14 Smart School Fundraising Ideas to Raise Money Fast


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When it comes to fundraising for your school, figuring out the best ways to get your supporters excited can be tough.

After all, your donor base is made up of a diverse mix of parents, teachers, community leaders, and even students! That’s a lot of different voices to listen to.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of our top fundraising ideas for schools that your whole community is sure to love. Our favorite strategies include:

  1. Create smart online giving forms
  2. Start a cookie dough fundraiser
  3. Host a shoe drive fundraiser
  4. Plan a pledge fundraising event
  5. Hold a scratch card school fundraiser
  6. Engage in peer-to-peer fundraising
  7. Sell school merchandise to raise money
  8. Promote matching gifts to the community
  9. Launch a discount card fundraiser
  10. Fundraise on-site at school events
  11. Host a fundraising raffle
  12. Plan an online auction
  13. Sell tickets for a fun online event
  14. Create an Amazon Wish List for in-kind donations

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Ready to dive into these expert school fundraising ideas? Let’s get started!

1. Create smart online giving forms

The best way to boost fundraising for your school? Create intuitive, user-friendly online giving forms!

Online giving forms make donating to your school easy for all kinds of supporters. Since these forms are hosted over the internet, individuals can choose to give wherever they are, whenever is most convenient for them.

Be sure to incorporate some of these key features in your online giving form:

  • Mobile optimization
  • Gift suggestion buttons
  • Fundraising thermometers
  • Your school’s logo and colors
  • Recurring gift opt-in suggestions

When your school has online giving forms ready to make donating convenient for supporters, you’ll never have to worry about losing out on gifts. Because giving online takes just a few minutes, your school’s community will love making online donations to your fundraising campaigns.

A cookie dough sale is a smart school fundraising idea that can bring your school closer to its fundraising goals.

2. Start a cookie dough fundraiser 

Are you looking for a product fundraiser that will actually get your supporters excited about your school fundraising efforts? If so, a cookie dough fundraiser is the perfect solution! 

Get started by connecting with a dedicated product fundraising company like ABC Fundraising. They’ll set you up to sell a wide variety of cookie dough flavors that your supporters will love. They’ll even provide you with a personalized web store so you can take your cookie dough fundraiser completely virtual! 

Once your store is set up, you can start promoting your sale and encouraging students, parents, faculty, and community members to support your school by purchasing their favorite flavors. 

To take your cookie dough fundraiser to the next level, consider holding a Bake and Taste event at your school. Invite your supporters to come and sample different flavors of cookies before making their purchases. This is a great opportunity for your group to connect with your supporters and get them excited about supporting your campaign. 

A shoe drive fundraiser is a smart fundraising idea for schools.

3. Host a shoe drive fundraiser

Need a unique fundraising idea that engages students? Look no further than a shoe drive fundraiser!

A shoe drive fundraiser is a unique and effective fundraising idea that students of all ages can get involved in. Plus, collecting shoes (or even simply donating a pair) teaches them the value of small-scale global philanthropy.

With the help of a shoe drive fundraiser coordinator, collect gently worn, used and new shoes. At the end of the fundraiser, the shoe drive fundraiser coordinator will then collect the shoes and send your school a check based on the number of pairs collected. You simply set up collection materials around the school, and encourage students to donate any shoes they no longer wear.

For the best results, host it in August or September when many students are going back-to-school shopping. Kids quickly grow out of their clothes and shoes, so many parents will be happy to donate shoes in good condition instead of tossing them out.

For an added twist, turn it into a friendly competition! Divide students up into teams. Doing this by class should be the most efficient way to accomplish this. Then, have students race to collect shoes from their families and neighbors. Reward whichever class collects the most shoes by the end of the fundraiser with a pizza party!

If all goes well, consider making it an annual event. This way, families will know to hold on to any unwanted shoes that are in good condition. It’ll become a tradition that students and parents look forward to year after year!

A pledge fundraising event is a great way to fundraise for your school.

4. Plan a pledge fundraising event

Are you looking for an engaging school fundraising idea that can involve your students, teachers, and families? A pledge fundraiser might be perfect for you.

A pledge campaign is a unique type of fundraiser that is often paired with an exciting school-wide event. The main difference between pledge campaigns and traditional fundraisers is that the actual funds are not collected until the conclusion of the campaign. Instead, these retroactive funds correspond to how many predetermined units of a particular “activity” a participant was able to accomplish.

The activity can be anything that gets participants and supporters excited. A walk- or run-a-thon is a typical example of a pledge fundraiser where donors pledge a dollar amount for every lap their sponsee walks or runs within the time limit. However, you can truly get creative here. Dance-a-thons have become an extremely popular choice, or you could even go with a read-a-thon to add some extra educational value!

5. Hold a scratch card school fundraiser

There’s a new fundraising trend taking hold at schools that’s fun for the whole community: scratch card fundraising!

Scratch card fundraising is a great way to reach your school’s fundraising goals fast. Volunteers approach their friends, family, and neighbors and ask them to scratch two circles off of their fundraising card. Under each circle is a small donation amount ($0.50-$3.00).

Take a look at this scratch card by ABC Fundraising as a school fundraising method example.

Once they scratch off their amounts, they make their donation. Scratch card fundraisers are great for:

  • Student clubs and after-school programs
  • Intramural and extramural sports teams
  • Music programs like your marching band and orchestra
  • Field trips and fun learning events
  • Spirit week fundraisers at the beginning and end of the year

Better yet, once a scratch card is finished your volunteer will have raised $100. Each card costs just $20 to order and ABC Fundraising will even give your school a 10% discount on each shipment. This gives scratch card fundraisers an average profit of 90%! Since every dollar counts, why not give scratch card fundraising a try?

Curious about what makes hybrid and virtual fundraising events worth it in 2021  and beyond? Download our free eBook, the Big Book of Hybrid and Virtual Event  Ideas, to find out!

Peer to peer fundraising is a top smart school fundraising option.

6. Engage in peer-to-peer fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is another online fundraising strategy that’s perfect for your school’s fundraising goals.

In a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, a school calls on community members to set up fundraising pages on their behalf. These individuals then reach out to their online networks and solicit donations for your school.

Peer-to-peer fundraising isn’t simply a great way to raise money for your school; it’s also an excellent way to grow your school’s community of supporters!

Since peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are spread by your community members online, these campaigns will reach more eyes than ever when they’re shared on social media sites and emailed to friends and family. This way, your school’s donors don’t have to live in your community or even have a child at your school!

A smart school fundraising idea is to sell school merchandise!

7. Sell school merchandise to raise money

Every school has a mascot, special colors, a motto, or other elements that make up your school’s identity.

Help your teachers, students, and their family members show off their school spirit by selling merchandise to raise money! Your school can sell merchandise at a school store, at fundraising events, or even through an online storefront.

Your school can sell merchandise including:

  • School supplies like pens, pencils, notebooks, and erasers
  • Novelty gifts like mugs, towels, picture frames, and posters
  • Backpacks and lunchboxes
  • Fun “toys” for students like stickers, bracelets, and games
  • Branded t-shirts that rep your school’s colors, mascot, and motto

In fact, selling t-shirts is one of the most profitable ways for a school to raise money!

Fundraise for your school by selling t-shirts.

Check out this school’s t-shirt fundraising campaign. By customizing their merchandise to match their school’s identity, they’ve created a t-shirt fundraising product their school will love to promote and that their supporters will love to wear!

Promoting matching gifts is a fun and unique school fundraising idea!

8. Promote matching gifts to the community

Did you know that there’s a way to double (or even triple) the impact of your school’s supporters without asking them to give again?

Matching gifts programs are a form of corporate giving program in which an employer agrees to match their employees’ charitable donations. While these programs benefit your school, your supporters, and their companies, $6-$10 billion in donations goes unmatched each year simply because people are unaware that their company has a matching gifts program in place.

Luckily, there’s an easy way for your school to boost matching gift revenue for your next fundraising campaign. Simply invest in matching gifts tools like Double the Donation or HEPdata and add a branded matching gifts database to your school’s website.

Then, you can promote matching gifts to your school’s community in newsletters, email blasts, and even at fundraising events. Your supporters will appreciate that there’s a way to get more from their gifts, and that might even be the push they need to give more often!

Launch a discount card fundraiser to raise money for your school.

9. Launch a discount card fundraiser

Now, here’s a fundraising idea you’ve probably heard of before if you haven’t yet implemented it at your school: discount card fundraisers.

Discount card fundraisers are a smart way to make giving back to your school a no-brainer for members of your community. Individuals can purchase discount cards with coupons to local businesses. These cards may help save your donors hundreds of dollars!

One great way to fundraise for your school is by selling ABC Fundraising's discount cards.

Your school can sell cards that cost $10, $15, or $20 and feature a customized set of local businesses. The deals offered on these cards last up to a year, so your school’s supporters will have plenty of time to get the most value from their purchase.

Even better, since these cards are so popular, your school can expect that for each volunteer that signs up to sell discount cards, they’ll yield 5-10 cards sold. That’s a gigantic return on your investment and it means you’ll reach your fundraising goals even quicker!

On-site fundraising is a great way for some face-to-face engagement for your school.

10. Fundraise on-site at school events

One of the classic school fundraising methods is to collect donations at fundraising events like sports games, field days, and dances.

However, with an on-site giving kiosk, your school can boost fundraising at these events even furtherAn on-site fundraising kiosk is just like your online giving form, but it allows individuals to pay in person at your fundraising events rather than online.

With an on-site giving kiosk, your school can:

  • Customize your interface to match your school’s identity
  • Quickly swipe cards for fast giving
  • Set up recurring gifts at the time of donation
  • Serve as a point-of-sale for merchandise fundraising
  • Register attendees at events

While not all of your supporters will want to give using a kiosk, having one on hand makes it possible for your school to collect gifts from those who find it convenient. Paired with your online giving forms and traditional cash and check gifts, this is a great way to round out your school’s fundraising strategy!

Consider hosting a fundraising raffle as your next smart school fundraising idea.

11. Host a fundraising raffle

Fundraising raffles are fun ways to engage students and families while also raising money!

Make sure you come up with a fun prize, for instance, a dinner certificate or a vacation experience are top choices. However, if you’re selling raffle tickets to your students, prizes like “Be a Principal for a Day” or “Pie a Teacher” can be just as enticing.

To get the ball rolling on your fundraising raffle, make sure to promote it to your students, parents, and faculty. Advertise the upcoming event on your school’s website, through email newsletters, and even with physical marketing materials posted around the school. Participants can then easily purchase a raffle ticket, whether in-person or online. It’s best to provide both options!

You can host a fundraising raffle as a stand-alone event or alongside another campaign. Selling raffle tickets is a great way to give an existing event a revenue boost— just make sure to choose a great prize.

An online auction is a great way to raise money for your school.

12. Plan an online auction.

A school fundraising idea that is sure to raise a lot of money is an online auction. 

If you decide to host a school auction fundraiser, consider providing attendees with a mobile bidding app.

Similar to traditional auctions, participants can browse items, place bids, increase bids, outbid others, and receive their item at the end. The only difference is that this takes place entirely online and relies on an online auction platform.

To have a successful online auction for your school, make sure you:

  1. Promote the fundraising event well beforehand through your website, email communications, and other marketing materials.
  2. Have a dedicated event registration form for the online auction.
  3. Collect the items you want to auction off.
  4. Provide participants with a dedicated mobile bidding app so that they can easily explore, bid, and checkout.

With an online auction, you rid yourself of paper bids and long checkout lines. You’ll be raising money for your school in no time, all while providing participants with a fun and unique experience.

Online and virtual events are all the rage now, so hosting one as your next school fundraiser is a great idea.

13. Sell tickets for an online event

With virtual and online events increasing in popularity, consider the types of experiences your school can host. Then, sell tickets for this online event as a way to raise money!

For instance, many schools have had success planning the following online events:

  • Virtual talent show
  • Virtual concert
  • Online cooking class
  • And more!

To pull off the online event that your school wants to host, you’re going to need several online tools.

For instance, will you need a livestreaming tool? A video conferencing platform? What are the tools that your participants will need? These are all questions that you have to consider beforehand.

Accepting in-kind donations is also a great way to fundraise for your school.

14. Create an Amazon Wish List for in-kind donations

We talked about donating old sneakers in a previous section, but you can ask fundraisers for other in-kind donations as well! Consider creating an Amazon Wish List consisting of all the items your school may need. This can include:

  • School supplies like pencils, markers, and paper
  • Cleaning supplies like paper towels, hand sanitizer, and cleaning sprays
  • Textbooks
  • Technology like iPads and projectors

By creating an Amazon Wish List, you provide supporters with an easy way to browse through items. If they would like to donate something, all they have to do is purchase it on Amazon and have it delivered to your school.

Here's an example of an Amazon Wish List as a school fundraising idea.

Convenience is always key, and this fundraising method allows supporters to get involved without ever leaving their homes!

Figuring out the best way to raise money for your school isn’t easy. However, with these awesome strategies in mind, your school is ready to rock your next fundraiser!

Still looking to learn more about school fundraising? You’re in luck! Keep reading for some of our favorite school fundraising resources:

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