From Elementary to High School: Best School Fundraising Ideas to Fundraise Fast

Traditional school fundraising ideas send kids door-to-door to sell wrapping paper and chocolate bars to everyone they know. Unfortunately, this approach is not very practical. It often results in the school and students having to give a large part of the profits to the supplier of the products. Crowdfunding is a much more effective alternative for school fundraisers. Students and schools can use several school fundraising ideas and make far more from their efforts. They can also keep more of the funds they raise on GoFundMe.

school children working on computers

Making it easy to spread the word

GoFundMe’s social sharing tools make it easy for schools to spread the word via social media with the click of a button. By sharing your fundraiser on Instagram, NextDoor, and Facebook, you can quickly and easily raise the money you need for programs and projects—and students participate in service learning. 

Schools can withdraw donations immediately, so you don’t have to wait weeks to receive your funds. There are no penalties for not reaching your goal, and you can extend the fundraising deadline anytime.

  • From fundraising ideas for high school down to elementary school, students can learn leadership skills by taking charge and raising money for an important cause.
  • Working with fellow students to effectively plan and run a fundraiser is an opportunity to learn valuable team skills.
  • Practicing acts of kindness and love plants the seeds of compassion and sets a precedent for a lifetime of public service.

Six best-in-class ideas for school fundraisers

  • 1. Enrichment programs

    Field trips, summer learning programs, study abroad, and enrichment programs are often costly—but they’re also an ideal fit for crowdfunding because your needs are so well defined.

    You can raise funds for one classroom, a favorite program, or an entire school based on your needs. Students can promote the fundraiser and generate a lot of support by sharing it on TikTok. They can also create photos and videos for fundraising updates, write thank-you notes to donors, and more.

  • 2. Sports booster clubs

    Many students participate in sports and athletic clubs at school. Booster clubs can organize events and raise money through crowdfunding to fund equipment and supplies. Parents can contribute by creating a fundraiser that outlines the club’s needs and necessary purchases to help raise funds.

  • 3. Prom and student activities

    Creating school fundraising ideas is a fun way to raise money for events. Proms and other special school events come with a price tag—decorations, food, music, and prize giveaways add up. 

    Make a GoFundMe fundraiser to gather funds from friends and family. Coordinate with those planning the event and develop a creative school events idea to make your plans come to life. Students can make these events memorable and fun without dipping into the school treasury.

  • 4. Computers or tablets for education

    Classrooms often use laptops and tablets—for reading books, doing homework assignments, accommodating student learning needs, and more. If you want to increase your capacity in this area, consider starting a crowdfunding campaign to upgrade or expand your resources.

    • Create a list of the most crucial items your classroom needs to buy, only the most essential supplies and the pricing for each.
    • Talk with the person in charge of making purchases for the school to determine the budget and the policy on buying certain items. 

    For your fundraiser to be as successful as possible, set a realistic fundraising goal that isn’t too high. You can always increase your goal if you meet it right away.

  • 5. Causes close to students’ hearts

    To create the best school fundraisers, you want to appeal to people’s emotional side. Supporting humanitarian causes is a key service learning component—teaching students about compassion and the value of helping others.

    Before getting started, take a poll to find out what causes students at your school are passionate about or interested in. It could be local, national, or international—there’s no shortage of engaging causes to support. One popular option is for students to help other students who need extra help at home.

  • 6. Memorial fund or scholarship fund

    If a teacher, student, or other community member important to your school passes away, an inspirational school event idea is to honor the person by starting a scholarship fund in their name. (Don’t forget to check with the person’s family before starting).

    Come up with ideas for appropriate ways to spend your funds, such as creating a scholarship to be awarded to one student at the end of the year, dispersing donations to a group of students for summer camp, or earmarking money for a particular school event.

    Memorial fundraisers are the perfect way for your students to transform their loss into something positive and participate in a legacy project.

Get your school fundraiser off the ground

There is no need to waste time figuring out how to raise funds for that important school event, your next class trip, or a worthy cause. 

GoFundMe is here to provide you with the best crowdfunding platform and unique fundraising ideas for schools to help and support you along the way. Say yes to crowdfunding for your school and launch your school fundraiser today.

(Note: If you’re 12 or younger, please have a parent or guardian start your GoFundMe. If you’re between 13 and 17, please get your parent or guardian’s permission to start an account.)

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Elementary school fundraising ideas

Elementary school kids boarding a bus

While many elementary school fundraisers focus on meeting a school’s financial needs, for school districts with ample funding, consider using crowdfunding to give back instead. Launching a charitable fundraiser can provide amazing opportunities for personal growth. Teachers can use online fundraising as opportunities to engage students and encourage them to cultivate compassion inside and outside the classroom.

Teaching children to be compassionate

The sooner kids are exposed to resources they can use to do good and make the world better, the more comfortable and confident they’ll become in leading the charge for change. By starting a crowdfunding page with students, you equip them with skills that will benefit them in the future. 

  • School fundraising ideas that benefit children are among the most talked about on social media, reports Nonprofit Tech For Good.
  • According to a survey cited by AFRDS, 71% of parents in the US said their children sold at least one product in the past year as part of a fundraising fundraiser.
  • A recent report shared that 60% of parents volunteer in their children’s classroom.

Six ideas for elementary school fundraising

  • 1. Fundraising for endangered animals

    If your child is an animal lover or concerned about endangered species but doesn’t know where to begin, here are some tips. You can set up a crowdfunding fundraiser to help protect a species, preserve a habitat, or protect wildlands—also a good idea to add to the fundraising ideas for high school students.

    • Ask your city zoo or a nearby school for access to a space you can use for a fundraising event and set up your fundraiser with an engaging story. 
    • If your child is learning about endangered species in school, you can collaborate with their teachers to initiate a classwide effort. 
    • A bake sale could be an excellent way to start fundraising and promote your online fundraiser toward local wildlife.

    When children participate in fundraising for a cause close to their hearts, they gain leadership skills, a sense of social responsibility, and direct experience in making the world a better place.

  • 2. Support worthy causes the class chooses

    A good way for teachers to promote student empathy is by organizing a fundraiser with their classes. This school events idea can serve as a valuable educational opportunity that empowers students to take action against the injustices they witness in the world.

    • Create a GoFundMe fundraiser and raise money for a nearby children’s hospital or nonprofit that serves a charitable purpose.
    • Encourage students to use critical thinking skills and creativity to develop fundraisers for schools.
    • To take the fundraising offline, students can sell candy, homemade cards, or a talent show they can sell tickets to.
  • 3. Hold a mock game show night

    Host a school fundraiser in the auditorium and invite parents and families to participate in a fun quiz show. Be sure to promote the event on social media—a great opportunity for teachers and parents to collaborate. 

    • Before the event, form teams and have each team raise funds together.
    • Ask a local business to donate the top prize.
    • Set up a trivia competition like Jeopardy!, but with a twist: focus on information related to your school or town history.
    • Provide breaks in the competition for snacking and socializing, prizes, or other interactive events.
    • Have a station where guests can each make a suggested donation.
  • 4. Host a recycling-themed fundraiser

    Organize a waste reduction theme project—for example, an e-waste drive where supporters donate money to your campaign and, in return, you pick up and safely recycle their electronic waste.

    You can also collect pledges for distance covered in a park or beach cleanup, or pledges for a certain amount of energy or water saved within a certain timeframe.

    Host a classroom recycling party where the classroom with the most recyclable materials can receive special recognition. To double the impact, donate proceeds to an organization that works to address the effects of climate change.

  • 5. Host a performance for charity night

    Plan a “coffeehouse” gathering to inspire children to showcase their creativity and express themselves. Use this night of musical performances to spotlight and celebrate the talents of your students. 

    • Make sure there is time reserved for the school choir to perform.
    • Sell snacks and drinks to make a profit, and ask for an entry-fee donation to your GoFundMe fundraiser.
    • You can expand this fundraising idea into a formal talent show, raising money for your fundraiser through ticket sales. Suggest that students wear specific costumes to make the event even more fun.
  • 6. Organize a read-a-thon

    It’s a great idea to motivate your class to participate in a read-a-thon fundraiser by encouraging them to collect pledges. This way, your students can help raise funds for a good cause while developing their reading skills. Sponsors can pledge a certain amount of money for each page a student reads, which can be an excellent incentive for your students to read more. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

    • Have them record the number of pages they read, the names of the books, and a short synopsis of each.
    • You can even collect some of their summaries and post them as updates to your fundraiser.
    • Set a fundraising goal at the outset so you know how many pages need to be read to reach the goal.
    • At the end of your fundraiser, use the funds to improve your library or donate the funds to an organization that promotes child literacy.

The road to a better world

Encouraging children to develop empathy and a sense of social responsibility can pave the way for a brighter future. By involving them in fundraising for causes they care about, we can contribute to positive change for people, animals, and communities worldwide. Start a fundraiser with your children or students today by choosing a cause they are passionate about and launching it through GoFundMe.

Note: To create a GoFundMe account, you must be at least 13 years old and have your parent or guardian’s permission.

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Middle school fundraising ideas

Three children baking.

Finding new and exciting fundraising ideas that appeal to students and parents can be difficult. The start of the school year is a busy time, and parents may be hesitant to spend more money on a fundraiser after already investing in school supplies and clothes. However, it’s important to remember that early fundraising efforts can provide resources for the entire academic year. Keep reading to see some school fundraising ideas. 

Get your students involved

Give your students a sense of ownership in your crowdfunding campaign. By involving middle school students in your fundraising efforts, you teach them the importance of funding their education and inspire them to explore their creativity and leadership potential. As a result, they will appreciate their efforts’ impact and the opportunities their fundraiser made possible. Encourage them to come up with school fundraising ideas that activate their creativity and help them learn in a real-life context. 

  • Young people prefer to address real-life situations or problems with a real-life context.
  • Retired teacher Peter Lorain argues that children in middle school are just becoming comfortable with problem solving, planning, and controlling impulses.

Six ideas for middle school fundraising

  • 1. Hold a pancake breakfast

    Promote your pancake breakfast in advance via the school newsletter, homeroom teachers, and social media.

    • Invite members of the community to support your crowdfunding campaign.
    • Charge a flat fee per breakfast as a donation to your fundraiser.
    • Solicit parent volunteers to help prepare the food in your cafeteria, like pancakes and other breakfast foods.
    • Recruit students to serve meals and refill coffee.
    • Encourage parents to bring extended family, friends, or school community members.
  • 2. Host a dance

    Preteen students are often eager to socialize with classmates outside of school, and a middle school fundraising dance can provide an opportunity to do so while benefiting your cause.

    • Offer alternative activities for kids who aren’t comfortable dancing.
    • Ask the student government to take on an active role in planning and publicizing the dance.
    • Recruit parent and teacher volunteers to chaperone.
    • Ask families to donate to your crowdfunding campaign instead of buying a ticket.
    • To reduce overhead, find a trusted alum or community member to DJ, or recruit a local band to perform.
  • 3. Organize a tie-dye event

    Here’s how to set up a tie-dye booth:

    • Shop for low-cost fabric dye in a variety of colors.
    • Invite students to donate to your fundraiser. Each donation will include a white t-shirt, socks, and unlimited dye. 
    • Have them write their name in Sharpie somewhere inside each article of clothing.
    • Fill buckets with cold water and a few dye packets to ensure bold colors.
    • Teach students to tie up their clothes and watch as they create a bullseye or swirl pattern.
  • 4. Give students a chance to leave their mark

    If your middle school fundraising campaign benefits a construction project or other upgrade to your facilities, brainstorm ways you can raise money by letting students contribute a handprint, quote, or some other artistic flourish to the building.

    • You could ask them to find a sponsor for each tile in a garden mosaic.
    • Or, you can charge students a small amount to leave their handprint in paint or cement or make their own mini-mural on a small wall section.
    • Encouraging creative expression and helping raise money in small amounts can make it the best school fundraiser.
  • 5. Host a cake-decorating party

    A cake-decorating party is one of the most fun school fundraising ideas, especially if you bring some school spirit into it:

    • Participants can donate a set amount to your fundraiser to participate.
    • Ask a local bakery or grocery store to donate plain, unfrosted cakes, and see if other businesses are willing to donate gift cards or goods for the best cake.
    • Have participants make their own frosting and decorate the cakes however they like, then bring them to school on the event day.
    • Gather a panel of judges to choose the winning cake, then sell all the submitted cakes so you can receive the funds raised.
  • 6. Arrange a game night

    From Scrabble to Catchphrase to Jeopardy!, there are dozens of options for group games that help expand vocabularies and keep students entertained.

    • Encourage families or groups to sign up for the game night as teams, making a minimum donation as an entrance fee to your GoFundMe fundraiser.
    • Host the event in a gym or auditorium. It can be tournament style, or groups can choose from board or interactive games.
    • Provide snacks and ask for parent volunteers to keep the evening running smoothly.
    • This game night can be a chance for students to socialize in a relaxed environment and connect with classmates beyond their usual circle of friends.
    • If you want to foster some fun competition, offer a prize to the first team to complete certain speed games.

Blaze new trails

Middle school is difficult for students as they undergo physical changes and face greater responsibilities and independence. But, students can boost their confidence and support their school by organizing a crowdfunding campaign that involves social and creative events. This middle school fundraising effort can be a positive experience for students where they can bond with their friends and do something good for their community. Launch a school fundraiser today.

Note: To create a GoFundMe account, you must be at least 13 years old and have your parent or guardian’s permission.

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Private school fundraising ideas

A group of private school students learning from teacher

Many private schools have robust philanthropic programs that involve contributions of both time and money from students and families. These programs often require families to volunteer a specific number of service hours at the school, which helps to foster a sense of community, compassion, and pride. 

These volunteer hours can translate to school fundraising ideas for needs at their school and community, like using crowdfunding to help finance clubs, sports, community service projects.

Reach your goals with crowdfunding

Whether you’re a member of the school’s fundraising committee or a student participating in a community service project, crowdfunding can effectively achieve your goals. Many school fundraisers organize offline events to increase awareness and encourage participation.

  • One of the biggest needs in private school communities is for need-based scholarships. Dedicate a crowdfunding fundraiser or event to the school’s scholarship fund to take the pressure off stretched low- and middle-income families.
  • Private-school students often have a wealth of supplies and resources. Another school fundraising idea: Raising money for supplies for a sister school, nearby or around the world, can help share that wealth.
  • Let students lead. When giving arises out of students’ passions and interests, it truly creates the best school fundraisers. 

Six ideas for private school fundraising

  • 1. Support refugee relief efforts

    Climate change and regional conflicts have created huge waves of refugees globally. Encourage students to run a school fundraiser to help refugees around the world. 

    • One way for students to showcase compassion is to start a GoFundMe fundraiser and raise funds to provide food and housing security to refugees. 
    • Find a reputable charity aimed at helping refugees and raise funds for it.
  • 2. Keep scholarships alive

    School fundraising committees often spend significant time and resources raising money for financial aid. Private schools provide merit-based scholarships and reduced tuition fees to students whose families cannot afford the total cost of education.

    Crowdfunding can help students, parents, staff, and alumni fundraise more scholarships for new and existing students.

  • 3. Stay active

    As a student-athlete, it can be tough to ensure a successful season without enough funds to cover the expenses. That’s where crowdfunding can really help. A school fundraiser can effectively achieve the team’s goals and ensure they have everything they need to have the best season ever. 

    Your school’s extracurricular budget may not be enough to cover all necessary expenses, such as uniforms, travel expenses, and equipment. But with the help of crowdfunding, the team can make it happen.

  • 4. Host a cook-off

    To start a friendly competition between students, faculty, and parents, organize a cook-off to display their cooking or baking skills.

    • You can either charge an entrance fee (via a donation to your GoFundMe fundraiser) or require tasting fees from participants (in the form of a contribution).
    • Find a venue to host this event, such as your school’s dining hall or auditorium.
    • The winner is awarded bragging rights as the best chef at your school.
  • 5. Organize a march

    Organize a school march inspired by the movie “March of the Penguins” as a school fundraiser. This idea is excellent for green clubs or students passionate about environmental protection and preservation.

    • Have everyone design their own penguin costume and require an entrance fee to participate in the march.
    • The costumes allow people to get creative while raising awareness for your chosen environmental cause.
  • 6. Host an outdoor movie night

    Another school events idea: Host a social gathering for parents and their children by organizing an outdoor movie fundraising event.

    • Pick a famous movie (or vote on one) and invite everyone to enjoy the film together from the comfort of lawn chairs and blankets.
    • Find an outdoor space, a powerful projector, a screen (or sheet or flat white wall), and speakers that can fill the space with the right sound level.
    • Take donations with a mobile device. Whip up some popcorn and sell it for a small price.
    • A fun variation: host a summer dive-in movie in a swimming pool.

Get your school fundraiser off the ground

You don’t have to spend time figuring out how to raise funds for your school event, class trip, program, club or any other worthy cause. Start a crowdfunding fundraiser on GoFundMe instead. We don’t charge organizers any platform fees, so you will receive more of the funds you raise. We also provide various fundraising resources, tips, and creative ideas to make your fundraiser successful. Start your school fundraiser today!

Note: To create a GoFundMe account, you must be at least 13 years old and have your parent or guardian’s permission.

Start a private school fundraiser