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5 Fun Fundraisers to Raise Money for Your School

Picture this scenario: You’re setting up for your PTA’s monthly meeting as members of the group start to file into the meeting room.

“Welcome in, everyone,” you say. “I hope you came with some great ideas — we’ll be deciding on our fall fundraiser today.”

There’s a quiet sigh, and a few members exchange exasperated glances. You think you even hear one of them groan.

Does this scenario sound familiar? Often, school groups struggle to find the “fun” in fundraising. Most campaigns take months of planning and rely on small donations. While securing many small donations is a powerful strategy that serves as the backbone for many school fundraisers, this can be a tedious process and most campaigns take a lot of work to pull off. And if your organization rolls out the same campaign from year to year, your fundraisers may start to feel boring and burdensome for everyone involved — from your fellow PTA or booster club members to your students’ grandparents.

That’s where this short guide comes in. In it, we’ll introduce you to five fun fundraisers to raise more money for your school:

  1. Online Product Fundraiser

  2. Run, Walk, or Roll 5K

  3. Car Wash

  4. Talent Show

  5. Family Movie Night

These fun and easy ideas are perfect for school groups that need a fresh take on fundraising. They’ll help you engage the parents, teachers, and students at your school, all while putting you on the road to excellent results. Let’s jump in!

  1. Online Product Fundraiser

Your school has likely run a product fundraiser before, and for good reason. According to Crowd101’s roundup of fundraising statistics, “school groups raise more than $1.5 billion annually selling various products.”

But traditional product fundraisers have a major drawback — they require you to enlist your student body and their parents to sell your products. Oftentimes, this involves students knocking on their neighbors’ doors or parents passing order forms around the breakroom at work. This in-person selling process takes enormous amounts of time and can be frustrating for participants.

So, how can you tap into the incredible power of a product fundraiser without having to take on the stressful in-person selling process? Enter: the online product fundraiser! With an online product fundraiser, you can take the entire product fundraising process online. Here’s how:

  • Partner with a dedicated product fundraising company that offers online fundraising stores. The best fundraising companies out there now offer online sales options. Find a company to partner with that can take the stress out of the process by setting your online store up for you. This will leave you with the time (and headspace!) to effectively promote your fundraiser.

  • Choose a product your supporters will love. Choosing the right product is a critical part of setting up an online product fundraiser. To be successful, you’ll need to pick something that your school’s supporters actually want to buy. Use what you know about your school community to select a product. Better yet, choose a product that allows your supporters to customize their purchases.

  • Promote your fundraiser and get results! Once you’ve selected a product and your fundraising partner has created your online store, it’s time to start promoting your campaign by sharing the link to your store with all of your supporters! Social media and email will be essential tools in this process, but you can also get creative with physical marketing materials like newsletters. Simply include a QR code that links to your online store!

To add even more ease to your fundraiser, work with a product fundraising company that offers home delivery. For a little extra money, your supporters can get their orders delivered straight to their homes. That means no stressful “order delivery day” for you and your team!

  1. Run, Walk, or Roll 5K

Fundraising events are excellent opportunities to drum up enthusiasm for your school and get your community excited about giving. And when you add an element of physical activity, your supporters will be even more excited and engaged.

Introducing: the Run, Walk, or Roll 5K! For this fundraiser, all you’ll need is a large outdoor space, such as a community park or walking trail. You could even set up your course on a high school track.

Create a racecourse that is 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) long and encourage families in your school community to sign up to run, walk, or roll with bikes, strollers, or wheelchairs for the event. Charge a small entrance fee for each participant. You could even offer a special group discount for parents who want to get the entire family involved.

To make a little extra money with this fundraising idea, consider selling branded merchandise before and during the event. T-shirts, water bottles, hats, and backpacks with your school’s logo will be popular as your community comes together to celebrate your school and boost school spirit. You could also sell sponsorships to businesses in your community and display their logos or use their merchandise throughout the event.

To pull off this fundraiser successfully, ensure you have a dedicated team of volunteers to help you set up and facilitate your race. You should also provide water and first aid stations at a few different points along the course and, of course, trophies or medals for the winners!

  1. Car Wash

A car wash fundraiser is not only fun and simple to set up and carry out but also provides a useful service for the families in your school community. After all, the families in your school community are busy, so saving them a trip to the carwash (or an early Saturday morning hose-wash in the driveway) can be extremely helpful.

To set up your car wash, recruit some enthusiastic student volunteers and assign them to different stations, such as soaking, soaping, rinsing, and drying. Divvying up each part of the wash will make it easier for you to get cars in and out of the line on the big day. Next, spread the word about your car wash and encourage families to stop by on your designated car wash day to get their car clean and sparkling.

You can make this fundraiser extra fun by adding a theme to your car wash. Here are a few to try:

  • Under The Sea

  • Halloween Haunted Car Wash

  • Surfin’ USA

  • School Spirit

Once you’ve picked a theme, have your students dress up in costumes to run your car wash. Pick some music and encourage your volunteers to dance and interact with the drivers and passengers who come through the car wash. This will turn a regular car wash fundraiser into an event entire families look forward to and enjoy!

Besides charging for washes, you might also offer other services, such as vacuuming or car waxing. You could also encourage car wash customers to leave “tips” for your hardworking students as a way to bring in extra donations.

  1. Talent Show

Your school is full of talented students, teachers, administrators, and staff members — whether they’re great singers, jugglers, dancers, or magicians. Why not put that talent to use for a good cause?

Hosting a talent show is a great way to encourage your entire community to get involved in supporting your school and its students. Plus, a talent show can very easily be hosted in a hybrid format, allowing families to watch from home or invite loved ones who don’t live locally.

Follow these steps to get started with a hybrid talent show:

  • Host auditions for your talent show. By hosting auditions for your talent show, you can find the best family-friendly acts that your school community has to offer. Plus, auditions allow you to determine how many “types” of acts your show will have. For example, a talent show with an endless lineup of unicyclists might get old after a while. Auditions give you the opportunity to find different types of talent to showcase on the big day.

  • Spread the word about your show and sell tickets. Tap into multiple channels for marketing your talent show, such as your school group’s email newsletter, posters taped up around the school and other community centers, or your school’s morning announcements. From there, you can sell tickets to all who want to attend. For those who want to attend via livestream, make sure you send them a livestream link after they purchase their tickets!

  • Hold a run-through the day before your show and test your tech. The best way to ensure your performers are ready for your show is to host a run-through the day before. Have each performer practice their act on stage in order. This gives your performers the chance to practice coming out onto the stage and leaving in a timely manner. It also gives you the opportunity to perfect your tech, like audio, lighting, and livestreaming. You should be prepared for any scenario. For example, Bloomerang’s guide to hybrid events suggests you come up with a backup plan for your event if your internet connection is interrupted.

  • On the big day, leverage additional fundraising opportunities. When it’s time for the talent show, consider tapping into additional ways to make money. You might sell concessions or have viewers at home and live audience members vote with their dollars for their favorite acts!

A talent show is not only a family-friendly event full of fun, but also a lucrative fundraising opportunity. As you plan your event, look for ways to get everyone involved — audience members and performers alike — excited about each performance. You might play high-energy music in between each act or have a particularly enthusiastic teacher or principal emcee for the night.

  1. Family Movie Night

Family movie night fundraisers are win-win campaigns. The families in your school community will love giving back to their school and spending time together to do so!

For a family movie night fundraiser, all you’ll need is a family-friendly movie and a place to show it. To decide on a movie, take into account your student body’s age range and interests, and pay careful attention to the ratings for the movies you’re considering. Once you’ve selected a movie, pick a place to host your event. You can set up your family movie night in your school’s auditorium or gymnasium, or take it outside to the school lawn or football field if you have access to a large screen and speakers. Charge a small ticket fee for each attendee.

This is another fundraiser you can convert to a hybrid format or take fully online, as well, depending on the comfort levels of your supporters and the COVID-19 guidelines in your local area.

Make extra money with your family movie night by selling concessions or offering the option to purchase or order fundraising products like chocolate bars or popcorn.

It’s not always easy to find a fun fundraiser to raise money for your school. Some ideas simply feel too overdone or complex for your school group to take on or get your supporters excited about. But with one of the five fantastic fundraising ideas above, you can easily get your school community excited about your goals and campaigns and get the results you want!


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