Back to School: 4 Fundraising Ideas for Schools to Try This Fall


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It’s that time of year again - schools are starting up across the country, and many of them will be relying on fundraisers and donations to support the students they serve. We’ve created a list of dynamite fundraising ideas for schools to help you kickstart the fundraising process for everything from new erasers to a new science lab. 


 4 Fundraising Ideas for Schools to Try This Fall

Some of these fundraising event ideas are tried-and-true go-to's for many schools, while others may be something you haven’t thought of before. Either way, we hope to spark inspiration so you can begin planning and preparing to optimize donations.


 1. Hold an “A-Thon”

The first fundraising idea for schools to try is a time-honored one: the “A-thon”! “A-thons” (spell-a-thons, math-a-thons, jog-a-thons, and more) come in many forms. The basic idea is that a group of individuals–usually the students in a school setting–collect per-milestone (per lap, per page, per minute) sponsorships for engaging in some sort of marathon-like task. In this sense, marathon-like simply means that the task is marked by length or endurance of some kind - but just because it takes endurance doesn’t mean it can’t be loads of fun! Examples of “a-thons” include:

  1. Spell-a-thon: Students compete to spell as many words correctly as possible, receiving donations for each word spelled correctly in a certain time period. 

  2. Read-a-thon: Students read and collect donations based on how long they read, how many books they read, or how many pages they read during the contest  period.

  3. Math-a-thon: Students attempt multiple math problems, receiving donations for each one they get correct.

  4. Walk-a-thon: Students walk along a path and receive donations per unit distance they cover in a certain amount of time. Alternatively, students may walk laps and receive donations per lap. 

  5. Jog-a-thon: This is the same idea as a walk-a-thon, but students jog instead of walking.

  6. Dance-a-thon: Students dance for as long as they can, receiving donations based on how long they keep dancing.

Note that you can also set an option for lump sum donations in addition to per-milestone donations to give supporters more options for easy giving. . You can also seek out corporate sponsorships for these events. By reaching out ahead of time, you can offer publicity and advertisement opportunities to any businesses willing to contribute.



 2. Set Up a Haunted House

Second on our list of fundraising ideas for schools is one that works particularly well in the fall: a haunted house! After all, who doesn’t love a haunted house as the weather turns crisp and the leaves start to fall?  While it might be too much for some of the kindergarteners,  in general, a good haunted house will draw a crowd. Encourage your students to think creatively to design and decorate as well as create scary features. The project of putting together a haunted house can even be integrated into high-quality STEAM instruction! 

Once the house is complete, staff it with volunteers and charge admission. You can also accept donations in addition to admission fees, or make admission completely by donation. Raise additional funds during the event by selling baked goods and treats. You can even incorporate a costume contest for added entertainment value.


haunted house


 3. Host an Auction

Don’t be put off by the tried-and-true nature of an auction - the classic allure of an auction could be just the kind of fundraising idea your school needs! There’s a lot of flexibility these days in how you can choose to hold an auction. You may do so in person as a live event or silent auction. You can also hold the auction entirely online–either in a live format or over several days. You can even create a hybrid event with an in-person as well as an online component.

Of course, holding the event either fully or partially online presents technical challenges that must be overcome. The good news is that affordable platforms now exist for organizing and hosting online auctions online. For example, FrontStream’s cloud-based BiddingForGood  auction platform comes with easy-to-use tools and templates that make it possible to set up an online auction in as little as an hour. 

BiddingForGood comes with the tools you need to hold either a live or silent virtual auction and streamline the payment process. But it also extends your reach. Now little Janie’s grandma who lives three states away can participate in the bidding. Not only that, but BiddingForGood provides access to an online community of 1.7 million philanthropic shoppers–this helped Bay Laurel Elementary in California raise a whopping $41,020 with the BiddingForGood platform. With BiddingForGood, your biggest responsibility becomes finding fun and cool items for people to bid on!


4. Leverage Peer-to-Peer Connections

When it comes to growing your reach, regardless of the type of fundraising event or idea your school holds, you can significantly extend your pool of donors by taking your fundraiser online, into the social media space, and leveraging the power of peer-to-peer connections. 

The idea behind peer-to-peer fundraising is to extend your reach by getting supporters to reach out to their networks of friends and family. Many school fundraisers already do this to an extent, with each student reaching out to their family members for support. But what if the parents of those students could further reach out to everyone in their FaceBook or Twitter feed? 

This is where a powerful fundraising platform like FrontStream’s Panorama can help. Panorama supports any type of peer-to-peer fundraising event with innovative features such as versatile registration options and multichannel engagement communication to help maximize donations.


Taking Your Back-to-School Fundraising to the Next Level with FrontStream

At FrontStream, our mission is to help nonprofits, including schools like yours, raise and process the funds needed to do more good. Our products and services can support school fundraising efforts in more ways than one. First, we make it easy to set up, organize, and personalize events of all types–including in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. But our real power comes from making it easier to reach more donors and making it easier for those donors to donate. 

With your reach extended and donations streamlined, you’ll raise more funds and have more time and resources to serve your students and community. Request a free demo today to learn more.


kids cheering


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