When I was in high school, some of my favorite times were at town-wide events hosted by my school, such as parades, car shows in the school parking lot, and Friday night football games. I grew up in a small town in Delaware, so aside from school events, there wasn’t a whole lot else to do.
These events were often related to some fundraising effort for school activities, including field trips, sports teams, events, school supplies, and clubs. Participating in these groups or activities costs money, and the best way to support your high school as a teacher or school administrator is through fundraising. However, instead of going the route of your typical car wash fundraisers or selling cookie dough, why not try something fun and creative?
In my opinion, the best fundraisers are ones that bring the community together for a common cause. Some fundraisers, such as email donation requests, may raise funds here and there, but they don’t go any deeper than sending money, one time, through an online portal. The closer a community is, the more likely they are to help one another and their school in times of need.
In order to help bring together those communities and improve funding for school programs, I’ve compiled these three creative fundraising ideas that any high school could organize to fund their needs while having fun in the process. These ideas will get the rest of the community involved and invested in your students’ future as you are.
1. Leverage your students’ social media savvy
Peer-to-peer campaigns are similar to crowdfunding, for example, they are both carried out online, and they both rely on reaching out to a network of people for help.
However, they differ in one key way: Instead of sharing a fundraising web page or site with the people in your own personal network to ask for help, a peer-to-peer campaign relies on members of your network to create their own fundraising pages to share on behalf of your cause.
Peer-to-peer fundraising works well for school fundraisers, because teenagers are so connected on social media.
Classrooms or individual students can create their own fundraising pages for a cause and share those individual pages with their friends, parents, and parents’ friends as a redirect to a center campaign page.
CrowdCrux has identified the following five websites as great resources for creating peer-to-peer campaigns:
For additional information on peer-to-peer fundraising, check out my “Complete Guide to Using Peer-to-Peer Fundraising.”
2. Upgrade your raffles
This idea is a combination of my own idea with another one I found during my I research. The original idea is a balloon raffle, where raffle tickets are put into balloons, and those balloons are then inflated and sold. Then, the winning raffle ticket is announced and contestants pop their balloons to find out who the winner is.
If you want to get participants even more engaged, I came up with this twist:
Put the raffle tickets inside the balloons, but then attach them to a corkboard. Then sell the corresponding tickets. Once all tickets are sold, choose the winning raffle tickets by throwing darts and popping the balloons.
To make it even more interesting, you can color code the balloons to represent different levels of prizes, sell them at tiered pricing levels, and let participants choose which level raffle ticket they wish to purchase.
Raffle fundraisers are perfect for big school events, such as football games, festivals, and even a farmer’s market event, which we’ll discuss more in the next section.
But what about the raffle prizes? The key to raffles is offering a prize that is enticing enough to attract ticket buyers without cutting deep into your fundraising budget, which defeats the purpose of the raffle. As often as possible, reach out to the community for raffle prize donations. Ask family, friends, or local businesses that can gain advertising through their sponsorship
3. Planting seeds of knowledge and raising funds
When I was in high school, we had our own small greenhouses behind the school which were managed by the agriculture classes. Each year, the school held an event where they sold flowers and vegetables grown in the greenhouses to the public as a fundraiser.
Even if your school doesn’t have its own greenhouses, starting small gardens on small plots of land at the school is a great way to raise money for small causes, such as field trips.
Of course, it’s important to remember that gardens have initial startup costs as well as the need for constant upkeep. This presents an opportunity for students to work to upkeep the garden for the purposes of funding school events and clubs.
Once the garden is up and running, you’ve got a renewable source for fundraising activities. Then, you can turn your school into a farmer’s market for the day or for a weekend.
The farmer’s market itself is a fundraising opportunity, even beyond the of selling your school-raised vegetables; by offering space at the market to local vendors, you can set terms for a percentage of the proceeds to go toward your fundraiser.
You could also try developing a school vegetable cookbook to sell at your event filled with healthy recipes that families can make with the vegetables you’re selling.
Not only will you raise money for your school and bring members of the community together, but you’ll also help your community eat better!
If there’s a shortage of land for your school to grow a garden on, there are other options:
- Seed sale. Some seed companies, such as Botanical Interests, Urban Farmer, and Fedco Seeds offer fundraising programs where you school receives 40-50% of the sales.
- Flower bulb sale. Similar to the seed sale, Flower Power Fundraising offers schools 50% of the profit made from flower bulb sales.
Other resources for fundraising
Remember, fundraising is never finished, and with technology changing as fast as it is, the methods you use to fundraise can’t remain stagnant either. To keep up with the trends, tips, and advances in fundraising, and other school related topics, be sure to follow Capterra’s nonprofit technology and school administration blogs.
If you want to step up your fundraising game due to budget cuts or a need for new technology, check out our directory of fundraising management software.
And, if this piece interests you, here are a few other resources from our blog that you might find helpful:
- 5 Fun Summer Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits
- The Top 11 Crowdfunding Platforms for Nonprofits
- 6 Harmful Fundraising Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
- The Comprehensive Guide to Acquiring Education Technology Grants
- 6 School Accounting Software Options That will Foolproof Your School’s Finances
Looking for Nonprofit software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Nonprofit software solutions.