Top Ten Creative Fundraisers for Student Groups

A bake sale, a candy sale: those are the classic moneymakers for student groups. If you’re ready to switch things up a bit, here are our top ten creative fundraising ideas.

May your efforts be fruitful!

  1. All-You-Can-Eat Potato Bar: Skip the standard pizza lunch and set up a potato bar in your school cafeteria with baked potatoes and all the toppings you can imagine.  Have students sign up and pay for the potato bar in advance, and provide these students with a ticket. The day of, in the cafeteria line, they can exchange their tickets for access to the potato bar instead of the regular menu of the day.
  2. Mow-a-thon: Spread the word: Your students are going to be mowing lawns all over the community to raise money for their trip! When advertising this service, give people one number to call and then assign students to jobs according to location and availability. You can even make it into a contest to see who will mow the most lawns.
  3. Grown-Up Spelling Bee: This is a fun event that gets parents involved. You’ll need some parent volunteers to compete in an old-fashioned spelling bee. Ask for an entry fee from the participants and then sell refreshments at the event. Encourage students to invite friends and family.
  4. Jail-and-Bail: This is a game best held during another event, like a basketball or football game. For this one, you’ll need a place to set up your “jail” (library, cafeteria, etc.) and a judge. The judge sets “bail” for the volunteer prisoner and people contribute to bail him/her out. You can also charge a fee for someone to issue an “arrest warrant”.
  5. À la carte: If you plan on soliciting donations directly from friends, family and the community, consider itemizing your expenses and allowing people to sponsor a specific activity or excursion on your trip. People like to know exactly what they’re paying for.
  6. Pass the Buck: Or the bird, rather. Set up a group of pink lawn flamingos in someone’s yard (best to pick someone in the community who is aware of the trip and will be a willing participant in the fundraiser). Leave a note explaining about your student trip and ask for a donation to evacuate the flamingos and plant them in someone else’s yard—chosen by the first donor!
  7. Pick a Torture: Not for the faint of heart, but a great way to get students pumped up about fundraising! Make a list of five things that would be torture for you, the group leader (shaving your head, singing on the intercom, etc.). Allow all students and teachers in the school to cast $2 votes for the activity they want to see you do.
  8. Plant sale: Depending on how long you have to plan your educational tour, and the season, have students start seeds at home in trays. Choose a variety of flowers and vegetables. Give the seedlings time to grow to a good size and then sell all the healthy, young plants. You can coordinate this with a general yard sale or hold this event on its own.
  9. Pancake Breakfast: Forget the spaghetti dinner! Open the school on a Saturday morning and serve a yummy pancake breakfast instead. Often, local supermarkets will donate food and supplies. Charge per person for the breakfast and leave out tip jars for the pancake flippers!
  10. Film night: As easy as setting up a projector in your school gym! Show a film and sell tickets and popcorn. Make sure to advertise to all students well in advance and choose an appropriate film.

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