Fundraising Ideas for College

Looking for the best way to raise money for college for yourself or a loved one? What about raising money for a student group, or just for a good cause? Crowdfunding has become a powerful fundraising tool for college students. College students raise funds on our platform everyday—and crowdfunding on GoFundMe offers fundraising.

Read on for fundraising ideas for college students, including sorority fundraising ideas, fraternity fundraising ideas, and ideas for raising money for tuition and other college costs.

Crowdfunding paves the way for your future

As you probably know, the cost of college tuition has skyrocketed, far outpacing the rate of inflation—with student debt nationwide exceeding $28 billion. One of the smartest things you can do is graduate with as little debt as possible. Paying for college with crowdfunding—fundraising 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.
  • Reducing the amount of debt you accumulate will serve you for years to come—your future self will thank you.

Six fundraising ideas for college expenses

  • 1. Host a fundraising gala or party

    Everyone loves a good party; hosting a fun social event is a guaranteed way of boosting donations to your fundraiser.

    • Find a local restaurant, business, or other space that will host your event for.
    • 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 prizes in a silent auction.
    • 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 fundraiser.
    • 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 include 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.

    • 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. Host a skillshare auction

    Do people you know have special skills that others might be interested in learning? Photography? Coding? Yoga?

    • Ask friends and family to donate their time as instructors—time you can offer as a prize for your college fundraiser.
    • Similarly, service providers such as accountants or hairstylists may be willing to donate auction prizes in the form of services.
    • Find a time and place to auction off the skills. Or use your crowdfunding fundraiser page—ask people to add the skill they want in their donation comment.
  • 6. 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 groups at colleges across the country raise money while bringing fun and festivity to campus. Wondering which crowdfunding platform to choose? GoFundMe’s free 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

Sorority fundraising ideas

Launching a new 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 fundraiser across your chapter’s social networks is the secret to raising more money for your cause. The more participants, the bigger the network 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.

Five great fundraising ideas for sororities

  • 1. Sell holidaygrams

    Make simple holiday greeting packages that students can purchase by donating to your cause. This idea can be adapted to fit any season, not just the winter holidays.

  • 2. Accept online payment for offline event donations

    Use your crowdfunding fundraiser 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 cash on them, and ask them to share their donation on social media to help spread the word.
    • The more that people see your GoFundMe 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 fundraiser.

    • Take advantage of your connections, both inside and outside the Greek community, and encourage unaffiliated friends to share as well.
    • Consider developing a fundraiser 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, 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 (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 hunt 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 crowdfunding fundraisers, and if you haven’t already started one, create a fundraiser today.

Start a sorority fundraiser

Fraternity fundraising ideas

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 crowdfunding 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 GoFundMe 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.

Five fundraising ideas for 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 fundraiser, and offer tickets at the door for a slightly higher price.
  • 2. Offer all-you-can-eat goodness

    Host a pancake breakfast, barbecue, or other food fest. What’s on the menu? Think pancakes, grilled 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 crowdfunding 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 fundraiser. 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 fundraiser.
    • Pies or water balloons? Get creative. The messier, the better.
    • Don’t forget the towels.
  • 6. Share the 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 that can help you 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