21 Fun & Exciting Summer Fundraising Ideas for Schools

School’s out for summer—but that doesn’t mean fundraising has to stop.

The warm weather offers many opportunities for a budget-friendly outdoor fundraising event. But the reverse is also true: the scorching heat provides the perfect excuse to move activities indoors, where participants get air-conditioned shelter.

While traditional summer fundraisers, like bake sales and car washes, remain popular, why not try something new this season? Check out these 21 new summer fundraising ideas for schools to grab donors' attention and ensure your event is a hit.




Heat-Beating Indoor Summer Fundraising Ideas for Schools

If you're trying to stay cool this summer, there are plenty of indoor fundraisers to organize. Just make sure you crank up the A.C. before hosting one of these events!


1. Board Games

Organize a board game night where participants pay an entry fee to play different games. Set up stations for a range of popular board games like Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, and Scrabble to make sure there's something for everyone. While you don’t have to crown winners of the event, you can up the ante by turning your fundraiser into a tournament in which participants progress through brackets to win small prizes. Consider partnering with a local business, like a retail store that sells toys and board games, to secure prizes or game donations for the event.


2. Escape Room

Set up a series of escape rooms in your school's classrooms designed to replicate the experience of a professional escape room business. Incorporate clever riddles based on the school’s history, map-based geography challenges, and hidden clues throughout the room. Charge admission for groups to solve these puzzles within a set time limit to make sure everyone gets a turn.


3. Family Feud

A Family Feud night based on the popular game show offers an engaging way to bring people together—and adds a dash of friendly competition to your fundraising. Host the event in an auditorium or gymnasium and charge a small fee to play to families and groups of friends. Don’t forget to appoint someone as the night's game show host. Also, many websites offer free Family Feud-style questions for this event.


Check out these 160+ school fundraising & auction item ideas!


4. Indoor Rock Climbing or Skydiving

Partner with a local indoor rock climbing or skydiving center for a day and receive a portion of the day’s earnings. If possible, rent an indoor rock climbing wall to set up in the gymnasium on the school grounds. Just ensure you have proper safety measures, such as adequate padding and trained instructors.


5. Video Game Tournament

There's a video game for everyone, from Mario Kart and Wii Sports to Super Mario Bros. Organize a video game tournament where participants play popular games that cater to various age groups. Participants must pay an entry fee, and different skill levels or age groups have categories to keep things fair and fun. Ask families in the community to borrow gaming equipment to keep costs low.




Sun-Kissed Outdoor Summer Fundraising Ideas

Looking to take advantage of the beautiful weather in your fundraising this summer? Consider these outdoor fundraising event ideas to encourage participants to get outside and active.


6. Scavenger Hunt

Plan a scavenger hunt throughout your town’s center or a safe, walkable neighborhood. 

Coordinate with local businesses or station volunteers at various landmarks to serve as “puzzle stops” where participants solve riddles or complete tasks (e.g., take a selfie in a specific location) to receive their next clue. 

Design the scavenger hunt so it’s challenging enough while catering to different age groups. Set a designated team size (e.g., groups of at least four people) and charge teams a donation to participate in the scavenger hunt. 


7. Sports Tournaments

Organize a sports tournament fundraiser featuring a popular sport like soccer or volleyball. For a competitive and safe experience, organize players into teams based on age group or skill level. Your school’s field or a local park is the perfect venue for this event. Charge the team's entry fees as the primary fundraising mechanism and consider additional fundraising efforts like selling refreshments or themed merchandise.


8. Community Fun Run or Walk

A 5K fundraising or a walkathon helps participants get their steps in while helping you meet your fundraising goals. This event is ideal for a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, where participants encourage their friends and family members to sponsor their efforts with donations leading up to the event.

Also, consider selling merchandise like T-shirts that participants can sport on the event day. Map out a route that goes through a walkable area and coordinate with local authorities to ensure traffic safety and proper event permits.


Grab this free event-planning template!


9. Outdoor Movie Night

Host an outdoor movie night for families in the community as a relatively cost-effective event. You only need a projector, a family-friendly movie, a large screen or blank wall, and a suitable outdoor venue. Make it a bring-your-own-blanket event so you don’t have to worry about seating arrangements and raise funds through entrance, popcorn, and refreshment sales.

If you’re raising funds for a specific school initiative, consider choosing a movie aligned with your cause. For example, if the goal is to raise funds for technology upgrades, host a WALL-E or Meet the Robinsons showing.


10. Giant Lawn Chess

Host a larger-than-life chess game to raise funds in your school's green space. Use lawn paint to create a board (or two if you want to make it a tournament) and jumbo chess pieces to bring the idea to life. Participants pay a donation to play, and spectators donate to guess the winner of each round.


11. Checkers Tournament

If chess isn’t your thing, consider an outdoor checkers tournament. Ask the community for checkerboard donations or borrow some from the school. Host the event on school grounds or at your local park. Enrich the event with music, commentary, and refreshments to keep the energy high throughout the day. 




Virtual Summer Fundraising Ideas for Schools

Virtual summer fundraisers for schools offer an effective way to support your school anytime—summer included. 


12. Crowdfunding Campaign

Start an online crowdfunding campaign focused on specific school initiatives or sports team needs. This approach allows broad participation, enabling donors from anywhere to support your cause. 


To keep donors engaged and informed, update them on how the campaign is going and show them how their money is making a difference. Create video or photo content of ongoing projects that allows donors to hear directly from the team or group they support.


13. Virtual Fitness Challenges

Organize a virtual fitness challenge where participants compete at their convenience. Group them into teams and have them log the number of minutes they exercised or steps taken each day to monitor progress. 

To keep engagement and motivation high, frequently update an online leaderboard that showcases participants’ achievements and rankings. Enhance the experience by offering live-streamed fitness classes from local fitness instructors willing to donate their time. Award the winning team with a fitness-related prize, such as a free group exercise class or a gift certificate to your local smoothie shop.

💡FrontStream’s virtual fundraising tools make launching fitness challenges easy, expanding your reach, and keeping participants and donors engaged with real-time activity and goal tracking.


14. Online Auction

An online auction featuring donated items or services provides a unique opportunity to raise funds for your school while engaging with local businesses and families in the community. Ask for auction items like sports memorabilia, local artwork, or services (e.g., a local cleaning service) from nearby businesses. This will draw interest from various people—and bring in plenty of bids. Make sure your online auction platform is clear and easy to use to avoid confusion and maintain engagement.


Check out these Top 11 Auction Selection Secrets


15. Online Merchandise Sale

Host an online merchandise sale to elevate school spirit and generate funds. Customize the merchandise to align with your fundraising cause. For instance, if the fundraising goal is to support the school's sports teams, consider offering T-shirts or jerseys emblazoned with the team's logo. Alternatively, if the funds are for the school's art program, you could feature student-designed artwork on the merchandise.




Innovative Summer Fundraising Ideas for Schools with a Twist

Are you looking for an out-of-the-box fundraising idea? From BBQ competitions to calendar sales, here are a few of our favorites.


16. BBQ Competition

Organize a BBQ competition where amateur grillers showcase their skills. From kebabs to burgers, this event will have something to satisfy everyone’s palates. Attendees pay for tasting portions; judges or public votes decide the winners. Keep expenses low by recruiting volunteers to donate grills and food for the event.


17. Trivia Night

Host a trivia night featuring a variety of topics to captivate participants with diverse interests. Charge a seat entry fee and boost fundraising efforts by including a raffle or silent auction. Consider adding themed rounds related to local history or school spirit to personalize the event. 


18. Sports-Themed Talent Show

You’ve probably seen a classic talent show, but have you ever seen one that allows athletes to show off their sports-related abilities? Hosting a sports-themed talent show offers an excellent way to raise funds for the school's sports program. From juggling soccer balls to performing gymnastic routines, there are many ways for participants to showcase their talents. Charge an entry fee and let audience members donate to vote for their favorites.


19. Mystery Sports Event

Promote a mystery sports fundraising event where the sport remains a secret until the day it occurs. This unique twist is sure to spark curiosity and attract a larger audience. Distribute mystery-themed flyers throughout the community to advertise the event, ensuring they include attire recommendations and specify the target age range. On the event day, participants could play anything from volleyball to dodgeball.


20. Calendar Sales

Create and sell calendars highlighting school events, sports teams, or student artwork. Use a free online tool to design the calendars and partner with a local print shop in exchange for an advertisement in the calendar. Set up a website to facilitate online sales or offer the calendars at a school-related function. To boost sales and pique the interest of potential buyers, craft a social media post featuring one of the calendar’s pages.


21. Sports-Themed Photo Booth

Organize a fun-filled fundraising event at your school with a sports-themed photo booth. Rent a booth or set up your own using a backdrop and camera. Stock the booth with various sports props and costumes such as jerseys, helmets, baseball bats, and basketballs, enabling participants to dress up as their favorite athletes or recreate a sports scene.

Consider incorporating this photo booth into another sports-related fundraiser to amplify the enjoyment and fundraising potential.


Elevate Your Summer Fundraisers for Schools with FrontStream

These unique fundraising ideas are perfect for keeping the school spirit alive, even during summer break. Check out FrontStream’s all-in-one fundraising platform and donor management solution to meet your fundraising goals and organize a memorable event. We help streamline event planning and donor engagement so that you can focus on supporting your cause.

Request a demo to learn how FrontStream elevates your summer fundraisers for schools.


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