school has a big game coming up, get in touch with some local restaurants to discuss arranging a percentage fundraising night!

Many chain restaurants already have policies in place for percentage fundraisers with local schools, but independently-owned restaurants would be happy to invite larger dinner crowds, too. Think about ways to bring some school spirit! You can incentivize these percentage nights with rewards, like a free no uniform day the next Friday if the student obtains a restaurant receipt.

A raffle is a great school fundraiser that pairs perfectly with virtually any other event.#4: Raffle

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Car Wash, Parents Party

Another classic school fundraising idea, raffles, are perfect for engaging any age group. Plus, depending on the prizes you offer, you could see a considerable fundraising return.

Incorporate a raffle into your other fundraising events! Solicit some in-kind donations of products, services, or gift certificates from local businesses, then promote your raffle by spreading the word and selling tickets. Raffle tickets make a great add-on or reward item for donations at other events, too!

Obstacles course school fundraisers get kids up and moving.#5: Obstacle Course

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Summer Sports Camp, School Picnic, Outrageous Bet

Your school likely has an outdoor area that would be perfect for an obstacle course!

Plus, while you can certainly rent large inflatable equipment, it’s easy to create an obstacle course with some things closer to hand, like traffic cones, kiddie pools, and rope. Have participants pay to register, or incorporate your obstacle course into a larger fundraising event.

Bake sales are classic school fundraising ideas that can be coordinated with plenty of your events.#6: Bake Sale

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Field Day, Fall Festival, Movie Night

Another school fundraising stand-by, a bake sale, is a surefire way to raise extra cash during any other fundraising events.

Have your student volunteers provide baked goods, then just set up a stand! Bake sales (and other concessions sales) are a classic fundraising tool because they work perfectly with many other events. Include bake sales in field days, festivals, sporting events, parades, community events—all perfect opportunities to raise some funds.

A giving kiosk is a perfect school fundraising idea to motivate your supporters to give.#7: Giving Kiosk

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Raffle, Bingo Night, Field Day, Talent Show

New donation tools like giving kiosks are essential to creating new fundraising strategies for engaging your community.

Having a physical piece of hardware that can accept cashless donations is a new necessity for schools, so definitely research your options. The best nonprofit giving kiosk tools can operate completely independently of other hardware and without an internet connection, meaning you can take them to any fundraising event or PTA meetings.

Encourage your students to show off their talent with this school fundraising idea.#8: Talent Show

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Giving Kiosk, Text-to-Give Campaign, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Concessions Stand

Another classic fundraiser event, let your students show their skills in a talent show!

The parents of young children will especially enjoy these events! Offer tickets and concessions for sale and think of unique ways to help the audience choose a winner. For instance, text-to-give tools could be an easy way for friends and family to submit votes while they donate.

For your next school fundraiser, host a school picnic and encourage students to get some fresh air.#9: School Picnic

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Scavenger Hunt, Obstacle Course, Field Day, T-Shirt Fundraiser

Perfect for the springtime, when students become more restless to get outside, a school picnic is a great way to raise some funds while bringing your school’s community together.

A picnic fundraiser is also very adaptable, so your picnic event can be as large or as small as you’d like. Maybe you could pick a Friday and offer students tickets to enjoy their lunch outside in a practice field. Perhaps you could invite parents, let them register to bring food, and arrange a memorable field trip to a community park.

Promote literacy with a read-a-thon as your next school fundraising idea.#10: Read-a-thon

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Serve-a-thon, Raffle, Teachers in Jail Fundraiser

Another easy pledge-style fundraiser, ask your students to sign up for a read-a-thon event! Have them solicit donation pledges from friends and family for every 50 pages they read during a set period, for example. Be sure to provide your students with reading log templates!

You can reward your top readers with prizes or enter them into a raffle, or maybe the classes that read the most can win a special “teachers in jail” free period!

Scavenger hunts are one of the best school fundraising ideas for all age groups.#11: Scavenger Hunt

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Field Day, Obstacle Course, Fall Festival

Take the time to plan out a great scavenger hunt, not too easy or too difficult, and write some clever clues. Then, have your students register as teams to compete in a timed scavenger hunt competition across the school!

Scavenger hunt events can be hugely successful, especially when incorporated into other large outdoor fundraising events. Just be sure that the treasure at the end (and whatever reward you offer for the winner) is exciting for the student teams.

Encourage parents to mingle by hosting a parents’ party as one of your school fundraising ideas.#12: Parents’ Party

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Giving Kiosks, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Text-to-Give Campaign, Food Truck Percentage Day

Towards the beginning of the school year, host a mingle event for the parents of your students!

You could do this at your school or even arrange a percentage night with a local restaurant. Most importantly, this is a chance to meet parents and introduce them to your donation tools, like any online fundraising campaigns, text-to-give, shoe drive fundraisers, or giving kiosks that you use.

Parents will love this school fundraising idea: calendars filled with students’ photos and drawings!#13: School Calendars

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Bake Sale, Raffle, Coupon Books, Community Yard Sale, Fall Festival

School calendars are a tried-and-true method of bringing money into schools. What makes this school fundraiser so great is that you can go about it in several ways. For instance, you might choose to feature:

  • Students’ pictures or drawings
  • Class or school photos
  • Photographs from around the school and its sports fields
  • Pictures from key moments or events throughout the year

Especially if you’re using an external vendor, compiling and printing your calendars can take a bit of time, so get started early. You might host it as a standalone school fundraiser or even pair it with one of your other events, like a fall festival or community yard sale.

Put a phone-a-thon at the top of your list of school fundraising ideas.#14: Phone-a-Thon

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Online Giving Day, Online Donation Page, Text-to-Give Campaign

Pick up the phone and start dialing for this timeless school fundraiser.

Phone-a-thons are easy to organize and pull off, so long as a team of strong-willed volunteers backs you. You’ll want to rely on your staff and PTA members for this one! Arm your volunteers with a list of names and numbers as well as a script, so they know what to say and do.

Thanks to modern tech, your volunteers can just use their smartphones to make the calls. Just keep in mind that some people aren’t fond of talking on the phone, so prepare your script to address that scenario. For instance, you might direct them to your online donation page or share your text-to-give number.

To maintain momentum throughout your phone-a-thon, why not use a fundraising thermometer? It’s a great way to keep track of donations as the day (or night) wears on.

Dog washes make for great school fundraisers for on-the-go parents and pet owners.#15: Dog Wash

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Car Wash, Business Partnership, Bake Sale, Lemonade Stand

Parents are often busy balancing their work lives and children. When leading these on-the-go lifestyles, they might not have as much free time to spend caring for their pets. Give them a break by offering a dog wash. For the best results, host this school fundraiser on a warm spring or fall day, so everyone’s comfortable—including the dogs!

Be sure to have a few water bowls on hand for thirsty pups waiting in the queue. Chances are, a local pet shop may be willing to donate these and any other items you need (like dog shampoo and towels), so you won’t have to worry about covering extra costs.

For a few extra dollars, sell homemade dog biscuits for the pups and lemonade for owners while they wait in line, and encourage tips as well. You might even host your car wash at the same time as a 2-in-1 school fundraiser. That way, even those who don’t own a pet can still support your school.

Get students out of the classroom and into the sun with a hike day as your next school fundraising idea.#16: Hike Day

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: T-Shirt Fundraiser, Lemonade Stand, Shoe Drive Fundraiser

Students sit in classrooms for hours at a time, daydreaming about being outside enjoying the sun. Encourage students to stretch their legs and experience nature with a hike day as your next school fundraiser.

Charge students a few dollars to go on a hike near campus during school hours. Suppose you live in a mountain-less area, no worries! Host a park day, lake day, or just a go-outside day. Not only will students enjoy getting fresh air, but you’ll also raise a fair bit of money for your school.

Consider lining up a shoe drive fundraiser, so students can get out of their shoes and stretch their feet once your hiking day wraps up! Remember to let students know in advance so that they can bring a change of shoes.

Jelly bean counts are classic school fundraisers that any age group will love.#17: Jelly Bean Count

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Any fundraising event!

A jelly bean count is a classic school fundraising idea. Students love guessing games like this, and they’ll jump at the opportunity to prove their superior guessing skills—especially if there’s an epic prize (and bragging rights) on the line!

Simply get a jar, and fill it with candy—any kind will do. Charge a dollar per guess and watch as students’ guesses roll in. The student with the closest guess wins!

Go green and add a bottle and can drive to the top of your school fundraising ideas list.#18: Bottle & Can Drive

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Business Partnership

Teach students a lesson in eco-friendliness and raise some spare cash for your school with this green school fundraiser: a bottle and can drive!

There’s no better way to raise money and help the environment. Simply ask students to bring in clean bottles and cans. Then, they’ll deposit them in one of your school’s designated drop-off locations. Add a bit of friendly competition by pitting classes against one another and offering the winning class a pizza day or ice cream party. From here, you’ll either arrange a pickup time or drop off the bottles and cans at your local recycling plant in exchange for cash.

What makes these school fundraisers so great is that you can host them as often as you’d like. Make it a yearly tradition!

Plus, your local corporate partners might even allow you to set up drop-off boxes in their buildings, so the whole community can get involved in collecting recyclables. Or, you can pair your recycling drive with a shoe drive fundraiser—as these are another super eco-friendly school fundraiser!

A concessions stand is a great school fundraising idea for all your sporting functions.#19: Concessions Stand

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Business Partnership, School Sleepover, Bottle & Can Drive

Sell snacks to your school’s fans at all your sporting events. From soccer to basketball to football, this school fundraiser is perfect for arena and stadium sports. Families will enjoy supporting their favorite sports team in exchange for a tasty treat or a refreshing beverage.

Encourage parents to take charge by volunteering to run your concessions stand, and request in-kind donations of snacks and drinks from your local sponsors so that you don’t have to worry about any out-of-pocket costs. Plus, you can even coordinate a bottle and can drive by encouraging customers to return their recyclables instead of tossing them in the garbage!

Check out our sports fundraising ideas guide for ideas on making the most out of all your sporting events.

A classic school fundraiser is selling discount cards to your community after partnering with a variety of local businesses.#20: Discount Cards

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Fundraising Night Out, Business Partnership, Local Restaurant Spirit Night

A classic school fundraising option is selling discount cards to students and parents. How does it work? First, you’ll need to get your community involved by partnering with some local businesses. See if they’d be willing to offer your community discounts or freebies when they visit their businesses.

Ideally, your discount cards would feature benefits from several local businesses to increase the desirability of purchasing your cards. Then, just decide on the cost of the card, advertise the opportunity to your school’s community, and watch the funds come in!

These high school fundraising ideas are great for engaging teenagers and filling them with school pride.

High School Fundraising Ideas

An off-the-screens challenge is the perfect school fundraiser to get students off of their devices for a good cause.#1: Off-the-Screens Challenge

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: T-Shirt Fundraiser, Virtual Walk-a-Thon, Viral Video Challenge

Motivate teenagers to reduce their screen time and raise funds for your school simultaneously! It’s a win-win-win: for your school, the students, and certainly parents, too.

Students are sponsored for spending time away from their smartphones, tablets, and laptops in this challenge. Students collect pledge forms from contacts in their communities that indicate how much the sponsor will pay per hour of “off-the-screen” time that the student logs in a given period.

While students might not necessarily enjoy this challenge, they do tend to get competitive, so offer great prizes for the students who raise the most money and students who log the most hours.

A plant sale is a good school fundraiser for the holidays or springtime.#2: Plant Sale

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Bake Sale, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Business Partnership

Try a plant sale fundraiser for your school! For this fundraiser, all you need to do is sell flower bulbs, pre-potted plants, or holiday plants to members of your community.

Odds are they are already buying plants somewhere in your community, so why not offer them the option to purchase from you and help the school reach its fundraising goals?

A holiday plant sale could be the perfect way to provide garlands, wreaths, and poinsettias to your community to spread the holiday spirit. Meanwhile, a spring flower sale could offer beautiful blooms that are either pre-potted or ready to plant.

To gather plenty of plants to sell, consider buying in bulk from a vendor like Costco or Sam’s Club and then marking up the plants at your sale appropriately. Alternatively, you could partner with a local nursery that does fundraisers. Either way, this sale is sure to appeal to all the gardeners out there!

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns can be a great choice for your next high school fundraising idea.#3: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Viral Video Challenge, Battle of the Bands, Teachers in Jail Fundraiser

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are an excellent choice for high school fundraising because they allow your most dedicated student or parent volunteers to take an extremely active role in raising funds on your behalf.

They’ll set up their donation pages for your school or project, and then promote their pages to their friends and family. It’s the perfect way to engage social media-minded teens and the community as a whole.

Plus, great peer-to-peer fundraising platforms make it easy to brainstorm and create exciting fundraising contests for your volunteers. Maybe each class could have a dedicated fundraising page, or perhaps each contestant in a contest!

Everyone loves food trucks, plus they make a perfect fundraising partner!#4. Food Truck Percentage Day

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Car Wash, Fall Festival, Field Day, Community, Yard Sale

Everyone loves food trucks, especially high school students! If there are any food truck businesses in your community, ask them about arranging a special event during which they’ll donate a percentage of their profits to your school.

If you’ve got access to an open field or blacktop, invite a food truck or two to your upcoming outdoor fundraising events! They’ll appreciate the promotion, and your attendees will love enjoying some hot food while supporting their school.

High schoolers will love buying a special t-shirt for your fundraising project.#5. T-Shirt Fundraiser

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Field Day, Peer-to-Peer, Fundraising Campaign, Summer Sports Camp

T-shirts are a tried-and-true, consistently reliable fundraising tool. Perfect for practically any fundraising campaign, it’s easy to sell custom t-shirts at your special events.

Be sure to find a t-shirt provider that lets you design stylish shirts that high school students will love. Plus, find a flexible provider that gives you the option to either offer t-shirts through a crowdfunding-style online campaign or wholesale purchase. Bonfire is one great example of an ideal t-shirt fundraising platform.

A battle of the bands is a great high school fundraiser for your musically-inclined high school students.#6. Battle of the Bands

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: T-shirt Fundraiser, Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Concessions Stand

A classic high school fundraiser, a battle of the bands event, is a surefire way to excite your school’s musicians, music fans, and everyone in between.

Your school likely already has most of the sound equipment you’ll need, and your contestants will already have their own instruments. Charge a registration fee and a small ticket fee (or a pair of shoes for your shoe drive fundraiser!), but be sure to offer fun add-ons. Unique voting systems, concessions sales, and t-shirts are great additions to musical battle events.

If your students wear uniforms, give them a bit of freedom by hosting a no uniform day school fundraiser.#7. No Uniform Day

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: T-Shirt Fundraiser, Text-to-Give Campaign, Shoe Drive Fundraiser

If your school requires students to wear uniforms, consider offering students the chance to wear their own clothes on a particular day in exchange for a small donation!

While a simple idea, these no uniform days can be particularly effective if held at regular intervals or in tandem with a t-shirt fundraising campaign. Maybe your students can wear their purchased fundraising t-shirt every Friday, for instance.

For one of your school fundraising ideas, test out students’ culinary skills with a cooking contest.#8. Cooking Contest

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Bake Sale, T-Shirt Fundraiser, Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

Cooking competitions are among the most popular shows on TV these days, so tap into that popularity and host a Food Network-style competition!

Contestants (students or teachers) can pay to register. During the event, they’ll compete in various cooking challenges using mystery ingredients or following incomplete recipes. Find a local chef willing to serve as a judge, and promote your event! Other students and parents can pay to watch and help vote on a winner.

Viral video campaigns are a great fundraising idea for high schools.#9. Viral Video Challenge

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign, Text-to-Give Campaign

Your viral video might not be the next ‘Ice Bucket Challenge,’ but it’ll most likely still get a lot of attention in your school’s community!

Brainstorm some wacky ideas (that are safe and age-appropriate), write a script for participants to use, and get started! Promote your viral video campaign on your school’s social media page, and be sure to provide viewers and participants with some ways to donate explicitly. Viral video campaigns can be great additions to boost your peer-to-peer fundraising or promote your shoe drive fundraiser, for instance.

Host a summer sports camp and promote athleticism for an outdoor school fundraiser.#10. Summer Sports Camp

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: T-Shirt Fundraiser, Giving Kiosk, Text-to-Give Campaign

Allow your student athletes to stay active with their team for the entire summer break by hosting a summer sports camp.

Promote your camp to younger students in the community, like middle schoolers who plan on joining a high school team, and be sure to give them plenty of time to register and pay. Recruit volunteer athletes and coaches to teach exercises and run drills. Not only is this a great fundraiser, but it’ll also keep students active and boost team spirit by building some new relationships.

Rake in some extra cash with a serve-a-thon as one of your high school fundraising ideas.#11. Serve-a-thon

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign, T-Shirt Fundraiser, Crowdfunding Campaign

Have each class or student organization in your school choose a volunteer activity that will benefit the broader community, then promote your serve-a-thon with some online donation tools!

Your community can then pledge money to the individual classes or clubs to reach their volunteering goal, and the group that achieves their goal first wins a grand prize. Serve-a-thons are a great way to raise funds and get your students more excited to engage with their community in new ways.

For one of your high school fundraising ideas, host a board game tournament.#12. Board Game Tournament

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: T-Shirt Fundraiser, Trivia Night, Shoe Drive Fundraiser

From word games to complex strategy and fantasy games, all kids’ board games are rising in popularity as a pastime for people of all ages.

Games are an excellent opportunity for an inexpensive and engaging fundraising event! Pick some board games, invite students to register, then provide some pledge forms for family and friends to show their support. Parents might even want to play, too! Find out who’s the master of each game and offer them some great prizes.

Encourage students to run a car wash for your next school fundraiser.#13. Car Wash

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Food Truck Percentage Day, Giving Kiosk, Raffle, Text-to-Give Campaign, Dog Wash

A classic staple of high school fundraising, the tried-and-true car wash is an easy way to get your students engaged and help you raise some extra funds.

Always consider some new additional strategies to incorporate, though. Maybe your car wash customers would like a bite to eat from a local food truck while they wait, or perhaps they’d like to buy a raffle ticket at the same time. Provide some intuitive ways to pay, like giving kiosks, text-to-donate tools, or even in shoes to recycle for your shoe drive fundraiser!

Students will enjoy testing their random knowledge with a trivia night school fundraiser.#14. Trivia Night

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Text-to-Give Campaign, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Raffle

Everyone enjoys a good trivia competition! Let your students form teams and register to compete in a special trivia tournament event.

Like similar events, trivia nights are a great opportunity to incorporate additional giving tools and offer add-ons, like baked goods and raffle tickets. They’re also a great time to promote any charity drives you’re conducting, especially shoe drive fundraisers!

Coupon books make for a great school fundraising idea where you can leverage your business partnerships.#15. Coupon Books

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Trivia Night, Online Crowdfunding Campaign, Raffle, Business Partnership

Your whole community could go crazy for your coupon books if you find the right partners!

Identify some popular businesses or services in your area that would be willing to offer a special promotion to customers with a special coupon, then print them all up in a handy coupon book. Encourage your students to sell them to their friends and family, or offer the coupons as crowdfunding campaign rewards or raffle prizes.

Car decals are a great school fundraiser that can help strengthen your brand and build your name within your community.#16. Car Decals

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Car Wash, Online Crowdfunding Campaign, Summer Sports Camp

Like custom t-shirts, car decals are an excellent item for product fundraising! Consider holding a design contest for your decals to really get your students even more interested.

Order some custom decals for students and parents to express some school or team pride, then offer them during all your fundraising events or as rewards in online fundraising campaigns. You can even provide a decal as an add-on at your car wash!

Students love these kinds of bets, so turn them into fundraising events!#17. Outrageous Bet

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Text-to-Give Campaign, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Dunk Tank

What better way to encourage your middle school-aged students to donate some spare cash to their school than giving them the chance to throw a pie in their teacher’s face?

The pie-in-the-face gag is a classic outrageous bet for student engagement and quick fundraising, but get creative! Use an outrageous bet as a standalone fundraising event or as a tool in another campaign. If your students sell enough coupon books or collect enough pairs of shoes, for instance, reward them with the chance to ‘pie’ their teacher or principal.

As one of the most engaging school fundraising ideas, a video game tournament will tap into students’ competitive nature.#18: Video Game Tournament

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: School Sleepover, Balloon Raffle, Pajama Day

A video game tournament is an awesome high school fundraising idea that’s perfect for getting students amped to support your school.

Chances are your students own consoles they’d be willing to let your school borrow for a night. If not, rent some consoles from a local video game store. Take a poll as to which games your students would enjoy playing. Just make sure your final selections are age-appropriate and bring classic ones like Mario and Super Smash Brothers. Charge an entry fee to compete, and let the games begin!

Offer an epic prize for each of your winners to spark some serious competition. Your high schoolers will love hanging out with their friends for the night and seeing who comes out on top when playing their favorite games.

Encourage students to tap into their creative sides with a photography contest as one of your school fundraising ideas.#19: Photography Contest

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Concessions Stand, Raffle, Text-to-Give Campaign

Encourage students to tap into their creative sides by hosting a photography contest as your next school fundraiser. What’s great about this is that all students can participate—regardless of skill level. Select a theme for the competition, such as:

  • Seasonal/Holiday
  • Pets
  • Sports/Action
  • Hometown Pride

Then, charge a small entry fee or rely on donations to fund the event. Remember that an epic prize will motivate students to do their absolute best and make their parents proud! Set up a jar in front of each display, and encourage attendees to vote using their dollars.

Pair this school fundraiser with a raffle, offer concessions, and advertise your text-to-give number for even more donations!

A school dance is a classic school fundraising idea that works best for high schoolers.#20: School Dance

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Business Partnership, Raffle, Virtual Auction, Concessions Stand

Dances are classic and timeless school fundraisers. While this could work for any age group, you’ll have the most luck hosting it for high schoolers.

Plus, school dances provide a great venue to pair with other school fundraisers to increase fundraising dollars. From raffles to silent auctions to concession sales, there are plenty of options. Consider leveraging your business partnerships by seeking event sponsors, whether they donate funds to cover event costs, give in-kind contributions like drinks and food, or send a few employees to volunteer.

Of course, your primary source of revenue at this type of event will come from your ticket sales, so be sure to price it appropriately. Give your dance a theme and get students involved by hosting a contest to choose your theme. They’ll love getting a say in it, amping up their excitement to attend and form memories that last a lifetime.

Scratch card fundraisers are good high school fundraisers for students to participate in.#21: Scratch Card Fundraiser

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign, Pledge Drive, Viral Video Challenge

Schools are the perfect organization for scratch card fundraisers because of the large amount of “volunteers” (students!) available.

You’ll first need to purchase some fundraising scratch cards from a fundraising company for this school fundraiser. They’re similar to lottery tickets in that each card has a series of scratch-off ovals or squares with amounts listed underneath. Except in this case, instead of winning the given amount, participants agree to scratch off a square or two and donate the amount underneath to the school.

Students will have fun bringing the scratch cards to their families, friends, and coworkers and seeing what amounts they get! Of course, make sure the donation amounts are reasonably limited, usually between $1 and $20.

get started

Check out these elementary school fundraising ideas that work and fully engage young students.

Elementary School Fundraising Ideas That Work

A fun springtime elementary school fundraiser is an Easter egg hunt.#1: Easter Egg Hunt

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: An Easter egg hunt fundraiser is the perfect fundraiser for springtime. Your elementary schoolers will likely already be participating in an Easter egg hunt somewhere, so why not ask their parents to bring them to your school’s hunt in support of the community?

To execute this school fundraiser, you’ll need supplies like plastic Easter eggs, candy, and prizes. Recruit a teacher to dress up as the Easter bunny to make it more fun for the kids!

Stage the hunt in an outdoor space like your school’s playground, courtyard, or sports field (but make sure to have plenty of hiding spots). There are a couple of options for the payment structure at an event like this:

  • Ask parents for a flat donation of $3-5 for their kids to join the hunt.
  • Set up a pledge system where parents agree to pay a certain amount for every egg their child finds.

Either way, an Easter egg hunt fundraiser is fun for everyone involved, making it incredibly effective. If all goes well, consider making it an annual event that families look forward to every year.

Your elementary schoolers will love drawing straws for prizes in this school fundraiser.

#2: Straw Draw Fundraiser

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: No Uniform Day, T-Shirt Fundraiser, Any Fundraising Event

As one of the easiest school fundraisers out there, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t done a straw draw before.

All that’s involved for this school fundraiser is purchasing a pack or two of colorful straws and thinking of prizes that your students and teachers might be interested in getting. Then, write the rewards down on small pieces of paper, tape them to the bottom of the straws, and put the straws in an opaque container like a plastic cup so that no one can see the prizes.

Prizes for students can include perks like extra recess time, an ice cream delivery, or front-of-the-line privileges for a day. Charge $1 to $2 for every straw draw.

This fundraiser is awesome because it’s so quick and convenient! You can execute it at the beginning of the school day, as kids file out to leave, or even during a short break.

Field days are a classic elementary school fundraiser!#3: Field Day

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Obstacle Course, T-Shirt Fundraiser, Dunk Tank, BBQ Cookoff, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Lemonade Stand

A large field day event is a perfect way to celebrate the end of a school year, engage your community, and raise some funds!

Plan out what events you’ll offer and decide an ideal time for both students and parents to attend. Offer registration tools to parents for a suggested donation, or solicit in-kind donations from local restaurants or rental businesses. Think of some ways to entertain and reward your students while also fully engaging their parents and encouraging contributions.

Plus, you can coordinate this event with a shoe drive fundraiser and encourage students to donate their gently worn, used and new shoes in exchange for a reduced entry fee. Just remind students to bring a change of shoes, so they don’t have to go home shoeless!

Ice cream socials make for a great school fundraising idea that encourages students to mingle.#4: Ice Cream Social

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Field Day, No Uniform Day, Shoe Drive Fundraiser

This fundraising idea is simple but effective for exciting your middle school students. Pick a special free period for your students to enjoy the event, then either offer them tickets for a fee (or for a pair of shoes for your shoe drive fundraiser!) or simply sell ice cream during that period.

Ice cream socials make a perfect incentive or reward for participation in other fundraising campaigns, especially toward the end of the school year when students are excited to get outside and enjoy warm weather!

Your students will love a fundraising movie night!#5: Movie Night

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Food Truck Percentage Day, Giving Kiosk, Bake Sale, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Concessions Stand

A classic draw for young children, organize a special movie night for your students! Research borrowing a projector or buying an inexpensive one, and then choose an ideal location. The cafeteria or outside against a blank wall (weather permitting) might be perfect.

Be sure to pick some family-friendly, popular, or classic kids movies, then promote your event to both students and parents. Be sure to offer concessions and ways to donate with funds, food, or gently used shoes and clothing for your fundraising drive at the movie screening.

Box tops campaigns are a tried-and-true fundraiser for elementary schools!#6: Box Tops Campaign

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign, Raffle

A classic school fundraising promotion, box tops for education programs are still a reliable fundraising opportunity for elementary schools.

Your students and their families already buy eligible products. Just start a campaign to raise awareness and encourage participation! Think of ways to incentivize students to bring in their box tops, like offering a special treat at lunchtime. Incentivize these campaigns for parents, as well, with raffle tickets or other rewards.

Put a BBQ cookoff at the top of your list of elementary school fundraising ideas that work!#7: BBQ Cookoff

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Field Day, Parents Party, Fall Festival, Text-to-Give Campaign, Lemonade Stand

Everyone loves a good cookoff, and BBQ is the perfect food for bringing people together! Invite parents to register and compete in your BBQ picnic event. Even the sauces can be part of a separate competition (especially if no one has access to a large smoker or grill).

Solicit in-kind donations from a local BBQ restaurant, and they’d likely be happy to help or offer your school a great rate. Any cookoff can raise not only funds but also excite your community!

For your next elementary school fundraiser, hold a pajama day so kids can relax and be comfy throughout the school day.#8: Pajama Day

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign, Penny Contest, Read-a-thon

Your young students will love the opportunity to wear their pajamas to school for a day! As a standalone or add-on fundraising idea, it’s easy to get kids excited about this one. Offer pajama days as rewards for your competition fundraisers.

For instance, the class that raises the most on their peer-to-peer fundraising page or reads the most pages in a read-a-thon wins pajama passes!

Bingo nights are great elementary school fundraising ideas that work and encourage friendly competition.#9: Bingo Night

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Raffle, Giving Kiosk, Text-to-Give Campaign, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Concessions Stand

Another classic school fundraiser, bingo nights, will take parents back to their elementary school memories. Plus, they’re fun for kids, too!

Offer concessions or ask a local pizza chain for a discounted rate. Incorporate some new giving elements, too. For instance, let parents send a text donation to pay for bingo cards or use a giving kiosk tool. These events are also great for promoting ongoing projects like shoe drive fundraisers.

A fall festival will bring the community together and raise some funds for your school!#10: Fall Festival

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Raffle, Giving Kiosk, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, T-Shirt Fundraiser, Jelly Bean Count

People of all ages love getting outside to enjoy some crisp autumn weather. For schools, this is also near the beginning of the new school year, a perfect time to get your community excited about supporting its students!

Sell tickets to your fall festival, as well as refreshments, crafts, and donated goods. Offer plenty of activities like bobbing for apples and hayrides, making sure to solicit for in-kind donated support whenever possible. Any kind of festival or carnival event is an excellent opportunity to incorporate other fundraising elements, like shoe drive fundraisers, and giving kiosks.

For this elementary school fundraising idea, host a fundraising night out at a local restaurant.#11: Fundraising Night Out

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Trivia Night, Giving Kiosk, Pajama Day

Find a local restaurant that’s popular with families and discuss arranging a percentage fundraising night!

Tired parents will appreciate a reason to avoid the hassles of cooking, plus they can support their child’s school at the same time. Many restaurant chains have percentage fundraising programs in place, but be sure to consider other popular independently-owned restaurants, too!

A principal challenge is one elementary school fundraising event that students will love taking part in.#12: Principal Challenge

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Coupon Books, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Read-a-thon

Young students will love seeing their principal doing something silly as a reward for meeting school fundraising goals!

It might mean a pie to the face, or a cold bucket of water over the head, or anything else that’s sure to entertain your students. These challenges make great incentives for students in the context of more extensive fundraising campaigns. Use it as a reward for selling tons of coupon books, reading a combined thousand pages, or reaching a shoe drive fundraising goal.

A penny contest is an easy fundraising idea for your younger students.#13: Penny Contest

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Pajama Day, School Picnic, Teachers in Jail Fundraiser

Penny contests are a great way to engage your young students and let them help raise some funds.

When your young classes are learning about money and coins, give each classroom a large glass jar and ask the students and their parents to donate some change for a fun contest. See which class can fill their jar with change the fastest, then reward the winners with ice cream, pajama passes, or a special picnic lunch!

A dunk tank pairs great with carnival-style events, making it a great elementary school fundraising idea that works.#14: Dunk Tank

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Field Day, Online Crowdfunding Campaign, Lemonade Stand

A classic fundraising staple, the dunk tank is a perfect way to get young people excited to raise some money. Students need to see that their authority figures are willing to have some goofy fun to help their school.

Incorporate a dunk tank fundraising challenge into your other fundraising events, or use it as a reward or incentive for reaching fundraising goals, as in principal challenges or outrageous bets.
Choose your victim and find a dunk tank either rented or donated for the day!

A hula hoop contest makes for a great elementary school fundraising idea that goes great with any outdoor event.#15: Hula Hoop Contest

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Field Day, Ice Cream Social, School Picnic, Bake Sale

An easy fundraising add-on for your other events, a hula hoop contest, is a fun way to engage middle school-aged students.

Ask friends and family to pledge to donate a small amount for each minute (or second!) that a student can keep their hula hoop moving. Get the school’s cheerleaders to lead the contest, then stand back! Hula hoop contests are terrific for outdoor events, pep rallies, or sports event halftimes.

Another elementary school fundraising idea that works is a spelling bee, which also promotes literacy.#16: Spelling Bee

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Concessions Stand, Text-to-Give Campaign, Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

A spelling bee fundraiser for your school is a great way to reel in some extra cash. Similarly to a read-a-thon, students will gather pledges from their friends and family ahead of the event. But instead of receiving each pledged donation for each page read, participants will accept donations for each word spelled correctly.

Make it a school-wide event and separate the competition by grade level to keep everything fair. You might even feature an exhibition category for teachers. Keep things interesting with themed categories like:

  • Music
  • Sports
  • History
  • Science

Not only will you bring in some extra cash, but you’ll also be promoting literacy to students! Be sure to offer concessions breaks for your audience and post flyers with your text-to-give number for last-minute donations.

A lemonade stand is a classic school fundraising idea that everyone can afford.#17: Lemonade Stand

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Text-to-Give Campaign, Bake Sale, BBQ Cookoff

A warm spring day is a perfect time to set up a lemonade stand for your school. Best for elementary students, all you need is a table, cups, a sign, and lots of refreshing lemonade!

Either buy lemonade mix or bring homemade lemonade. It is the type of school fundraiser that will work best if there is a specific cause the lemonade stand raises money for, like a particular construction project. They’ll see the difference they can make!

Simply charging a dollar can quickly add up because students and parents can easily justify the low cost. For those who might not have cash on them, share your school’s text-to-give number.

You can also set up your lemonade stand at one of your sporting events or alongside your BBQ cookoff. You might even coordinate it with your annual bake sale for those who aren’t lemonade fans but still want to support your school.

A candle sale is the perfect school fundraiser for broad appeal any time of year.

#18: Candle Sale

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Plant Sale, Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign, Online Donation Page

A candle sale is a great idea because of how broadly appealing candles are. Who doesn’t love a good candle?

Because candles can be expensive, your best bet for a candle sale fundraiser is partnering with a fundraising company specializing in producing low-cost candles to sell in bulk for this purpose. Companies like this can also provide tally sheets, brochures with candle options, and other helpful fundraising materials.

Alternatively, if you’re feeling ambitious, you could stage a candle-making fundraiser, where you provide the materials needed to make the candles, and your community members pay a flat fee to participate. Then, they can take home a candle at the end of the day!

Here are several unique school fundraiser ideas to keep students involved in your fundraising initiatives.

Unique School Fundraisers

A Scrabble tournament is the perfect school fundraiser to emphasize the importance of a good vocabulary.#1: Scrabble Tournament

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Board Game Tournament, Trivia Night, Video Game Tournament, Rock Paper Scissors Tournament

Do your students have a way with words? Find out with a Scrabble tournament fundraiser! You’ll raise funds and encourage vocabulary-building for your students.

About a month out from your Scrabble tournament, reach out to community members to request the use of a few of their Scrabble boards for the event. Purchasing enough new games to have a tournament wouldn’t be very cost-effective.

Start creating buzz for the tournament around your school with flyers, posters, and promotional emails to the community. To increase attendance, offer an adult bracket for teachers and parents, and encourage participation by revealing the prizes for top competitors.

Next, charge a registration fee, encourage additional donations, and watch your community battle it out on the Scrabble board!

Selling stuffed animal mascots to your community is the perfect unique school fundraiser to encourage school spirit.#2: School Mascot Fundraiser

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Concessions Stand, Field Day

For this fundraiser, buy cuddly, stuffed animal versions of your school mascot and offer them to your community. Your younger students will love having another furry friend, while your older students will appreciate the keepsake. Even teachers might like to display the animal on their desks!

To get this school fundraiser off the ground, find a company online that can make customized stuffed animals and ship them to your school. These are perfect for selling at sporting events, pep rallies, and field days.

As Halloween nears, create a haunted house as one of your elementary school fundraisers.#3: Haunted House

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Fall Festival, BBQ Cookoff, T-Shirt Fundraiser

Plan a not-so-spooky haunted house for your students! Set it up either as a standalone event or as part of a larger fall festival, then offer your older students tickets in the week leading up to the event. Be sure to clearly describe the haunted house in your communications with parents, too, and solicit plenty of volunteer supervision.

Your cafeteria, playground, or public park might be a perfect place for a haunted house event that your students will be sure to enjoy!

Raise some funds with a middle school book swap fundraiser!#4: Book Swap

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Coupon Books, Community Yard Sale

Get your students interested in reading while raising some funds for their school!

A book swap is an easy way to engage both students and parents. Ask participants for a suggested donation to join the book swap, then have them bring their used books that they’d like to trade. Set up some tables in the library or outside, and let your readers browse the donated titles!

Encourage families to clear out their closets with this elementary school fundraising idea that works: a community yard sale!#5: Community Yard Sale

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Giving Kiosks, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Raffle, Book Swap

Hosting a yard sale is a great opportunity to strengthen your ties with your school’s community.

Let participants register early and decide ahead of time what percentage of the proceeds will be reserved as donations to the school. Many parents might simply be happy to get rid of some clutter. Host your yard sale on a weekend morning, and be sure to promote it to the entire community for the best results!

For this school fundraising idea, students will compete to reach fundraising goals and get an extended free period.#6: Teachers in Jail Fundraiser

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign, School Picnic, Coupon Books, Field Day, Hike Day

This fundraiser is another relatively simple but effective way to engage and encourage your students to support their school. Challenge them to raise a certain amount of money. If they succeed, their teacher gets “sent to jail,” or they’re given an extended free period to go outside and relax.

The following can be an incredibly useful tactic: incentivize individual classes to engage in peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, reward classes for meeting fundraising goals, or synchronize your teachers in jail fundraiser with a special picnic or field days.

Encourage students to get musical with a karaoke night, which is a unique school fundraising idea.#7: Karaoke Night

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Bake Sale, Local Restaurant Fundraising Night

If you have access to a karaoke machine or can have one donated for a night, this is a perfect opportunity to let your students socialize, have some fun, and raise funds for their school.

Simply schedule a night for the event, prepare some concessions, and invite students to buy tickets. These kinds of low-key fundraising events are perfect for incorporating other fundraising elements. Plus, a karaoke night can easily be adapted into a fun contest that will engage your students. Set up a jar for each finalist and ask for a dollar for a vote!

For this school fundraising idea, leverage your corporate partnerships by seeking community grants.#8: Community Grants

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Business Partnerships, Wishlist Drive

Whether your school is located in a busy metropolis or a small rural town, local businesses want to see your school succeed. Some of these companies might offer community grants!

Put simply, community grants are lump sums of money that corporations and businesses offer to organizations and schools.

Turn to your corporate partners first, as you already have long-standing relationships with these groups. In many instances, businesses select organizations and schools whose missions align with their philanthropic interests. In other cases, any nonprofit organization or school can apply for these grants.

Your school’s fundraising committee should do plenty of research to determine the top companies that offer community grants to educational institutions. As you narrow down your selections, check out this great nonprofit grant writing guide, so you can position your school in the best way possible to receive funding.

This unique school fundraiser will have students racing to raise the most money for their class.#9: Make-a-Snake Fundraiser

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Principal Challenge, Pajama Day, Movie Night

A make-a-snake fundraiser is undoubtedly a unique school fundraising idea that’s sure to garner interest from students.

For this school fundraiser, you’ll divide students into teams by classroom, where they’ll compete with one another to raise the most money. Each class will outline a squiggly line on their classroom floor. It will serve as the foundation of their “snake.” Each day, students will bring in spare change and dollar bills they find in couch cushions or on the ground, which they’ll then place along the squiggly line.

Give students a week or two to complete their legless reptiles. The class that winds up with the most money wins a pizza party, a movie day, or a pajama day! Or incentivize them by letting them dare the principal to complete a silly challenge.

Rock paper scissors tournaments make for exciting and unique school fundraisers.#10: Rock Paper Scissors Tournament

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Text-to-Give Campaign, Business Partnership

A rock paper scissors tournament is a unique school fundraising idea that students will love competing in!

Charge an affordable entry fee for students to enter the tournament (keep it around $5 or less). Then, match them up bracket-style—the best two out of three wins. Pair up the winners again, and keep going until only a few players remain. At this point, offer a $5 buy-in the rejoin the game. Just make sure to share your text-to-give number if students don’t have enough extra cash on hand.

The final winner gets a grand prize, whether it’s a gift card to a local restaurant or a pair of movie tickets. Your corporate partners might even be willing to donate these items, so you don’t have to worry about supplying them.

For your next unique school fundraiser, have students try to fill a fish tank as quickly as possible.#11: Fish Tank Fundraiser

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Hike Day, Movie Day

This unique school fundraiser is a great (and cheap!) way to raise money fast. A fish tank fundraiser works all year long, and you can run it at virtually no cost.

Buy a fish tank (or better yet, have one donated!) and place it in an area with high foot traffic. Each day, students and teachers will bring in spare change and cash. The goal is to see how quickly you can fill the fish tank.

Alternatively, you might supply each class with a small fishbowl and turn it into a friendly competition. Then, reward your top class with a hike day, movie day, or some other prize.

A balloon raffle is a unique school fundraiser that puts a twist on the traditional raffle.#12: Balloon Raffle

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Fall Festival, School Sleepover

This raffle is a fun take on the traditional raffle. A balloon raffle is an entertaining school fundraiser for all ages—from elementary school through college!

Before blowing up each balloon, place a raffle ticket in each. Then, sell the balloons to students, families, and teachers. Once everyone has made their purchases, draw the winning raffle ticket and announce the lucky number. Everyone will then pop their balloons in hopes of finding the winning ticket.

Make sure you have a highly-desirable prize, whether it’s cash or a donation from a local business (think movie tickets and gift cards). For the best results, coordinate it with one of your other school’s fundraising events, such as your school sleepover or fall festival.

Give students a night of fun and games with a school sleepover for your next school fundraiser.#13: School Sleepover

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Concessions Stand, Bingo Night, Board Game Tournament, Karaoke Night, Rock Paper Scissors Tournament

We all remember how great sleepovers were when we were kids! For your next school fundraiser, host a school sleepover in the school gym or library. Think about it: nothing’s quite as exciting for children as staying up all night hanging out with their friends.

Charge a sign-up fee, and create a packing list to share with parents. Then, make sure to line up plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained. You might even have themed classrooms that volunteers monitor, like:

  • A movie room
  • A craft area
  • Concessions

You can even coordinate a rock paper scissors tournament or a video game tournament to bring in extra donations. If all goes well, make it an annual event, so students come to look forward to it year after year.

Business partnerships are great school fundraising ideas that many schools and colleges take advantage of.#14: Business Partnership

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Community Grants, Matching Gift Drive

Corporate philanthropy is a powerful phenomenon. Take advantage of these generous initiatives by seeking out partnerships with local businesses.

These companies will power many of your school’s efforts by providing everything from generous donations to in-kind gifts, such as:

  • Classroom items for your teachers
  • Concessions for sports games
  • Venues for your events
  • Sports equipment

They’ll also have connections throughout the community to ensure you have everything you need for your events and create an awesome learning environment for your students.

Instead of asking for financial contributions, ask for in-kind donations as your next school fundraiser.#15: Wishlist Drive

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Business Partnership

Gather support in the form of tangible gifts rather than financial contributions. Wishlist drives are popular fundraisers for all types of organizations. When your school runs one, you’ll simply ask teachers to provide a list of items they need for their classrooms, such as:

  • Crayons
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • School supplies

From here, share the list with your community and encourage them to donate them at a predetermined drop-off location. Of course, you can still promote financial donations, but the purpose behind this school fundraiser is that people can feel the tangible difference they’re making.

Plus, this is yet another perfect opportunity to coordinate a shoe drive fundraiser. Alongside your shoe drop off boxes, have another that’s specifically for school supplies. That way, they can give what they already have instead of buying new things to donate. You can also leverage your local partnerships that offer the items you need.

Use spinner boards to seek donations as a unique school fundraiser you can incorporate into any event.

#16: Spinner Fundraiser

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Scratch Card Fundraiser, Concessions Stand, Field Day

Channel your favorite game show host with a spinner fundraiser! This is the perfect fundraiser to sneak into halftime at sporting events. All you’ll need is a spinner board with various donation amounts in different colors around the circle.

You can order specific fundraising spinners online or modify one from a game of Twister or other board game you have at home. All you have to do is approach members of your community and ask them to give it a spin!

A multicultural fair is the perfect unique school fundraiser to bring your community together.#17: Multicultural Fair

Earning Potential:
Works Great With: Field Day, Ice Cream Social, BBQ Cookoff, Bake Sale

A multicultural fair is a wonderful way to celebrate diversity in your community while raising funds for your school. To start, talk to your students, parents, and teachers to find out what cultures are represented in your community. Then, ask if any of them would be interested in helping organize the fair.

Once you have an idea of the level of interest, distribute sign-up sheets and have the participants commit to hosting a table at the fair.

You could hold the fair outside on a sports field, in an auditorium, or the gym. Wherever you host it, make sure there is enough room for plenty of tables. Elements of each table could include traditional arts and crafts, music and dance, storytelling, and most importantly: food!

Charge an entrance fee, and you’ll be well on your way to meeting your school’s fundraising goals while encouraging cultural exchange and understanding.

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Free School Fundraising Resources

Bonus! If you decide to host a shoe drive fundraiser through Funds2Orgs, be sure to check out our curriculum-specific guides to teaching micro-enterprise!

Find even more school fundraising tools in these free resources:

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30+ Family Friendly Fundraising Ideas

Finding fundraising ideas that engage all age groups can be a real challenge. Kick-off your efforts with these great ideas meant to engage families:

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35+ Best School Fundraising Ideas to Raise More

Need more inspiration for your upcoming school fundraising initiatives? Check out these great options that children, teenagers, and family members of all ages will all love:

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100+ Unique (And Easy!) Fundraising Ideas

Hosting the same fundraisers time and time again can bore your supporters. Check out these unique fundraising ideas that are sure to keep your community members on their toes:

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The Kid-Friendly "No Sell" Way


This back-to-school resource is essential for school groups who want to get new fundraising ideas and their budget back on track.

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