Skip to content

13 Cutting-Edge School Fundraising Ideas

(That Really Work)

Be Innovative with your School Fundraising

1. Murder Mystery Fundraiser

Murder Mystery actors dressed in masquerade apparel wit poison and a wood tip cigarette.

A murder mystery is one of the best school fundraising ideas. Hiring a trusted name like The Murder Mystery Company to handle your event will involve bringing in actors who will guide the mystery as well as provide light costuming and show materials. Host in your classroom or in the gym, or take it to an outside venue. Don’t worry about the murder being too graphic, as our shows are comical and have a rating system to ensure appropriateness. It works great as the main event and can be incorporated seamlessly with your other planned activities, such as a raffle or silent auction.

  • No stress planning with an Event Consultant
  • Host anywhere you like
  • Kids and adults alike love immersing themselves in a different world
  • Create a popular annual event
  • Multiple opportunities to raise funds

School Fundraising for Younger Kids

2. Milestone Bash

Highlights:

  • Celebrates an important day
  • Puts the kids at the center of the spotlight

If your organization raises money or awareness for kids who are in need, think about centering your school fundraising around a milestone the kids can attain. Have a table or place to take donations at their actual graduation, for example. Another option would be celebrating a different milestone such as passing their first year of finals or getting into college. Get fireworks to spice it up!

graphic to represent the milestone bash school fundraising idea
sponsor a child logo for school fundraising ideas

3. Sponsor a Child

Highlights:

  • Help a child feel seen and appreciated
  • Make a direct impact both emotionally and financially

Donors who want to participate in this sponsorship will give money, but they also get the chance to develop a relationship with the child. The positive impact of their generosity and mentorship will leave a lasting impression on the children’s lives.

4. The Muddy Run

Highlights:

  • Give kids the opportunity to get messy
  • An annual event that can be very popular

Running through an obstacle course in the mud is fun for all ages, but especially for kids! Invite the kids to dive in, and run it like you would any other race or 4K. Get the kids sponsored by donors, and have them see who has the fastest run through the rip-roaring mud hills!

School Fundraising Ideas for Any Age Group

5. Young Picasso

Highlights:

  • Encourages creativity
  • Drawings parents will treasure forever

Whether you want to do a coloring contest using pre-drawn line art or ask for original artwork organized under a theme, this is sure to be a popular and memorable fundraiser event. Give students time to create their masterpieces and frame them once they’re complete. Host an auction in which you invite adults (usually parents) to bid on the artwork. Take whatever money you raised and put it towards your cause!

6. Youth Ambassador Board

Highlights:

  • Teaches youth how to organize together for a cause
  • Puts a face to the cause

Give the kids a position of power and create a group of well connected and passionate people who are supportive of your cause. They can organize their own meetings and discuss ways to help your cause, such as starting their own crowdfunding campaigns or spreading the word on social media.

youth ambassador board school fundraising idea logo
haunted house school fundraising idea

7. Haunted House

Highlights:

  • You can choose the level of scariness
  • Can be offered more than one day if you want

A haunted house is a classic event to have around Halloween, and a unique one to have any other time of the year. Decorate the school with decorations you can find in a dollar store, such as cobwebs, carved pumpkins, and spooky ghosts. You can ask local stores for donations or see if any kids’ parents have extras they don’t mind contributing. Recruit kids and parents alike to be the ghosts and goblins that pop out and inspire fear in your haunted house. Charge an entrance fee for this experience as your fundraising.

8. Live Talent Show

Highlights:

  • Showcase the talent of your student body
  • Parents love supporting their kids

This is a wonderful way to get a younger crowd involved with your mission. Middle schoolers to teenagers will enjoy the opportunity to show off their talents. Be sure to be inclusive and allow anyone who is interested to be a part of the show. Create a small team to organize the acts to ensure a timely event. You can award prizes in a way you think will be best received. A student winner, a teacher winner, and an overall winner are pretty standard, but you can also give out joke awards, such as “Best Yodel.” Charge an attendance fee for the show and have a raffle during the show for more fundraising opportunity. Livestream the event with a commentator taking donations online!

talent show school fundraising idea logo

9. Used Book Drive

Highlights:

  • Allows teachers to refresh their personal library
  • Most people have old books they want to rid themselves of

Ask people to drop off books they no longer need or have already read to a place where you can collect them all properly. Use the books to fill a new library, free of cost. You can also choose to sell the books at a clearance price tag, such as filling a paper bag of books for a suggested donation of $10.

10. Trivia Tournament

Highlights:

  • A tournament is an effective way to draw a crowd
  • Jeopardy fans will greatly enjoy this event

Trivia can be a fun time for all involved, from the contestants to the adults in the audience who will enjoy guessing the trivia questions amongst themselves. Pick a night for the event and organize teams of students who want to compete. Charging an entrance fee is pretty standard. You need to decide what topics the trivia will cover, how many rounds there will be, who will ask the questions, etc. You can break up the student groups by grade if they are younger students, or choose to have everyone compete on equal playing ground if they are in high school. Offer rewards for the 1st through 3rd place winners!

trivia brain logo for school fundraising ideas

11. Legal Hostage

Highlights:

  • A whimsical and oddball event that people will remember
  • Has the potential to raise a lot of money

Choose someone from the school faculty who is well loved and established. It doesn’t matter if it is the principal or a teacher that has been there for decades. You want to pick someone to keep “detained” until you meet your fundraising goals. Students will find this funny but also be motivated to raise funds to “free them” within a certain time frame. If it is safe, you can put your hostage somewhere ridiculous and publicly viewable, such as the school’s roof. If this isn’t doable, an office decked out to look like a “jail” will suffice.

School Fundraising Ideas for Colleges/Universities

12. Date Night Auction

Highlights:

  • Sorority and fraternities will find this idea appealing
  • Opportunity to raise money before the event

Hosting a date night auction may seem slightly outdated, but it is a fun sorority/fraternity inspired event that gives numerous opportunities to raise money. First, you should have a few males and females nominate themselves to be the auction prize. The person needs to be willing to go out with whoever ends up winning the auction. Instruct each dater to create a short profile page about themselves, including a link to where they can donate online. Make your auction a grand affair by picking a swanky venue with catered dinner and drinks. You can also make themed date night baskets to auction off in addition to the dates themselves!

13. School-Wide Yard Sale

Highlights:

  • One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
  • More items = more donations

If you’ve ever pulled your car up to a single garage sale only to be disappointed by the items available, you aren’t the only one. The secret behind successful garage sale-ing usually lies in the size of the event. This is why you often leave neighborhood-wide sales with boatloads of items! The more items, the more money there is to be made. Learn from this example and create a school-wide yard sale in the parking lot or gym. Have your student body as well as teachers promote the event and see how much you can get donated, from clothes to refreshments. Take the funds raised and put them towards your cause! The leftovers can be donated to a local charity store, like Goodwill.

yard sale image for school fundraising ideas

Take Your Fundraiser to the Next Level

Let our experts figure out the perfect event for your next fundraiser!

A Killer Party Idea

Ready to turn your friends into sleuths and suspects? Let’s leave the mystery out of the planning. Send us a little bit more information about your event and we’ll get you one step closer to uncovering the killer!