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If a t-shirt fundraiser is not for your school, then you should be able find other great school fundraising programs in this article.

Fundraising Ideas for Schools

Fundraising plays a huge role in a preschool’s, elementary school’s, middle school’s or high school’s success. After all, there are clubs to pay for, field trips to fund, teams and events to sponsor and much, much more. And not all of that can come from tax money!

In order to make these efforts as successful as possible, often, a little extra financial backing is needed. And that’s where fundraising comes in.

There are hundreds of ways students, their parents and school employees can raise money, but one of the most effective? That’d be a t-shirt fundraiser. You see, t-shirt fundraising is one of the best ways to not only get money – but to also ensure your cause, event, group or organization gets the publicity it needs. In fact, the average promotional t-shirt delivers a whopping 4,000 impressions. That means 4,000 people will see it, know about your cause, and possibly, even get behind it themselves.

Stats from ASI Central show that memory recall is better with t-shirt fundraisers, too. A surprising 80 percent of people actually remember an advertiser or logo on a shirt they see. In some areas of the country, that number is as high as 95 percent!

So needless to say, t-shirt fundraising is a pretty powerful approach. You just create a shirt, take a donation for each one, and then encourage your donors to wear them around town – while grocery shopping, at the gym or just around the neighborhood.

Want to start a t-shirt fundraiser for your school? Unlike other school fundraiser companies, TStacker makes it easy. Simply upload your design or use one of our premade design templates, set your price and start selling. It’s free to setup and you keep the profits!

Alternative Fundraising Ideas for Schools

But t-shirt fundraisers aren’t the only ways to raise money for school teams, events and organizations. In fact, there are hundreds of other unique school fundraisers you can launch that will bring in the cash you need while offering a fun, enjoyable experience for all.

Need to raise money at your school? Here are some fun school fundraisers to try:

Host a bake sale.

This is one of the most classic, time-tested ways to fundraise for school events, organizations and efforts. All you need are a few parents to donate some baked goods – cakes, cookies, brownies, etc. – and you’re ready to get started.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Donated baked goods
  • A table
  • Poster board
  • Markers
  • Cash box or donation tin

Instructions:

  • First, instruct students to speak to their parents about donating baked goods. These can be store bought or homemade, but just make sure to get a good balance of different items. You don’t want 10 cakes, and no cookies or cupcakes at all.
  • While the donations are being collected, make your posters. Hang bake sale signs throughout the hallways, and be sure to make a sign to hang on your table, too. It should include pricing per cookie, brownie, slice of cake, etc.
  • Once the donations are in, set up a table in the hallway, outside the cafeteria or near the gymnasium. During lunch hours, start selling your baked goods, and put all donated money into the collection tin. You can also sell at after-hours events, like football games, debate tournaments and more. These can help you get donations from non-students, like parents, siblings and even people from other schools.

Have a quiz night.

This one is perfect for a middle school fundraiser, when students are a bit older and more educated. Here’s how it works: you host a trivia quiz night, and students pay a certain fee to enter. The person or team with the most correct answers at the end of the night gets a prize – like a gift card, a free period off from class or maybe a computer game or something similar. It’s a great way to encourage learning all while collecting money for a good cause at the same time.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A quiz master (someone to host and emcee the event)
  • A list of trivia questions
  • A grand prize
  • Sign up forms
  • Microphone/audio system
  • Answer slips

Directions:

  • First, start collecting sign-ups for the event. You can let students enter individually, or you can encourage them to sign up in teams of 3, 4, 5 or even 10. Just make sure you set a cost per person or per team, and collect it at the time of sign-up.
  • Then, start putting together the questions. You’ll want to cover a mix of topics, including academic questions, pop culture trivia and anything and everything in between.
  • Next, select a grand prize. If you’re doing a team event, make sure to get multiple prizes, so everyone on the team gets a reward.
  • Finally, host your trivia night. The cafeteria is usually a great spot, as there are plenty of tables for everyone to sit. Have your host read each question allowed, and give the teams a set time limit to write down their answer and turn it in. Make sure they put their name (or team name) on the top of each slip.
  • At the end, tally up all the correct answers, and the person with the most wins! In the event there’s a tie, ask one final trivia question as the tiebreaker. You could also use rock, paper, scissors for a fun twist.

Host a pancake breakfast.

This idea is great for elementary or preschool fundraising. After all, who doesn’t like pancakes? All you need is a local restaurant or diner to partner up with, a cafeteria with plenty of seating, and some entertainment.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A restaurant or diner that’s willing to donate breakfast items to your event
  • Tables and chairs
  • Entertainment, like a comedian, musician or band

Directions:

  • Head out in the community, and start looking for local restaurants that may want to help. You’ll want ones who can donate pancakes, orange juice, milk, sausage, bacon and other breakfast goodies. If one place can’t donate it all, consider using a few different vendors instead.
  • Find entertainment for your event, either by enlisting talented students, or by asking local community members to take part. Be sure to tell them about your cause, and see if they wouldn’t mind donating a few minutes of their time one Saturday to help.
  • Start getting sign-ups. Send flyers home with students, release an email newsletter to the parents and put the event up on your school’s website. Charge $10 a head, and require an RSVP – so you can get an accurate headcount for food and seating.
  • Finally, throw your event! Serve your food right away, while it’s still piping hot, and have the entertainment going on as everyone dines and enjoys themselves. Who knows, it could even turn into an annual event!

Throw a carnival.

Carnivals can be a great way to raise money and have a great time all at once. Plus, they do wonders for bringing the community together and raising awareness for a cause. You just need a team of volunteers, some generous local businesses, and a creative imagination, and the rest is a breeze.

What you need;

  • Several booths
  • A team of volunteers
  • Ideas for games and contests
  • Local business partners to pitch in
  • A roll of tickets
  • Poster board and markers
  • Prizes

Directions:

  • Start by reaching out to local businesses. What are they willing to donate? Maybe they can lend some booths and tables for setup? Or maybe they have some fun games and events they can supply, like a karaoke machine, a prize wheel or a bounce house.
  • Next, get your team of volunteers together and start filling in the gaps. What other games and contests can you offer? Throwing darts at balloons, shooting basketballs into hoops, and fishing for goldfish are all common carnival and boardwalk-type games. Make sure to have prizes for each game or contest your plan to host.
  • Work out how many tickets each event will cost, and make a poster for each one. Be sure to write down the name of the event or booth, the tickets it requires and the directions.
  • Finally, host your event. Charge $20 for each pack of 10 tickets, and let students, parents and other family members enjoy a fun night on campus.

Have a pizza day.

What kid doesn’t love pizza? Capitalize on that by using pizza for your next school fundraiser program. For the most impact, getting a local pizza place to donate the food is the best option, but if that’s not you can still raise funds by charging a premium per slice.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A local pizza place to partner with
  • Paper plates
  • Donation tin
  • Table
  • Napkins
Directions:
  • Contact local pizza places in your area, and see if any of them would be willing to donate some product for a good cause. If they won’t, inquire about getting a special rate, in exchange for making a large order. Chances are they’ll be able to offer you at least this.
  • Next, get your pizzas, and set up a table outside the cafeteria, during lunch hours. Charge $5 per slice, and hand each donor a slice, a paper plate and a napkin with each order.
  • If you raise enough money by the end of the lunch period, it may be something you want to consider doing regularly – at least once a semester!

Sell coupon books.

When it comes to fundraising for schools, coupon books are one of the oldest methods around. But there’s a reason for this: They actually work! No parent, neighbor or community member can pass on saving money, so these little books are always in demand – no matter where you live or what time of year it is.

Here’s what you need:

  • A team of volunteers
  • A local print shop
  • A graphic designer
  • Local business partners and deals

Directions:

  • First, send your team of volunteers out into the community to talk to local business owners. Ask if they’d be willing to offer an exclusive discount – one that can’t be found anywhere else – as a part of your fundraising efforts. Make sure you let them know that the coupon book is also a great marketing tool for them, as it can expose their brand to hundreds of new customers throughout the community.
  • Once you get a good list of businesses that will commit to offering deals and discounts for your book, work with your graphic designer or print shop to create the coupons and lay out the books.
  • When the print files are ready, head to a local print shop, and get your books printed and bound. Make sure to talk to the owner about getting a possible discount, since it’s for a good cause and you’re buying in bulk. Chances are they’d be more than happy to offer you one.
  • Finally, when your books are printed, send students door to door to start selling. Charge $50 a book, and have the students collect the funds in an envelope and turn into their teacher after the sales period is over. You can also sell the books at school events, like games, club meetings, after-school activities and more. The more people who can see and learn about the books, the better!

Host a talent show.

If you’re fundraising for school clubs, a talent show can be the perfect way to do it. Not only can you show off the amazing talents of each club and organization you’re raising money for, but you can also provide some fun and entertainment while you’re at it. There are two ways you can raise money through a talent show: 1) collect entry fees at the door and 2) sell extras like t-shirts, snacks, drinks and other items during the event.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 10 to 20 students willing to show off their talents
  • An amphitheater or room with a stage
  • A microphone/PA system
  • A program
  • A team of volunteers
  • Businesses willing to donate snacks, food, drinks and other services

Instructions:

  • First, start gathering students who are interested. If you get a lot of interest, you may need to hold auditions or break your talent show into separate nights. Musical performances, dancing, comedy, acting and even puppetry are all great options for age-appropriate talents.
  • Next, secure a space. If you’re a middle school, you likely already have a theater on campus you can use. If not, you may need to contact the local high school to reserve at date at their venue. You’ll also want to make sure the place has a PA and microphone system, so the students can sing, talk or play music to the audience.
  • Now, have your volunteers work with local businesses to secure donations. Snacks and canned drinks are a great option, as you can charge a small fee per item – all of which can go to your cause. If you can get a local print shop to donate free programs, listing each of the performances for your show, that’s even better.
  • Finally, host your event. Make sure to charge an entry fee at the door, and enlist one of your volunteers (or an outgoing student) to serve as the emcee for the event. You’ll also want someone to staff the programs and snacks tables.

Hold a fun run.

Fundraising for school clubs or organizations? A fun run (or walk) is a great place to start. Students, parents and even teachers just pay a small fee, and they get to participate in fun race on or our campus. You can have prizes for winners in each age group, and you can even have little interactive stops along the way.

What you’ll need:

  • Race numbers
  • A track or route around campus (you may want multiple ones for different age groups)
  • Interactive activities
  • A team of volunteers
  • Prizes
  • A stop watch
  • A table
  • A whistle
  • Yard flags
  • A long ribbon

Directions:

  • Start advertising your event early. Make signs and hang them at local restaurants and in the school’s hallways. You can even send flyers home with students, or print an ad in the local newspaper.
  • On the day of the event, set up a table where you’ll collect the entry fees (at least $10 each), hand out race numbers and write down the names and ages of all participants. Make sure each route is outlined with yard flags, and drape a ribbon across the finish line.
  • Once everyone is signed in, get them all lined up at the starting lines for their specific route. Have a volunteer blow the whistle and start the stopwatch. As people start coming in, make sure to write down their race times.
  • After all runners are done, hold an awards ceremony, and recognize the top runners in each age group. Be sure to hand out their prize or give them some sort of medal at this time.

Gift wrapping.

If you’re fundraising in the holiday season, setting up a gift wrapping station at the school can be an amazing way to rake in the dough. All you need are a few detail-oriented students (or parents), some wrapping paper and ribbons, and a table. The rest is easy.

What you need:

  • Volunteer wrappers (these can be students, parents or teachers)
  • Wrapping paper, ribbons, tape and scissors
  • A table

Instructions:

  • First, choose your wrappers. Make sure they’re well-versed in wrapping, as no one wants to pay something that looks shoddy or poorly done! Students, teachers or even volunteers parents can be a great choice.
  • Next, head to a local craft store, and see if they wouldn’t mind donating a few rolls of wrapping paper, ribbons and other supplies. If they won’t, ask about getting a bulk-rate discount instead. Every little bit counts!
  • Finally, set up your table up in a high-traffic hallway or near the lunchroom. Make sure to start at the beginning of December, too. You want to give students plenty of time to bring their gifts in before the holiday break arrives, but you don’t want to have a huge rush during the last few days either. Be sure to set out all your wrapping paper options, so everyone can pick out their favorite when making a purchase.
  • Then, start wrapping! Charge a certain amount per present, and be sure to take the gift’s size into account, too. Smaller presents can be $3 to $5, medium-sized ones $5 to $7 and larger ones $10. You want to make sure you’re covering the costs of your supplies but still making a profit to go toward your cause as well!

Hold a charity game.

This one gets the teachers, principals and school staff members involved in a game of charity basketball, softball or some other sport. Students and community members pay a small fee to attend the game, and in exchange, they get to see their favorite science teacher heating it up on the court!

What you need:

  • A few dozen teachers who are athletic and willing to participate
  • Volunteers to serve as referees and entry fee takers
  • A court, field or other facility
  • Bleachers

Instructions:

  • First, start by enlisting the teachers and staff members who will be participating. Make sure they know it’s for a good cause, and let them know it will be a fun, interactive event that they can enjoy themselves at. It’s not extra work!
  • Next, get a few volunteers to serve as your referees, and make sure they have a pretty good knowledge of the sport. Sure, you want it to be fun, but you also want it to be fair, so that it sets a good example for the students.
  • Finally, host your event. Encourage the teachers to wear fun and wacky uniforms, and have a volunteer stationed at the door to take entry fees ($5 to $10 is usually enough). Make sure to take pictures and put them in the school newspaper. It may be something you want to do every year!

These are just a few of the many fundraising ideas for elementary schools, middle schools and preschools that you can take advantage of. Want more? Check out some other fundraising ideas we came up with now.

We have decided to write different articles for High school fundraising, PTA fundraising and Booster club fundraising. They each have so many ideas to cover we figured it would be best to create different articles for each. Be sure to check back regularly as we will be posting them soon.