33 Innovative School Fundraising Ideas (You Have to Try)

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Our Favorite School Fundraising Ideas For All Ages

Text-to-Give is a lucrative school fundraising tool for any age group!


Students, parents, teachers—everybody at your school loves their cell phone! Why not take advantage of them as powerful fundraising tools?

Text-to-give does just that by enabling anyone to quickly make a donation using just their mobile phone. Incorporate text giving at your sporting games and school fundraising events so that everyone is aware of this super simple giving process.

Check Out @Pay's Stellar Text-to-Give Solution!
An email campaign is a smart school fundraising idea to inspire parents, students, and alumni to make a donation through email.

Email Campaign

Email is a classic, instant communication method that almost everyone relies upon to get in touch with one another.

By including email donation buttons in parent and student e-newsletters and dedicated fundraising emails, you can spread the word about your campaign with everyone you know. Plus, supporters can easily forward the messages along to their address books, too!

Raise More With @Pay's Email Donation Buttons!
Crowdfunding is a school fundraising tactic that enables students, parents, alumni, and anyone else to donate and spread the word online.


Crowdfunding is one of the most popular individual fundraising strategies around, and your school can take advantage of it too.

With crowdfunding, your school sets up an online fundraising page where anyone can donate and get updated on your progress. The most successful crowdfunding campaigns are fueled by social media, so make sure parents and students are actively sharing your page!

Start a Crowdfunding Campaign With Fundly!
Sell t-shirts to fundraise for your school!


There’s nothing more universal than a love for T-shirts. Everyone wears them, so why not take advantage of them to raise funds for your school?

When organizing a T-shirt fundraiser for your school, choose a shirt manufacturer that doesn’t require payment upfront, like Bonfire. With the Bonfire fundraising platform, you can design and sell your shirts during a scheduled timeframe, then take home 100% of the profits.

Design a Custom T-Shirt with Bonfire!
A corporate sponsorship can help you bring in major donations during your school fundraiser.

Corporate Sponsorship

Want a way to push your school fundraiser to the next level? Consider getting a hand from a corporate sponsor!

Corporate philanthropy can take many forms, so there are a number of ways to benefit from it during your school fundraising campaign. You can draw from your parents and alumni’s extensive corporate networks to seek different levels of gifts, grants, and in-kind donations.

Check Out 360MatchPro's Matching Gift Tools!
Learn more about how OneCause can help your run a silent auction as your school fundraising idea.

Silent Auction

The silent auction is a fundraising staple for a reason: it’s a versatile, engaging, and incredibly lucrative event that any organization can pull off!

You can adjust your auction to match your school and project. But no matter what kind of silent auction you host, you can make it easy by using mobile bidding tools to simplify and streamline the process for your event-planners and guests!

Check Out OneCause's Silent Auction Software!
Fundraise using what your students already have!

Shoe Drives

What’s something that every student in your school has? Shoes! What if you could turn those shoes into money for your school?

With Funds2Org, your students can donate their new or gently used shoes to those in need, and your school gets a check in return! And the best part? Funds2Org comes to pick up the shoes themselves, so you don’t have to worry about the logistics. You just worry about getting your students together for a good cause.

Find Out More About Funds2Orgs' Shoe Drives!
Check out DipJar to learn how giving kiosks can aid your next school fundraising idea.

Giving Kiosks

If your school is hosting a fundraising event, there’s no better companion than a giving kiosk. With this handy school fundraising tool, you’ll be able to accept credit and debit card donations.

What’s more, giving kiosks are easy to use; donors can give by swiping or dipping their card into the device. Place this portable device at your next fundraising event or PTA meeting and see how much you can raise for your school. You’re bound to reach your fundraising goal in no time!

Check out DipJar's giving kiosks!
Find major donors for your school fundraiser with prospect research.

Prospect Research

How do you know which of your students and their families have the most to give to your school, and which are most likely to give?

With prospect research, you don’t have to guess who your most likely major donors are! By taking into account markers of wealth and philanthropic interest, you’ll know where to focus your marketing efforts. Prospect research might be most useful for institutions of higher education, especially when focusing on alumni outreach.

Automate Prospect Research with DonorSearch!

See how @Pay can assist with your organization's fundraising efforts.

Elementary School Fundraising Ideas

A carnival is a fun, family-friendly school fundraising idea that's perfect for younger students.

School Carnival

Break out the classic state fair games and attractions! A carnival is the perfect way to have some family fun while raising money.

You can charge for admission or per game. Don’t forget to sell concessions—who can resist cotton candy and funnel cakes for a good cause?!

A pajama day is a school fundraising idea that lets elementary students be a little lazy for a good cause by donating to stay in PJ's all day.

Pajama Day

Nothing beats the simplicity of a pajama day fundraiser. Your school will raise money and kids can sleep in—what could be better?

Charge students $1 or $2 to wear pajamas for a full school day. You can amp up the fun by serving breakfast for lunch in the cafeteria.

A movie day is a school fundraising idea that's sure to be a winner for elementary students.

Movie Showing

What’s better than watching a good movie with friends? Watching one during the school day (and raising some money while you’re at it)!

Elementary students will love donating a few dollars to get out of class to watch a fan favorite film. Don’t forget to bring the popcorn and juice!

Perfect for late spring, a field day is a school fundraising idea that lets elementary school students be active and carefree!

Field Day

By the time spring rolls around, there’s nothing kids want more than to go outside and play. That’s why field days are amazing fundraising ideas for elementary schools!

You can charge general admission or to participate in individual games. Invite parents and set up merchandise and concessions stands, as well as a general donation booth, to bring in maximum donations.

A parents' party lets elementary school parents have some fun and build community while raising money for their school fundraiser.

Parents’ Party

Your school’s students can be amazing fundraisers, but let’s not leave out the parents! A parents’ party is a fun event to get parents together and rally for a good cause—your school!

Host your event at a local restaurant to get the community involved in school fundraising, too. Most importantly, don’t forget to offer childcare!

A "principal challenge" is the perfect incentive for kids to raise donations for their school fundraiser!

Principal Challenge

Sometimes principals get a bad reputation for being serious and authoritative. This fundraiser will change your students’ minds about that and raise money for your school.

Students donate to see their principal do something silly, like getting pied in the face. Set a reasonable goal so that students are sure to see the payoff.

Middle School Fundraising Ideas

A talent show is a school fundraising idea that allows middle school students to show off their creative side.

Talent Show

Middle school students might be hiding a multitude of talents, from comedic chops to belting out a Broadway tune. 

Give these kids their chance to shine by hosting a talent show fundraiser. Charge a small fee to participate as well as an admission fee for spectators.

Students, parents, and teachers love a picnic in the sun, so this school fundraising idea is sure to be a hit for everyone!

School Picnic

A school picnic fundraiser is a fantastic way to get kids out of the cafeteria and into the sun on a nice spring day. 

Students can donate a small fee to attend a picnic during an extended lunch period. Make sure to offer plenty of snacks and games!

A spelling bee is one of the most classic school fundraising ideas around, and it's perfect for middle or elementary schools!

Spelling Bee

Combining education with a little friendly competition is sure to spell success for your school fundraiser.

For the spelling bee fundraiser, have students find sponsors to donate for each word they spell correctly. Add a twist by having a teachers’ bonus bee at the end!

A fantastic fall fundraising idea for your school, the haunted house fundraiser can be as silly or spooky as you want it to be.

Haunted House

When it comes to seasonal fundraisers, almost nothing outranks (or out-spooks!) the haunted house during October. 

Work with parents and teachers to build a haunted house and have students pay a small fee to walk through. You can keep the haunted house open during school hours or host a nighttime event during a weekend.

Education and a good cause come together in this challenging fundraising idea—the read-a-thon!


A guaranteed way to make reading cool for middle school students? Add a competitive element by turning reading into a fundraiser!

Students should obtain sponsors to donate based on the number of pages they read throughout a quarter, semester, or even a full year. Don’t forget to offer prizes for each milestone students hit.

A scavenger hunt is a fun way to raise money for your school fundraiser.

Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are easy to organize and fun for all ages. Make the clues a little more challenging, and middle schoolers are sure to partake!

Students can pay to form teams and embark on the hunt throughout a full school day (or even longer). Bonus points if you can tie the clues into your teachers’ lesson plans!

See how @Pay can assist with your organization's fundraising efforts.

High School Fundraising Ideas

A battle of the bands helps your high school raise money while giving students a chance to compete using their musical skills.

Battle of the Bands

Music is a hobby for many high school students, so give them the perfect venue to share their passion: a battle of the bands fundraiser!

Like a talent show, charge groups a fee to participate (or audition) as well as an admission fee on the big night. Don’t forget to plan for rehearsals and sound checks.

Raise money for your high school fundraiser by getting out the soap bucket and putting students to work at a car wash!

Car Wash

High school students know the value of a clean, good-looking vehicle. That’s why they’ll love a car wash fundraiser!

Set up a car wash in the high school parking lot during a weekend in the late spring, and have students take shifts cleaning the cars. Advertise to parents well in advance so they know to attend!

A prom dress drive is a school fundraising idea that's tailor-made for high school students looking for that perfect ensemble for the big dance.

Prom Dress Drive

There’s one thing on almost every high school girl’s mind: what to wear to the big dance, of course!

Whether you plan this fundraiser around homecoming or prom season, you’re sure to get a big turnout. Ask members of your community to donate old formal dresses, which you’ll sell at a discounted price to your students.

Raise money for your high school fundraiser by walking and jogging laps on the school track.


The classic walkathon can work for all ages, but high school students especially love this fundraiser when you add a competitive edge!

Students can have friends, classmates, and relatives sponsor them to walk or jog a certain amount of laps around the school track during a designated time. You can plan a field day in conjunction with your walk/jog-a-thon for even more fun (and fundraising)!

A chore auction gives parents, teachers, and peers a chance to put high school students to work—all for a good cause, of course!

Chore Auction

This fundraiser is perfect for parents who have a hard time persuading their high school students to get their chores done.

An audience can bid during a live auction to have students complete errands or other mundane chores. Teachers can task students with cleaning classrooms, while classmates may enjoy seeing their friends clean their lockers—for a price!

High school athletes can bring in donations for your school fundraiser by offering their time and skills at a summer sports camp in the community.

Summer Sports Camp

Student athletes love to share their hard-earned skills and expertise with the community, so why not do it for a good cause?

Have members of your high school sports teams donate their time to host a community sports camp during the summer. Children can pay a fee to learn from the greats, with all the money going back to your school!

College and University Fundraising Ideas

This college fundraising idea is a perfect way to raise funds while making a dorm room feel a little more like home.

Dorm Decorating Contest

It’s hard to spruce up a cramped space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try!

Have residents pay a small fee to enter their dorm in the contest, with the winner taking home a coveted prize (and bragging rights). You can even make it a holiday-themed competition!

The beard challenge fundraising idea encourages collegiate men to grow out their facial hair in exchange for donations for their university club or organization.

Beard Challenge

Perfect for fraternities or other social clubs, a beard challenge is a fun, silly way for guys on campus to raise money for their organizations.

Participants obtain sponsors to donate toward their beard-growing endeavor. The more money you raise, the longer you have to keep up the challenge!

The cook-off is a classic fundraising idea that your college campus can take on easily!


For this fundraiser, students will have to get out of the dining hall and into their kitchens!

Charge students a fee to enter their best dish in a themed cook-off (think: chili, baked goods, or burgers). Guests can judge the entries by making donations.

A modern twist on the talent show, a lip-sync showdown is a school fundraising idea that's sure to bring a lot of laughs (and donations!).

Lip Sync Showdown

You might not actually be singing or playing instruments, but this fundraiser still requires a lot of talent!

Students can pay to form teams to participate in a lip sync showdown and “belt out” their favorite hits. Have the audience pick the winner by their applause, or ask esteemed members of your campus community to be the judges!

The engraved bricks school fundraising idea is perfect for graduating seniors and alumni.

Engraved Bricks

Great for students and alumni, this fundraiser gives individuals a chance to have a lasting impact on their university.

Offer students the opportunity to have their name engraved on a brick to be placed in a walkway or courtyard on campus. Time this fundraiser around graduation, so that soon-to-be alumni have a way to leave their mark!

The jailhouse school fundraising idea will have everyone on campus on the run, raising funds for your university!


There’s no better fundraiser to get everyone involved on campus!

Students pay to have friends thrown in “jail” at the center of campus. To get out of jail, the individual must match the initial donation. Make this more fun by posting a Most Wanted list of notable campus figures, each with a high bail amount that they must meet if caught.

Additional Fundraising Resources

Text-to-Give Software: A Comprehensive Guide

Text-to-give is a great fundraising strategy for any age group. Read this thorough guide to learn how to get the most out of your text-to-give campaign and raise more for your school.

Discover the benefits of text-to-give!

What to Know About Nonprofit Email Newsletters

Email newsletters are a natural way to keep parents, students, and alumni updated on your campaign progress. Learn how to create an effective newsletter!

Improve your email campaigns!

Fundraising Ideas for Fraternities and Sororities

If your Greek organization is looking for unique ways to bring in funds for your chapter or charity, OmegaFi has got you covered with these 14 creative fundraising ideas! 

Check out these ideas from OmegaFi!

See how @Pay can assist with your organization's fundraising efforts.