The 10 Gold Star Fundraiser Ideas

School fundraisers can be a lot of fun, but it can also be challenging to come up with interesting ideas that actually generate funds for your students and school programs. School fundraising also comes in a lot of different forms, whether it’s parent-teacher committees, fundraising to hold an event, or students raising money for a trip. So these ideas need to appeal to a wide audience in order to raise money for a good cause. 

We love helping to inspire a passion for charitable giving in students. We also get excited when we see schools’ fundraisers hit and surpass their fundraising goals. That’s why we decided to assemble and share these inventive fundraising event ideas that are proven winners when it comes to raising money. 


Here are 10 of the Best Gold Star Fundraiser Ideas


Circles 1Host an In-Person, Online or Hybrid Auction:

If you’re looking to stoke the competitive fires, make it a charity auction rather than a raffle. You could get teachers or students to act as the auctioneer, and include the auction as part of a larger event. Get the community involved by seeing if local companies would be interested in taking part. (P.S. Take your auction online for even better results!) And with FrontStream’s BiddingForGood shopping community, you can open your auction to 1.7 million shoppers looking to support good causes! It’s a win-win situation. Check out another school, Bay Laurel Elementary, who raised ⅓ of their funds just from the BiddingForGood community, and see how you can too! 

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Circles 2Walk, Run, Bike-A-Thons:

Getting outside, exercising and doing something active is more important than ever. Runs, walks or bike-a-thons have never been more popular. If you’ve ever felt the irresistible pull of a glow stick, you know how much your students, faculty and alumni will love the idea of getting their ‘80s neon groove on while raising money for your school. Watch Katharine House Hospice’s video, then hit up the dollar store for everything neon, everything glowing, including paint. Great idea: Provide glow-in-the-dark balloons for the little ones to carry while they walk! 


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Circles 3 Dog Walk:

A favorite of pet lovers, dog walks are oodles (poodles!) of fun. Students can bring their own dogs or borrow one to walk a set distance while raising money for your organization. Everyone will love the opportunity to bring Fido to school! Pair up with a local animal rescue organization to add an onsite adoption opportunity. And of course, you don’t have to restrict yourself to dogs. Turtles, ferrets, mini horses? Why not? Also if you are in virtual school, having the right platform to register and still participate virtually and get the whole family involved! Panorama, FrontStream’s all-in-one digital fundraising platform, has all the features and tools to help your school be nimble and proactive. Revolutionize your fundraising with hybrid events through Panorama.



Circles 4“Iron Chef” Cooking Competition:

Cooking has never been hotter, pun intended! You could pit individuals against each other in a classic showdown or allow “Kitchen Teams” from different departments to make up a cooking crew. The teams that fundraise the most can earn special ingredients – or better yet, force rival teams to use undesirable ingredients. Finally, make sure to sell tickets on competition day to let attendees try the finished dishes.


Circles 5Dance-a-Thon:

Kick off your Sunday shoes and get footloose! In a dance-a-thon, participants see how long they can stay on their feet on the dance floor. Students can register to dance in timed shifts, while friends and family members pledge small donations to encourage their success. You might even consider a prize for the winning individual or team. Expand your reach and go online too! With a platform like Panorama, you can have your teams register and host competitions -  get friends, family and the community to donate to the largest dance crew or to the funniest dance - make it fun!


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Circles 6Video Games:

While we don’t recommend holding a video game tournament during school hours, tapping into students’ love of games could pay off big time for charity. Hold either a tournament or a marathon (see if students can play for 12 hours straight) and have participants pay to get in, or else collect sponsors to keep them going. Pick a specific genre of video game – puzzle games or multiplayer co-op games work well – and see how far everyone gets. This is a great fundraiser to tap into students’ competitive nature, especially if teachers want to join in as well.


Circles 7Christmas Cards:

Here’s a festive fundraiser that appeals to the creative side of students, especially the little ones – make it a project for students to create Christmas card designs that can then be sold to raise money. There’s nothing cuter than seeing art done by kids, and it makes for some incredibly unique Christmas cards that can be sent around to family members. Knowing that the money goes to a worthy cause makes it an even better purchase!


Circles 8Food Truck Festival:

Change things up for lunch or an after-school activity! Look into which food trucks are popular in your city, then see if they can congregate at your school event and serve hungry attendees, with a percentage of sales going towards your charity of choice. You could time this as a special lunch hour event during a school day, or have it as part of an event in the off-hours.



Circles 9Fashion Show:

Get ready to strut your stuff on the catwalk! Any gym or field can be turned into a fantastic runway with a little bit of creative effort. Sell tickets for friends and family to come see students and teachers model student creations. Put a fun twist on it by having the football team model formal wear, put teachers in sporty clothes, or send your gymnastics team out doing backflips!


Circles 10Recycling for a Cause:

Raise money (and help the environment) based on how many pieces of recycling that students contribute. Not only does this help raise money for a worthy cause, but it also teaches kids about the value of recycling and environmental preservation. Teachers can use this as a learning experience to show students how to properly recycle items as well as what items can have a longer lifespan (recycling containers as flower pots to sell seedlings, maybe?).


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We have so many more ideas to help you put the “fun” in fundraising! In fact, there are 65 more in this helpful 75 unique fundraising ideas guide. So, take a look, get inspired and get ready to have fun at your next fundraiser! 


FrontStream’s mission is to help you raise more to do more good, and with our Ultimate School Fundraising Guide, we give you ideas and tools to get your school fundraiser started off on the right foot. Download it today to do more good for your school!


Download Ultimate School Fundraising Checklist

Additional Resources

eGuide: 75 Fast Fundraising Ideas For Schools

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