School Fundraising Ideas: 13 Unusual Ways to Raise Money for Your School

October 31st, 2012 7 Comments Other

School fundraising idea: dress up

Do you need money for new musical instruments or equipment for the science lab? Before you order those candy bars, consider doing something out of the ordinary. You can make your fundraiser stand out by doing something no other group at your school has done before.

Here are 13 unconventional ways to raise money for your school.

  1. Sell your students. Think of a service that is related to the department you’re raising money for and sell your students’ talents and skills. A choir, for example, could charge $10 for a student to serenade someone, $25 for a trio to sing Christmas carols at a person’s home, or $100 for the entire choir to sing at an event. Adjust the products and prices to work for your organization, and you’ve got a unique fundraiser that also gives your students real-world experience using their gifts.
  2. Tacky yard decorations. This fundraiser involves doing sneak attacks in the middle of the night to cover someone’s yard with tacky lawn decorations, such as plastic flamingoes or gnomes. Your students get people to pay them to place the decorations on someone else’s lawn. In the evening, the decorations are removed so they can be re-used for the next victim. It’s best to leave a note or post a corrugated sign explaining that this is a fundraiser to make sure the victim realizes that it’s all in fun.
  3. Adult spelling bee. This can be a lot of fun if done right. It’s best to have the adults work in teams of 3-4 so that no one is singled out for getting a word wrong. Each team has 30 seconds to hold up a white board with their spelling after the MC announces the word. If there are more than a few teams, the competition should be split into several rounds. Any team misspelling more than one word in a round is eliminated from the competition. To raise money with this event, you can charge an entry fee to each team, ask them to get sponsors who will pay a certain amount for each word they spell correctly, charge admission to the audience, or sell refreshments.
  4. Blind auction. Everyone brings wrapped gifts as donations to be auctioned off. An inspection period should be offered prior to the start of the auction, during which time bidders can pick up the gifts to feel how heavy they are. The gifts are then auctioned off, still wrapped. After all items have been sold, everyone opens their gifts to see what they have won.
  5. Hole in one contest. Set up in a location about 175 yards from the green and charge $5 for 3 chances. Find a local business to donate a nice prize for anyone who makes the shot. This type of fundraiser can be done on a basketball court too, with the shooting area far enough away from the hoop to make it a real challenge.
  6. Slave auction. Teenagers are the best age group for this type of fundraiser. They are capable of doing most odd jobs, such as washing cars, cleaning houses, and mowing lawns. There should be a minimum bid set for each slave and a specific time and date that they are available. It should be made clear that the slaves may only be asked to do odd jobs that they could legally be hired to do at their age. In other words, no operating dangerous equipment or machinery.
  7. Kiss the mascot. Set out collection jars for the principal and each teacher in the office. Students collect money and put it in the jar of the teacher they would like to have kiss the school mascot. The faculty person who gets the most money in their jar has to kiss the mascot at the next school assembly. This works best if your mascot is an animal. If you don’t have an animal mascot, you can use a pig instead.
  8. Helicopter drop. Find a large, open field and paint a grid on it. The paint used for marking lines on a football field works well. Sell the blocks and have a helicopter pilot circle around a few times, then drop a bag onto the field. The person who bought the square that the bag lands in wins a prize. To make the event more fun, you can sell helicopter rides or have some field games with prizes.
  9. Embarrassment cards. Make up some cards with crazy but embarrassing things people can do, such as doing the Hokey Pokey or singing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” Have someone pick a card and read it, then tell them they can either do what the card says or make a donation.
  10. The penny project. Give each child a roll of pennies and have them ask people they know if they have anything they can buy for a penny. The goal is for each child to end up with 50 items to sell. Allow a week or two for the kids to get the items, then host a well-publicized rummage sale in the gym on a Saturday. Anything that doesn’t sell can be donated to a charity.
  11. Art show & auction. Have each of your art students donate one project to help raise money for the department. Host an art show and auction the students’ artwork at the end of the show. The auction could be done through silent bids if desired.
  12. Potty protection plan. This is similar to the yard decorations, but you use a brightly-painted toilet and have your students sell “potty insurance” before you start. Buying insurance keeps the potty from showing up in your yard, even if someone else pays to have it placed there.
  13. Seed money. Instead of asking students to collect donations, give each student a small amount of “seed money” and ask them to use their ingenuity to come up with a way to turn the initial $5 or $10 into a larger amount.

As you can see, fundraising doesn’t have to be about selling candy and popcorn. Get together with your group and see if you can come up with even more creative ways to raise money and have fun at the same time.


This is a guest post by James Renault, who enjoys writing about school fundraising ideas such as the adidas School Fun Run, which helped raise over $2.5 million for its partner schools last year.

Image by devinlynnx


Andrianes Pinantoan is InformED's editor and part of the marketing team behind Open Colleges. When not working, he can be found reading about two of his favourite subjects: education and psychology. You can find him on Google+ or @andreispsyched.

7 Responses

  1. Thanks these are great creative tips for school fundraising – have shared them on twitter 🙂

  2. Larry says:

    Always looking for new ideas to include in our DIY section. I really like the Penny Project.

  3. Elika says:

    Hello. Greetings from Sofia, Bulgaria and me. My name is Eleonora Maryanova and I teach all school subjects, English, ICT and European Languages via skype: elikabg
    Thank you very much for sharing the very useful methods for students’ motivation to achieve their best results.

  4. Luci says:

    Hi, further to my last comment I wanted to let you know we’re currently running a “crowdfunding” campaign for my daughter’s school – it’s a way to fundraise online. In less that 2 weeks we’ve already reached 75% of the way to our goal of raising $5000 for school computers! We’re only a small public school of 250 kids so this is a pretty big deal for us. If you want to check it out the address is

  5. Yvonne says:

    Great ways although it’s very US centric in writing.
    Came across this page as we have recently launched Schoolswop, a new way to fundraise for your school 24 x 7 by having your own School branded trading site (think ebay or craigslist or gumtree). for more information.

  6. Roberta says:

    These are all great ideas, I am sharing this on Pinterest.

  7. Great article and very well explained. I believe in professionals so this is a very useful article for everyone. Many thanks for your share.

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