It can be challenging to come up with new, fresh, and engaging fundraising ideas for K-12 schools. Not only do you have to capture the attention, and hearts, of your community with your unique school fundraisers, but you also have to make your voice heard above many others who are also requesting donations. Your cause is worthy; now, how do you get people behind you?

COVID-19 and Fundraising

Get involved. Join the Hope Town United email list. Click to sign up now.The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought exceptional chaos in the world – and in our everyday lives. At the same time, the need for funds has grown even more pressing. Because of travel restrictions, limits on group gatherings, and the need for social distancing, many conventional fundraisers are just not feasible. So we just have to think outside the box!

Here are 12 unique school fundraisers that can help you connect with your community and generate much-needed revenue. 

12 Creative Fundraising Ideas for K-12 Schools

  1. Virtual Walk or Run. Instead of gathering at a central point and going on the walk/run en masse, a virtual walk can be completed anytime and on any course. You can set a distance (e.g., 5k) and let people hit the pavement or trails on their own terms. 
  2. Virtual Auction. Did coronavirus throw a wrench into your plans for an auction? Luckily, you can use software solutions to transition it to an online format easily. Your community can still participate and bid on great items.
  3. Virtual Talent Show. Fun! Call upon all your community’s rising stars and host a virtual talent extravaganza. Using an event registration app, you can sign people up in advance, set a schedule of the acts/performances, deliver virtual tickets, and stream it all live via Facebook Live or YouTube Live. 
  4. Online Gaming Tournament. Chances are you have a gamer or two in your life. If so, you know they are passionate about their pastime. But did you know that gamers have raised a collective $75 million for charities from 2012 to 2017? Gamers already “get” online communication; they’re masters at it. So let ‘em play. It’s the perfect social distancing fundraiser.
  5. Virtual Cooking Lessons. Who else is just done thinking of ideas for dinner? Ok… a quick head count tells us the answer is “Everyone.” Virtual cooking lessons are a terrific fundraiser because they help solve a problem everyone has and helps them learn or hone culinary skills. Find a talented chef (pro or amateur) in your community and have them host a lesson via a live streaming platform. Yum!
  6. Virtual Paint or Craft Night. Sip-and-Paint and Wine-and-Design nights have been wildly popular in recent years, and for good reason: you can have a fantastic time and raise money for your worthy cause. It’s also accessible; everyone who’s not a Pinterest queen can just follow the easy step-by-step directions from the instructor. Again, lean on a local crafter or artist, post a list of needed materials (or assemble boxes with the supplies that they can purchase – hello, fundraising!).
  7. Virtual Scavenger Hunt. Guide your participants around the web (and, of course, your website) to find clues that relate to your mission. They may find a clue on your About page or a secret message in a blog post. First one to find all the clues wins!
  8. Virtual Giving Days. Giving Tuesday (the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving) is an example of a giving day; efforts are hyper focused on this one day, creating a sense of urgency in donors. Hold a giving day anytime, promoting it online and in person (safely!). To amp up participation, consider adding virtual activities, like contests, raffles, and impact videos.
  9. Virtual Raffle. This is one event that’s made easier when done virtually. You can keep track of donations easily and eliminate the super awkward door-to-door sales approach. Ask local businesses for donations, promote the raffle, and get going. 
  10. Virtual Rubber Duckie Race. Whether you call it a Rubber Duckie Race or a Sailboat Race, it’s a great way to raise funds. Select four projects that you want to fund (cost should be comparable). Donors give to their favorite project, and the one that’s funded first wins! This creates urgency and buy-in from donors. 
  11. School/Community Cookbook (eBook). Remember we talked about the bane of our existence – trying to figure out what to make for dinner? Well, a school or community cookbook helps folks find answers and terrific recipes to try. Gather recipes from your community, organize them (e.g., breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, dips, soups…), and put those wonderful tomes up for sale!
  12. Virtual Gala. No black tie required! Have your community and school leaders and/or board members host virtual gala tables. They can get their connections involved. Incorporate activities that occur at in-person galas, such as speakers, slide shows, live streamed performances, and more. 

Inspired by these unique school fundraisers? Your donors will be, too!

Donating your funds to a nonprofit organization, like Hope Town United, whose mission aligns with the values of your school and community will help increase fundraiser participation. Learn about Hope Town United’s projects, including the restoration of Hope Town Primary School here.