Fundraising Ideas for Schools & Colleges

School administrators, teachers, parents, and even students know how important school & university fundraising can be to support your school and its programs. Raising money for your school can be a difficult task, and often fundraisers planned with the best intentions fall short on goals. To help you plan your next big school fundraiser, we’ve compiled the best, most effective school fundraisers, sure to be a hit.

Get The Most Out Of Your Fundraiser

The most successful fundraisers don’t just raise money: they engage with donors and the larger community to get people excited about your cause. A great school fundraiser will encourage participants to get involved and get excited in an opportunity that both supports your school and is fun to partake in. When planning your fundraiser, consider how engaging it is, and how your strategy will help you reach more donors. 

Get Students Involved and Excited

The heart of your school is the students, so your first step is getting them involved and excited about your fundraiser. Consider what fundraiser would most interest them, as their enthusiasm will lead to better parent involvement and more success in general. Depending on what age group your school educates, you can cater your fundraiser to be both age-appropriate and appealing to the students. 

Students most likely outnumber the faculty at your school, so their engagement is the key to a successful fundraiser with a great turnout, especially if it’s an event. The students will further encourage their parents’ involvement (and donations) and if they’re old enough to be on social media, tech savvy kids can help you reach a larger audience online. 

Include Parents, Teachers, and Faculty

While student engagement is key, often students do not have the resources or skills to pull off a fundraiser on their own. Getting parents, teachers, and other faculty members involved will provide a stable framework for your fundraiser, whatever it may be. 

To encourage real engagement, make sure the adults don’t feel like they’re stuck doing all the hard work, or like they’re only being asked for financial assistance. Make your fundraiser fun for both the students and the parents and teachers. Depending on your fundraiser of choice, that can mean include more adult fun components or some kind of thank you for the parents’ support. 

Engage With Your Community

If every student, parent, and faculty member contributes to your fundraiser, you may have a successful and profitable fundraiser. But think about how much more money you could raise if you reach the larger community outside of the school itself! Getting your local community involved and engaged with your school and its fundraiser will not only lead to a higher amount raised, but a better sense of community and a larger support system for your school in the future. 

Engaging with the community will strengthen your school’s connection to its neighborhood and bring more success for fundraisers now and in the future. 

Easy and Effective Fundraising Ideas for Schools

The best fundraisers are simple and fun, bolstering community support. These fundraising ideas are proven successes, helping schools meet their fundraising goals with as little cost as possible in terms of both money and effort. 

Set Up Online Giving Forms

While setting up online giving forms may not be the most exciting fundraising prospect, it is effective. Work with a third-party organization or create your own online donation form for your school’s website. The simpler it is to donate, the more likely you are to receive donations, so make the donation process as simple as possible.

Once you have an easy online donation form set up, you can include links in email newsletters, on various places on your website, or promote the form at events or other fundraisers to make it easy to collect money. Having an easy-to-use giving form on your school website allows for continuous fundraising without any extra effort, as anyone who finds their way to the link can choose to donate. 

Host an Event

Holding a large event for your fundraiser can be fun, engaging, and also profitable. Depending on your school and community, you can choose all sorts of events to cater to your audience. Consider options like a trivia night for both parents and students, a movie night, a car wash, book sale, auction, talent show, bingo night…the possibilities are almost endless.

Brainstorm events that would most interest your students, their parents, teachers and faculty, and the community as a whole. These events can generate money through ticket sales, food sales at the event, or through asking for donations while you have a room full of possible donors. 

If you don’t want to plan a huge event outside of school hours, you could simply hold school day events that require little in terms of planning. Hold a superhero day, where students and teachers pay a small fee to dress as their favorite superhero. The same idea works for pajama days, dress down days, or any similar in-class perk. 

Peer-to-Peer Campaign

Let your fundraiser go viral with an online peer-to-peer campaign. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a lot like crowdfunding, but it allows supporters to create their own fundraising pages that link back to your main page. With peer-to-peer campaigns, you can reach a larger audience online by getting students, teachers, and parents to share their reason for donating to their network online.

One great example of a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – the reason this was so effective was because it not only got the attention of a huge audience online, but it also got them engaged by challenging them to a real life task. As more people shared the challenge, even more awareness and money was raised for the ALS Association. Combine the reach of an online peer-to-peer campaign with something that will further engage donors for a successful fundraiser. 

Matching Gift Programs

Many businesses have corporate giving programs in which they will match donations of their employees. Matching gifts can significantly increase the profits of a fundraiser without asking parents and other individuals for extra money. Donations can go twice as far with the support of a charitable business.

To implement matching gift programs, you can have parents and employees reach out to their employers to see if they will support your fundraiser. There are forms online that list large corporations that partake in giving programs and their rates, so you can check if your company participates. You can also send reminders to ask about matching gift programs in school newsletters along with your online giving form. 

Product Fundraising

A good old fashioned sale is a classic for a reason. Hold a sale of some sort where most or all of the profits go towards your school fundraiser. One of the most popular forms of this is a t-shirt sale, where you sell school t-shirts to students, faculty, and parents. The shirts will not only raise money, but can also boost school spirit. To drive sales, encourage everyone to wear the shirt on a chosen day or at a specific event. You can also work with a local company to see if you can get a discount on the product you’re selling as a form of donation. 

If t-shirts don’t appeal to you, try any product that will turn a profit at your school. The key here is that you shouldn’t spend more on the production of whatever you sell than you make back, or else you’ll do a lot of work for little reward. A simpler idea may be a bake sale, where parents and students donate the goods so that your school makes pure profit in return. 


Similar to holding an event in general, a “thon” event usually involves getting donors to pledge a certain amount based on how each participant performs. The most famous example that comes to mind is Penn State’s THON for childhood cancer, in which students dance for 46 hours to raise money. 

You could hold a dance-a-thon, where students and teachers dance for a certain number of hours or dance in shifts, or a walk-a-thon based on steps or distance. For an educational spin, you could also hold a read-a-thon where students pledge to read a certain number of books over a designated time period, getting donors to give a certain amount per book or per total pages.

Hosting an event such as this provides other opportunities for fundraising, whether it’s t-shirts to wear at the event or food and drink sales. 

Use Charidy

Charidy takes crowdfunding and matching gift programs to a new level, creating a campaign that encourages donations and gets results in a short time frame. With Charidy, you set a fundraising goal and host a 24 hour campaign to meet said goal. This program helps you find matching donors to support your school and then encourages crowdfunding to drive donations. The short time frame makes your campaign an exciting challenge for students, teachers, and faculty to push for donations. 

When you share your school’s Charidy campaign, the matching donor amount is displayed so that potential donors see the full impact of their donation. This inspires more, higher donations, as does the clock counting down to the end of the fundraiser. Once someone donates, they can share the fundraiser, reaching a larger audience and more potential donors to help reach your goal. 

Charidy combines the success of matching gift programs, crowdfunding, and peer-to-peer campaigns on social media with the added engagement and excitement of a 24 hour countdown.

Written by Social Buddy

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