14 School Fundraising Ideas That Don’t Involve Asking Grandma For Money

Group of students fundraising donate for charity
Group of students fundraising donate for charity

In a perfect world, schools would never need to raise money. They would all be fully funded, able to provide their students with all the programs and activities they could ever want. Teachers would have all the supplies they need, students would have access to every necessary resource, and principals and administrators would never have to stare at a budget and wonder how they are going to make everything work.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Schools are often underfunded, forcing teachers, principals, and administrators to get creative when it comes to providing their students with everything they need.

We think the world of those who give their lives to educate children, and we want to make their lives as easy as possible. To do this, we’ve compiled a list of 14 effective school fundraising ideas that go far beyond simply asking relatives for money. Don’t get us wrong – there’s nothing wrong with asking people to support a school. But if you want to raise the maximum amount, you need to think outside the box.


Let’s dive in.

Method #1: Dance-Off

Channel your inner Kevin Bacon from Footloose! Few things are more fun than dancing, and a dance-off is a fantastic way to raise money for your school. In a dance-off, participants raise money based on how long they kick it on the dance floor. For example, a student or teacher could get friends and family to pledge 50 cents for every minute they dance their heart out. To encourage participation, you could offer prizes for the best individual dancer, the best couple, etc.

Method #2: Karaoke Kraziness

Teachers and administrators, it’s time to show off your hidden singing talents to the entire school! Consider bringing the school together to have them watch their favorite teachers and administrators battle it out in an intense karaoke competition. If you really want to make it fun, put together a panel of judges (like “America’s Got Talent”) to score each of the participants. Prizes can also be awarded for things like “Best Rendition” and “Most Enthusiasm”. To raise money, simply charge a small admission fee.

Method #3: Box Tops For Education

A classic method of raising funds for schools, Box Tops For Education has enabled thousands of schools to raise thousands of dollars over the years. The way it works is simple. Many General Mills products have a “Box Tops For Education” label on them. After you purchase the products, simply scan your receipt using the Box Tops app. It will automatically identify participating products and then credit your school 10 cents for every box top. Alternatively, you can clip the box tops and give them to your school, who can then redeem them with General Mills. It’s a really simple way to raise funds for your school through products you’re already purchasing.

Method #4: Christmas Carol Singing

It’s true that this one is limited to the Christmas season, but it’s highly effective nonetheless. After all, few things melt the heart like the sight of rosy-cheeked students belting out Christmas carols. In the weeks leading up to the event, take some time to practice the carols you’ll be singing with the students. Once everyone involved knows the carols, go caroling around the neighborhoods near the school and collect donations. You’re spreading Christmas cheer and raising money for your school.

Method #5: Book-a-thon

Few things are more important than instilling a love for reading in students. A book-a-thon is a fantastic way to both inspire students to read more and raise money for your school. To raise money, students simply solicit pledges based on how many books or pages they read during a given time period. For example, a person might pledge $5 for every book a particular student reads. Once the fundraising period is over, the students collect their pledges and give the money to the school. Parents are always big fans of this particular fundraising method because it encourages their children to read more. It really is a win-win.

happy customers queue at food truck
street sale and people concept – happy customers queue at food truck

Method #6: Food Truck Day

This is a fantastic way to partner with the community in raising funds for your school. Invite various food trucks to set up shop on the school grounds. The food trucks will donate a portion of the proceeds to the school in exchange for the free promotion you’ll be giving them. Encourage students, parents, and members of the community to come out and purchase from the food trucks. Everyone loves a good meal, and they’ll enjoy it even more knowing that they’re supporting their school.

Method #7: Battle Of The Bands

This method works particularly well in a high school. It’s a surefire way to appeal to the school’s musicians and music fans. Your school probably already has the audio equipment necessary to host a battle of the bands and the participants will have their own instruments. Your job is simply to bring everyone together. You can charge the bands a small registration fee and charge attendees for tickets. Additionally, you can raise more funds by selling concessions, t-shirts, etc.

Method #8: Dog Walk Day

Dogs are both man’s best friend and fantastic at helping raise funds for your school. Encourage students, teachers, and administrators to bring their dog to school and then walk a certain distance. They will raise funds based on how far they walk (like a walk-a-thon). Of course, you don’t have to limit the event to dogs only. Students could also bring their pet lizard, turtle, or even parrot. The more the merrier, right? You could also pair up with a local pet shelter to encourage people to adopt pets.

Method #9: Silent Auction

Silent auctions can be remarkably effective when it comes to raising funds for your school. They are also an excellent way to bring the community together in support of the school. Ask both individuals and local businesses to provide items for the silent auction. You never know what kind of amazing things people will be willing to donate. After you’ve gathered the items for the auction, invite the community to come and bid on them. You’ll be amazed at the results.

Method #10: School Carnival

Everyone loves carnivals. The games. The food. The prizes. It’s a thrilling, delightful experience to attend a carnival, which is why they can be very effective when it comes to fundraising. You can raise funds by either charging general admission or charging to play individual games. You can also earn big bucks by selling concessions (who doesn’t love funnel cake and cotton candy?). If you want to make things extra fun, put the principal in a dunk tank and let students have a shot at knocking him/her in.

volunteers say thank you

Method #11: Clothing Drive

Everyone has spare clothes sitting around that they don’t wear anymore. Normally, these clothes would be donated to a thrift store or simply thrown out. Instead, encourage students, parents, teachers, and members of the community to donate new and gently used clothing to the school. Then hold a sale that is open to the public. Consider asking local merchants to donate dress forms or mannequins on which you can display some of the nicer outfits.

Method #12: Principal Challenge

Most of the time, the principal has a very particular role. The person in charge. The leader. Often serious. Occasionally needing to be involved in disciplinary situations. The “Principal Challenge” is an opportunity for the principal to show off their fun, silly side and to endear themselves to students. The principal promises to do something if students raise a particular amount of money. The more silly and outrageous this thing is, the better. For example, maybe the principal agrees to take a pie to the face. Or maybe they shave their head or dye their hair. The goal is to give students something to get excited about, which then motivates them to raise funds.

Method #13: Haunted House

Take advantage of the Halloween season to build a simple haunted house of sorts. You could work with parents to build it or ask a local construction company if they would be willing to donate some time to help construct it. Once the haunted house is built, recruit select parents, teachers, and students to play scary roles throughout the house. Then invite the school and community to walk through the haunted house. To raise funds, charge a small admission fee and sell concessions.

Method #14: Early Morning Breakfast

This is an outstanding way to bring parents and children together at the school. Everyone needs to eat breakfast, right? It’s the most important meal of the day. Invite parents and students to a special breakfast at the school before the school day begins. You can make it extra special by serving something unique, like rainbow colored pancakes. And don’t forget the bacon. Lots and lots of bacon!

Final Thoughts

There are loads of ways to raise money for your school, and this list is just scratching the surface. The key is creativity. Instead of relying only on students asking others for money, think of ways you can involve parents, teachers, and the local community. The reality is that most people want to support local schools in any way they can. They simply need someone to tell them what to do.

So get those creative juices flowing and start raising funds for your school!


Published by

Jen M.

Jen has been with DCCU since she graduated from UW Madison - a long time ago. As the Content Strategist she helps share all the amazing things DCCU does in our community and spreads the credit union philosophy of People Helping People. When she's not working for the best credit union in south central Wisconsin, she's busy with 4 kids and a feisty little dog at home. She formed her family through adoption and has a deep passion to support foster and adoptive parents and kids. Her favorite place to relax is poolside or in front of the fireplace.