20 Fantastic Fundraising Ideas for Student Organizations

Running out of great fundraising ideas? Don’t worry! We’ve listed out 20 ideas to help your student organization raise the funds it needs.

Tried and True

Auction/Silent Auction

Ask businesses or community members to donate items or services that participants can bid on. Make sure to keep your audience in mind by having prizes they’ll be interested in bidding on. Prizes go to the highest bidder, and all auction proceeds go towards the cause.

Barbecue/banquet

Try to buy food at cost or in bulk, or invite local businesses to donate, and charge participants for tickets or on a “per plate” basis. You might be able to ask for donations of utensils, plates, and napkins as well.

Campus garage sale

Don’t have anything to sell? No worries; ask around at local businesses, individuals, community groups, and churches to donate items to sell. In order to get more traffic to your garage sale, schedule it during high-traffic times such as lunch. Also be sure to post signs explaining what you are raising funds for.

Scavenger hunt

Volunteers create a list of items for participants to find, and set up a route around campus. Students pay a small fee (per person or per group) to participate, and the winners receive a prize. Ask local groups or businesses to donate prizes.

Bake sale

Volunteers bake treats for the sale or ask local bakeries to donate baked goods. Bake sales work best when tables are set up in common areas on campus. Like the garage sale, try to schedule your bake sale at high-traffic times, such as lunchtime.

Old-School Classics

Pie throwing/water balloon throwing contest

Professors or staff volunteer to be targets and participating students donate a fee to throw a pie or a balloon at the professor or staff member of their choice. Paint or attach a bullseye to each volunteer, and students who hit the bullseye win a prize. The pies do not need to be real—a paper plate or aluminum pie plate filled with whipped cream or shaving cream can do the trick.

Kissing Booth

Participants donate a fee for a kiss from a volunteer. You could offer multiple purchasing possibilities, such as one kiss for $1.00 or five kisses for $2.00. Be sure your school approves this activity prior to organizing, and make sure there are clear rules for participants to follow. It is important to keep volunteers safe.

Car wash

Ask a local business with accessible running water and a large parking lot if you can use their space. For a fee, volunteers wash participants’ cars. Promotion is the key to this type of event, so be sure to advertise ahead of time with posters and signs, as well as on social media. Also, make sure beforehand that your school approves the event.

Donate to Win

Donate to skip a class

Students donate a fee in order to skip a participating class without being penalized. There may be restrictions as to whether some days are off-limits for skipping (such as exam days), so make sure these restrictions are clear to participants. Be sure to obtain prior approval from your school as well as the participating professor.

Open mic at halftime

Students donate a fee for a chance to take the mic at halftime during a sporting event, to say or sing anything they want. Make sure your school and participating teams are onboard with this, and be sure guidelines such as time limit, appropriate content, etc., are clear to all participants. Open-mic would work at both indoor and outdoor events.

Win an entourage

Students donate for the chance to have a campus police escort or an entourage (e.g. a volunteer group or team on campus) follow them around for the day. Make sure your school’s security department is on-board with this. A good day to schedule the event might be the last day of classes.

Win a VIP parking pass

Students donate for a chance to win a parking pass for one week. This idea could be repeated throughout the school year, with your school’s approval.

Guessing Games

Guess the age of your professor

Students pay a small fee to submit their guess. Post pictures of participating professors in a central location that is accessible to students. Print ballot slips for participants to write their guesses, as well as their contact information, and be sure to bring a sealable container or “hat” to collect the ballots. The first correct guess chosen from the “hat” wins a prize.

Guess textbook sales

Students pay a small fee to guess how many textbooks were sold by the college bookstore during first week of classes. The bookstore provides the correct number at the end of the week. Be sure to provide a container and pre-printed slips for guesses. The first correct guess wins a prize.

Fun Group Activities

Dress down day

Students or faculty members donate a small amount to wear casual clothes, pajamas, or costumes for the day. There could be prizes for the silliest outfit or the cutest pajamas, etc. Make sure lab safety dress codes are still respected, where applicable (e.g. no open-toed shoes).

Slip-N-Slide kickball game

Students form teams and pay a group fee to play. Organize the game to be played like baseball, using a medium-sized beach ball and a foam bat, and with Slip-N-Slides as runs. As players slide to the bases, they land in inflated pools of water. The winning team wins a prize.

Other Great Ideas

March to 1 Million Meals

Help feed children living in poverty-stricken areas by participating in a study document drive. Simply take your old study guides and notes and upload them to StudySoup’s online marketplace. For every three documents you upload, StudySoup is able to donate one meal to a child in need.

Recycle donated ink cartridges

Volunteers collect ink cartridges from participants around campus or at local businesses and send the cartridges to RecyclePlace, which pays $4.50 USD for each inkjet and laser cartridge that is collected. Be sure to station collection receptacles in convenient locations. This idea could be repeated throughout the school year.

Set up a GoFundMe page

Many community organizations, individuals, and even businesses have GoFundMe pages. This idea also works great for fundraisers. After your group’s account has been set up, get the word out around campus by posting signs, posters, and banners with the information on how and where to make a donation. Advertising your campaign on social media is also a great idea.

Yankee Candle fundraiser

Yankee Candle conducts fundraisers with school groups all the time. Volunteers take orders on a variety of items ranging in price from $6.00 to $28.00 USD each (comparable to retail stores), and your group earns 40% of the sale’s profits. Be sure students living on campus are aware of your school’s policy on candles in dorms before they place their orders.

There are so many great ideas out there for raising funds for your cause. With a bit of planning, preparation and a team of enthusiastic volunteers, your fundraiser can be a huge success.

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