11 Fundraising Ideas for Schools and Clubs to Raise Money Online


Share this article

Raising money online is one of the most effective ways to make a profit with a school or club fundraiser.

After all, online fundraising allows anyone, anywhere to contribute to your campaign. It’s even easy to pivot traditional fundraising ideas to the virtual sphere—which we’ll demonstrate in this article.

There are plenty of online fundraising ideas for schools and clubs to choose from, but why waste time sifting through hundreds of ideas? We’ve gathered the top 11 fundraising ideas that can help you raise the most money through online channels:

  1. Peer-to-peer fundraising
  2. Leaderboards
  3. Shoe drive fundraiser
  4. Custom gear
  5. Custom donation pages
  6. Mobile-responsive donation forms
  7. Principal challenge
  8. School dance
  9. Matching gifts
  10. Coffee beans
  11. Raffles and auctions

Any one of these ideas can help you engage your students and raise more from your donors, so let’s get started with the first.

Need virtual fundraising ideas? Download PDF

School fundraising ideas like peer-to-peer fundraising require supporters to fundraise on your behalf.

School Fundraising Idea #1: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

The rundown 

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a great idea for schools and clubs that want to make use of their students’ extended personal and social media networks.

In peer-to-peer fundraising, each student, class, or club creates a personal fundraising page. They can then customize their page with text, photos, and videos, and share their pages over social media or email.

Donors can give directly to the personal fundraising pages, and your school receives the funds!

To motivate your students, you need to determine a personal fundraising goal for each of them. Every student who meets their goal should receive a prize, such as a ticket for a school lock-in.

Why it’s great 

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a great way for students to reach out to their friends and family members without having to sell them something that they may or may not want.

Instead, donors give directly to support the student in question and help them achieve their goal (and receive the prize you have waiting for them). Plus, students have the opportunity to tell their personal stories and explain how donations can benefit them directly.

These personal appeals can help your school or club fundraiser stand out to donors!

How to get started 

Your school will likely need peer-to-peer fundraising software to pull this off. With peer-to-peer fundraising software, students, teachers, or parents can create personal fundraising pages so that they can collect online donations and tell their personal stories.

Peer-to-peer software streamlines the donation process so that your school or club won’t have to individually process each payment or manually send receipts.

Many students today are involved in social media, especially at the middle and high school level. However, peer-to-peer fundraising doesn’t have to take place online. Students can just as easily go door-to-door to collect funds (which is a good alternative for younger students, or those who don’t have access to the internet at home). If this is something you allow, make sure that a parent or another adult accompanies your younger participants.

However, providing donation pages is a great way to brand your fundraiser to your school or club and showcase how much you need to raise on an interactive page. Plus, online giving is more convenient for donors, who can donate from the comfort of their homes!

Check out this example from Classroom Central’s fundraiser!

Example fundraiser from Classroom Central

Having a leaderboard is a school fundraising idea that encourages others to contribute.

School Fundraising Idea #2: Leaderboards

The rundown 

Leaderboards are a great way to inspire your students and faculty with some friendly competition.

Leaderboards make use of peer-to-peer fundraising, but they add an interesting twist. Instead of trying to achieve a personal fundraising goal, each participant tries to raise the most money to win a prize.

Here are a few ways you can use leaderboards:

  • Each teacher creates a peer-to-peer fundraising page and solicits donations from students. The teacher who raises the most money gets to have a class party.
  • Each student creates a peer-to-peer fundraising page and reaches out to their friends and family members. The students who raise the most money get to be “teacher for a day.”
  • School clubs create a peer-to-peer fundraising page and solicit donations from students and the community. The club that raises the most money receives extra funding.

The key is to provide a reward for the fundraising team who raises the most money.

Why it’s great 

Leaderboards work because they capitalize on the “fun” in fundraising! 

A little friendly competition can add a great deal of energy and zest to your fundraiser because it motivates your supporters.

How to get started 

If you’re using comprehensive peer-to-peer software like Qgiv, leaderboards are already included in the package. You can add leaderboards to your Fundraising Hub—along with your fundraising thermometer—to keep your participants engaged. These leaderboards update in real-time so that everyone in your school always knows who’s on top (and how much they need to raise to claim the throne themselves).

Otherwise, you can manually create a leaderboard on a whiteboard or chalkboard and assign a staff member to update the leaderboard everyday.

Check out these leaderboards from the Boys & Girls Club of New Haven!

Example fundraising leaderboard from Boys & Girls Club of New Haven

A shoe drive fundraiser is a great school fundraising idea that students will enjoy.

School Fundraising Idea #3: Shoe Drive Fundraiser

The rundown 

Shoe drive fundraisers are a fantastic fundraising idea that engages students (and faculty) of all ages. 

Parents and faculty alike will enjoy decluttering their homes and donating their unwanted shoes to a good cause. While you’ll need to collect the materials in person, heavy online marketing will help you gain the most traction and set your school or club up for success.

Why it’s great 

Think about it: everyone has shoes they no longer wear lying around their homes. Why wouldn’t they jump at the chance to clean up their homes while also supporting your school?

Shoe drive fundraisers are a great engagement tool for students. They teach children and teens the value of philanthropy and instill them with a sense of responsibility. Plus, you can easily spike engagement by turning it into a friendly competition between students and their classmates.

How to get started 

To kickstart your efforts, all you need to do is partner with a shoe drive fundraiser facilitator like Funds2Orgs. They’ll supply you with all the materials you need, from marketing to shoe collection. You just have to set up the collection materials around the community. 

Once you’re ready to go, head online to spread the word and reach the widest audience possible. Start by uploading announcements to your school’s website and events calendar. Then, take to social media where friends and family can share your insightful posts. Make sure to mention the locations where you’ve placed the materials as well as the final pickup time and the types of shoes collected.

To encourage participation, include an additional element: gamification. Employ leaderboards that keep up with your top collectors. Once your campaign wraps up, offer small prizes to top fundraisers (something as simple as public recognition online will do).

When your campaign wraps up, notify the shoe drive fundraiser facilitator to arrange a pickup time. Once they process the shoes, you’ll receive a check in the mail. It’s as easy as that! Best of all, you can pair a shoe drive fundraiser with all sorts of traditional and unique fundraising ideas, like walkathons or school carnivals. 

Your school or club can sell custom merchandise as one of your school fundraising ideas.

School Fundraising Idea #4: Custom Gear

The rundown 

One of the best ways to simultaneously promote school spirit and raise funds for your school is by selling custom gear online.

Almost every student, parent, teacher, and faculty member could use a t-shirt with your school’s name, colors, and mascot on the front! These shirts are perfect for school sporting events, spirit weeks, or just everyday life.

While t-shirts are one of the most popular examples, there are all kinds of fundraising products that you can sell, including:

  • Sweatshirts and hoodies
  • Baseball caps
  • Frisbees
  • Water bottles
  • Sweatbands
  • Sunglasses

No matter which you choose, customize your products so that they represent your school or club!

Why it’s great 

Custom gear is generally affordable and can be marketed to everyone in your school.

Plus, custom clothing is something that donors can actually use. Cookies will be eaten, flowers will die, and does anyone really need more candles?

T-shirts, on the other hand, have staying power, which gives them value!

At the same time, people are willing to buy new t-shirts every year if you vary the styles.

How to get started 

To get started selling your custom gear, consider opening up an online storefront so you can process orders through the web.

Your school can leverage t-shirt fundraising by joining a platform like Bonfire. With their t-shirt fundraising website, your school can design and sell beautiful apparel like t-shirts, tank tops, and sweatshirts.

Once your school’s t-shirt fundraising campaign reaches enough orders to make a profit, Bonfire simply charges for manufacturing and shipping. You can even enable donations through your sales page so that supporters can contribute even more to your cause.

You can use custom donation pages as a simple school fundraising idea.

School Fundraising Idea #5: Custom Donation Pages

The rundown 

Your clubs and teams shouldn’t have to depend on one or two fundraisers a year to stay afloat. One of the best fundraising ideas that can lead to long term success is creating custom donation pages for your school’s organizations.

Custom donation pages not only make it easy to differentiate your various fundraising campaigns, but also make it easy for donors to know exactly who is receiving their funds. After all, donors are going to be hesitant to give if they land on a generic donation page that isn’t branded with your school’s mascot and colors. In fact, donations made via a branded form are 38% larger (on average) than those made through a generic form.

When you choose online fundraising software for schools that can be fully customized, you’ll have more flexibility to create a page that is unique to your school and fundraising campaign.

With custom donation forms, your school can fundraise all year ‘round!

Why it’s great 

Custom donation forms are versatile; they suit practically any fundraiser that your school wants to hold!

And the benefits speak for themselves:

  • You can reach more donors with an online presence. When students can share your online donation page to family members in different states, your school will raise more.
  • You can meet your donors’ giving preferences. Not all donors will carry cash with them. Online giving allows them to pay with credit or debit cards from the comfort of their homes.
  • It’s convenient. Donors can access online giving wherever they are. Donors are more likely to give when they can do so on their own terms.
  • They can lead to more donations raised. Qgiv’s award-winning donation forms include additional features like impact images and recurring upgrade prompts to help you raise more. These details can make a big difference when monthly donors give 42% more in one year than one-time donors!

Custom donation forms are an investment in your school or club’s success!

How to get started 

To build custom donation pages, you’ll either need to:

  • Enlist the help of online fundraising software, which can help you build beautiful pages without advanced knowledge of HTML or CSS.
  • Build your page internally, using a pre-existing IT department or other technical resources.

Many schools opt for the first option because online fundraising software is easier to use and designed for school or nonprofit use. All you’ll need to do is determine your donation tiers, your design, and the fields that you want donors to fill out.

You can create mobile-responsive donation forms as one of your fundraising ideas for schools and clubs.

School Fundraising Idea #6: Mobile-Responsive Donation Forms

The rundown 

Teachers and administrators may complain about students using their cell phones in class, but mobile devices can be a huge benefit to your school.

Mobile-responsive donation forms are built such that:

  • People don’t have to resize their screens or scroll horizontally to fill out your donation forms.
  • Each field is easy to click on and fill out.
  • The page loads in 3 seconds or less.
  • Your text and images line up vertically (i.e. images don’t stack or break up text in the middle).
  • Your “Make a Donation” button is large and easy to press.

Following these tips will ensure that your donation forms are donor-friendly for the over 50% of users who will visit your website via a mobile phone!

Why is this important?

With effective, mobile-friendly donation forms, you can collect donations all year ‘round, building a steady stream of donations for your school or club.

Why it’s great 

With mobile giving, your school or club can raise money from devices that students use all the time in their daily lives.

When students and families can donate whenever the fancy strikes, your school or club will naturally receive more donations.

Plus, mobile giving can be paired with all kinds of fundraising ideas! This fundraising method is so versatile, you can promote it alongside an event or combine it with the appeal strategy of your choice. And if you up the ante by adding text fundraising, the options are limitless!

How to get started 

Mobile-responsive donation form software can help your nonprofit raise the funds that you need.

To get started, consider changing up your lesson plans for a day. Have teachers instruct students to pull out their cell phones and test out your mobile donation forms for themselves.

Students will get a kick out of having their phones in class, and you can rest assured that all of them will know how they can contribute to your school.

You can create a principal challenge as a fundraising idea for schools.

School Fundraising Idea #7: Principal Challenge

The rundown 

In a principal challenge, students vote with their dollars to determine a “punishment” for their principal.

The punishments are all in good humor and fun.

Here are a few examples:

  • The principal gets a pie in the face from the top fundraiser.
  • The principal wears a wacky costume for a week.
  • The principal dyes their hair a bright, crazy color.

There are tons of variations on the principal challenge. Anything that your principal is willing (and eager!) to do on behalf of your school is up for grabs!

When students make an online donation, give them a list of potential punishments to choose from. 

The punishment that raises the most money will be the one that your school will use.

To inspire more donations, your fundraising team will need to come up with some great punishments. The more ridiculous the punishments are, the more students will compete to have their favorite idea become a reality!

Why it’s great 

A principal challenge is great fun for everyone!

Students can see a respected figure act a little silly for the benefit of their school. Plus, friendly competition can encourage students to donate more.

How to get started 

When building your donation forms, simply include a dropdown menu so that students can choose which punishment they’d like to vote for. Many online donation forms make it easy to create options that people can select when they donate.

Want to explore more of our fundraising tools for your school? Request Demo

Host a school dance as one of your school fundraising ideas.

School Fundraising Idea #8: School Dance

The rundown 

A school dance is something that students look forward to. One of the best ways to incentivize donations for your school or club is to create a crowdfunding campaign with a school dance as the reward.

Here’s how it works: your school will determine an overall fundraising goal that students must achieve to turn the dance into reality. Students, teachers, and families can all contribute as much or as little to the campaign as they’d like. Together, your school works toward a single goal!

To make this fundraiser really actionable, divide your campaign goal by the number of students in your school. Then, you can advertise your crowdfunding campaign based upon how much each person would need to contribute (i.e., if every student gives only $10, we can host the dance!). Be sure to provide some wiggle room with individual goals to account for students who won’t (or can’t) donate.

Why it’s great 

A school dance is something that most students will enjoy! Plus, crowdfunding is all about teamwork — when students work together to raise money for your school, they all have a stake in reaching your goal.

If a school dance doesn’t seem like it would motivate your students, substitute the dance with any other big event, such as:

  • A comedy night.
  • A band party or concert.
  • A school carnival.

A comedy night and band concert are easy enough to hold via Zoom if you’re looking for virtual events. A school carnival can even be turned into a virtual game-a-thon, so that you don’t have to miss out on fun, engaging crowdfunding fundraisers until it’s safe to hold in-person events again.

Crowdfunding is a versatile fundraising idea that can meet all sorts of needs, and it usually just requires a little creativity to transition your event from being an in-person event to a virtual (or even hybrid) event.

How to get started 

All you need is a crowdfunding platform to host your campaign and a big prize to motivate your students (i.e. the dance!).

Be sure to choose a crowdfunding platform that works with nonprofits or schools.

Matching gift fundraisers are a great way to raise money for your school.

School Fundraising Idea #9: Matching Gifts

The rundown 

Another effective school fundraising idea is promoting matching gifts.

Did you know that many companies, from small businesses to large corporations, will match their employees’ charitable gifts?

For your next school fundraising campaign, your team should find ways to promote matching gifts to supporters.

This way, your school can double (or even triple) the success of your fundraisers simply by tapping into your community’s matching gifts potential.

Why it’s great 

Promoting matching gifts is great because it helps stretch the impact of your supporters’ donations.

There are a number of ways to get the word out to your school’s community about matching gift programs:

  • Hold a matching gifts drive
  • Share matching gifts “how-to” sheets with supporters
  • Send out personalized asks to matching gifts-eligible supporters
  • Add a matching gifts database to your online giving page and website

How to get started 

Your school can get started boosting your matching gifts revenue by investing in matching gifts software.

This includes a matching gift database that compiles information on different companies’ matching gift programs, parameters, and other key information.

Supporters can search the database to determine whether or not their gift is match-eligible.  If it is, all they need to do is follow the instructions to learn how to secure their gift match for your school.

You can have the students sell coffee beans as a club or school fundraising idea.

School Fundraising Idea #10: Coffee Beans

The rundown 

Gourmet or fair-trade coffee sales can help your school or club raise money from students’ families and neighbors. Fair-trade coffee has the added benefit of being an ethical fundraiser, so your school can set a positive example for students.

Sell coffee beans in an online storefront so that students can easily share the fundraiser with their extended network of friends and family members.

Why it’s great 

Coffee is something that all kinds of people appreciate. Many people drink coffee every day.

Plus, an online storefront allows students to reach out to their family members and friends from all over the country. If you like the idea of the online storefront but don’t want to host a coffee fundraiser, look into other food products, such as:

  • Cookies and cookie dough
  • Popcorn
  • Cheesecake
  • Fair-trade chocolate

While any of these foods will work, coffee beans are proven money makers that are sure to tempt your donors!

How to get started 

To run your online coffee fundraiser, you’ll need to find a coffee fundraising company with an online platform. Alternatively, you can build an online storefront with online fundraising software and feature the coffee products that you’re selling (though you would have to do so manually).

Rally Beans allows schools and nonprofit groups to sell different coffee products through their website.

Host a raffle or silent auction as one of your school fundraising ideas.

School Fundraising Idea #11: Raffles and Auctions

The rundown 

Raffles and auctions are a great school fundraising idea because they’re so much fun for participants.

Auctions and raffles offer an element of excitement — donors compete for the chance to win awesome items!

Why it’s great 

One of the biggest benefits of charity auctions and raffles is that they can be customized to suit your needs.

Raffles work best for both students and parents. Since raffle tickets are low-cost, more people can afford to purchase them.

In contrast, auctions are generally better suited to an adult audience, as pricier items can help you raise more money.

For the best of both worlds, combine an auction with a raffle so that students and families can participate together.

How to get started 

To host an effective auction, you’ll likely need the help of auction software.

Auction software can help you plan out your auction by keeping track of your item data.

You can use charity auction software to:

  • Track your guest’s registration
  • Organize your event details.
  • Accept payments through mobile and online giving channels.
  • Allow guests to bid using their phones
  • And so much more!

Plus, you can use mobile bidding so that donors stay on top of their bids (after all, they can place bids from their personal cell phones without having to traipse around the venue).

Need to pivot your auction to a virtual event? Download the PDF

Now that you know the top school and club fundraising ideas for raising money online, it’s time to choose the one that’s right for you!

To get started, request a demo from Qgiv to see how our fundraising solutions can elevate your school fundraiser and help you raise more money!

Additional Resources:

If you’re looking for more ways you can raise money for your school or club, look at these awesome articles.

  • Top Online Donation Tools. For a cost-effective way to raise money, schools and clubs can take their fundraising initiatives online. Additionally, schools will be able to reach more supporters through online and mobile tools. To find the right tool for your school, discover Qgiv’s full list of popular donation tools.
  • Text-to-Give vs. Text-to-Donate: The Complete Guide. Reach students, parents, and teachers on a familiar platform. Since your supporters use text messages to communicate on a regular basis, they’ll feel more comfortable giving to your school via text-to-give or text-to-donate. Learn how you can get started with text giving with this comprehensive guide!
  • Top Peer-to-Peer Platforms. Does peer-to-peer fundraising sound like a fantastic fundraising idea? Before you launch your campaign, find the right platform. In this article, we’ll take you through 8 of the best websites for your fundraiser.
Download our virtual fundraising ideas PDF.

Share this

You might enjoy