Ideas for Most Successful Fundraisers

Updated on April 03, 2017
S.L. asks from Arvada, CO
18 answers

My kid's team is doing some fundraisers with mixed results. There are 15 kids participating. Their current fundraiser is online via email or text. Each kid contacts 15 people with a link to the donation site (or they can buy popcorn). The problem is that anyone wanting to donate has to take an extra step to enter their credit card online.
Many older folks aren't in the information age yet...they don't use a credit card online which is an obstacle.
I used to really like the idea of going door to door with the product in hand (like candy, popcorn, etc.) But everyone seems to be spoofed about going door to door.
What has been your most successful fundraiser?

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answers from Springfield on

I'm a sucker for kids selling things at the grocery store, so I almost always buy candy or cookies or whatever (under $10 but preferably under $5). I don't know how much they raise, but I think they do pretty well.

Trivia Night? I love going to trivia nights. Just a thought.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I personally like door to door better than email fundraising. Email seems lazy to me. I like to see the kids working for their fundraising. When I receive a fundraising email I delete it. It is junk mail. If a kid comes to the door I will usually buy.

ETA: I also don't buy from the parents. Only from the kids.

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answers from Washington DC on

We have several restaurants here that will donate a portion of the proceeds to the organization.

Flippin' Pizza does 50% of the proceeds
Chipotle does 25%
Glory Days does 25%

Contact your local restaurants - choose a date, get a flyer out - hand them out to people as they are entering the restaurant - they don't have to give YOU any more. Just tell them to leave their receipt and the flyer and all is done.

If you already have the popcorn? Go to your local grocery store and ask them if you can set up a table and allow people to purchase for a day. Get the flyers out and ready.

Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Our elementary school's largest fundraiser is an online auction. This past February they raised over $15,000.

Check writing campaign
Walk or rockathon
Restaurants donating % of profits.

I don't like being hit up at the grocery store by kids selling stuff. I'd rather just donate because I don't use what they sell.

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answers from San Francisco on

Our gymnastics team raised money by selling raffle tickets for donated prizes during the meets. We also sold "shout outs" for around $2 each, that's where you pay for a cheerful message to go over the PA to a particular athlete (for example, "this shout out goes to Jenna on the blue team, you've got this! -love, Grandma") The girls (and more often their siblings) would walk around selling the tickets/shout outs during the warm up and any breaks that happened, then announce the winners and give out the prizes right before the final scores were posted. We easily raised around $300 per meet, plus we made money from selling coffee, donuts and other treats at a concession table we set up.
If you focus on fundraising DURING your game or meet or performance you will have a captive audience, usually in a generous mood, with money in their pockets.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Actually, I hate using a credit card online.
I know SO MANY people who've had problems with their info/identity being stolen.
It's becoming quite risky to do business in some places online.
Our local pizza place - I'll order online for pickup - but pay in person - because their site isn't secured/encrypted and it's not safe to enter your card number there.

I saw one fundraiser last weekend that I'd never seen before.
It was for a high schools drum major drumming group.
They had a car wash - and to 'drum up business' - they were literally doing a lot of fancy drumming on the street corner by the plaza.
I thought it was great - and rather different from the usual hold up a sign thing to get attention.

The 'every kid contact 15 people' with a link to donation site?
It's too like a chain letter - I'd delete that instantly if anyone hit me up like that.

The most successful fundraisers for the band/color guard:
Annual Classic Car show
Annual Craft show
There are others but these bring in the most $$$.

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answers from Springfield on

As much as you can involved the kids, I think you should. They should be earning the money. They should be gaining the experiences.

If you have a fundraiser at a restaurant (which is really gaining in popularity), maybe have the kid busing the tables or offering to get people napkins and extra ketchup. We recently went to a fundraiser for our PTO, and the teachers were walking around selling ice cream.

If you host a dinner, have the kids bus the tables, get people drinks, sell dessert, raffle tickets.

I've heard Trivia Nights tend to be most successful when alcohol can be purchased. So the adults would have to be the ones selling the alcohol, but the kids could be the ones running the answers to the judges, announcing things in the mic, leading a game of heads or tails (or whatever new game has been thought of since the last time I went :-)

It is so important to get the kids involved as much as possible. Partly because if they fundraiser is for them, then they need to be doing something to earn the money. But also because it's a learning experience. They need to understand that it's because of this money that they get to have their organization. They need to learn how to ask for money and how to interact with the adults. It's just so important!

Earning money is important, but the more you can get the kids involved, the better.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

the most successful fund raisers we had when my kids were in school were when we told people what our goal was! What we needed the money for. The kids got involved. The kids were excited. That makes all the difference. When people see the kids wanting to earn it.

Believe it or not? Auction cake walks were a HUGE money maker, as parents and kids got involved and did bang up jobs on cakes. Some of our cakes went for $75 to $100. No kidding.

The other successful fund raiser was an auction. Going to local businesses and asking them to donate items, massages, jewelry, gift certificates, etc. we had people make up baskets as well. I think that fund raiser garnered about $10K. We had over 100 baskets and cakes.

When you get the community involved and tell them what the money is being used for? You have the most success, in my opinion.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Bag bingo is extremely popular around here and raises thousands of dollars per event.

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answers from New York on

Personal interaction - host a party someplace. Basket raffle, 50/50 raffle, fun dinner, etc.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Around here is a spaghetti dinner - adults cook, kids wait on tables, friends and relatives pay to eat. Along the side we sell Chinese auction baskets that are donated.

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answers from New York on

What kind of "team" is this? Like a sports team or a debate team, or what? I personally detest fundraisers that require my kid to go door to door. We live in a safe area, but it is rural and small. You can't sell to your neighbors here - because your neighbor also has a kid in school selling the same thing, or a grandkid, or a niece . . . Plus, there was money tracking, order forms, get the items back to who ordered them. Yuck! Our school did one online one like you are describing for orchestra one year. That was all that it lasted for. Not one person donated or bought - mostly for the same reasons you are describing.

The kind of fundraisers that we have always done for sports stuff have been parent led - meaning that the kids really don't do anything. However, I never minded it at all. We did meals for sale before games, sold concessions before games, sold shout outs, did drawings and raffles for donated items. When folks are invested in already coming to the event, they were happy to buy a sandwich or some popcorn at the same time plus help us raise money. If you don't have this kind of team, maybe you can buddy up with a larger team and ask if you can do something like this at their event.

Good luck!



answers from New York on

We did an IHOP fundraiser - it was the right price point and very successful!


We did an IHOP fundraiser - it was the right price point and very successful!



answers from Oklahoma City on

I would not participate in anything so....distant as this. When kids come up to me and ask me to order stuff I almost always will do that if I don't have to pay right then.

I don't always have any money on me so I have to say no. Now if I know they're coming to collect money, maybe they posted their fund raiser on FB and I commented on a post saying I'd order something, come get the money, then I'd have it with me.

I think it's a better way to teach the kids to work for their funds and to get out there and sell things. This helps them with public speaking and having confidence.

For BMX we stood at the doors of Walmart and took donations for the Leukemia foundation. We made hundreds of dollars in a couple of days.

For Young Women we had a meal that you bought ahead of time then picked it up on the designated date. That went over extremely well. One person cooked all the food in her kitchen and all the styrofoam containers were filled at her dining room table. This way all volunteers were supervised and all servings were the same. Members of the church were asked to make donations of food that was needed for this meal and a few just wanted to donate a little money to buy the items needed.

We've had different organizations do this sort of fund raiser, buying a meal, and it's always a success. The meals have been between $7.00 and $8.00. It's a good deal for the people buying it and since it's all homemade it's a good source of funds for the organization. It completely depends on the volunteers though. I went over and did stuff the day before and day of. Then I went to work and took about 8 meals that I'd sold to those I work with so they didn't have to drive across town to pick them up.

Another fund raiser we've done that is a lot of fun are car washes. But if it's older kids and girls they get wet and it's just not cute anymore. It's different. So if these are older girls then no, not a car wash. But if it's a sports team of younger kids and lots of them then a car wash is a lot of fun.

You can google common fund raisers and get a lot of ideas too.



answers from Los Angeles on

What sport is it? Is it just your team or is the whole league trying to raise money, too?

Restaurant nights are great if it's a big enough customer base (a league rather than a whole team). Chipotle and Veggie Grill both give 50%. Many others will give 15-20%.

Try to come up with something related to your support. Our swim team does a swim-a-thon and you can get people to sponsor you per lap or a flat fee. A baseball team could have a homerun derby where people get sponsored based on how many balls they can hit a certain distance (say they get 25 or 50 pitches and someone could pledge $1 or $5 for each homerun...something along those lines). Basketball could have a free throw contest along those same lines. Pretty much any sport could come up with something related to that sport that the kids could do and they could collect pledges for how many times they do it.

I'm not a big fan of selling things, but if my kids have to do it, we are more successful at a grocery store than we are going door to door.

Our baseball team got corporate sponsors a few years ago and raised several hundred dollars. For something like that, realtors, pediatricians, and pediatric dentists/orthodontists are often the easiest sponsors to get. Parents could also ask the companies they work for to sponsor the team and/or to match donations.


answers from Santa Fe on

Our most successful fundraiser is a school wide "fun run". 100% of the money goes to the school. Kids ask for donations...either a flat donation for participating or an amount per lap they run. The kids run/walk around the track while a local kids DJ cheers them on and plays popular music (he donates his time). The kids use a donation webpage set up for the school where they can send out a mass email to all their family members. Or people can mail in cash or a check in an envelope. They don't have to use the website. The reason why people like donating is because if they donate $20 the whole $20 goes to the school unlike buying popcorn or candles where say 25% goes to the school. The kids raise a TON of money each year! Granted it is a large school but I still find it impressive. I now am not impressed with fundraisers where your kids have to walk door to door. It's a pain and selling a product does not earn very much money.


answers from Washington DC on

You need to find out if they have a tax ID first. We are limited in what we can sell for dance fundraisers, because there is no associated tax ID for us. I'm not sure why, and I wish there was one! We are limited mostly to Joe Corbi's, Yankee Candle, and whatever people sell (Tastefully Simple, Pampered Chef, etc).



answers from New York on

It's the wrong Season for it but daffodils were a big hit. The school set aside some land. The kids layer out a design and you could buy bulbs to plant in your own garden or to have the team plant them at the school. Apple cider and donuts were also being sold. No waste. No clutter. Bulbs are cheap especially when bought in bulk.

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