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 that are best suited to engage your students and community as a whole. What excites these important supporters?
To help you get started brainstorming, we’ve compiled a list of our top school fundraising ideas.
Use the navigation below to jump between high school, middle school, and elementary school fundraising ideas:
- Our Top School Fundraising Idea
- High School Fundraisers
- Middle School Fundraisers
- Elementary School Fundraisers
- Free School Fundraising Resources
Be sure to read through the whole page, though. Any 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!
Our Favorite School Fundraising Idea
#1: Shoe Drive Fundraisers
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 a totally unique fundraiser.
You might be asking, though, why shoes? There are a few reasons:
- Everyone’s got a pair or two they never wear. Why not donate them?
- Kids outgrow shoes so quickly! Families will have plenty of pairs to give.
- Donating and repurposing shoes sets a great example of environmental responsibility.
- Top shoe drive fundraisers provide a lesson in global small-scale philanthropy.
As a top shoe drive fundraiser, we’ll facilitate your drive with no out-of-pocket costs, provide you with campaign marketing materials and fundraising coaching, then collect your donated shoes and send them to small-scale entrepreneurs in developing economies. Finally, your school receives a check!
With Funds2Orgs, schools and organizations have made thousands of dollars after just six weeks. Not all shoe drive fundraiser services can offer this level of success, so check out our explainer video for more information on how this kind of fundraising campaign works:
A shoe drive fundraiser can be easily combined with other fundraising events (just tell your invitees to bring their spare pairs!), or it’s simply a great standalone way to raise funds without ever asking for money!
High School Fundraising Ideas
1. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign
Works Great With: Viral Video Challenge, Battle of the Bands, Teachers in Jail Fundraiser
Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are a great 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 own 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 maybe each contestant in a contest!
2. Food Truck Percentage Day
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.
3. T-Shirt Fundraiser
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 kind of 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 through wholesale purchase. Bonfire is one great example of an ideal t-shirt fundraising platform.
4. Battle of the Bands
Works Great With: T-shirt Fundraiser, Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign, Shoe Drive Fundraiser
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.
5. No Uniform Day
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 certain 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.
6. Text-to-Give Campaign
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 quickly engage attendees at any live event, but just make sure your students ( and their parents ) fully understand how the mobile donation system works to avoid any confusion.
7. Cooking Contest
Works Great With: Bake Sale, T-Shirt Fundraiser, Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign
Cooking competitions are among some of the most popular shows on tv these days, so tap into that popularity and host your own Food Network-style competition!
Contestants (students or teachers) can pay to register, then 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.
8. Viral Video Challenge
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 explicitly provide viewers and participants with some ways to donate. Viral video campaigns can be great additions to boost your peer-to-peer fundraising or promote your shoe drive fundraiser , for instance.
9. Summer Sports Camp
Works Great With: T-Shirt Fundraiser, Giving Kiosk, Text-to-Give Campaign
Give your student athletes the opportunity 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, it’ll keep students active and boost team spirit by building some new relationships.
Works Great With: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Campaign, T-Shirt Fundraiser,
Have each class or student organization in your school choose a volunteer activity that will benefit the larger 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 reaches their goal first wins a grand prize. Serve-a-thons are a great way to raise some funds and get your students more excited to engage with their community in new ways.
11. Board Game Tournament
Works Great With: T-Shirt Fundraiser, Trivia Night, Shoe Drive Fundraiser
Board games of all kinds, from word games to complex strategy and fantasy games, are rising in popularity as a pastime for people of all ages.
This is a great 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.
12. Car Wash
Works Great With: Food Truck Percentage Day, Giving Kiosk, Raffle, Text-to-Give Campaign
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 carwash customers would like a bite to eat from a local food truck while they wait, or maybe 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 your shoe drive fundraiser!
13. Trivia Night
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, as well as to 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 fundraising drives!
14. Coupon Books
Works Great With: Trivia Night, Online Crowdfunding Campaign, Raffle
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 them as crowdfunding campaign rewards or raffle prizes.
15. Car Decals
Works Great With: Car Wash, Online Crowdfunding Campaign, Summer Sports Camp
Like custom t-shirts, car decals are a great item for product fundraising! Consider holding a design contest for your decals to really get your students interested.
Order some custom decals for students and parents to express some school or team pride, then offer them at all your fundraising events or as rewards in online fundraising campaigns. You can even offer a decal as an add-on at your car wash!
Middle School Fundraising Ideas
1. Online Crowdfunding Campaign
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 to their extended networks. There are plenty of great crowdfunding platforms out there to choose from, some of which are specifically designed for nonprofits and educational institutions.
Be sure to offer some incentives for your online donors or incorporate your crowdfunding campaign into other fundraising projects. Coupon books and t-shirts make great donation rewards!
2. Outrageous Bet
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 an 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.
3. Local Restaurant Spirit Night
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 brings a restaurant receipt.
4. Obstacle Course
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.
5. Teachers in Jail Fundraiser
Works Great With: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign, School Picnic, Coupon Books
This is another fairly 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. This can be an especially 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 special picnic or field days.
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 huge 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 words and selling tickets. Raffle tickets make a great add-on or reward item for donations at other events, too!
7. Book Swap
Works Great With: Raffle, 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!
8. Dunk Tank
Works Great With: Field Day, Online Crowdfunding Campaign, Principal Challenge
A classic fundraising staple, the dunk tank is a perfect way to get young people excited to raise some money. It’s important for students 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 to rent or that can be donated for the day!
9. Karaoke Night
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!
10. School Picnic
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 simply pick a special Friday and offer tickets for students to enjoy their lunch outside in a practice field. Maybe you could invite parents, let them register to bring food, and arrange a special field trip to a community park.
11. Hula Hoop Contest
Works Great With: Field Day, Ice Cream Social, School Picnic
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 great for outdoor events, pep rallies, or sports event halftimes.
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!
13. Scavenger Hunt
Works Great With: Field Day, Obstacle Course, Fall Festival
Take the time to plan out a really 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.
14. Bake Sale
Works Great With: Field Day, Fall Festival, Movie Night.
Another school fundraising stand-by, a bake sale is a surefire way to raise some 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 so many other events. Field days, festivals, sporting events, parades, community events are all perfect opportunities to raise some funds.
15. Ice Cream Social
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 towards the end of the school year, when students are excited to get outside and enjoy warm weather!
Elementary School Fundraising Ideas
1. Field Day
Works Great With: Obstacle Course, T-Shirt Fundraiser, Dunk Tank, BBQ Cookoff
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 that will both entertain and reward your students while also fully engaging their parents and encouraging donations.
2. Movie Night
Works Great With: Food Truck Percentage Day, Giving Kiosk, Bake Sale, Shoe Drive Fundraiser
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 worn, used and new shoes and clothing for your fundraising drive at the movie screening.
3. Box Tops Campaign
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 some 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.
4. BBQ Cookoff
Works Great With: Field Day, Parents Party, Fall Festival, Text-to-Give Campaign
Everyone loves a good cookoff, and BBQ is a perfect food for bringing people together!
Invite parents to register and compete in your BBQ picnic event. Even the sauces can be their own 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 not only raise some funds but also excite your community!
5. Pajama Day
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 for 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!
6. Haunted House
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 a public park might be a perfect place for a haunted house event that your students will be sure to enjoy!
7. Bingo Night
Works Great With: Raffle, Giving Kiosk, Text-to-Give Campaign, Shoe Drive Fundraiser
Another classic school fundraiser, bingo nights will take parents back to their own 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.
8. Fall Festival
Works Great With: Raffle, Giving Kiosk, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, T-Shirt Fundraiser
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 a great opportunity to incorporate other fundraising elements, like shoe drive fundraisers and giving kiosks.
9. Giving Kiosk
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.
10. Talent Show
Works Great With: Giving Kiosk, Text-to-Give Campaign, Shoe Drive Fundraiser
Another classic fundraiser event, let your students show their skills in talent show!
The parents of young children will especially enjoy these events! Offer tickets and concessions for sale and think of unique ways to let the audience help choose a winner. Text-to-give tools, for instance, could be an easy way for friends and family to submit votes while they make a donation.
11. Fundraising Night Out
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!
12. Principal Challenge
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 a fundraising goals!
This 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 larger fundraising campaigns. Use it as a reward for selling tons of coupon books, reading a combined thousand of pages, or reaching a shoe drive fundraising goal.
13. Penny Contest
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!
14. Parents Party
Works Great With: Giving Kiosks, Shoe Drive Fundraiser, Text-to-Give Campaign
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.
15. Community Yard Sale
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!
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:
25 Ways to Engage Your Community in Your Nonprofit Fundraiser
Check out even more fundraising ideas for engaging your entire community in your next nonprofit fundraiser!
The 40 Best Crowdfunding Websites
Crowdfunding is a perfect online fundraising tool for any school! Explore all your options.
Free Resources and Fundraising Guides from Funds2Orgs
These fundraising guides and resources are written for all kinds of fundraising projects.