Whether you’re fundraising for your church’s youth group, your school, or your kid’s sports team, investing in the education and wellbeing of your kids is priceless. With a youth-oriented fundraiser, you can raise money for educational trips, sports equipment, classroom supplies, art supplies, musical instruments, or any other cause.
If you get kids in on the fundraising fun, you have a great opportunity to teach them important values like leadership, responsibility, goal-setting, team building, and community engagement. It’s vital to explain why their fundraising participation matters and how their volunteer work and donations will go towards making a positive difference in their communities. Providing context for your kids’ fundraising efforts will make their experience much more meaningful and begin paving their path towards becoming knowledgeable and involved citizens of their communities.
Planning fundraisers for kids comes with its own set of unique challenges. Coming up with a fundraiser that kids will be excited to participate in without placing any additional burdens on pandemic-exhausted parents can be a tricky balancing act. Turning a fundraiser into a positive educational opportunity for young ones can also be a difficult task.
If you’re struggling to come up with fresh and unique fundraising ideas for your next youth fundraiser, we’re here to help. Read on to see our comprehensive list of fundraising ideas for kids that’ll fill your cash boxes and set your young ones up for success.
Easy Fundraising Ideas for Kids
1. Car wash
Hosting a car wash is a classic fundraising event that’ll keep your community’s cars sparkling clean. The young ones will love the opportunity to splash around with their friends in the hot summer months, and as a bonus, they’ll learn a skill they can take home to their own family’s cars. To make things easier for your supporters, set up an online registration form where they can pay ahead of time. Then, ask them to bring their digital confirmation receipt to receive a car wash instead of making them carry cash to your fundraiser. For a fun twist the kids are sure to appreciate, turn your car wash into a dog wash for the furry friends in your community! Just don’t forget to have parents sign a waiver before having their kids participate in any fundraising activities.
2. Christmas tree/wreath sales
When the holidays roll around, many people will be in search of the perfect Christmas tree or holiday wreaths to adorn their homes. To meet this demand, consider partnering with a local tree farm or nursery to host a Christmas tree or Christmas wreath fundraiser. One option for your fundraiser is to find a lot to rent out where you can display your selection of trees and wreaths for potential buyers to pick from. Have your kids get in on the festivities by decorating the lot and a few trees with colorful holiday lights and ornaments to attract buyers.
If you aren’t able to find a lot to sell from, put together an online store so your supporters can purchase trees and wreaths from their home. Offer a one-day pick-up event or a delivery service to get your holiday greenery to their new homes. If you partner with a tree farm or nursery, they may be able to arrange some delivery or pick-up services, so your job will mainly be marketing and selling trees.
3. Shoe drive fundraiser
You know those old shoes lying around your house? The sneakers your kids have grown out of or the boots that have been collecting dust at the back of your closet for years? With a shoe drive fundraiser, you can help your gently used, never worn shoes find new, loving homes while raising money for your cause.
Simply promote your fundraiser in your community and place cardboard boxes in high-traffic areas to collect shoes. Once your boxes have been filled, collect the shoes and mail them off to a shoe drive fundraising organization where they’ll weigh and process the shoes you’ve collected, distribute them to micro-businesses around the world, and write your organization a check according to the number of shoes you sent in.
4. Balloon raffle
Take your average raffle fundraiser up a notch with a balloon raffle fundraiser. As you prepare for your fundraiser, canvas your local businesses and donors for items, coupons, or vouchers. Grab your balloons and start stuffing them with slips of paper your supporters can redeem for the prizes you’ve collected before filling them with helium. Sell the balloons at your event, and towards the end of the night, have people pop them at the same time to see what they’ve won.
5. Straw Draw
Similar to a balloon raffle, this fundraiser is an effective way to raise money for your organization. Attach slips of paper with prizes on them to a bunch of straws, and have your supporters pay a small fee to draw a straw during your event to see what they’ve won. To make your event more eco-friendly, charge more and purchase reusable straws people can take home with them and use over and over again.
Selling candygrams is a fun way for kids to send their friends a sweet treat while also raising money for your organization or school. Purchase some small cards and inexpensive, simple candies in bulk, like boxes of conversation hearts for Valentine’s Day or candy canes around the winter holidays.
Then, advertise your event with fliers and handouts. Set up a table where people can stop by and pay to send a candygram to their friends. Have them write a short message on your candygram cards, and then your team of kids will deliver the candygrams to their destinations on a specific day.
Keep a list of students or your group members on hand to make sure everyone gets a candygram, and add a sign to your table giving people an option to order extra candygrams to cover the cost.
Pro tip: Keep it inclusive by including fun, allergy-safe options for the 8% of U.S. kids that have food allergies.
7. Restaurant night
Partner with a local restaurant for a family dinner night out for a delicious meal that also raises money for your organization. Find a restaurant that would be willing to donate a set percentage of their sales on a specific day to your organization. If you’re having difficulty finding a small business that would be willing to partner with you, there are plenty of national chain restaurants that offer a rewarding restaurant fundraising program, from Chipotle to Panera. After you’ve organized the fundraiser, create fliers and advertise your restaurant night on social media, encouraging people to dine out at your chosen restaurant to support your organization.
8. Guessing games
Do you have some candy corn leftover from this year’s Halloween festivities or stale jellybeans you don’t plan on eating? Grab a jar and fill it up for a simple guessing game fundraiser!
. Display the jar somewhere prominent, and ask participants to make a guess for how many pieces of candy are in the jar. Charge a certain amount per guess, and whoever is closest to the correct number gets a prize.
9. Pajama Day
As a kid, there’s almost nothing more exciting than getting the opportunity to wear your pajamas to school, especially if the dress code usually doesn’t allow it. Get kids excited about a fundraiser by hosting a pajama day at school. Pick a day and ask for donations to wear PJs and slippers to classes all day. For a fun addition, ask students to bring sleeping bags and blankets to school with them. End classes a little early, pass out bowls of cereal, and put some classic Saturday morning cartoons on the projector.
10. Teacher or Principal Challenge
Students love seeing their teachers and principals outside of their comfort zone. During a school event like a carnival or back-to-school celebration, run a booth where students can pay to have the opportunity to pie the principal in the face or dunk their teachers in a dunk tank. For an even more involved challenge, get a teacher to commit to shaving their head when you’ve reached a fundraising goal.
11. Pictures with Santa
When the holidays roll around, little ones will love the opportunity to tell Santa their wish lists and grab a quick photo. If you’re holding this fundraiser in the spring, photos with the Easter Bunny will be just as cute, or host a short photoshoot with kids and their furry friends. Charge a small fee if parents want a copy or two of the photos for their photo albums.
Unique Fundraising Ideas for Kids
12. Rubber ducky races
If your supporters are game for a bit of friendly competition, host a rubber ducky or matchbox car race. Charge participants a small fee to purchase a ducky or toy car that will be entered into the race. The buyer of the toy that reaches the finish line first will receive a prize.
13. Singing telegrams
A perfect fundraiser for a choir, sell singing telegrams to students who want to surprise their friends with a song during class. Once the school administration signs off, set up a table where students can purchase a singing telegram for a person of their choice. Pick a day where choir members can walk from class to class serenading unsuspecting recipients with a fun song.
14. Flamingo flocking
Flamingo flocking is a fundraising event perfect for communities that enjoy a little bit of harmless practical prankery. With this fundraiser, members of your organization can pay to have kids place a flock of plastic yard flamingos in the yard of a family member, friend, or fellow organization member.
After planting the flock, you’ll need to leave a flyer at every flamingo victim’s home explaining how they can donate money to have the flamingoes removed and planted in someone else’s front yard of their choosing. Alternatively, if anyone wants to avoid a yard full of pink birds, they can donate money as “flamingo insurance” to be placed on a “no flock” list.
While this requires a bit of preparation and organization, kids will love this opportunity to have some fun with their friends and family. Just make sure to properly advertise and spread the word so people aren’t confused when they wake up or come home to a front yard covered in birds.
Check out this flamingo flocking fundraiser from Saint Francis Medical Center for inspiration.
15. Used book sale
Do you have outdated textbooks or slightly worn library books that can no longer be used or checked out? Host a used book sale to find these old paper companions a new home while raising money for your school or organization.
16. Craft day
Turn playing hooky into a fundraiser with a craft day. Kids can pay to skip a class or two and participate in a creative project or a field day. Turn the fundraiser into a competition between classes for who can raise the most money.
17. Water balloon or “snowball” fight
Looking for a fun activity to take your kids’ minds off the insufferable summer heat or bitter winter cold? Turn classic summer and winter activities into a fundraising opportunity by organizing the ultimate water balloon or snowball fight. Charge for admission to join in on the fun, divide kids into teams, set up a few forts to add to the experience, and let the fun commence.
18. Obstacle course
Rent an inflatable obstacle course or DIY your own for a fundraiser with a little friendly competition. Charge a fee to participate and watch as kids race their friends to the finish line for a small prize.
19. Handmade holiday card sales
The holidays are a time to connect with friends and family near and far, and how better than with a thoughtful card. Wrangle all of your creative kids together and ask them to put their art skills to work creating one-of-a-kind holiday cards. Sell the cards in an online store on your website or set up a table in a highly-trafficked area to display the cards for sale.
Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers for Kids
20. Furry Best Friend 5K
Anything is more fun when your furry best friends can come along, and a fundraiser 5K is no different. Ask participants to solicit their friends and family for donations on a personal fundraising page leading up to the big race. When the day comes, lace up your running shoes and leash up your athletic dogs for a family fun run for the books.
21. Costume contest
If it’s getting close to Halloween, take costumes to the next level with a peer-to-peer costume contest. Have your supporters submit photos of themselves to be posted on your fundraising website and then ask for donations from their family and friends as a “vote” toward
s whoever has the best costume. Designate prizes for different categories like “Best Kids’ Costume” or “Most Creative Family Costume.”
22. Talent show
Let your kids shine with a peer-to-peer talent show. Encourage your kids to get on stage or display their masterpieces and have people “vote” for their favorite talent by donating to individual fundraising pages.
23. Cookie-decorating contest
Show off your family’s creative baking skills with a cookie-decorating contest. Set a theme for your contest, whether you’re making cookies for Santa or a few spooky treats. Host a bake sale or have people submit photos of their sweet treats for an online photo collection. People can “vote” for their favorite sugary confections with donations.
Get your kids away from screens and encourage them to get lost in fictional worlds with a peer-to-peer read-a-thon. Ask supporters to share their kid’s fundraising page with family and friends and swap out the tablet for books for a week. Encourage them to ask for donations based on the number of minutes kids spend reading or pages they’ve read. Have them log their stats on their individual fundraising pages to keep donors updated.
25. Dodgeball tournament
Encourage some teamwork with a dodgeball tournament. Have kids sign up on your fundraising website to be on a team with their best friends and go head-to-head, not only to be crowned dodgeball champions, but also to raise the most money together as a team. Check out Junior Achievement’s Adults Dodgeball Tournament if you need inspiration for your own dodgeball event.
26. Clean-up challenge
Clean up your parks and community areas while raising money for a good cause with a clean-up challenge. Have participants set up individual and team fundraising pages and ask for donations based on the number of trash bags they fill as they pick up litter around their neighborhoods. Plan an event as a culmination of all your clean-up efforts where you gather at a specific area that could really use some sprucing up and duke it out to be crowned clean-up champion.
Fundraising Ideas for Kids’ Sports Teams
27. Concession stand
The next time your sports team has a game against another school or club team, set up a concession stand to sell treats to your loyal spectators. Have parents volunteer to bake goodies as menu items or donate snacks they’ve picked up in bulk. When it’s getting cold out, add hot chocolate and hand warmers to your menu so your loyal team supporters can stay warm as they cheer from the stands. In hotter climates, handheld fans are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and will sell out quickly.
28. T-shirts, calendars, and other team merch sales
Do your sports team supporters need some merch to rep your team at your games? Consider selling team t-shirts, hats, jerseys, and other merch items so your fans can take their support to the next level. If the new year is coming up, plan a fun photoshoot with your team to turn into a calendar so your most loyal supporters can take their support home with them and display it on their wall. Don’t have the space or manpower to run a physical merchandise stand at your games? Set up an online store instead.
29. Host a sports camp
High school athletes can keep the little ones active with a sports camp and raise money for their own teams at the same time. Pick a week or two in the summer where your team athletes can host a camp for the kids, teaching them valuable skills in the sport of their choice. Then, charge parents a small fee to sign their kids up for the camp.
30. T-shirt and banner ad sales
Every sports team has a few sponsors, so why not ask the small businesses in your area if they’re willing to show their support with a few donations. In exchange, print your sponsors’ logos on the backs of your team jerseys and t-shirts and on banners you can hang around the field your team plays on to advertise their support.
31. Bake sale
Ask each of your athletes to bake a tray of sweet treats, then set up a table at school or in a popular area in your neighborhood or community to sell the treats to supporters. For a digital alternative, collect pre-orders via an online shop for a selection of pre-determined treats and get your athletes together for a night of sweet team bonding, baking treats, and delivering them to buyers’ homes together.
32. Equipment supply drive
Need new equipment for your team? Take a page out of The Sharing Center’s book, and use a virtual supply drive to get everything from new baseballs and bats to sanitizing wipes. Simply set up an online store where your supporters can browse and shop for your team, “purchasing” equipment items your team needs.
33. Kids vs. coaches
Pit your team against your coaches with a kids vs. coaches game day. Set up a number of challenges, sports-related and non-sports-related, and have people donate online to the team they think will win each challenge.
Fundraising Events for Kids
34. Field day
Get your kids out of the classroom for a field day where they can work on their team-building skills and strengthen their minds and muscles along the way. Set up obstacle courses and fun physical challenges for a day of fun in the sun, away from the textbooks and homework assignments. Charge a small participation fee, or turn your field day into a schoolwide peer-to-peer challenge where classes compete to raise the most money.
35. School carnival
Perfect for a back-to-school fundraiser, host a school carnival in your gymnasium or out on the playground. Ask families to sponsor or volunteer to run a booth, and sell tickets your carnival participants can exchange to try their hand at a few classic games like balloon pop and bean bag toss. Offer a few small prizes at some of the more difficult games to encourage participation, and host a raffle to raise even more money. For an adults-only option, check out this Cocktails & Carnival event SPARK! Dallas hosted to raise money for creative learning programs for youth.
36. Family-friendly movie night
Put the event planning in your kiddos’ hands for a fun, family-friendly movie night. Set up a ticket booth where your supporters can purchase admissions into the movie. Have your kids run the concession stand so they can learn how to handle money and work on their customer service skills. Allowing your kids to take control of an event is a great opportunity for them to work as a team and learn some responsibility.
37. Craft camp
Encourage your kids’ creativity to bloom by hosting a crafts camp. For this perfect after-school event, set up tables with crafty activities like finger-painting and paper lantern-making and let your kids’ imaginations run wild.
38. Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is a fun, interactive way to raise money for your school or organization. Charge a participation fee, hide small prizes around your school or a local park and have your kids team up to solve clues to find them. As a less labor-intensive alternative, print out a sheet of clues and have kids participate by solving them and taking photos of the answers. Need scavenger hunt inspiration? Check out this scavenger hunt hosted by Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes.
Team up with your local mini-golf venue for a fun night of family-friendly golfing. Sell event tickets, ask local businesses to sponsor a few holes, and run a raffle for an additional way to raise some money.
40. Awards gala + auction
An awards gala and auction can be fun for every member of the family if done right. Solicit auction baskets and items from local businesses or sponsors, and sell tickets for a fun night out for the parents. Provide child care with a separate supervised area for games and kid-friendly activities while the auction runs to keep kids occupied and having fun.
Partner with a nearby bowling alley for a fun night to take the family out and knock over some bowling pins. Sell tickets for your event, run a few competitions, or see if your bowling alley would be willing to donate a portion of the proceeds from the night to your school or organization.
If your supporters play lots of video games, a game-a-thon is a great way to raise money while your kids get to do what they love. Set up a sign-up sheet for kids to play, and create private livestreams for them to go head-to-head with each other. Share the links with family and friends so they can watch and cheer their little ones on no matter where they are in the world. Build a fundraising page, and direct donors to your page while the gaming happens. For ideas while you’re planning your own game-a-thon event, check out this “Givers & Gamers” event that Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass organized.
43. Pizza party
Partner with your local pizzeria and reserve a special night for a pizza party fundraiser. Encourage your families to come out and gather for a few slices and arcade games. A school-friendly alternative is to host a fundraising competition between classes, and whichever class raises the most money wins a pizza party!
44. Student art exhibit, recital, or play
Show off your students’ talents with an event the community can buy tickets to. Whether it’s an art exhibit, music recital, or theatre performance, set up a booth where people can buy tickets in the weeks leading up to the event. The night of, don’t forget a concession
s stand and a place to buy merchandise before, after, and during intermission.
Fundraising Ideas for Individual Kids
45. Discount card fundraisers
Team up with local businesses to offer discounts to those who support your school. Collect these discounts and put together a coupon book parents can buy. For younger kids, get them involved in the planning by asking them which local restaurants and businesses they’d like to see on the discount card. Use this opportunity with older kids to teach them about marketing and business communications by having them create proposals and reach out to local businesses themselves.
46. Cookie dough fundraisers
When the cold weather rolls around, sweet treats seem to proliferate out of everyone’s ovens, and the smell of baked treats become a permanent part of the air. Take advantage of this sweet time of year with a cookie dough fundraiser. Have the kids distribute catalogs of cookie dough options and ask supporters to place orders. When the cookie dough comes in, go from house to house delivering every order.
47. Lip-sync competition
A lip-sync competition is a perfect way to raise money with a bit of goofy fun. Have kids and families sign up to participate with their favorite songs, and sell tickets by advertising a night of song and dance. Audience members can “vote” for their favorite acts by donating to personal fundraising pages, or charge a small flat fee to submit a vote. Livestream the event to expand your fundraiser’s reach and let family and friends participate from afar.
48. Scratch card fundraiser
Order special fundraising scratch cards in bulk from a scratch card provider or local printer and distribute them to your supporters. Simply request that they scratch off at least two scratcher areas to reveal donation amounts they can pledge to your school and organization.
49. Chores fundraising
Hire out your small helping hands for a chores fundraiser that’ll keep your kids busy while helping your community out. Have kids offer to do chores for parents, grandparents, neighbors, or anyone that needs help in your community in return for donations. These chores can be anything from mowing the lawn or weeding, to cleaning windows or dusting. Turn it into a family affair by having everyone show up and participate, delegating tasks and getting the job done faster.
Getting kids involved in fundraising isn’t always easy, but with the right fundraiser, you’ll turn your little ones into fundraising pros in no time.
Need help planning your next fundraiser? Check out these resources: