If there’s one thing that people working with children know– kids programming is expensive! Whether you’re working with a school, a local sports team, or club, the expenses add up.
Unfortunately, children’s programming is also frequently underfunded. So it often falls to you to raise the extra funds needed to cover educational materials, snack times, craft materials… the list goes on.
Luckily, at 99Pledges we specialize in fundraising ideas for kids. We’ve realized that the most successful fundraisers for kids do two things: 1) They get the entire family involved in the fun and 2) They have high fundraising potential right off the bat.
We’ve compiled 30+ fundraising ideas that fulfill those qualifications, that you can use to fund your organization’s children’s programming. For your convenience, we’ve split the ideas into four categories:
- Our Favorite Fundraising Idea for Kids
- Easy Fundraising Ideas for Kids
- Creative Fundraising Ideas for Kids
- Fundraising Ideas for Kids & Parents
If you have a general idea for the type of fundraising idea you’re looking for, feel free to use the above navigation to jump to the corresponding section. If not, follow along to explore all 30+ fundraising ideas for kids. You’re sure to find the perfect fit for your organization.
Let’s get started!
Our Favorite Fundraising Idea for Kids
1. 99Pledges Fundraisers
99Pledges specializes in providing pledge fundraising solutions.
Pledge fundraisers are a type of social fundraising in which event participants gather support corresponding to their participation in a nonprofit event. It goes something like this:
- Your nonprofit plans an event. Popular options are event-a-thons, such as the walk-a-thon or dance-a-thon.
- You create a pledge fundraising campaign for the whole fundraiser. Participants (for example, those walking in your walk-a-thon) create personal fundraising pages in conjunction with it.
- Participants collect pledged donations from their families and friends. Pledged donations correspond to their participation in your event, such as “X amount for X miles walked.”
- After your event, these pledged gifts turn into actual fundraising dollars for your organization.
99Pledges fundraisers are a powerful tool for nonprofits for a few reasons:
- They expose organizations to a new audience of supporters they may not have reached otherwise.
- They expand the fundraising potential of an event far beyond those actually attending or participating in the event.
- They can be adjusted to fit a variety of events.
- Most important of all— they’re fun!
As you explore the 30+ ideas in this guide, consider whether adding pledge elements can boost the idea’s fundraising potential.
Easy Fundraising Ideas for Kids
2. Walk-a-Thon Fundraiser
Walk-a-thon fundraisers draw on the aforementioned pledge fundraising model in a family-friendly, laid-back, physical-wellness-promoting fundraising event.
These fundraisers are so successful because they’re easy to host and they have high fundraising potential. All you need is:
- A date and time for the event to take place.
- A space or route for participants to walk.
- A pledge fundraising software solution, such as 99Pledges.
- Excited participants!
You simply create a pledge fundraising page for the event overall and organize the fitness event. Encourage kids and their families and friends to collect pledges corresponding to their eventual participation in the event.
At the event, these pledged donations correspond to the distance participants walk (ex: $5 for every mile walked). The farther participants walk, the more donations your organization receives! Because walking is a fairly leisurely activity, the whole family can get involved.
Encourage young people to read and raise donations through the process.
Incorporate pledge fundraising methods in a month-long reading challenge, tasking the kids with reading as many books as they can for the duration of the fundraiser. These participants collect pledged donations corresponding to the number of books they read throughout the month. The more books they read, the more donations they raise!
Add a creative element to this challenge, whether adding a theme to the event overall (ex: Halloween-themed books in October) or a new theme every week (ex: one week for fiction, one for nonfiction). Further, consider outlining some parameters such as page limit, reading level, or even providing a book list to make sure participants are effectively challenging themselves.
At the end of the month, share the total donations raised and total books read with participants and supporters– both numbers are worth celebrating!
4. Product Fundraisers
A product fundraising campaign can be a great way to raise money for your cause while getting your kids involved in the selling process. Even better, supporters can get an item for themselves by contributing to your fundraiser, like cookie dough or candles!
To get started, all you need to do is to:
- Partner with a dedicated product fundraising company.
- Gather a group of volunteer salespeople to sell your products (that’s where the kids come in).
- Equip your sellers with an online web store or order-taking flyers provided by your fundraising partner.
- Encourage sellers (and their parents) to reach out to family and friends to support their fundraising efforts.
Once your order-taking period has ended, your partnering fundraising company will distribute the items and charge your organization a wholesale price while you retain the profits for your mission. Be sure to provide small prizes for your top sellers to motivate them throughout the selling process!
Raffles are an easy, yet profitable, fundraising event to host independently or in conjunction with another fundraising event.
- Choose an item to raffle. It’s important that this item is one that ticket buyers want to win, but also isn’t so expensive that your organization loses money through the process. Good examples are event tickets (ex: sports tickets) or themed experience basked (ex: “Ultimate Game Night”).
- Sell tickets. It’s essential that these tickets are inexpensive enough that supporters will want to purchase multiple, but priced high enough to cover the cost of the item/experience you’re raffling and raise money for your organization.
- Choose a winner. Draw a winner and give them their prize! If you’re hosting the raffle in conjunction with the event, this usually occurs as the last activity of the event.
Consider asking local sponsors to make an in-kind donation for you to raffle. Whether a local sports team donating tickets or a local movie theatre donating the ultimate movie night experience, it will be a valuable contribution to your event! Then, all of the proceeds from raffle tickets sold go toward your organization rather than paying for raffle items.
6. Penny Drive
A penny drive requires almost no effort, or funding, from your organization to be incredibly successful. These events are great for smaller school-aged children fundraisers, whether for schools, local sports teams, or clubs.
You simply equip teams of your organization’s supporters with large jars and challenge each team to fill their jar with coins. The first team to fill their jar wins!
For example, in a school setting you’d give each classroom their own jar and challenge students to fill their class’s jar with spare change. The friendly competition and low cost of participation fuels its success. Even though you may not raise major gifts through this effort– it can still be a helpful effort for smaller fundraising pushes!
7. Teacher’s in Jail
This is traditionally a school fundraising idea, but it can easily be amended to fit other organizations such as sports teams or after-school clubs.
The basic premise is:
- Challenge students (or teammates, or club members) to raise a certain amount of money for your organization.
- Once they hit that fundraising amount, they get a day off from regular activities! In school settings, that might mean a free period or an in-school movie break. In other settings, that could mean a casual practice or other fun activity!
Set a fundraising goal that’s challenging but not unrealistic for participants to hit. They’ll be so motivated by the promise of a fun break from routine that your organization will hit its goal in no time.
8. Running Shoe Drive Fundraiser
Effort: ✔ ✔
A running shoe drive fundraiser is the perfect activity for with kid’s fundraising as you’re working with a population that’s outgrowing shoes, fast.
A running shoe drive fundraiser goes as follows:
- Partner with a shoe drive organization or the fundraiser. They’ll send collection supplies and specific instructions for the drive.
- Encourage kids, their families, and their friends to search their closets for new and gently used athletic shoes that they’re no longer using.
- Collect those shoes at your next fundraising event, and package them in pairs to send to a trusted running shoe drive fundraising coach.
- Send off the shoes. Once they’re received, your organization earns a check in return!
These fundraisers have benefits for all involved: your participants get rid of unwanted or ill-fitting shoes, the running shoes are recycled in a planet-friendly manner, and your organization gets donations in return!
This effort is often successful when paired with a larger fundraising event, such as a walk-a-thon, 5K, or another event.
9. Matching Gift Programs
Effort: ✔ ✔
Matching gift programs are a powerful way to increase fundraising to your organization without extra effort (or funds) expended by your organization or its supporters.
Through these programs, businesses pledge to make donations matching those made by their employees to approved nonprofit organizations. That means you get two gifts for the price of soliciting one!
Chances are, quite a few of the parents, family members, and other supporters giving to your organization work for companies with such programs. The biggest obstacle to receiving a match, then, is simply educating these donors about the opportunity!
There are tools specifically made to help your organization receive matching gifts. To learn more, check out Double the Donation.
10. Balloon Pop Party
A balloon pop party is a simple, yet exciting fundraiser. Everyone that participates wins– whether it’s your organization by raising donations or the supporters purchasing balloons to pop!
This fundraiser is fairly straightforward:
- Your organization gathers a variety of small-to-medium sized prizes, such as gift cards, small gifts, and maybe even coupons (for example– a “get out of homework” pass if you’re an educational institution).
- You blow up balloons, placing small pieces of paper corresponding to each prize within.
- Supporters purchase these balloons at the event.
- In unison, supporters pop their balloons and their prize is revealed!
It’s important that you choose prizes that are of interest to your supporters, while also being inexpensive enough for your organization to raise gifts through the process.
11. Principal Challenge
Just as with the “Teacher’s in Jail” fundraiser, a principal challenge is often used as a school fundraising idea.
Traditionally, this fundraiser goes as follows:
- A fundraising goal is set for classrooms (or grades) of students to reach.
- Once that goal is reached, the principal, vice-principal, or another leader of the school completes a silly challenge. For example, they may have a pie thrown in their face or spend an afternoon in a dunk tank.
However, this fundraiser can be adapted to other organizations if you’re not a school or educational institution. If you’re fundraising for a local sports team, for example, you can challenge the team as a whole to raise a specific amount. When that goal is hit, the coach completes a silly challenge!
12. Straw Draw Fundraiser
A straw draw fundraiser is similar to a balloon pop fundraiser but significantly quieter.
Once again, you solicit small/medium prizes to give through this event. If you can get local companies to donate these items, even better!
Each of these gifts is associated with a straw during the event. At the event, supporters pay to “draw a straw” and discover which gift they’ve won.
Because this fundraiser doesn’t have massive gift-raising potential, it might be helpful to associate it with a larger fundraising event overall. It’s a great way to supplement and raise more through an event and provide additional value to supporters.
Creative Fundraising Ideas for Kids
13. T-Shirt Fundraiser
Effort: ✔ ✔
T-shirt fundraisers are a fantastic creative fundraising idea for kids. It allows them to express their personal style while also spreading the word about your organization and its fundraising with each purchase.
Challenge kids within your organization to draw their ideal t-shirt design. Put the designs to the test, allowing all of the kids within your organization to vote on their favorite. Use the winning design to create t-shirts for your fundraiser.
Sell these shirts to supporters of your organization, whether families, friends, or other members of your greater community. When supporters wear the shirt, it will be like free advertising for your organization!
Instead of pre-purchasing and building up a stock of t-shirts that may not sell, pair with a company that specializes in this type of fundraising. This will allow you to purchase shirts at a lower rate (so your organization can retain more funds with each sale) and only purchase shirts once they’ve been sold. Visit Bonfire to learn more.
14. Scavenger Hunt
Effort: ✔ ✔
While a scavenger hunt may require more involved preparation from your organization, the kids involved will appreciate the effort.
Charge a small admission fee for kids to participate, and encourage the whole family to get involved. When planning your hunt, really get creative! There are a ton of fun ways to take your scavenger hunt to the next level:
- Tie the puzzles to your local community. Teach participating kids about your community’s history by incorporating local landmarks and historical sites.
- Give it a seasonal theme. Regardless of the time of year, there is always a soon approaching holiday or season change that you can tie in.
- Jazz it up with pop culture. Are there any books or movies that are particularly popular? Draw on those trends!
The more creative you get, the more successful the event will be. If the event looks interesting, more people will want to sign up (and have fun completing it!)
15. Talent Show
Effort: ✔ ✔
Provide a platform for your talented students to show off their greatest skills and raise gifts through the event.
Plan an afterschool event and invite students to perform the talent that they’re most proud of. At the event, charge a small admission fee for family, friends, and community members to enjoy the show. Students will appreciate the chance to show off their top skills to the crowd and parents will appreciate the adorable photo-opportunity.
While you can award a winner and make the event a competition, it’s crucial that participants feel encouraged when displaying their talents.
16. Color Run
Effort: ✔ ✔
Put a creative twist to the classic 5K run by adding a colorful element.
Plan a 5K run, which basically just includes setting a date, choosing a location, and mapping a course. Charge a small fee for race admission and encourage runners to wear white clothing on the day-of.
Provide spectators with colorful chalk powder at the race, encouraging them to throw it into the air as runners pass by. By the end of the race, participants will be covered with colorful chalk and full of victorious feelings!
You can add a pledge fundraising element to this race by having participants solicit pledged donations corresponding to their completion of the race. At the end of the event, those pledges become gifts to your organization. For a refresher on pledge fundraising, check out 99Pledges.
17. Viral Video Challenge
Viral video challenges are all the rage in the current social media climate, and your students will love having the opportunity to partake!
The steps are easy:
1. Create a challenge. The most successful challenges are often silly in nature, whether completing a dance routine or getting “pie-ed” in the face.
2. Take a video of a recognizable member of your community completing the challenge. This could be a principal, a coach, or another leading member.
3. Post the video to social media, and challenge another member of your community to do the same! Aim to host the challenge on a social network that many of your supporters use, whether Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or rising video sharing star TikTok.
Each person that completes the challenge should tag the next person in line. After posting their video, participants make a donation to your organization via your online donation page.
18. Face Painting
Hire a professional face painter or source a talented, creative volunteer from your organization to help out with a fundraiser that kids in your entire community will enjoy.
This is often most successful when you can pair it with another, larger fundraiser– for example, a community picnic or field day. Set up a table with skin-safe paints and ask for a small donation for each face painting.
Make sure you have a few pre-decided designs that local kids in your community will enjoy, whether tied to seasonal themes (ex: flowers in the springtime) or pop culture moments (ex: Disney/Pixar’s latest hit animation). This will help kids choose a design and make the process more efficient for your painter!
19. Flower Sale
Flowers are universally loved and selling them is an easy fundraising idea for kids. And when you work with a product fundraising company like ABC Fundraising, you can raise a significant amount of money for your organization with no upfront costs!
Increase the chance of success for this fundraiser by planning it in conjunction with a national holiday. For example, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day are already associated with gifting flowers. Sell flower bulbs tied to the season, whether at the after-school pick-up line or at the end of a club meeting, to parents who haven’t picked up chosen gifts for their loved ones previously.
20. Cookbook Sale
Effort: ✔ ✔
Cookbook sales are the perfect creative fundraising idea for kids as they challenge students to flex their own creative muscles in an endearing, life-long memory-making way.
Segment your school population into groups, whether by classroom or grade, and ask students to create (and illustrate!) a recipe for their favorite food. Students might end up reciting a family-favorite recipe or they might end up inventing something entirely new– regardless of what they submit, it will be fun to see “cooking” through your young participants’ minds.
Compile these recipes into a cookbook and sell copies to parents, extended family members, and even across your greater community. The adorable submissions of your students will warm the hearts of your community and equal a highly successful fundraiser.
21. Art Auction
Effort: ✔ ✔ ✔
Similar to selling student-created cookbooks is hosting an art auction.
Task your students with creating a premier piece of art to auction to your community. Create an event outside of school hours and really play it up– displaying the kids’ artwork around a space and allowing friends, family members, and members of your community to come peruse the offerings.
Whether hosting a silent or live auction, collect bids for the students’ artwork. Throughout the auction event, educate attendees about your organization and how the donations will positively impact the kids involved. Accept gifts in addition to bids throughout the duration and you’ll hit your fundraising goal in no time!
22. Dog-and-Car Wash
Effort: ✔ ✔
Add a fun twist to the classic car wash with this creative fundraising idea for kids.
All you need is nice weather, a space to hold the event at, cleaning materials, and excited volunteers. Invite members of your community to bring their cars (and furry pets!) to the event to get them washed in exchange for a small donation.
While the car wash is a tried-and-true fundraising effort, the addition of pets will make the event more exciting and interesting for all involved. Who can resist an event full of cute pets?
Of course, if you’re getting minor students involved in an activity involving live animals, it’s essential to obtain parental permission before doing so. Taking your permission forms to the internet by adding these waivers to your website is helpful in making sure every student that plans to participate has permission to do so.
What if we told you that you can dance the night away while raising donations for your organization? Incorporate pledge fundraising methods in a fun, physical fitness-based event with high fundraising potential.
A dance-a-thon, or dance marathon, is an event where participants dance for as long as they can (at times, for 24-hours straight!) to raise money for your cause. Prior to the event, you create a pledge fundraising page for the event overall and allow participants to create their own personal pages in conjunction with it.
Participants collect pledged donations corresponding to the length of time they dance. Then, you plan the event itself making sure to curate a fantastic playlist, and encourage participants to keep dancing!
Fundraising Ideas for Kids & Parents
Bring the entire family together for this retro pledge fundraising event.
Organize a bowling tournament for families in your community to compete in. Allow families to register independently or band together and register as teams.
Charge a small fee for admission, ensuring it’s enough to cover the cost of renting own the bowling lanes and the rentals for necessary materials like bowling balls and shoes. Then, incorporate pledge fundraising by having participating teams collect pledged donations corresponding to either 1) their participation in the event or 2) the number of pins their team successfully knocks over.
25. Gift Wrapping Services
Effort: ✔ ✔
This fundraiser is most effective if you’re holding it during a holiday season, whether Christmas, Hanukkah, or even Mother’s/Father’s day.
Through this fundraiser, representatives from your organization set up tables in a public place and offer to wrap gifts in exchange for a small donation. Advertise these services to supporters of your organization and encourage them to spread the word as well– the success of this fundraiser depends on the number of people that show up to participate.
Regardless of the time of year, it’s essential that you remain open to the various holidays that might occur during your fundraiser. If you can, avoid being highly representative of one religious holiday at the cost of neglecting other popular celebrations. The goal is for everyone interested in gift wrapping services to feel welcome during your fundraiser!
26. Coupon Books
Effort: ✔ ✔
Coupon books require a bit more coordination on behalf of your organization, but they hold high fundraising potential and provide benefits to those giving to your organization!
Search your community for local businesses (restaurants, retailers) that are willing to participate in your coupon book fundraiser. These businesses agree to provide coupon discounts for the fundraising book, which is then sold to supporters for a small donation.
Participants purchasing the book receive a variety of coupons, making their local shopping experience more thrifty and positive. Local businesses are advertised, energizing your community’s companies. Finally, your organization receives a donation for each book sold.
27. Parent’s Night Out
Effort: ✔ ✔ ✔
A parent’s night out event is the perfect fundraising idea for kids and parents alike.
You can either plan a fun event for parents– such as a trivia night or a nice dinner– or simply provide childcare for a few hours one evening while parents plan their own night out.
Invite parents to bring their children back to school for a few hours after the school day, accepting donations for the child care services. Plan fun activities for the students during the event, whether movies, board games, or crafts. The kids will appreciate getting to hang out with their friends during the evening, while parents will appreciate the organized childcare with a provider they already trust– you!
28. Bake Sale
Ask parents in your community to bond with their kids in a kitchen setting, baking family-favorite baked goods to sell in your next fundraiser.
Recruit teachers or parents from your parent-teacher organization to host your bake sale table. Open for operations during student drop-off, after school pickup, and even during lunch.
Aim to sell a wide variety of goods in exchange for small donations to your organization.
Be mindful of crucial food allergies, such as nut and gluten allergies. If baked goods contain popular allergens, make sure to note that when you display them. Further, make sure to offer allergen-free snacks so everyone can enjoy!
Effort: ✔ ✔
Bring kids and their family members together in a fundraiser that benefits the greater community and your organization alike.
There are two popular ways to hold a volunteer-a-thon:
- Organize one mass volunteer day, where participants band together to complete one large project in your community. One example of this would be a park clean-up or rejuvenation project.
- Create a volunteer challenge spanning a certain time period, such as a month. Challenge participating families to complete a certain amount of volunteer hours in your community over that time period.
Parents will appreciate the opportunity to instill strong service values in their children and your greater community will appreciate it as well. Your organization may even receive more donations from outside sources inspired by participants’ good deeds!
Incorporate pledge fundraising methods with participants gathering pledged donations corresponding to the number of volunteer hours they complete.
30. Best Seat in the House
Raffle off tickets to an interesting local event for a family-friendly fundraising event that’s fun for kids and parents alike.
Your organization simply procures tickets to raffle, sells tickets, and chooses a winner. Popular events to raffle tickets from are:
- Local sports team games.
- Plays or concerts coming through the area.
- Museums, the zoo, or other local culture mainstays.
Because the event tickets will probably be a pricier item, you can sell tickets for a higher price than you might in another raffle setting. Learn how to solicit this ideal donation amount through this guide.
This particular fundraiser can come with a higher price tag if your organization has to actually purchase the tickets you’re planning to raffle. However, you can bring this startup price down by asking local teams or event venues to donate tickets or offer discounted pricing.
31. Restaurant Percentage Night
During a restaurant percentage night, your organization partners with a popular local restaurant to raise funds for your cause. The restaurant agrees to give a percentage of sales from a pre-decided date to your fundraiser in return for your organization promoting the event.
Parents will enjoy having an excuse to order dinner out (rather than cooking) and essentially having their choice of restaurant pre-decided. Plus, their kids will enjoy the change in routine! These families can contribute to your cause with little extra effort on their end, doing something they were going to do anyway– eating dinner as a family.
Because it’s a fundraiser and you’ll be promoting it heavily to supporters, the restaurant stands a good chance of experiencing increased business because of it. This is a great selling point to recruit local restaurants to participate.
32. Trivia Night
Effort: ✔ ✔
Gather students and their families together to test their trivia knowledge. Accept donations for entry into the competition and at the end of the night and reward a winner at the end of the night!
Engage participants young and old with trivia spanning the ages. Interest your students’ parents and guardians with pop culture and history trivia, while your students themselves might enjoy Disney or Pixar questions.
To amplify the fundraising potential of this event, consider incorporating an element of pledge fundraising into the event. Allow families to register as teams and collect pledged gifts corresponding to either their participation in the event or event questions answered correctly.
To get started pledge fundraising for your organization, visit 99Pledges today.
33. Family Photo Day
Effort: ✔ ✔
It’s a common sentiment for many parents– kids just grow up too fast! Thankfully, photos help preserve memories from those cherished childhood years forever.
Hire a photographer for the day and set up in a picturesque location in your community. Invite families within your organization and the greater community to have their portrait made at a discounted rate.
Parents and guardians will appreciate that the entire family is included in the photo, rather than one essential member standing behind the camera. Plus, they’ll appreciate the discounted cost and convenience of having the logistics sorted out for them.
Bonus! Organize this fundraiser around the year-end holidays. The end of the year is a popular time to send out family cards, and a seasonally-appropriate photoshoot will be a hit around that time.
34. Lawn Service Fundraiser
Effort: ✔ ✔ ✔
Recruit volunteers from your organization, whether it’s framed as a PTA fundraiser or members of your overall leadership (such as teachers and sports team coaches) step up to the challenge.
Offer lawn services to busy parents and other members of your greater community. This includes:
- Mowing and edging lawns.
- Weeding garden beds.
- Clearing brush in wooded areas.
- Cutting down shorter, easily managed trees.
Lawn care is one chore that few people want to dedicate their weekends off to completing. By donating to your cause, they can have it done for them– and potentially for a better price than hiring professionals.
35. Chili Cook-Off
Bring your community together to enjoy home-cooked chili and bring in donations at the same time.
Challenge students and their families to create their most-prized family chili recipe and cook enough to share with the masses. Organize an event for members of your organization to come together and sample the various chilis enrolled in the competition.
Raise funds by charging for admission into the competition for participants and admission into the event for taste-testers. Ask attendees to vote on their favorite recipe or consider bringing in outside “expert” judges from your community to rate the submissions.
At the end of the event, crown a crowd favorite and a judge-chosen winner.
With any of these school fundraising ideas for kids, you’re sure to plan an exciting calendar that will engage the whole family and raise the needed funds for your cause.
If none of these ideas seemed like the right fit for your organization, we’ve written about a few more that you can peruse. Check out these other resources of fundraising ideas for kids: