What are Some Easy Ideas for School Fundraising?

A Kaminsky

Schools, whether public or private, seem to be in perpetual need of extra money. Children are often sent home with brochures to sell bells, books and candles, popcorn and candy, stuffed animals and calendars. It seems to be a never-ending parade of stuff to sell. If parents don’t want their children going around the neighborhood, and feel strange about putting the touch on co-workers, how can children and parents help with school fundraising?

Students can earn money for their school by mowing lawns.
Students can earn money for their school by mowing lawns.

One of the easiest ideas for school fundraising is the car wash. Held in warm weather, these are usually popular and easy and have a high profit margin. Parents and children can bring their own buckets, rags, soap and hoses from home. Many businesses, such as banks, allow schools and youth groups to have car washes and use their water supply, for free or for a nominal charge.

School supply drives can collect items and money to make sure students are prepared for the academic year.
School supply drives can collect items and money to make sure students are prepared for the academic year.

The investment for supplies is generally small, and children of all ages can do something at a car wash. They can clean windshields, scrub tires or rinse vehicles with the hose. Clean-up is easy too, since the parking lot just needs spraying down and all cleaning supplies must be taken away.

Another good idea for school fundraising is a bake sale. This is an easy idea, since parents can bake or buy items for the sale and can set their own prices according to how much they have invested in it. One variation on this school fundraising idea is a “bakeless bake sale.” Participants are asked to calculate how much money they would normally spend on ingredients to bake something or on store bought items, or how much they would be willing to pay for a baked item, and to donate that amount in cash to the school. The advantage is that busy parents don’t have to bake anything, and everything the school gets is pure profit. Participants may be given little paper cupcakes with “Thank you from XXXX School” written on them, as acknowledgement of their donation.

Easy school fundraising may also be accomplished through a “student auction.” This is usually best for small schools, or for a single class where the parents know all the other parents. It is a good school fundraiser for middle and high-school students. Students stand up and the parents bid on the student’s services for a particular job, such as mowing the lawn, painting shutters, doing laundry or other odd jobs. This particular event should be cleared with the parents of all participating students, however.

“Spirit” cards are another school fundraising idea. Some companies contact businesses to have them advertise on credit-card sized cards, with discounts for food or services. The cards are sold for a flat fee and are more popular than merchandise, since they are discounts people actually use.

A computer repair fair is another easy way of school fundraising, especially for high school students. Many people don’t know how to do fix their computers, but many students are knowledgeable enough to make basic repairs. Customers can either bring their computers to the school for repair or make an appointment for a student/parent or student/teacher team to come to their homes. The customers can be charged a flat fee, and most of the profit goes to the school.

School fundraising can be accomplished with some imagination and cooperation from parents and the community. They like to see their dollars at work, so the school should always specify how the money will be spent. This raises more funds and helps ensure the integrity of the process.

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Discussion Comments


Try selling toilet paper. Absolutely everyone needs it and if you work with PaperFunds, you can sell it at a price that beats the grocery stores and still make great profits. They're going to buy it anyway, so they might as we buy it from you.


My school is trying to find a way to get more money for field trips and stuff and we found out that having a book fair can help you raise a lot of money by selling little erasers, pencils, pens, and this thing called finger hockey.(People who love hockey will go crazy for a hockey game that you could take everywhere you want).

And, you can also sell smencils too. Smencils were so popular at our school that we had to start selling them at our games day. You can tell your librarian to get cute bookmarks and sell them for like 50 cents each. You will run out of bookmarks to sell before you know it.


Sorry surfNturf: The entertainment books are actually around $65 and you get 20 percent for your fundraising less GST. In Sydney, they are really pushy with sales, constantly wanting to make appointments for sale strategies.

I think they forget that kids try their best and are not sales agents. Essentially, the kids are making first contact with people. If the kids have sold them in the past to customers, then those customers can then purchase from EB directly online as soon as they are out. If the kids don't get the books before the customer, then they have lost the sale. This mean they build a bigger customer base and it makes it more challenging for the kids who rely on that family network (customer). Hope that helps!


Hi. A friend and I have just launched a new fundraising product called Surprise Notes. They're printable lunch box and love notes, and if schools register, they get 30 percent of everything that is bought through their link - forever. Would you use these notes? Any suggestions/feedback for us? Thanks


Sunny27- Sometimes the best school fundraisers involve special events. Golf tournaments and carnivals are very popular. Often many neighborhoods will sponsor the event in order to get additional advertising.

My children’s school also allows corporations to sponsor various rides at the carnival. By selling tickets to the carnival ahead of time you can also raise more money. The best school fundraising ideas involve things that offer mass appeal that most people will like. These are the highest grossing fundraisers for school.


Mutsy- My children’s private school fundraising involves an annual book fair and a principal story time that is done in conjunction with a local book store. The school gets a percentage of all of the sales done by the school during the storytime.

Other easy school fundraisers include an art auction and a library book sponsorship. The art auction is a compilation of the student’s best work that is auctioned off for the parents to buy. Parents get really excited about their child’s artwork. Often the art teacher will have the whole class contribute to the same piece that way the artwork has more appeal.

The library book sponsorship is when a parent gives $15 to the library and the library will place the name of their child inside of a book as a donor. This raises additional funds for the library and the child’s name will always remain in the book. This also is another easy school fundraiser idea.


SurfNturf-I think another school fundraising program that really works is the Entertainment Book. The Entertainment Book is about two inches thick and offers discounts on products and services from many local businesses.

The book only costs like $20, but the savings are incredible. In a week you will get your money back easily. These books are easy to sell because many see the incredible value that they provide.

I always buy them. The last time I saw these books was in Border’s. Many book stores also sell these books as well. These are easy school fundraisers.


I think some of the best elementary school fundraisers involve selling chocolate bars.

The chocolate bars are only a dollar and are easy to sell because virtually everyone loves chocolate. Parents can take the chocolate to school and their coworkers might even welcome the ability to buy the chocolate as a nice pick me up during a break.

The chocolate bars are really creamy too. I always buy the chocolate bars from others and hoping that one day my kids will actually be given these to sell. But so far, I have not been lucky.

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