Schools can’t afford to pay for every student on every activity made available. Unfortunately, money keeps things in operation and operation is needed to earn money. It’s a fact of life. Not all students can afford to pay for various school activities and necessities. How many talented students opt out of playing baseball because they can’t afford the uniform or the travel fees? How many talented students opt out of band auditions for the same reason?

Real-life situations such as these are the reason schools have provided fundraising opportunities for years. Sometimes, students can’t afford to participate. Sometimes, schools can’t afford to update the gymnasium. You get the point.

While crowd sourcing has become a popular, twenty-first century technique to raise funding, what about the old school methods of raising money? Let’s take a look at some original fundraising ideas for your school!

1. Have a Car Wash

This is perhaps one of the most popular ways that kids raise money for schools. On those hot days of the year, host a car wash! Most people prefer that someone else wash their car for them; especially the elderly. Instruct your students to create colorful poster board signs for advertisements. You can post these around town AND have a few students joyfully hold them on the street side for all to see. You can have other students sign up for car washing duties and have some fun!

2. Yard Sale

Another popular way to raise money for your school is to host a yard sale. Most people clean out the excess stuff in their homes once or twice a year. That works in your favor if they have a good cause to donate their excess items to! Your students can spread the word about the yard sale by asking folks to donate their unwanted items to the school. Once you collect enough items to sell, reserve the date for the yard sale and advertise! You can post it in the local newspaper, on social media or with posted signs around the community. After all, one person’s trash can be another person’s treasure!

3. Sell Chocolate Candy Bars

Many folks around the community actually look forward to the days when schools sell the infamous chocolate bars! (The chocolate caramel candy bars are particularly popular.) If you sell one candy bar for one dollar each, you’re guaranteed to make a good profit. Students can sell these at school, at church, at home and more. Many parents enjoy taking the chocolate bars to work to sell them to co-workers and their families! As a motivation for students to sell, you can award the highest sellers with trophies, gadgets, etc. This has always been a successful fundraiser!

4. Candy grams for Valentine’s Day

Many schools participate in this type of fundraising event because it’s so much fun for the students. Candy grams are small, red cards that come with a small candy cane and state who it’s from. It’s not delivered to the student until Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing more exciting to kids than to receive candy grams from friends and secret admirers during the middle of the school day. We recommend charging students 50 cents per candy gram. That way, they can afford it AND you can raise some money!

5. Host a Sweethearts Dance for Valentine’s Day

In addition to the Candy gram fundraiser, you can also host a sweethearts dance! Unlike the typical dance, you can charge a small admission fee or sell tickets. As an elegant event, you can provide a dress code and charge for couples photo sessions. This would be on a smaller scale from prom but would add the opportunity for many sweet memories. Have fun with it!

6. Sell Breakfast at School

We’ve heard the line time and time again. “I didn’t have time to eat breakfast.” Too many students and adults skip out on the most important meal of the day! Selling breakfast at school can be a huge money maker in the fundraising world. You can do it as a one-time event or you can do it on the regular. It’s best to stick to a small menu so you don’t collect too many overhead costs. Biscuits, eggs and bacon are great breakfast foods to sell as most everyone likes that. Not only would you be raising money for your needs, but you’d also be feeding people that never eat breakfast!

7. Host a Penny Jar War

This fundraiser is a classic! It works like this: let each class compete against each other with a single penny jar. Instruct the students to contribute any spare change they find to the penny jar. The class that has the most money in their penny jar by the end of the month wins the war! The award can be anything from a fun day to lunch on the playground to no homework for a week. You’ll want to choose an award that’ll motivate the students to contribute to the penny jar!

8. Have a Bake Sale

Bake sales provide affordable ways to raise money for your school’s needs! You can host the bake sale during a school day or on a Saturday. (If you host the bake sale during a school day, then more people are likely to purchase the products.) Students and teachers can sign up for what baked good they desire to make and bring it to you on the day of the sale. You can advertise the bake sale in the local newspaper, on street signs and on social media. People love brownies, cookies, muffins and pies!

9. Sell Hot Chocolate during School Hours

Students love it when they have other drink and food options available to them separately from what the cafeteria has to offer. During the colder months, sell hot chocolate during the school day! In between classes and during breaks, students and teachers will flock to it! It’s an easy way to raise money, and you can repeat it as many times as the principal will allow it.

10. Host a Movie Night

For some reason, kids love to visit the school at night time. It gives them a sense of adventure and excitement and also helps them to enjoy school during the day. You can host a movie night at the school! Choose an age-friendly movie and sell the tickets in advance. Encourage the students to bring pillows and blankets as well as their favorite snacks. If you want to make some extra money, sell popcorn and soda!

11. Have a Talent Show for the Faculty

You can host a Faculty Talent Show for a small admission fee. Students are entertained when observing their teachers and leaders outside of their usual routine. You can welcome the teachers to share genuine talents or hilarious talents. Whether it’s musical, comedic or intriguing, students will pay to see another side to their teachers. It’s a fun way to earn some extra cash for your school’s needs!

12. Have a Book Sale

Book sales are great ways to raise money! They’re relatively easy to collect, and people love buying them at inexpensive prices. You can advertise for folks to donate any unwanted books to the school for the book sale. Once you’ve collected enough books, advertise the book sale event. You can host it for as little as a day to as long as a week. Typically, people raise more money when they host the sale for longer than a day. It allows for everyone to have the opportunity to shop and purchase books. Any books that you’re unable to sell, you can save for another sale later on!

13. Debate Competition

Many of our students will one day be our leaders. For those that have the gift of debate, why not host a debate competition? These type of fundraisers generally bring in a decent amount of money as students pay for participation and viewers pay for admission. You can reserve the competition for strictly your school or you can invite other schools to participate as well. The more schools that you welcome in for the competition, the more money you’ll make.

14. Have a Spelling Bee

Similar to the debate competition process, you can host a spelling bee. The spelling bee can be reserved for only your school or you can invite other schools in the process. This works by charging a participation fee as well as an admission fee. Most schools host spelling bees during the regular class time hours. This gives you the chance to have a greater audience than if you hosted it on a Saturday.

15. Lemonade Stand during Lunch

If you’re trying to raise money for your school’s club or team, let your students sign up for shifts at your lemonade stand during lunch time! For $1 per glass, you can easily add up the cash for small fundraisers such as these. We recommend working the lemonade stand for one school week. You’ll be surprised at how many students and teachers will purchase the tasty drink!

16. Host a Track Meet

We all know that everyone on the track team can run. However, many schools like to hold track meets for students who desire to run track or just love the thrill of a good race. You can charge a participation fee for those who desire to run in the track meet and charge an admission fee for those that desire to view it. Concessions are often a great way to earn extra money as well! If you host it on a Friday during school hours, you’ll likely see more students attend. It’s a great way to earn money for your team!

17. Host a Trivia Competition for Teachers

Students would pay to see which teacher is the smartest! You can host a trivia competition for teachers during the school day. Not only will students pay the admission fee to get out of class, but they’ll WANT to see the competition for entertainment purposes. To make the event more fun, you can allow students to contribute trivia questions! How fun would it be to see the English teacher get asked a calculus question? The students can award the winner of the competition with an apple trophy, a pizza lunch or more. The opportunities are endless!

18. Host a Chess Tournament

Many students enjoy a good game of chess. In fact, your school may have a chess club! Hosting a chess tournament is another great fundraising idea. Once again, host it during the school day and you’ll have a high turnout. For students that are serious chess players, you can charge a participation fee. You may also enjoy setting up an award system! Since it’s a tournament, you’ll want to charge a small fee for admission. Be sure to assign a chess expert to communicate with the audience on the plays in each game. Many schools like to set up a large screen for everyone to see the players progress as well.

19. Host a Marching Band Competition for the Big Bucks!

Hosting a marching band competition can generate some big bucks for your fundraising cause. If you’re able to persuade area schools to sign up for the competition, you can charge participation fees for each member of the band. This can add up! Marching bands do not consist of few members! Marching bands are also eager to show off their moves, gain more recognition and practice through events such as this. You can also earn money through concessions as people love attending marching band events!

20. Have an Easter Egg Hunt at School

Younger kids love to hunt for Easter eggs. Hosting an Easter egg hunt is a fun way to raise money for your cause. Be sure to advertise the event in advance so folks know to plan ahead and mark their calendars! Many schools hide the eggs on the playground and other outdoor, enclosed areas of the property. You can place unique prizes in a select few eggs and provide awards for the student who collected the most! Simply charge a participation fee for everyone that desires to hunt for eggs.

21. Have an Auction on School Property

Another way to raise a nice chunk of money is hosting an auction in the school’s gymnasium. Give folks a heads up by asking them to donate any unwanted items to the school auction. (You may have some things leftover from the yard sale!) Once you’ve allowed yourself time to collect items, advertise the sale for a Saturday. Folks LOVE auctions. Many antique collectors and thrift hunters search for auction sales all the time. Assign someone reliable as auctioneer and earn profit by auctioning the items!

22. Print and Sell T-Shirts with School Logo

If you or someone you know has a printing machine, then print T-shirts with your school’s logo and sell them! These T-shirts will be one of a kind and can’t be bought just anywhere that clothing is sold. Blank T-shirts are usually inexpensive to purchase in bulk and are great for printing logos! For example, if you purchase a blank T-shirt for $5 and sell the printed T-shirt for $15, that’s $10 in profit. To get the word out, advertise in the school newspaper and school flyers. People will be interested, and you’ll raise money for your cause!

Conclusion On The Best School Fundraising Ideas

Now that we’ve shared 22 ways in which you can raise money for your school, we urge you to give it a try! These are the traditional ways to raise money, and they create memorable moments for students, faculty and parents. If you are interested in crowd source fundraising, check us out at You don’t want to miss out!

Be sure to also read some of our other related articles like volleyball fundraising ideas.

Start Raising Funds Today

Get Started →

By Published On: September 16th, 2023Categories: Fundraising Tips0 Comments

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

About the Author:

Michael Braunstein

is a fundraising expert and founder of Hour-A-Thon.