55+ Genius School Fundraising Ideas: Shatter Your 2024 Goals

Raise more funds in the coming year with our favorite school fundraising ideas.

As a teacher, counselor, or school administrator, you know it’s often up to you to raise the needed funds for the students at your school. Here at 99Pledges, we’ve seen the pressure this can put on educational professionals and have pulled together a list of fundraising ideas that work in conjunction with our fundraising software to make your job easier.

Our list of more than school fundraising ideas will be broken out into the following groups:

An engaging idea can be just what your school needs to spark momentum and achieve its goals. Let’s get started!

Launch a stress-free pledge fundraiser for your school with 99Pledges.

 

Our Favorite School Fundraising Idea

1. 99Pledges School Fundraisers

Consider using this school fundraising idea to raise more this year.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Here at 99Pledges, we specialize in pledge fundraisers. Whether a walk-a-thon or a dance-a-thon a read-a-thon or a color run– we’re big fans!

These fundraisers are incredibly effective for school fundraising, and you’ll see a few unique ideas sprinkled throughout this list. The reason we’re such big fans of these fundraisers is simple: they’re easy to set up and they have huge fundraising potential.

Here’s how it works:

1. Your school’s leadership creates an overall pledge fundraising campaign to raise funds for your activities.

2. You create pages for participating students (or teams, in some scenarios) in conjunction with your overall page.

3. Participants share their pages with friends and family leading up to the event, collecting pledged donations.

4. These pledged donations correspond to some challenge participants will complete during your fundraiser (ex: “$1 for every book read” or “$5 for every hour danced).

 

At the end of the fundraiser, these pledged donations become actual gifts to your organization! With fun activities, healthy competition, and easily collected and managed gifts– pledge fundraising methods are great for educational efforts.

Launch a pledge fundraiser with 99Pledges to make the most of your favorite school fundraising ideas.

Brilliant Year-Round School Fundraising Ideas

2. Matching Gifts

Matching gifts add extra donations to your school’s budget throughout the year.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Alumni and community members love knowing their contributions can go twice as far. Through corporate matching gift programs, companies promise to match employees’ donations to eligible organizations. Most commonly, companies match gifts to 501(c)(3) organizations and educational institutions, making it the perfect school fundraising idea for K-12 schools.

Several well-known employers match gifts to elementary schools, such as:

  • Home Depot will match full- and part-time employees’ gifts to elementary schools. They match up to $3,000 annually per employee.
  • McDonald’s will match full- and part-time employees’ donations to schools. Employees need to work at least 20 hours per week or be a board member to be eligible, and the company matches donations starting at $50.
  • Verizon matches donations up to $5,000 to higher education schools while they match up to $1,000 to other 501(c)(3) organizations. When a group of 10 or more employees collectively raise funds, Verizon will match up to $10,000 per team and event.

Unfortunately, many employees don’t know about matching gifts, leading to billions of dollars left on the table each year.

Use your website, newsletter, or social media to tell supporters about matching gifts. Encourage them to look up their employers’ corporate philanthropy policies. Then, keep them updated on how many donations have been matched during your fundraiser.

Using Tools to Supercharge Matching Gifts

Your simplest solution is to automate your matching gift outreach. For instance, Marietta College leveraged 360MatchPro’s match automation tools to identify more than $40,000 in match-eligible donations in just one year. This was thanks to features, like:

  • Corporate email domain screening for collecting employment information
  • Customized email-sending logic for company restrictions, message-sending limits, email domains, and subject lines
  • Automated follow-ups for donors based on employment status and match eligibility

By using 360MatchPro, Marietta College boasts incredible fundraising results, providing a prime example of what your school can do to raise more with matching gifts. Even if your fundraising is on a smaller scale, every matching gift donation is extra money to improve your school. You can even leverage features like auto-submission to cut steps from the matching process.

Auto-submission cuts steps from the matching process, making matching gifts a feasible fundraising idea for schools.

Instead of manually filling out forms for their employers, eligible donors can let 360MatchPro complete the request forms for them. So long as the company’s CSR software integrates with 360MatchPro, that’s one less thing donors have to worry about.

3. Fundraising eCards

Digital greeting cards can be customized for different occasions, making them perfect for your next school fundraiser.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Everyone loves receiving thoughtful cards, making them the perfect fundraiser for your school. Better yet, you can bring that same joy into the digital space with eCards! Compared to traditional greeting cards, you’ll eliminate the cost of physical materials, printing, and distribution, making fundraising eCards cost-effective.

Here’s how this fundraiser works:

  • Select an eCard platform. The platform you choose will power your campaign, so pick one with charity eCard capabilities, extensive design features, and multiple sending options. You should also be able to track metrics like the number of cards sent.
  • Design your eCards. Customize your eCards to feature your logo, mascot, or student artwork. Also, consider whether you want to sell them year-round or only for special occasions. For example, you can create a year-round collection that features birthday, thank you, and condolence cards, whereas if you’re hosting a holiday campaign, create cards that celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s.
  • Sell the cards. Students, families, and other community members can purchase the cards to send to their loved ones. The sender can also attach a custom message to their eCard.

Compared to traditional fundraising events, eCard campaigns can be set up quickly, allowing your school to respond to immediate needs. Not to mention, they’re incredibly versatile, making them perfect for fundraising any time of year.

For inspiration, look at these eCards from One Tail At A Time:

 

One Tail At A Time sold these eCards featuring their rescue animals.
 

The organization sold cards for $25 and attached each to a specific service. For instance, one type of card’s proceeds supported veterinary care, another supplied heartworm treatments, and another funded enrichment activities for animals in the nonprofit’s care.

To create your school’s first eCard fundraiser, select an eCard platform that enables donations, and start fundraising!

4. Paid Search Ad Campaign

You can use search ads to promote your school’s donation form and upcoming fundraising events.

Cost: $$

Effort: ✔✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆

What if we told you your school could advertise your fundraisers online free of charge? As it turns out, some schools can! Private schools that are 501(c)(3)s are eligible for the Google Ad Grant, which provides $10,000 per month in free Google Ads credits.

Even if you’re ineligible, Google Ads are an excellent way to boost your school’s visibility on Google search results pages. Whenever people in your community search for terms related to education or programs your school offers, your ads can appear at the top of the search results.

To envision how Google Ads can support your fundraising efforts, take a look at these hypothetical search results for our example school’s “Summit Hill Library Fundraiser:”

Create Google Ads to promote your school’s fundraisers and drive more donations.

Schools can leverage this powerful tool to promote fundraising initiatives, such as:

  • Fundraising events, like school auctions, fairs, or sporting events
  • Donation pages, making it easy for supporters to contribute online
  • Campaign-specific pages, such as one to benefit arts programs or upgrade technology
  • Scholarship fund pages to attract alumni donations to support students’ education

Promoting these pages can lead to more donations and greater community involvement. Just make sure the content you promote is compelling, clear, and supportive of your fundraising goals.

Remember that if you’re ineligible for the Google Ad Grant, you can still invest in paid ads and leverage other free resources through Google for Education.

 

Elementary School Fundraising Ideas (That Work!)

5. Spell-a-Thon

Consider using this elementary school fundraising idea this year.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

A spell-a-thon gives elementary students— who are working each day to develop their reading and writing— a chance to raise funds while displaying what they’re learning at your school. Incorporate pledge fundraising methods in a spelling competition.

You can set this up in one of two ways: a traditional spelling bee model or a more personal spelling challenge. For the second option, choose a set number of difficulty-appropriate words and test students en masse on the words. For both options, pledged donations correspond to the number of words the student spells correctly!

Whichever option you choose, make sure you’re encouraging developing minds rather than creating unnecessary competition! The key point is to celebrate students for what they have learned, rather than discourage them for what they haven’t yet.

6. Online Product FundraisersProduct fundraisers are some of our favorite school fundraising ideas.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆

If you’re looking to raise a significant amount of money for your school, equip students with real-life selling experiences, and provide donors with a tangible benefit for supporting your fundraising efforts, a product fundraiser might be perfect for you.

To simplify the planning and execution of this type of fundraiser, you can partner with a dedicated product fundraising company that will do the brunt of the work and even provide you with a custom web store that supporters can purchase from.

Just choose a product (discount cards, face masks, cookie dough, and travel mugs are always popular choices) and encourage your students, parents, and staff members to start selling to their own networks online.

7. School Sleepover

This school fundraising idea is fun for everyone involved!

Cost: $$

Effort: ✔✔ ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Around elementary age is often when sleepovers and slumber parties are incorporated into students’ social lives for the first time. Draw on this in your school fundraising for a fun experience for students (and parents!) alike while raising gifts to fuel your educational programs!

Recruit staffers to help in the charge and invite students to return in the evening for a school-wide sleepover. Charge a small fee for overnight childcare and set up fun activities such as movie viewings, board games, and pre-bed stories. 

With an overnight event, it’s crucial that all of the necessary waivers and permissions are signed. Consider taking your waivers online for added convenience, increasing the likelihood they’re signed on time. 

8. Read-a-Thon

Lean how to use this school fundraising idea to raise more this year.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Use your next elementary school fundraiser to encourage literacy in your young students and their families.

Host a month-long read-a-thon, challenging students to read as many books as possible for the duration. Incorporate pledge fundraising methods by having students collect pledged gifts corresponding to each book they read over the month, and encourage their family members to join in on the fun!

At the end of the fundraiser, announce how both how many books were read and how much was raised in donations because of it. 

9. Bake Sale

Learn how to incorporate this elementary school fundraising idea that works!

Cost: $$

Effort: ✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

At the end of a long day (or even the start— we’re not here to judge!), it’s hard to pass up a yummy, homemade baked good. Recruit your PTO or PTA to whip up their most-loved baked confections to sell during a bake sale fundraiser.

Then, simply set up a table during drop-off and pick-up to sell the goods for a small price. Ask your PTO/PTA parents if they’re open to donate time in addition to baked goods, and organize a volunteer schedule to manage the table. Make sure to thank these parents and guardians for all of their help in the charge!

Remember that food allergies are particularly sensitive around baked goods, so make sure to include gluten and peanut-free options if possible.

10. Talent Show

Learn how to incorporate this school fundraising idea in your efforts.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

There are few things more adorable than students showing their new talents. While they may not be Beethoven or Van Gogh just yet, it’s a privilege to witness greatness in the making!

Whether singing and dancing or showing off some new magic tricks, your students have talents and it’s time to showcase them. Charge a small entry fee for participation and sell tickets for family and friends to experience the fun.

You can make this a competition by bringing on judges and awarding prizes at the end, or you can simply make it a showcase of your talented students! Either way, participants and attendees will have fun and you’ll raise funds!

11. Multicultural Fair

Learn how to host your own multicultural fair, one of our top school fundraising ideas.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Part of educating students involves making sure they’re aware of the world around them and the diversity it contains. The world is a beautiful bed of diversity, and exposing your students to different cultures will make them more rounded and understanding as they head into it.

Host a multicultural fair for students and their families to attend and learn from. Charge a fee for admission and do your research to ensure interest and accuracy.

Consider the following categories to help you highlight the cultures of the world:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Music
  • History

At the event, make sure you’re presenting a wide variety of cultures and doing so respectfully. You’ll be celebrating diversity and teaching your students to do the same as they navigate life!

12. Scavenger Hunt

Learn how to incorporate this school fundraising idea in your efforts today.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔ ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

A scavenger hunt can require a bit more planning on behalf of your school, but they’re a great fundraiser to get students excited and involved in the process!

You simply choose a theme, choose a location and time frame, and outline your hunt. Incentivize students to participate with prizes for those that successfully complete the scavenger hunt.

Allow students to participate for a small donation, and tie your hunt to educational themes to make sure they’re learning through the process. Get creative, and have fun!

13. Penny Drive

A penny drive is a great school fundraising idea.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Penny drives are an extremely simple way for elementary students to fundraise and feel involved in the process.

Simply give each class, or grade, a large jar and challenge them to bring in change from home to fill the jars. The first group to fill their jar wins!

Reward the winning group with prizes such as:

  • In-School Movie Screening
  • Lunchtime Pizza Party
  • Extended Recess/Field Day

The lowkey yet competitive nature of this fundraiser makes it perfect for young students. They can get involved without much effort and your school raises funds in the process.

14. School Picnic

Learn how to make the most of this school fundraising idea today.

Cost: $$

Effort: ✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Encourage community within your school by creating an event for students, their families, and school employees to interact. Choose a sunny day one weekend within the school year and host a school picnic.

Charge an admission fee for families and friends to attend and organize the lunch in a nice, grassy area. Set up fun outdoor activities such as kickball, a pinata, and arts and crafts and encourage families to interact with each other and your staffers.

Remain cognizant of events occurring in your school and the greater community and make sure you’re not scheduling your picnic for a particularly busy weekend. 

15. Book Fair

Spark a love of reading by hosting a book fair for your next school fundraiser.

Cost: $$$

Effort: ✔✔✔✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆

Host a book fair with a well-known bookstore or publisher, where a portion of the proceeds goes to your school. You’ll promote literacy and spark the joy of reading in students, all while raising money for your school. This makes it the perfect back-to-school event to build up enthusiasm for students as they start the fall semester.

Start by choosing the date for the book fair. A multi-day fair is often more effective, giving students plenty of time to browse and come back if something piques their interest. You’ll need to partner with a reputable publisher or bookstore to supply the books. Be sure to curate a diverse collection for all ages and reading levels at your school.

Before the book fair, create buzz using promotional flyers, handouts, your school’s website, and email newsletters. Elevate your book fair’s atmosphere by decorating your venue with a theme related to reading, too.

Creative High School Fundraising Ideas

16. Fun Run

Cost: $Fun runs are a great high school fundraising idea for sports teams.

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

A fun run is the perfect fundraiser for high school sports teams. Anyone can participate, including team members, other students, family members, and even community members. These fundraisers encourage students to stay active and raise money for the sports they love!

Here’s how a fun run works:

Here’s how to organize a fun run, a great school fundraiser idea for your students.

  • Plan the event: Choose the date, time, and location where you’ll hold the run. Create a playlist of popular music, and decide what fun decorations you’ll use at registration booths or water stands. 
  • Sign up students: Gather participants who want to run, then set each runner up with their own online donation page using a pledge fundraising platform. They can customize their pages and share them with their friends and family. 
  • Collect pledges: When participants share their donation pages, friends and family will pledge to donate a certain amount of money for every unit of distance they run. After the race, your school or sports team collects donations based on how far everyone ran.

A fun run doesn’t necessarily have to be a 5K. You can adapt your fundraiser for any running time or distance, or let the students themselves decide. The important part is raising money for student activities– and having fun!

17. Car Magnets

Sell car magnets or decals to raise money for your high school.

Cost: $$

Effort: ✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

When high schoolers start driving, they get excited about the freedom and independence that driving gives them. One way to celebrate this milestone in their lives and let them express themselves is by selling car magnets in exchange for donations.

Design a car magnet, sticker, or decal that includes your school name and logo. Then, sell these decals to students and the wider community to raise money for school activities.

To make this high school fundraiser even more exciting, add in a competition to let students design the magnet. Artistic students can send in their designs, then the rest of the student body can vote or school organizers can choose a winner!

18. Volunteer-a-Thon

Encourage students to serve their communities with this successful high school fundraising idea.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

There are few things that will motivate people to donate more than seeing the generosity of your students in action! It’s easy to contribute to education that is working toward creating positive members of the community.

Organize a volunteer-a-thon where you challenge high school students to get involved in your greater community and complete good deeds. Whether working at a food bank or planting trees in a local park, there will definitely be areas for these students to lend a hand.

Incorporate pledge fundraising methods, with students collecting pledged gifts corresponding to the number of volunteer hours they complete.

19. Flea Market

Let students sell crafts or unwanted items at a flea market school fundraiser.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

High school students have plenty of creative hobbies that can make a flea market fundraiser a success. Encourage any students who make their own crafts or art to set up a booth and sell their creations. They’ll get to showcase their artistic talents, and you’ll raise money for the school!

The flea market doesn’t have to be for students only. Invite community members or even local businesses to set up stalls at the flea market to sell small items, as well.

Or, invite anyone from the community to sell their secondhand clothes, home goods, or art they don’t want any more. This high school fundraising idea can lead to a very well-attended event!

20. Reserved Parking Spots

For this high school fundraising idea, sell parking spot reservations to students.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Good school parking spots are highly sought after by high school students with cars. Turn this into a fundraising opportunity by selling or auctioning off reserved parking spaces to students at the beginning of the year.

For added fun, you can allow seniors to paint the parking spots they win and personalize them. Make it an event at the beginning of the school year, charge an additional small fee, and provide paint supplies. Then, students can get creative and create a fond memory of their final year of school.

21. School Dance

Turn any school dance into a successful high school fundraiser.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Prom is a core high school experience that almost every student looks forward to. It can also make for a great fundraiser! Turn your school’s prom or any other school dance into an effective fundraiser by collecting donations through ticket sales. 

Let students be involved in the planning process by creating a student dance committee. They can take responsibility for the fun parts of the dance, like the theme, decorations, and even the music.

You’ll need plenty of volunteers for the dance itself, so make sure to recruit parents and teachers ahead of time!

22. Open Mic Night

With this creative high school fundraiser, students can sing original songs at an open mic night.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

An open mic night is similar to the elementary school talent show idea, but geared more towards young adults. High school students can sign up to sing original songs or even perform as a group with friends.

Then, sell tickets to the student body and their parents. At the event itself, you can also sell snacks, drinks, or baked goods to raise even more money.

Open mics can work well to raise money for your school’s band, orchestra, or choir. Instruments and music competition trips need a lot of funding!

23. Valentine’s Day Roses

Launch a high school fundraiser to sell roses to students on Valentine’s day.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Raise money for school clubs or initiatives by selling roses for Valentine’s Day. In the week leading up to the holiday, set up a booth in the cafeteria to sell roses and collect donations. Students can pay a dollar to send a rose to another student, along with a note, that volunteers will deliver on Valentine’s Day.

Students can take this opportunity to send a rose to romantic interests or friends. For added fundraising potential, sell homemade cookies or Valentine’s Day-themed baked goods at the same time.

Consider adding a virtual element so students can send and receive a Valentine’s Day message to those who aren’t local. Valentine’s Day eCards are a simple way for participants to show that they care for their friends and families while supporting your school.

This is an example of the eCards you can incorporate into your Valentine’s Day school fundraising idea.

24. Phone Detox ChallengePrioritize mental health with a phone detox high school fundraiser.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

High school students constantly have their phones in their hands, but many students would actually love a good opportunity to take a break from the pressures of social media. 

Launch a fundraiser to challenge students to stay off of their phones or social media for extended periods of time. Students can collect pledges for donations from friends and family, then log hours of time spent with their phones off.

As students spend time away from their phones, this also can be an opportunity to discuss mental health and healthy social media behaviors. When the challenge is over, they’ll be prepared to go back online in a more positive way. 

25. Community Service Event

A community service event encourages students to care for their community while raising funds for your school.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔✔✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆

Give back to the community, instill a sense of responsibility in students, and raise funds for school initiatives with a community service event. To transform this into a school fundraiser, have students collect pledges from family and friends to participate. You can either have donors pledge a flat rate or pledge a certain amount for each hour the students work.

Start by researching pressing needs within your community, such as homelessness, environmental conservation, or elderly care. Then, select a service project that aligns with those needs and that your students are capable of assisting with.

From here, launch an online pledge campaign to raise funds for the project. You can also seek corporate sponsorships from local businesses in exchange for publicly recognizing their company. Afterward, assess the impact of the service project by documenting any improvements and collecting feedback from participants and community members.

Launch a kid-friendly pledge fundraiser for your school with 99Pledges.

Unique School Fundraisers for All Ages

26. Superhero Walk-a-Thon

Learn how to incorporate this school fundraising idea in your efforts this year.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

By now, you’re probably very familiar with classic walk-a-thon fundraisers. While certainly a worthwhile event, it can be nice to switch things up for some added experience!

Walk-a-thons use pledge fundraising methods, with participants gathering pledged donations corresponding to how many laps, units of distance, etc they walk during the event. For this event, all you need is:

  • An online walk-a-thon campaign and corresponding pages for participants.
  • A space for participants to walk in.
  • An excited group of participants.

Then, advertise it as a superhero-themed event and ask participants to dress up as their favorite hero!

The walk-a-thon is a great event for participants of all ages because anyone, old or young, can participate. Plus, superheroes are universally liked, so the theme is sure to resonate with everyone in your audience.

27. Teachers in Jail

Learn how to incorporate this unique school fundraiser in your efforts.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Teachers in Jail fundraisers are fun for students of all ages, elementary and high school alike. Challenge your students to raise a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time, and allow them to “jail” their teacher when they do!

Generally, this means they get a free period without being taught for a day. Or, you can take this a step further and create a fun experience (such as a field day, game period, etc.) and invite all classes that hit their goal!

28. Family Fun Day

A family fun day is a great school fundraising idea to try.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔✔ ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

A family fun day is similar to a field day, except you invite your students’ families to join in on the fun. Consider taking things a step further and adding a competitive element, charging a small fee for registration and allowing families to sign up as teams and compete in the various events.

There are a ton of fun competitive events to include:

  • Tug-of-war
  • Kickball
  • Egg race
  • Sack race

You get the idea! This event brings families together for a common cause and one that’s fun for everyone involved, at that.

29. Pajama Day

A pajama day is a great school fundraising idea to raise more.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Who doesn’t want to wear their comfiest pajamas out in the world sometimes?

This one is pretty straightforward. Simply invite students to wear dress code-appropriate pajamas to school in exchange for a small donation to your fundraiser.

Consider stepping the day up by screening a movie and providing popcorn, or adding a competitive element by awarding the funniest, most creative, and comfiest-looking pajama-wearers!

30. Shoe Drive Fundraiser

Learn how to use this school fundraising idea in your efforts this year.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

A shoe drive fundraiser is great for students of any age because during school is when students are going through their biggest period of growth. A shoe drive fundraiser allows parents of growing children to donate out-grown athletic shoes and your school to profit from it.

The steps are simple:

1. Ask parents to donate new and gently worn running shoes they and their children are no longer using.

2. Package those shoes and send them to a shoe drive fundraiser representative.

3. Once the shoes are processed, a check is mailed back to your school!

Learn more about this unique fundraising idea on Funds2Orgs.

31. Movie Night

Learn how to incorporate a movie night, a great school fundraising idea, in your efforts this year.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Movies are universally enjoyed across the ages. Whether a fresh-out-of-Pre K student or a too-cool-for-school high school student, it’s hard to pass up enjoying a good movie with friends.

Host an afterschool movie night featuring a popular, recently-released (or maybe old classic!) film. Sell tickets for admission and supplement the fundraiser by selling concessions such as popcorn, movie-theatre candy, carbonated drinks.

Make sure the movie you’re featuring adheres to any requirements outlined in your education system about what’s appropriate to show different ages of students. Further, consider incorporating an educational element by tying the movie you’re showing to your current curriculum.

32. Spaghetti Dinner

A spaghetti dinner is a school fundraiser that makes for a memorable evening for families.

Cost: $$

Effort: ✔✔✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆

Organize a spaghetti dinner where families can enjoy a meal together. This budget-friendly option is a wonderful and delicious way to raise funds for your school. If you host it on a weeknight, parents will appreciate not worrying about making dinner after a long day at work.

You might host it in the school cafeteria or an outdoor space. Wherever you choose, make sure there’s sufficient seating. From here, plan the menu, including variations of spaghetti (e.g., vegetarian or gluten-free) and accompanying dishes such as salad, garlic bread, and dessert. Consider potential dietary restrictions, too.

For event preparation, volunteers will need to prepare the food and set up tables. Consider whether you’ll have a buffet-style or table service setup, and don’t forget to have live music like your school’s band to create a lively ambiance. Then, families can pay for tickets to enjoy the nice evening you put together.

33. Used Book Sale

Learn how to use this school fundraising idea to raise more this year.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Remember the read-a-thon mentioned earlier? This is the perfect fundraising event to supplement that!

Ask students and their families to donate books they’ve finished reading and are no longer using. Then, open a used book store at your school to fundraise.

By accepting books from everyone, whether one of your youngest students or their parents, you’re sure to collect a wide variety of books. You’ll have something for readers of all levels and interests, and promote literacy in your students and their families alike.

34. Gift Card Fundraiser

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆This photo of someone using a gift card to make a purchase on a smartphone demonstrates the gift card school fundraising idea.

Gift cards are perfect for those times when you need a last-minute present or want to let the recipient choose exactly what they want. With a gift card fundraiser, students and their families can buy gift cards from their favorite businesses and support your school at the same time!

Your school can launch a gift card fundraiser in three easy steps:

  1. Partner with a gift card fundraiser platform—they’ll help you set up your school’s account and provide the app participants will use to purchase gift cards, all for free!
  2. Promote your fundraiser to students and parents, making sure to provide instructions for how to buy gift cards.
  3. Watch as your community buys gift cards and a percentage of each sale goes directly to your school!

When a participant buys a digital gift card through your fundraiser, they’ll receive it via email within minutes. Then, they can forward that email to a friend or family member to give them the gift card. Gift card fundraisers can be run year-round, and the small contributions from each sale add up to make a big difference for your school!

35. Balloon Pop Fundraiser

A balloon pop fundraiser is a fun school fundraising idea to use this year.

Cost: $$

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

A balloon pop fundraiser is an exciting experience for all involved! The steps are simple:

1. Choose an assortment of prizes and write them down on small pieces of paper.

2. Fold up the pieces of paper and place each inside of an inflated balloon.

3. Sell the balloons to students (and maybe their family members) for a fixed price.

4. Host a balloon pop event where everyone that purchased one pops it and claims their prize.

Make sure you’re choosing a wide variety of prizes to keep things interesting. For example, a $5 coffee gift card, a “free period” coupon, and a $25 Amazon gift card would all be good items to include. Choose items that your organization would make money selling without charging too high of a price per balloon.

36. Chili Cook-Off

A chili cook off is a popular school fundraising idea to raise more.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

A chili cook-off is a fun event for both competitors and attendees alike. There are a few different ways to structure this:

  • Challenge families to brew up their best chili recipe and enter it into the competition.
  • Challenge local restaurants to put their chili recipe to the test.

Charge a small price for registering as a competitor. Host an event pitting all of the chili recipes against one another and sell tickets for members of your community to taste and vote on their favorites.

Consider tasking highly recognizable members of your school community (think: the principal, the president of the PTO/PTA, local government leaders) with being official judges of the chili. At the end of the night, award judge-chosen winners and community favorites!

37. Plant Sale

If you have a garden club, sell vegetables, herbs, and flowers to community members.

Cost: $$$

Effort: ✔✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆

Ideal for spring, a garden sale promotes gardening skills and environmental awareness. If your school has a garden or greenhouse, you can sell plants, flowers, or produce grown by students. If you haven’t already, start by establishing a vegetable, herb, or flower garden.

You can encourage students to help in the gardening process, either by creating a club or incorporating gardening into the curriculum. When it comes time for the sale, promote it to parents and your community. Then, select a high-traffic spot on campus like your school courtyard.

Easy Fundraising Ideas for School Trips 

38. Raffle

Learn how to hold a raffle, a great fundraising idea for school trips.

Cost: $$$

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Create raffle baskets and sell tickets to parents and other family members at a fixed price.

Make sure you’re raffling items that are of interest to members of your school community, such as:

  • Movie night baskets.
  • Ultimate game night baskets.
  • Sports tickets.
  • Spa experience gift cards.
  • Museum or other landmark tickets.

This works best when tied to another event (think: a main fundraising event or even something unrelated, such as a sports game). At the end of the raffle, the person with the ticket pulled wins the item!

39. Viral Video Challenge

Learn how to use this school fundraising idea, a viral video challenge, to raise more this year.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

School trips can be expensive— hence why you’re fundraising to make them possible! A viral video challenge allows your organization to raise massive amounts of gifts with very little startup costs and efforts.

To hold a viral video challenge, you simply brainstorm a creative challenge for your community to complete (such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which raised $115 million for the cause). Then, film prominent members of your school community completing it, post it to social media, and challenge students and their families to do the same.

Each time someone completes the challenge, they task someone in their network with doing the same. Each person that finishes the challenge and shares it donates to your school fundraiser. Set up a crowdfunding page for your trip to easily collect gifts once the challenge takes off and watch the reach of your fundraiser grow.

40. Color Run

Color runs are a creative school fundraising event that kids will look forward to.

Cost: $$

Effort: ✔✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

A color run is similar to a traditional 5K only it’s amplified with colorful chalk. With this small and simple change, you’ll completely transform the event. As runners navigate the 5K, onlookers throw brightly colored chalk at them. By the time they finish, they’re covered in a rainbow of chalk!

You can charge a small registration fee for runners and walkers to participate. Further, use pledge fundraising methods by having participants gather pledged gifts corresponding to their finish time. It’s a simple, inexpensive way to amplify a classic event.

To host this event annually, you’ll need strong branding and graphics to build recognition and anticipation. Enlist the help of a nonprofit graphic design company to create:

  • An event logo. Create a vibrant, eye-catching logo specific to your color run. You might incorporate elements such as runners, splashes of color, and your school mascot, embodying the energy of the event.
  • Marketing collateral. Develop social media graphics, such as event countdowns, calls to action for registration, and sponsor shout-outs. Also, create colorful flyers with the date, location, and registration information.
  • Event t-shirts. Custom t-shirts for participants, volunteers, and organizers serve as a walking advertisement before the event and a lasting keepsake post-event. Include your event logo, date, and sponsors’ logos in the design.

Using these custom-branded graphics will boost your event’s visual appeal and professionalism, making your color run a memorable and successful fundraiser for your school.

Launch a kid-friendly pledge fundraiser for your school with 99Pledges.

41. Restaurant Spirit Night

Learn how to incorporate a restaurant spirit night, a great school fundraising idea, in your efforts this year.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔ ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

This fundraiser is incredibly simple and inexpensive to host, but if marketed well, it could be quite the success for your organization.

A restaurant spirit night involves pairing with a local restaurant in your fundraising. You agree on a specific night and a percentage of proceeds from that night are directed to your organization. Then, you simply advertise the event and ask students and families to eat there that night and mention you!

Aim to choose a restaurant that’s popular and accessible for most of your community to make the most of this event.

42. Pancake Breakfast

Learn how to use a pancake breakfast, a great school fundraising idea, to raise more this year.

Cost: $ $

Effort: ✔ ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Invite families and friends in your school community to join together for breakfast, and raise funds in the process! Task visible figures of your school’s leadership (think: the principal, the vice principal, sports coaches, teachers) with cooking a breakfast for the ages for your community.

Sell tickets charging a small fee for admission, making sure it’s high enough to cover the cost of supplies. Further, consider incorporating a raffle element– such as an “ultimate brunch basket”– to raise more donations through the event.

Hold the event on a weekend morning for higher turnout. Pay attention to your community’s greater calendar, however, to ensure you’re not overlapping with another important event.

43. Trivia Night

Discover how to use a trivia night as your top fundraising idea for your next school trip.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Trivia nights are a low-cost, fun-for-everyone fundraising event that’s friendly for all ages. Plus, they have clear ties to educational material– what better way to raise money for a school trip?

Simply invite students and their families back to school after-hours for a trivia competition. Charge a small fee for registration, allowing families to compete as teams or perhaps, entire classrooms. If you plan far enough ahead, you could even incorporate pledge fundraising methods with pledges corresponding to questions successfully answered by teams.

Vary your trivia questions to ensure everyone is engaged. For example, film and history questions will appeal to parents, and students will love curriculum-based questions where they can show their family members all that they’ve learned!

44. Car Wash

Learn how to use this school fundraising idea, a car wash, to fund your next school trip.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔ ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

A car wash is a classic fundraising event sure to bring in gifts for your next school trip. Donors will appreciate your students working hard to fund their trip, and students will have fun in the process!

All you need is:

  • A space to wash cars in.
  • Soap and water to wash the vehicles.
  • Excited students ready to participate.

Market the car wash in advance, inviting members of your community to purchase a car wash from your students. Plan the event for a weekend morning, and watch the donations roll in! Make sure the event is highly supervised, and have parents/guardians of participating students sign a waiver giving them permission to join in the fun.

45. Charity Gala

A charity gala is a great school fundraising idea to raise more.

Cost: $ $

Effort: ✔ ✔ ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆


While a charity gala requires more resources to plan and execute, the event can be well worth your efforts when gifts come in.

A charity gala is usually an elevated dinner event, often with speakers and entertainers soliciting gifts throughout the duration. Plan an event that’s both interesting and enjoyable for attendees, while also affordable for your organization. (Bringing on sponsors to fund the event itself is a helpful tip.)

Set tickets at a slightly higher price and offer the option for local businesses to purchase seats by the table. These organizations will be able to show their philanthropic prowess as well as network with one another.

Awesome After-School Program Fundraising Ideas

46. Dance-a-Thon

Learn how to use a dance-a-thon, a great school fundraising idea, to raise more.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

A dance-a-thon is a simple and fun event that’s perfect for after-school fundraising. You can host the event directly after school and hold it until the end of your after school program offerings, or hold it on a Friday afternoon and extend it into the weekend!

You simply:

  • Create pledge fundraising pages for your after-school program participants.
  • Encourage them to share those pages with their friends and family members, collecting pledged gifts.
  • These pledged donations correspond to either their participation in the event overall or the number of hours they dance in the event.

At the event, keep an age-appropriate playlist rolling and encourage students to dance the evening away. The longer they dance (or if they successfully complete the event at all), the more gifts will come in!

47. Coupon Books

Learn how to use coupon books, a great school fundraising idea, this year.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔ ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Parents enrolling their students in after school programs are doing so to manage their busy schedules. Coupon books play on that need for convenience by mapping out ways for busy parents to save money without extra effort on their end.

These books require some advance planning from your school. Reach out into your community and see if any local businesses are open to pairing with your school to offer discounts to your community.

In return, local businesses are advertised to every person that purchases a coupon book and hopefully get increased business in return!

48. Family Festival

Learn how to use this school fundraising idea to raise more.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔ ✔ ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Normally, planning a family festival would be somewhat intensive. From deciding on a venue to hanging decorations, there are quite a few pieces to juggle for just your after-school leadership alone!

Draw on your after-school program students to help in the charge. These students can help create decorations and set up the event. They’ll feel proud showing off their hard work to their families, and parents will appreciate the exhibition of their children’s efforts.

Charge a small entry fee for the festival. Include fun events, such as games and crafts tables, and create a space for busy families to bond after the school day!

49. Parent and Student Workshops

Bring families together for an educational workshop that also raises money for your school.

Cost: $$

Effort: ✔✔✔✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆

Encourage learning, skill development, and family bonding with a workshop! Start by surveying parents and students to learn what skills or knowledge they’d like to acquire together, such as:

  • Culinary skills
  • Technology and internet safety
  • Family mental health
  • Life skills like financial literacy

Invite experts, teachers, and local professionals to lead these workshops. You can either just host one workshop or plan multiple ones spanning several weeks. You might offer workshops on the weekends or evenings to accommodate parents’ schedules.

Finally, determine a reasonable fee structure for your workshops. You can vary prices based on the duration and complexity of the workshop. If you’re hosting multiple events, consider offering discounts for bundled workshops.

50. Host a Play

Hosting a play is a great school fundraising idea.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Give after-school students a task to work toward once the school day ends and build toward a successful fundraiser in the process.

Put on a play for the families of your students to enjoy. Assign each student with a role to work on, giving them a moment to shine in front of their family members.

Charge a small admission fee for parents to attend the show, and hold it right after the after-school program commences for the day– ensuring as many parents as possible can attend. Consider bolstering the event’s fundraising potential with snacks and refreshments and highlight your student’s success!

51. Best Seat in the House

Learn how to use Best Seat in the House, a great school fundraising idea, to raise more.

Cost: $ $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

“Best Seat in the House” is essentially a raffle. Your school sells raffle tickets to parents, with the prize being high-value tickets to a popular event in your area (think: sports event, play, concert). Choosing a major sporting event makes this a great fundraiser for soccer teams or other high school sports teams.

Because the raffle item will be highly coveted, you can slightly increase ticket prices while also likely selling more tickets overall.

As far as raffles are concerned, this fundraising idea can be pricey if your organization has to purchase the tickets yourself. Consider coordinating with these local events to see if they’d be willing to donate the tickets to your fundraiser, effectively sponsoring it with the in-kind donation.

52. T-Shirt Fundraiser

A t-shirt fundraiser is a great school fundraising idea.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

A t-shirt fundraiser draws on your after-school program students’ school spirit and desire to fit in with one another.

As an activity, ask students in the program to each design their ideal program t-shirt. Then, hold a vote for the students to choose their favorites!

Produce these t-shirts and sell them to students and their family members. This may seem expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! Pair with a company that specializes in t-shirt fundraising to make the process as simple and low-cost as possible.

53. Food Truck Fundraiser

A food truck fundraiser is a great school fundraising idea.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔ ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Do you have any foodies in your after school bunch? Or, maybe an active food truck presence in your community?

Pair with a locally loved food truck, inviting them to park in your school’s parking lot around pickup. Then, as parents pick up their children for the night, they can grab dinner as well! The added convenience (and tasty treats) will be a fun change to their normal routines.

The food truck benefits from increased visibility and sales, while your program gets a percentage of the proceeds.

54. Parent’s Night Out

A parent's night out fundraiser is a great school fundraising idea.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔ ✔ ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

Extend your hours for one night, providing childcare beyond when you normally would. At the same time, plan a fun “date night” for parents to enjoy knowing their kids are cared for in the duration.

Whether a game night or a local restaurant-catered dinner, parents will enjoy the time to reconnect. Plus, their kids will enjoy the evening with peers– especially if you plan a special activity, such as a pajama-themed movie night!

Charge a fee that encompasses childcare for the night as well as tickets to the event itself. The sheer convenience of this event will make it a hit!

55. Bowl-a-Thon

Learn how to use a bowl-a-thon, a great after-school program fundraising idea, to raise more this year.

Cost: $

Effort: ✔

Fun: ☆☆☆☆☆

A bowl-a-thon incorporates pledge fundraising methods to a classic social event– bowling.

Allow students to compete on their own, form teams with their peers, or even form teams with their family members. Charge a small fee to play (generally covering the cost of renting shoes) and use a fundraising platform to create pledge pages for each player.

The players collect pledged gifts corresponding to the pins they knock over during the course of the tournament. Your students enjoy a fun night with one another and your organization gets donations in the process!

Final Thoughts: Launch Your School Fundraiser

As an educational professional, you don’t just have to raise a lot of funds; you have to be efficient when doing so! The fundraising ideas we shared will give you a solid foundation for impactful fundraising.

Choosing the right campaign idea will generate funds and also create opportunities for students, parents, teachers, and the wider community to come together, learn, and grow. Pledge fundraising plays into many of these ideas, so bring your students in on the action with our user-friendly fundraising tools.

In the meantime, check out these resources to source new ideas and launch your next fundraiser:

Simplify your next school fundraising idea by working with 99Pledges.