4 Profitable School Fundraisers Any Campus Can Host

Published on 7 Jun 2023 by Auctria

Schools are the foundation upon which the future generation grows their dreams. As a school leader, you know the duty of your institution is to fund their learning opportunities so they can grow into the roles they’re destined to fill. That’s where school fundraisers come in.

School fundraising is crucial to fulfilling your school’s mission, but to reap the benefits of effective fundraising efforts, you must revamp your fundraising strategy. In this guide, we’ll explore four profitable school fundraisers that any campus can host. Whether you’re educating aspiring artists, engineers, or entrepreneurial trailblazers, any school can benefit from these fundraisers.


Schools are largely connected to the local communities around them. By educating the community’s youth, your school has a large impact on society’s future employees, political figures, military personnel, and community leaders! Consequently, your school’s activities should position students to get involved in their communities whenever possible.

Community involvement is what makes auctions the perfect school fundraiser—by auctioning off items that are tied to the local area, your school will effectively engage student families and community members in meaningful ways. Consider the different types of items you might sell:

  • Discounts: Partner with local businesses and establishments to auction off deals in the form of discount cards or gift certificates. This encourages the winning bidder to visit and support local entities, and potentially even explore a business they’ve never heard of!

  • Tutoring services: Support local tutors by connecting students with them through the auction! Not only can this be a popular auction item, but it might also give students access to a tutor at a lower cost (if they bid wisely!).

  • Experiences: Tickets or gift certificates to local events or experiences can also encourage families to get involved in their community.

As you prepare for your auction, be sure to prepare to effectively connect with your target audience. For example, if you’re hoping to reach off-campus families and other community members, consider offering mobile bidding so that participants can place their bids without attending an event in person.

Product fundraisers

To effectively fundraise, your school must engage fundraiser participants and get them excited about your cause. ABC Fundraising’s list of school fundraising ideas suggests selling products to break the monotonous cycle of reused fundraisers and excite your participants.

The wide variety of products your school could sell makes this a creative way to raise money. Your school could sell:

  • Branded merchandise. Spread school spirit by selling t-shirts, caps, water bottles, and other merchandise displaying your school’s logo.

  • Food. Candy, cookie dough, pretzels, and many other snack ideas will appeal to almost anyone—especially hungry students!

  • Seasonal items. Help students, families, and friends prepare for the holiday season with relevant gifts, such as with a wreath sale in December.

Raising donations is one thing; raising support is another. Incorporating tangible gifts can not only incentivize giving but also improve your fundraising strategy all around by engaging supporters with enticing products.

Be sure to ask for feedback from your target audience (students, their parents, or community members) when choosing an item to sell. This can help you determine what product would be most appealing and successful.

A-Thon events

Another way to encourage student participation in your fundraiser is to host a fun event that puts them at the center of the action. A-Thon fundraisers get students involved by inviting them to complete a challenge in exchange for donations.

FundraisingIP recommends making these challenges more creative by choosing a creative event type. For example, some popular A-Thon fundraising ideas include:

  • Seasonal race. A Turkey Trot around the Thanksgiving holiday or a Jingle Bell Jog in December can be a fun event for supporters to add to their holiday calendars.

  • Dance-a-thons. Students might already be looking for an opportunity to have a dance party with their friends, and dance-a-thons can turn these plans into a fundraiser for your school. Donors will pledge a certain amount of money for each half-hour or hour that a student dances, then your students will dance until they can’t anymore!

  • Bike-a-thons. Students who enjoy an athletic challenge might want to show off their skills in a bike-a-thon. Similar to the dance-a-thon, they’ll collect donations for each mile biked and challenge themselves to ride as far as they can.

Create an event landing page on your website to provide more information for interested participants or donors. You can also streamline donations through this page by accepting donors’ payment information online, then automatically charging their card based on a student’s participation after the event is finished.


You can further leverage the thrill of a challenge by hosting a competition for your fundraiser. After all, the most effective fundraising ideas make participants eager to get involved, and there’s no better way to do that than by appealing to their competitive spirit. For example, you might host a:

  • Trivia night. Quiz participants on their favorite topics and offer a prize to the winning trivia team. You might raise money through registration fees, snacks at the event, or local sponsorships.

  • Sports game. Invite students to play a game, like soccer or basketball. They’ll make a donation to play and be placed on a team, or they can make a larger donation and coordinate their own teams. You can raise additional funds by selling tickets and concessions to audience members.

  • Talent show. Encourage students to show off their unique talents in a show. Find volunteers to serve as your panel of judges and sell tickets to audience members.

You might also host competitions that are relevant to your fundraising goal. For example, a fundraiser to open a school dance studio might raise money through a show where dance students show off their choreography and donors pay to attend.

Any campus can host a profitable fundraiser when it chooses an idea that engages its audience. Bring variety to your campaigns and revitalize your fundraising efforts with creative ideas.

Special thanks to Debbie Salat for the expert advice. Debbie is the director of fundraising activities and product development at ABC Fundraising(r) - Debbie joined ABC Fundraising(r) in 2010 and is responsible for launching over 6500 fundraising campaigns for schools, churches, youth sports teams and non-profit organizations all across the USA. With over 20 years of fundraising experience, Debbie knows the path to success for fundraisers which she shares with groups on a daily basis so they can achieve their fundraising goals.