Think Outside the Box With These 5 School Fundraising Ideas

Think Outside the Box With These 5 School Fundraising Ideas

Just as summer camps need to host fun, enriching activities for their campers, your school needs to do the same for its students. That extends to your fundraising ideas. To attract students and families, they need to be creative and entertaining. Ideally, you should vary the fundraising activities you host annually to keep students and their parents coming back to your fundraisers.

If you’re struggling to come up with innovative fundraising events that will delight your students, that’s what this guide is for! We’ll cover our top five outside-the-box ideas you can use to generate more revenue for your school. With our suggestions, you can confidently deliver a unique experience for your attendees.

1. Escape Room Fundraiser

According to Best Fundraising Ideas, great fundraisers engage supporters by challenging them—escape room events allow you to do just that. For this fundraiser, you’ll build or organize a themed escape room, and participants will solve the puzzles you create to “escape the room.”

Popular escape room themes include:

  • Murder mystery
  • Prison breakout
  • Museum heist
  • Zombie apocalypse
  • Alice in Wonderland

Be sure to decorate your room according to your chosen theme to give participants an immersive experience. Work with a team of teachers or other staff members to come up with puzzles that students and parents alike can solve. Your escape room doesn’t need to be technologically advanced—all you need are combination and letter locks to create a fun puzzle for students and parents alike to solve.

If you don’t have the time or budget to create an escape room as a fundraising event, you can partner with an existing escape room business to fundraise. Ask them if they’d be willing to donate a portion of the payments they receive from participants that belong to your school’s community back to your school, and then promote their business to your school’s families.

2. Gaming Tournament

There are over 3 billion active video gamers worldwide, and 76% of children under the age of 18 in the U.S. play video games. Why not leverage their interest to host a fundraiser they will enjoy? A gaming tournament will inspire friendly competition between students and immerse them in your fundraising efforts.

To turn a gaming tournament into a fundraiser, charge a small participation fee for competitors and incentivize them to attend by offering prizes for tournament winners. You should also offer different types of games to appeal to as many gamers as possible.

Popular types of video games to feature at gaming tournaments include:

  • Fighting games. In these games, players engage in one-on-one battles with characters that use martial arts or special abilities. Examples of this type of game include Super Smash Bros, Street Fighter, and Tekken.
  • Sports games. Games like FIFA, Madden NFL, and NBA 2K allow players to control athletes and compete in virtual sports matches.
  • Racing games. One of the most popular racing games is Mario Kart, which allows players to race through fun courses while dealing with obstacles and special items.
  • Dancing games. Playing video games doesn’t mean that you have to stay seated. Popular dancing games such as Just Dance allow students to exercise by moving and grooving in a fun and competitive way.

Plus, with 32 being the average age of video game players, parents may also be interested in participating in your game tournament, maximizing your fundraising potential. You can even host extra gaming activities such as parent vs child or create parent-child teams for team-based games.

If you’ve previously hosted hybrid or virtual events, you can re-use your livestreaming equipment for this event. For example, if two students are competing for first place in your Super Smash Bros tournament, you can project their match onto a larger screen so other participants and parents can watch them play.

3. A-Thon Fundraisers

“A-thon” events empower your students to fundraise on your behalf. During these campaigns, students will collect donation pledges from their parents and other family members based on their level of participation in the event—the more they participate, the more money their parents will donate.

Common a-thon fundraisers and the pledges made for them include:

  • Walk-a-thon/fun run. For walk-a-thons and fun runs, people generally pledge donations based on the distance that the participant walks or runs or the duration they spend walking or running. For example, a parent might pledge $10 for every 15 minutes that their child walks.
  • Swim-a-thon. Pledges for swim-a-thons are usually based on the number of laps that the student does, the time they spend swimming, or the number of consecutive days they swim for. The last option is particularly good for school swim teams that are trying to encourage extra practice.
  • Kick-a-thon. Kick-a-thons generally refer to soccer, but they can easily be repurposed to fit any other goal-scoring sport. For example, a baseball team might hold a hit-a-thon instead. Pledges made for these events are usually based on the number of goals scored.
  • Dance-a-thon. A-thon events are usually dominated by sports, making dance-a-thons an attractive and more creative option. Pledges made for these events are usually based on the time students spend dancing.
  • Read-a-thon. According to 99Pledges, read-a-thons are easy to organize and encourage students to develop a love for literature. Pledges made for these events are usually based on the number of books read, the number of pages read, or the time that the student spends reading.

You can maximize the revenue you generate for your school through these fundraisers by acquiring corporate sponsors for your a-thon event. Ask them to match pledge donations made to reap more funds that you can put toward providing your students with a great educational experience.

4. Obstacle Course

Obstacle courses are an exciting way for students and parents to challenge themselves physically while competing against others. Charge a small registration fee for participants and sell spectator tickets to family members who want to watch. Provide a smooth pre-event experience by asking participants to sign the necessary waivers ahead of time.

Obstacles you can include in your race course include:

  • Balance beam
  • Monkey bars
  • Rope climb
  • Walls
  • Stairs
  • Ice bath
  • Mud pits
  • Water balloons

You can garner additional funds through concession stands. Try selling snacks and drinks such as sodas, popcorn, hot dogs, and candy to spectators.

5. Parent-Focused Fundraisers

Many school fundraising ideas focus on students. Rightfully so, as they are who your school serves. However, students are probably not the ones donating—it’s their parents who are making financial contributions to ensure that their children have a stellar education at your school.

That’s why it’s important to also host fundraising events that appeal to and focus on parents. Here are some ideas for you to consider:

  • Auctions
  • Raffles
  • Dine-out events
  • Parent sports tournaments
  • Virtual classes and workshops

For best results, survey parents directly on what types of events they want to attend at your school. Carefully consider their suggestions and organize the events that are most popular to ensure that you have attendees.

If your school’s families are starting to get tired of the same annual events, now is a great time to switch things up and try out a new idea. With our recommendations, you’ll be well on your way to organizing an event that’s sure to shake up your school and generate the revenue you need.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *