A lot of schools rely on fundraising to ensure clubs, sports teams, field trips and other fun activities can take place. Bake sales, walk-a-thons, and carnivals are common school fundraisers but they require a big time commitment from parents and kids alike.
To help alleviate bake sale fatigue, we’ve compiled a list of 17 unique fundraising ideas, perfect for grades K-12. From
Unique Fundraising Ideas for Grades K-12
1. Dinner Fundraiser
Dinner fundraisers are successful for a reason: busy parents love to skip cooking! Set up a dinner night at your school where people pay a certain amount for a plate of food. They can take it with them and enjoy it at home or stay and eat dinner with other parents, teachers, and children. They don’t have to worry about cooking and your school gets the profits. Win-win!
2. Penny Wars
Penny wars are a simple but effective fundraiser that requires almost no time commitment. Give each class or grade a large glass jar. Clearly label each jar with the teacher’s name or grade level and place it in a central location at your school, like the cafeteria or lobby. Each class tries to fill the jar up with as many pennies as possible over a week’s time. You can make it more challenging by allowing the students to sabotage the rival class/grade jars by putting coins and bills other than pennies in the jars. (A quarter cancels out 25 pennies, a dollar cancels out 100 pennies, etc.) The class or grade with the most pennies (not the most money!) at the end of the week is the winner!
3. Custom T-Shirt Fundraiser
Bring the classic t-shirt fundraiser into the 21st century by using an online t-shirt printing service like Bonfire to design and sell custom shirts for your school. Online shirt sales are great because they allow people to shop when it’s convenient for them and online printing companies often carry a variety of styles to appeal to different people. This type of fundraiser is also great because it can run for longer than an in-person shirt sale!
4. Coffee Bean Sale
People love coffee and would be happy to buy something they actually want from a fundraiser! Contact local coffee roasters to see what their fundraising options are or search for coffee fundraisers to find several companies that specialize in coffee bean sales.
5. Garage Sale
Garage sales are a win-win for schools and parents. Parents declutter their homes by donating old clothes, toys, books, video games, etc to the garage sale and the school gets all the profits from the sale. Parents can choose to take back any unsold items or they can be donated to a local charity or thrift store. Hold your garage sale on Saturday morning in the school cafeteria or gym, invite the whole neighborhood, and watch the donations pile up!
6. Balloon raffle
Balloon raffles are an fun & easy fundraiser for all ages. Simply put raffle tickets into balloons, blow up the balloons, and give the balloons out as people buy the raffle tickets. When it’s time to announce the winners of the raffle, have everyone pop their balloons to get their tickets out. Kids will love to pop the balloons and parents will love to win raffle prizes!
7. Give it Up Challenge
The Give it Up Challenge is better suited for older students, especially high schoolers. The idea is that instead of buying fast food, coffee, or snacks for a week, they donate the money they would have spent on those things to their school. To make it easier, you can shorten the time to a day or two.
8. Specific Date, Specific Amount Fundraiser
This is perhaps the easiest fundraiser on the list and it can be very effective. The idea is that a date is chosen for parents to donate a specific amount of money. You can make it something easy to remember like $10 on the 10th or something more arbitrary like $25 on the 13th. Just make sure you remind parents early and often so they don’t forget!
9. Tie Dye Event
A tie dye event can work two ways: you can have students tie dye shirts to sell, or charge them a nominal fee to tie dye a shirt or two from home. Students will love the opportunity to get creative and your school’s finances will get a boost!
10. Chili Cook Off
Some people have a special recipe and they’d love the chance to prove they make the best chili! This is a great event that can be monetized two ways: charge people an entry fee to sample chili and then have them vote for their favorite or simply have them donate to the parent or teacher they think made the best chili. All proceeds will go to the school but the winner gets to say they’re your school’s chili cook-off champion! Turn it into a community event by inviting friends, family, neighbors, etc.
11. Charity Golf Tournament
Holding a golf tournament fundraiser takes more time, effort, and resources than our other suggestions but it could possibly bring in thousands of dollars in just one day. If you’re interested in holding a golf tournament fundraiser for your school, contact local golf courses and country clubs to see which would be a good fit for you. Most courses and clubs hold fundraisers on a semi-regular basis and will be able to guide you through the process.
12. Principal Punishment
In this case, “punishment” just means the principal will do something drastic, like shave their head, dye their hair, or take a pie to the face. Set up jars in a central location with different “punishments” on them. Over a week or so, have students donate to the jar with the “punishment” they’d like to see their principal endure. Afterward, hold an assembly to see the principal get their “punishment”!
13. Shoe Drive
Shoe drives are a great way to let parents declutter while raising money for their child’s school and doing good around the world. Organizations like Funds 2 Orgs collect gently worn shoes and pays your school a certain amount per pound of shoes donated. The shoes are then sent to micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries to sell in their own communities. Your school gets the funding it needs and entrepreneurs get shoes to help their business and community thrive.
14. Book Sale
A book sale is another fundraiser that involves decluttering while raising money for your school. Ask parents to donate books they no longer want or need and have the school librarian donate books the school library can’t use anymore. Book sales are popular events so be sure to invite the whole community!
15. Hold a Restaurant Night for Your School
This is another popular fundraiser because it allows parents to forget cooking for the night and gives back to their child’s school. Many chain restaurants allow you to set up a fundraising night for your school or club where you’ll receive a certain percentage of the sales from people associated with your organization. You can find a list of restaurants with fundraising nights by doing a quick search or try calling local restaurants to see if they have fundraising options.
16. Sell Car Decals/Magnets
Decals or car magnets with your school’s logo are great because they’re inexpensive and people love showing support for their school! They’re especially good as a high school fundraiser since upperclassmen typically begin driving and may want one for their own vehicle, in addition to parents who may want one. You can sell them every day in the school office, and set up a table at sporting events to give your sales a boost.
17. Sell Cause Bracelets
These don’t have to be the silicone bracelets that you usually think of when you think of cause bracelets. You can find these bracelets in a variety of styles, or you may choose to have students make bracelets in school colors. Sell the bracelets at pep rallies, football games, or other sporting events so everyone can show their school spirit!