Fundraising Ideas for College

Looking for a fundraising idea for college students like you? What about raising money for a school club or just for a good cause? Crowdfunding has become a powerful fundraising tool for college students on campuses everywhere.

Group of people meeting outside around a table

GoFundMe makes fundraising for students simple to help college students raise funds to pay for college. Read on for successful fundraising ideas for college student organizations and groups of all kinds, including fundraising ideas for university clubs like fraternities and sororities, and ideas for raising money for tuition and other college costs.

Crowdfunding paves the way for your future

The cost of college tuition has skyrocketed, far outpacing the rate of inflation—with student loan debt nationwide exceeding $1.7 trillion. One of the smartest things you can do is graduate with as little debt as possible. Paying for college with crowdfunding—a collegiate fundraising campaign for tuition or other expenses—can help you make that happen.

  • Crowdfunding for your educational costs can help you cover tuition costs—and do things like live on campus, eat healthily, participate in campus activities, buy a computer, and enjoy a social life to balance all that studying.
  • Fundraising for college tuition helps you dedicate more time to school and reduces the number of hours you work at part-time (or full-time) jobs, while still meeting your financial goal.
  • Reducing the amount of debt you accumulate will serve you for years to come—your future self will thank you.

5 popular college fundraising ideas

1. Host a fundraising gala or party

  • Find a local restaurant, business, civic center, or other space that will host your event for free.
  • Draw a bigger crowd by getting a band to play.
  • The cost of admission is a donation to your fundraiser.
  • Secure donated items or services (from local businesses or elsewhere) to use as giveaways at your event.
  • You can even do an auction and have bidders pay for their items via a donation to your fundraiser.

2. Design a scavenger hunt

Create a scavenger hunt by first creating a list of items that participants need to find to win a prize.

  • Ask a local restaurant or store to donate a small gift card for the prize, or craft a homemade gift yourself.
  • Charge admission to the hunt in the form of a donation to your crowdfunding campaign.
  • Most everyone enjoys a little creative competition, so rallying friends, family, and other community members to participate should be a snap.

3. Volunteer your time for donations

People are often more compelled to give to a cause that gives back.

  • Find a local organization such as a food bank, homeless shelter, SPCA—ideally one doing work related to your major or your group’s interests—and sign up to volunteer.
  • For each $25, $50, $75, or $100 donated, pledge to volunteer a certain number of hours to your chosen cause.
  • On your fundraiser page, post updates showing how many hours you’ve volunteered and the good you’ve done—be sure to add pictures and video.

4. Break a sweat with a bike-a-thon

Round up all the cyclists you know and host a bike-a-thon for your education. This is one of the healthiest fundraising ideas college students can try out!

  • Ask participants to get sponsors to pledge donations based on the number of miles they ride.
  • Afterward, tally up the number of miles and ask sponsors for their pledges.
  • Provide fun prizes for different achievements, including one for the rider who raises the most money.

5. Get pampered for a good cause

Host a mani/pedi day.

  • Invite people to purchase a manicure, pedicure, or both in advance by donating to your fundraiser.
  • Set the price for each service (including tips) with a participating salon or nail shop. Ask donors for a minimum amount well above those rates—the difference between the shop price and total donation will be the money you raise.
  • You may want to ask the shop to set aside their space for several hours for your event. You could also give people gift cards to use on their own time (which can expand the geography of your fundraiser).

Support education and improve campus life

Every academic year, individuals and clubs at colleges across the country raise money while bringing fun and festivity to campus. Wondering which crowdfunding platform to choose? GoFundMe’s crowdfunding platform makes it easy to take donations via mobile devices at events, and tap into your social networks, both online and off. Start fundraising for college today.

Start a college fundraiser

Fundraising ideas for college sororities

Sorority group picture

Launching a fundraiser is a great way to keep members involved and get your campus excited about a fun, new event. Combining your event with crowdfunding makes it easy for people to donate before, during, and after your event. Here are five great sorority fundraising ideas to help spark new interest in your chapter’s fundraising efforts.

Take advantage of your online connections

Crowdfunding allows people to create an online fundraising page, explain their cause, and upload text, photos, and videos to their social networks in order to solicit donations. Remember that small groups can often raise big money, especially through social media. Sharing your campaign across your chapter’s social networks and email list is the secret to raising more money for your cause. The more participants, the bigger the audience and opportunity to reach more supporters than you ever could through traditional fundraising channels alone. And make sure everyone involved taps into the power of social media to raise awareness.

5 great fundraising ideas for college sororities

1. Try selling holidaygrams

Make simple holiday greeting packages that students can purchase by donating to your cause. This fundraising idea only requires a little bit of pre planning. This idea can be adapted to fit any season, not just the winter holidays.

2. Accept online payments for offline event donations

Use your crowdfunding campaign as a convenient way to accept payments for traditional goods like bake sales, clothing sales, and car washes.

  • Make it easy for students to participate, even if they don’t have extra cash on them, and ask them to share their donation on social media to help spread the word.
  • The more that people see your fundraiser, the more donations you’re likely to receive—whether they attended your event or not.

3. Encourage sharing

Members of the Greek community tend to have a wide circle of friends and acquaintances on their social networks, including students who may not have heard about the campaign.

  • Take advantage of your connections, both inside and outside the Greek community, and encourage unaffiliated friends to share as well.
  • Consider developing a hashtag to use across social media platforms in order to receive more publicity.
  • Find ways to make your online presence interactive. Try asking people to post the answer to a question related to your philanthropy on social media.

4. Team up with a clothing or other product company

See if a local clothing store or sports outfitter would be willing to work with you. Host a sale in which the company agrees to donate a percentage of the proceeds to your fundraiser.

  • These types of sales can be held either in the store or out—items that don’t sell are simply returned.
  • Fundraisers like this give stores an opportunity to show off their merchandise like t-shirts and jeans, and provide you with a product that interests potential donors.

5. Run a fun and competitive scavenger hunt

Arrange a scavenger hunt with a list of items around your university campus (maybe with a theme like, “College Life”) for participants to find in order to win a prize.

  • Craft a homemade gift or ask a local business to donate products or services as prizes.
  • Ask people or teams who sign up to participate in the game to donate a specified amount to your fundraiser.

Get your girl power on

Sorority fundraising can be one of the most influential experiences for a student member. It ensures that young women reserve time in their busy collegiate life for service and compassionate action. Working together for positive social change helps sorority sisters bond in a way that supports lifelong friendships. Use our ideas to complement your online fundraisers. If you haven’t already started one, create a fundraiser today.

Start a sorority fundraiser

Fundraising ideas for college fraternities

Along with fun and fellowship, philanthropic endeavors have been at the heart of Greek life since its inception. As Greek organizations, fraternities are obligated by their charters to focus on service to others while having a good time. Crowdfunding can make it easy for participants to sign up for, and stay up-to-date on, event details. Here are five fraternity fundraising ideas designed to boost your online fundraiser.

Make a fundraising plan

Start the fundraising process by getting your fraternity brothers together to determine what your group can afford to spend on activities, and what resources you already have. We also suggest setting up a fundraising team within your group and assigning tasks around promotions, organization, advertising, decorating, and so on. You’ll find that there are numerous advantages to online fundraising.

  • It’s easy to collect donations online through your fundraiser page. Donors can quickly donate on any smartphone or tablet, and you avoid the hassle of managing checks and cash.
  • An online fundraiser is far more organized than a traditional fundraiser. All of your information, stories, photos, and videos are easily accessible in the same place you accept and manage donations.

6 fundraising ideas for college fraternities

1. Host a lip-sync battle

Lip-syncing requires little more than lots of enthusiasm, making it perfect for even those short on talent.

  • Rally a few other friends, student groups, or fraternities and sororities to participate in a friendly competition.
  • Tap approachable faculty or staff to serve as judges.
  • Give bonus points for properly-executed dance moves and costuming.
  • You’ll need a sound system and a venue.
  • Pre-sell tickets online with a donation to your crowdfunding campaign, and offer tickets at the door for a slightly higher price.

2. Offer all-you-can-eat goodness

Host a pancake breakfast, barbecue dinner, or other food fest. What’s on the menu? Think pancakesgrilled cheese, spaghetti—any crowd-pleasers that are easy to make and serve in mass quantities.

Invite everyone you know and advertise on campus in the weeks leading up to the event.
Collect online donations to your fundraiser as the entry fee.

3. Get social with a tailgate event

Organizing a tailgate not only encourages school spirit; it’s a great way to spread awareness around your fundraiser:

  • Stake out space in a parking lot next to the stadium before a home football game or other big event.
  • Partner with the athletic department, other groups, or go it alone.
  • Do it up with a serious barbecue tailgate. Play some tunes.
  • Set up a cornhole game or other fun and easy activity that includes silly prizes.
  • Ask people to make a donation for access to the BBQ, drinks, and game gear.

4. Host an alumni luncheon

When graduation looms, a little networking never hurt anyone. Do good while doing well with a get-together with college alumni.

  • Ask a well-known alum to serve as the keynote speaker to bring in the crowds, then allow participants to mingle with food, drink, and networking.
  • This is a plus for both students and alums, who get a chance to reconnect with friends while getting exposure to possible summer interns.
  • The price of admission should be a donation to your crowdfunding campaign. Link to your fundraiser page in the invitation, and take donations at the door with a smartphone or tablet.
  • Follow up with more opportunities to connect (and donate).

5. Have fun with a pie-throwing fundraiser

Who doesn’t love to see their friends covered in pie filling? This is an easy fundraiser (well, for the organizers; maybe not so much for the folks on duty as targets).

  • Stand the “volunteers” in front of a tarp and provide ammunition with every donation to your crowdfunding campaign.
  • Pies or water balloons? Get creative. The messier, the better.
  • Don’t forget the towels.

6. Share your joy of puppies

A great way to help students and staff unwind before or after finals week is to bring the joy of puppies to campus.

  • Call your local animal shelter and see if they’d be interested in supplying the dogs and accepting donations.
  • Charge people for every 30 minutes of petting time. Less stress, more uplift, and greater funds for a great cause; it’s a true win-win.

Lead the charge

If you like these tips, check out our list of more fun fundraising ideas for college organizations and students alike that can help raise money quickly while having fun. If you haven’t already started your college fundraiser, create one now and start raising money for your fraternity or for a good cause.

Start a fraternity fundraiser