Starting a Fundraiser for Your School or a Charity Doesn't Have to Be Complicated

·4 min read
Photo credit: Mike Garten
Photo credit: Mike Garten

From Good Housekeeping

There are so many reasons you might want to start a fundraiser. Maybe your school needs a little extra money to start a new initiative. Or maybe you run a non-profit that's constantly strapped for cash. It might even be that there's an incredible charity or organization that you want to raise money for. Whatever the case, we've got the solution. Ahead, you'll find the best fundraising ideas you can use to raise money for any cause. From fundraisers as simple as hosting a bake sale to ones as involved as organizing a pop-up picnic at a local park, these ideas will get you thinking creatively and help you plan an event you'll want to repeat every year. We've even included some virtual fundraising ideas that you can do while social distancing. Looking for even more ways to give back? Don't miss our favorite community service ideas for kids, teens, and adults.

Best school fundraising ideas

  • Host a community yard sale in your school's parking lot.

  • Recycle bottles from the bins at your school and ask students to bring in ones from home.

  • Collect Box Tops.

  • Host a jelly bean or candy corn counting contest.

  • Ask local artists to sell crafts at a school craft sale.

  • Re-pot succulents in cute containers and host a succulent sale.

  • Host a Read-A-Thon; pledges are tied to the number of books read in a month.

  • Organize a pancake breakfast.

  • Throw a clothing swap; participants donate clothes and pay a small donation for every piece they take.

  • Host a raffle with donated prizes.

  • Organize a "Straw Draw" event; participants pay to draw a straw and each straw correlates to a donated prize.

  • Host a themed bake sale.

  • Start a face-painting station at a local farmer's market or community event.

  • Organize a teacher's charity game in which teachers play a sport and supporters pay to attend.

  • Host a cupcake war where participants see who bakes the best treats; you can charge an entry fee and a tasting fee.

  • Host a board game or video game tournament.

Best fundraising ideas to do with kids

  • Host a Clean-A-Thon; pledges are tied to the number of pounds of trash collected.

  • Decorate donation envelopes and put them at every table at a local restaurant.

  • Design and sell T-shirts.

  • Host a trivia night.

  • Offer gift-wrapping services in your community; you could set up a stand in your town square or main street.

  • Host a community hike day; charge a small donation fee and lead everyone on a hike.

  • Organize a 50/50 raffle.

  • Host a pop-up picnic in a local park or town square; you can charge an entry fee and sell donated items at the event.

  • Host a penny drive at school; each classroom gets a jar and races to fill it.

  • Host a treasure hunt and make sure there's a cool prize for the winning team.

  • Partner with a local pizza shop to host a pizza and movie night.

  • Host a themed fun run (for example, everyone could wear a Halloween costume or an ugly sweater for the holidays).

  • Set up a scavenger hunt.

  • Host a car wash.

  • Throw a murder mystery dinner party.

  • Host a haunted house event.

  • Organize a restaurant give-back night with a local chain, such as Applebees, Chipotle, or Chili's.

Best virtual fundraising ideas

  • Ask for donations in lieu of gifts on your birthday.

  • Host a virtual book talk or discussion night with a notable member of your community.

  • Throw a virtual concert.

  • Sign up your organization for Amazon Smile.

  • Host a virtual cooking class.

  • Host a virtual game night.

  • Start a crowdfunding page on GoFundMe.

  • Host a virtual exercise class.

  • Create a community coupon book of coupons donated from local businesses and sell the book online.

  • Organize a virtual silent auction.

  • Host a mentor auction; people in your community can offer their mentoring services virtually.

  • Organize a virtual talent show.

  • Organize a phone-a-thon to ask for donations.

  • Host a socially distanced history tour.

  • Host a pumpkin carving contest; everyone pays an entry fee and participants can vote for their favorites on social media.

  • Organize a virtual race or walkathon (participants walk on their own time).

  • Host a step challenge; pledges are tied to the number of steps.

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