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Looking for a new quick and easy fundraiser for your school programs that the students will think is fun? Fundraising for school programs is no easy feat and requires a lot of thought and effort—so why not do everything possible to ensure your fundraiser is a success without piling on more stress?

Your kids and students have so many activities that they want to participate in, and they should be able to. But there needs to be a source of funds for every event you support. Students, therefore, if they want to participate in the event, should be involved in the fundraising efforts.

Fundraising doesn’t have to bring with it a dark cloud of stress and challenges that you can’t see through. Fundraising can be fun and enjoyable for everyone involved, including the students who participate.

Your fundraising ideas should be specifically geared toward student participation so some of the weight can be lifted off of your shoulders. As you consider your upcoming fundraising campaign strategies, you should aim to give the students a unique opportunity to have a hand in working to support the programs they love.

Fun events for your students to help lead to success include:

  1. Hosting a walk-a-thon.
  2. Selling merchandise.
  3. Holding a charity auction.
  4. Organizing a school carnival.
  5. Producing a talent show.
  6. Supporting a read-a-thon.
Utilize one of these awesome school fundraising ideas during your next fundraising campaign and you will be sure to boost your fundraising revenue and increase your student’s interest in raising money for their favorite programs. Let’s dive in and prepare you for an epic school fundraising season.

1. Hosting a walk-a-thon.

Schools have long been taking advantage of walk-a-thons because they are a tried-and-true, effective way of raising money for schools. They allow students to be the driving factor behind the fundraiser and have a role in supporting their own program.

If you are unfamiliar with how walk-a-thons work, the process is simple:

  • Step 1: The school plans where and when the event will take place.
  • Step 2: Students promote the event.
  • Step 3: Friends and family of the students donate or pledge money to the student’s individual fundraising campaign.
  • Step 4: The walk-a-thon occurs (Make sure to keep track of distances walked by each student).
  • Step 5: The event organizer determines how much the pledgors owe to each student’s campaign.
  • Step 6: Collect the money and put it toward your school program!
You may think walk-a-thons take a lot of expertise and organization to manage every student’s fundraising effort. Luckily, with the right software you do not have to worry about the small, tedious aspects of organizing the event.

Walk-a-thon software, like 99Pledges, will allow you to maximize the efficiency of your event so you can raise money but not your stress level. Your software should:

  • Create unique, shareable fundraising pages for each student.
  • Allow for personalization of each page.
  • Automatically calculate the amounts due by pledgors.
  • Send automatic thank-you notes to your supporters.
Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by your school fundraising. Create a fun and easily manageable walk-a-thon for your school and boost your revenue.

2. Selling merchandise.

This is probably a well-known fact but in case you missed it: people love getting stuff. Oftentimes, it doesn’t really matter what it is, they just like the thought that goes into receiving something.

Your fundraiser should take advantage of this. For some donors and supporters, the thought of donating their money to a good cause is enough for them to become involved, but others may need more incentives.

Try enticing more people into donating by providing a tangible good in return for a donation. You can highlight that a good portion of the proceeds will go to support your school. Don’t forget to make sure you are not losing money with the product you chose to give your donors.

An excellent option for this fundraising strategy is to give them a custom-made t-shirt that advertises your school or program. Encouraging t-shirt fundraising enables your students to not only support their school programs but also learn valuable marketing and event promotion skills that will benefit them in the long run.

Your students will enjoy the satisfaction they gain by successfully completing a fundraising sale, while your community will love the merchandise you are selling—all for a good cause!

3. Holding a charity auction.

An effective and well-organized charity auction is a great way to fundraise for your school event for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • It enables your community to physically come together and get to know people with a similar passion for your school.
  • Local businesses and organizations can also gain public visibility by donating auction items.
  • Your school can really boost its revenue by hosting a fun community event.
  • Your students can meet the people who are generous enough to support their favorite organizations.
Charity auctions are simpler than you may think. The effort that goes into organizing and executing the auction is more than outweighed by the potential benefits of hosting the auction. The process proceeds as follows:

  • Step 1: Gather donated or other procured items from local businesses, organizations, or individuals.
  • Step 2: Open the bidding with a minimum bid amount.
  • Step 3: Allow additional bids to increase the value of the item by at least a predetermined minimum raise.
  • Step 4: Close bidding either at a specific time or when a final, highest bid has been made on that item.
To learn more about the minutia of hosting a charity auction, check out these tips to getting your charity auction started by the experts at OneCause.

Don’t forget to allow the students to be involved. Depending on the age of your students, you could allow them to write letters to prominent community members asking for auction item donations!

4. Organizing a school carnival.

Organizing a school carnival may take a little extra effort on your part, but that is because the potential revenue you can gain for this type of event would greatly benefit your school.

The first thing your school fundraising committee needs to do is decide on a theme for your carnival. Depending on the time of year, you will be able to host different themes. In the spring and summer, you could do a luau or a barbecue, while in the fall and winter, you can host a haunted Halloween or winter holiday festival. This will help you decide how to decorate and promote your event.

Your carnival or festival should have plenty of games and activities for people of all ages to enjoy. You should include games like:

  • Ring toss.
  • Bobbing for apples.
  • Bean bag toss.
  • Ring the bell.
  • Duck race.
  • Whack-a-mole.
Your students will love bringing their friends and family out to support your school and have fun doing it. To maximize your fundraising event revenue, you should charge an entry fee as well as a cost per ticket to participate in the games. Make sure you also have snacks and drinks available that guests can purchase for an added boost.

5. Producing a talent show.

Most of your kids and students have a skill or talent that excites them and you should give them the opportunity to show it off. Let your students shine on a stage and showcase their talents, all while raising money to support your school and their favorite programs.

You can charge for tickets to the event, concessions like popcorn and candy, and DVD copies of the performances.

For an added bonus, you should print a program to your event that contains:

  • A summary of what the money from the fundraiser is going to accomplish.
  • A list of the students and a brief description of their talent.
  • A statement of each student’s favorite program that the fundraiser is going to benefit and why it is important to them.
A talent show easily engages attendees emotionally and makes them more likely to support your school program. Attendees will have a vested interest in the success of your school’s programs because they have loved ones who benefit from them. The key to success is reminding the attendees what is at stake and why they should care.

Your school talent show will be fun for all participants and bring the community together to support their loved ones and your school.

For information on software that might help you with your fundraising plan, click here.

6. Supporting a read-a-thon.

If you want to incorporate an academic-based fundraising idea into your strategy, you should consider supporting a school-wide read-a-thon. There are multiple ways you can go about organizing your read-a-thon. You can accept pledges based on:

  • Number of pages a student reads.
  • Number of books a student reads.
  • Number of chapters a student reads.
These divisions will allow readers of varying skill abilities to accept pledges that will be best for their reading level. The more advanced or older students may wish to accept pledges based on books so they can accept larger bid amounts. The younger students can accept smaller bids for smaller sections of reading.

Your avid readers will love this event and your community members will be excited to support extra enrichment for students with their donations and pledges.

If you want to see more fun and easy fundraising ideas for schools, check out this list.


Don’t let your school fundraising campaign overwhelm you. Fundraising can be enjoyable for all involved if you host unique, creative events and encourage your students to remain invested throughout the process.


This post was contributed by Brad Dowhaniuk.

Brad Dowhaniuk is the co-founder of 99Pledges, which provides schools and teams with an easy-to-use, web-based fundraising solution to manage and drive success in Fun Runs, jog-a-thons, baseball hit-a-thons, and much more.
K-12 Fundraising: 6 Fun and Easy Ideas for Every School