Ideas to BOOST Fundraising

These are just some of many ideas. Feel free to steal an idea, combine a few to really maximize fundraising, or get creative and come up with your own idea.


Student/Faculty Game: Set up a benefit game between students and faculty. This could be any sport (basketball, soccer, flag football, baseball game, kickball). Charge admission and sell snacks to boost profits.

Talent Show or Concert: Get your friends together to perform a talent show or concert and charge admission. You could boost your profits by adding a concession stand.

Dress down day:  If your school has a dress code, see if you can contribute a small fee to wear casual clothes or a hat to school for the day. You could also approach local office parks to see if they would participate for your cause. This could turn into a community “dress down day.”

Sell treats: Host a bake sale or dessert reception. Ask your friends, parents and neighbors (and even local bakeries and grocery stores) to participate by donating items for the sale. A lot of bakeries will donate items that were ordered and never picked up or items that may not sell before the sell by date. Some may even donate specifically for your cause if you promote their business.

Star Sales: Sell paper stars to hang around the classroom, school lunchroom or office. You could also sell these at a restaurant or local business. This not only boosts funds, but is also a great way to boost awareness of your cause.

Celebrate: Turn your birthday, holiday or graduation celebration into a day of awareness. Ask guests to donate to your cause instead of buying gifts.

Dance Marathon: Host a continuous, multi-hour event in which participants raise funds through pledges. This event blends dancing, music, games and food to create a fun and memorable experience.

Penny Wars: Teams compete by decorating and filling jars with pennies with the objective of collecting the most pennies. Competitors can throw other coins (and bills) in competing jars to throw off the penny total. The team with the highest penny total (minus the other change) wins! 

Set Your Feet Up for a Day: Raffle off tickets for a chance to sit in a recliner and watch movies for an entire lunch break or class period. 

Babysit: Create a parents night out and babysit for donations. Ask for other teenage or adult volunteers and make it a party for the kids. The kids get a fun night, the parents get a night out and you get to raise money for your cause! 

Photo Contest: Have participants display their baby pictures (or best selfies) and collect money as votes for the favorite picture. This could be done in a common area like the cafeteria or in a public restaurant or store. The picture with the most money in their bucket wins! 

Frisbee Golf, Dodgeball or Corn Hole Tournament: Turn these popular outdoor competitions into a great fundraiser by collecting entrance fees and/or team registration fees. You could have a concession stand too!

Gumball or Plastic Egg Lottery: Fill a large container with gum/plastic ball containers (or even plastic Easter Eggs around Easter) with prizes. Some could have candy or small trinkets, while others could have vouchers for bigger prizes. All prizes could be donated. Charge a fee to grab a chance to win big. Advertise the big prizes to increase participation and boost profits.

Flip Your Lid: Let participants design wild hats to wear on a specific day. For a set donation, each will be entered into prize categories. Winners can be determined by vote-donations or by committee.

Field Day: Host a day of field events such as a 5K run, an obstacle course and a tug-of-war.  This is a great opportunity for corporations to sponsor an activity or the whole event. 

Treasure Chest: Fill a chest with donated prizes and sell keys to open the chest. This is similar to the “gum ball lottery” above but in treasure chests. 

Dart Board Challenge: Test contestants’ aim as they pay to try to hit a bull’s-eye for a donated prize.

Raffle/Sweepstakes: Sell chances to win giveaways. Popular items are always tickets to sporting events. Ask around to find someone who has a season subscription and see if there are any games they can’t attend. Other popular items include gift certificates to local restaurants, shops and events. Be sure to advertise to boost awareness and participation.

Create-a-camp: Get your team together and host a camp for younger kids to raise money for a great cause. Camps could include anything from cheerleading to football to lego building…. Young kids love to learn from the big kids! Make it on a day when school is out or during summer to boost participation.

Dunk Tank: Rent a dunk tank and give people a chance to dunk a principal, youth pastor or coach for a donation. A dunk tank is a great way to enhance a carnival, cookout or bake sale.

Trivia Bowl: Cater to everyone's competitive spirit and raise money at the same time! Charge a flat fee for people to participate. Create both individual and team challenges, and if you make it a family event, a special round for kids. The winning team could win a prize.

Carnival or Festival: Provide games and entertainment with all proceeds benefitting your cause. You may be surprised at what you can get donated for the event or how companies will sponsor your event to boost fundraising. 

Haunted House: Scare up some great donations when you build and operate a haunted house and charge admission.

Tee Off:  Golf scrambles are a great way to capitalize on a popular pastime. Check with your local golf courses or putt-putt courses to see if they would be willing to help.

Jail and Bail:  Choose a location to serve as your jail. The “arrested” must call friends to raise funds to be set free. They must raise a certain amount of money to “post bail.” 

______-A-Thons: Think Walk-a-thon, Bowl-a-thon, Jump Rope-a-thon, Climb a Wall-a-thon…. Anything goes! Participants collect pledges for each mile walked, each stike bowled, each wall climbed… you get the idea. Turn your talent into money for your cause and let others participate to boost funds. 

Cook-off: Invite guests to compete for bragging rights as you charge guests to come and sample and vote for the best.

Pancake Breakfast: Host a public breakfast, charging a set fee for the meal. And remember, breakfast can be served at night too! 

Ice-cream Social: Host a party and charge a flat fee for the ice cream but then charge extra for each topping. 

Picture with Santa/Easter Bunny/etc.: Charge $5 per shot which is less expensive than at the mall and is for a great cause. You may even find a professional photographer to donate their time and talents 

Benefit Concert: Get a popular band or group of bands to sign on to donate a portion (or all) of the ticket proceeds.

Potluck Days: Have participants bring their favorite dish along with copies of the recipe and charge each person to eat lunch or dinner. Additional funds can be raised if you sell or auction the recipes. 

Comedy Night: Have a comedian perform. Sell tickets for the event and give a percentage of the proceeds to your organization. 

Theme Parties: A pig roast + tiny drink umbrellas x grass skirts = equation for a fun time. There are a ton of party themes out there… Luau, Sock Hop, 80’s dance, Karaoke, Hollywood….

Silly String Shoot Out: Auction off or sell cans of silly string and take aim at volunteers who are good sports like a manager, a teacher or a principal.

Super Bowl/Stanley Cup/World Series Party: Turn a big event into a party! Charge admission and serve food and drinks.

Movie Night: Approach your local theater to ask about sponsorship initiatives. Many will either give you a discount or provide the event for free with the promise of publicity. You could also do a movie under the stars event outside on a spring or summer night. If you can offer inexpensive admission, plus donated concession snacks, your Night at the Movies fundraising event will be a huge success.

Skate-a-thon: Have the use of a skating rink donated for a couple of hours. Participants get sponsors and individuals to pledge for the hours or laps that they skate. Have a concession stand to raise additional funds. 

Male Beauty Contest: Dress male contestants in pageant attire and collect money to serve as votes to find out who wins. What’s more fun than a man in a prom dress?!?

5K run: If you know some jogging or running enthusiasts, organizing a run can be just the ticket to raising a lot money while boosting awareness for a great cause. This could be a great opportunity to get company sponsorships as well.

Bingo Night: A perfect event for the whole family. Sell bingo cards and offer prizes or a cut of the money for the lucky winners.

Celebrity Doodle Auction: Though this idea can take some time, it can yield amazing results. Send requests to celebrities asking for their one-of-a-kind doodles for auction. The more you approach, the better your chances of return. You may be surprised what you get in return!

Bake Sale: Put your Grandma’s favorite cake recipe to great use. Take orders and spend the day baking and delivering cakes in turn for donations. This could be a great success around the holidays! 

Lemonade Stand: It’s an oldie but a goodie. Pick a location where thirsty people are and sell the summer thirst-quenching classic everyone loves. 

Online Sales: Put your creativity to good use and turn your drawings, paintings or photos into gift items that people can buy online. 

Craft Sales: Rent a space to creative artists in your community. Charge a flat fee for a each local artist and crafts person to exhibit and sell their handmade items. Ask each vendor to donate one item, then raffle or auction them off to raise additional funds.

Gift Wrapping Drive: Buy wrapping paper in bulk or get some donated and wrap gifts for a small fee. This would be another great service around the holidays!

Used-Book or Used Video Game Sale: Ask for donations of gently-used books and/or used video games and sell them to raise money for your cause. 

Tie-Dye For: Discounted t-shirts can be easy to find and the low-cost of dye make this a great option for lots of sales. You can make it a party where people can create their own and/or you can sell pre-made tie-dye items as well.  

Holiday Flower Sale: Team up with a florist or floral distributor. Sell poinsettias, roses, spring bouquets. Provide a delivery service along with the promotion to create additional funds. Dates to remember: Valentine’s Day, Teacher Appreciation Week, Administrative Assistant Day and Bosses Day. 

Trash and Treasure: A yard sale is a great way to get rid of all that extra stuff you aren’t using any more and earn money at the same time. Ask your friends and family to donate items to be sold in the sale. Be sure to advertise the sale in advance to maximize traffic. 

Car Wash: Select a location and time that will offer significant public exposure. Publicize it in advance throughout your school and community. But be prepared with an alternate plan in case of inclement weather. 

Cookbook Sale: Gather favorite recipes from friends and family and compile a cookbook to sell. Ask well-known people in your community to contribute recipes, and cook-up some great donations!

Spirit Chains: Have each homeroom at a local school sell paper links for 10 cents. The links are assembled together in a giant chain. Use school colors. Homerooms compete for “most spirit.” Provide incentives for the winning homeroom. 

Holiday Parties: Host a party for your friends and family around a specific holiday. You could even host a Christmas in July party in the middle of the summer as an unexpected and unique way to boost fundraising while having a great time.

Calendar Sale: Creating calendars is a breeze with prefabricated software or design wizards. Have a theme and personalize with photos and drawings to bump up sales. You could even combine this project with the male beauty contest for a fun way to boost funds. Who wouldn’t want to be Mr. May?!? 

T-shirt Sale: Sell t-shirts with an original design and donate all or a portion of the proceeds. Be sure to take orders prior to ordering so that you are not left with extra shirts (which equal less money for your cause). This idea is especially popular for sports teams and high school seniors. 

Pie in the Eye: Auction off pies (made of thin paper plates and whipped cream) to be thrown at designated volunteers (think about coaches, teachers and administrators at your school or ministers/youth leaders at your church) 

Root Beer Floats: Sell root beer floats for $2. Fairly low cost with a minimal number of volunteers needed. Pick a hot day in a busy location, and watch the donations roll in! 

Cards for Kids: Design and sell one-of-a-kind greeting cards. Offer hand-delivery service for an additional charge!

Seasonal Chore-a-thon: Grass mowing/Leaf raking/Christmas Light Removal or Placement. You can either charge a flat fee, or ask for fair donations 

Wishing Well: Nobody can resist dropping a quarter or two into a wishing well. To be effective, the well needs to be in a high-traffic area. 

Close Shave Challenge: Set a predetermined fundraising goal, and if your group reaches your goal in the allotted time, one person (a manager, teacher, principal, etc.) could promise to shave his head or facial hair or cut her hair.

Loose Change Collection: Create eye-catching containers and place them on counters of a business and ask clients for donations to benefit your cause.

Paws 4 Cause: If you have a love for dogs, use your passion for a good cause. Plan a day of dog washing or set up clients for dog walking. 

Ballroom Dancing Lessons: Talk to local dance instructors and ask if they're willing to donate their time for a week of lessons. Sign people up, and collect payment in advance. You can divide students into groups such as beginner and experienced, or into age groups, especially if you decide to include kids.

Restaurant Nights: Find a local restaurant that is willing to host your event. Your group will take over waiting tables and bussing dirty dishes, in exchange for tips for your group. Pick a restaurant that is popular so that you can ensure a large turnout. If they cannot allow you to “work,” they may be willing to donate a portion of the proceeds from the day’s sales. This is a great way to boost business at a restaurant while also raising money for a great cause. 

Flamingo Attack: Deploy a flock of pink plastic flamingoes in someone's yard or outside a business entrance. Leave a note explaining that the person or business has been selected by someone to be "attacked" for a good cause. And, explain that they will have to pay $10 per flamingo to have them relocated. They can, in turn, “attack” another person’s yard. Just be mindful of who you choose so you don’t put someone in a bad situation (remember, it supposed to be fun!)

Video Game Tournament: Think you are the best gamer among your friends? Prove it! Charge entry fees and have a concession stand and settle.

“Quarter” Rally: Line a hallway or walkway with double stick tape and invite people to add quarters to make a long continuous rope of donations. Get a shopping mall to participate and host the rally, and get stores involved in the challenge.

Award Show Party: Turn your favorite award show into a black-tie affair of your own. Get a banquet facility to sponsor the event and do it up in style!

Block Party: Host a neighborhood block party and have games, contests, food and fun. Have a bike decorating contest for prizes, a kickball game, cookout, music…. Anything to get the neighbors together for a great cause. You could charge one flat fee for admission or ask for donations for food and activities.

Trike Race: What’s funnier to see than adults or teenagers riding tricycles? Adults and teenagers racing tricycles! Urge racers to collect pledges and offer prizes or a trophy for the winners.

Here are some ideas of community organizations
that could use your help

Local children hospitals

Churches – specifically children’s programs, youth groups and mission trip teams

Your school

Animal shelters and animal outreach programs

Camps for children with special needs

Wish granting organizations

Cancer organizations


Diagnosis specific organizations

Military support organizations

Overseas outreach programs

Food pantries

Child crisis centers

Activity centers and groups for people with disabilities

*** If you are looking for a specific organization, we can help you with that too. This list is just to get you thinking about a cause that interests you. ***

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