High school clubs and events need funding, but getting it can be a challenge.
Organizing bake sales and bottle drives can be a lot of work that doesn’t always pay off. Fortunately, there are lots of other, creative ways of fundraising for high schools—and today, we’re going to share 5 of the best with you.
Not only will we show you some of our favourite event ideas; we’ll also tell you about some fundraising tools you can use to make these events simpler and more successful. Ready? Then let’s get started.
What to Know About Fundraising (Before You Start)
Before you start trying to raise money for your high school, you need to make sure you’re thinking about fundraising in the right way. A lot of people mistakenly assume that the fundraising process is essentially a way to make money from nothing—but that’s not fundraising; that’s alchemy. Your fundraiser still has to offer something to the people you’re trying to raise funds from.
That more than likely means your fundraiser will require some kind of investment to be successful. This could be an investment of time (as in the case of organizing a project or group activity) or it could be an investment of money (to purchase supplies, tools, and space for a successful event). But the bottom line is, you have to put something in if you want to get something out of the process.
Our Top 5 High School Fundraising Ideas
Check out these 5 ideas that are perfect for high school fundraisers. None of these can be done without putting in some work (and maybe a little capital) but all of them can help you raise money for your school effectively if you commit to seeing them through.
1. Host a Silent Auction via Bid Beacon
Cost: $0 – $279 USD
It’s a common misconception that silent auctions are difficult to set up. That might have been true in the days when you needed to rent a large space and supervise the guests closely to prevent bids from being placed after closing, but modern technology has made hosting silent auctions easier than ever before.
Using an app like Bid Beacon to host your silent auction lets you hold the event in a smaller or virtually, since guests can access images of the items they’re bidding on through their devices instead of needing to see them in the venue. Bid Beacon also comes with plenty of tools to manage the event—including an ability to stop all bids at the designated closing time.
So, what do you auction? Organizers can make a request from parents to donate items, many will have ties to organizations that provide amazing things. Event tickets, airline tickets, hotel stays, or gift cards. Don’t underestimate the power of experiences though, principal for a day, students artwork, class parties or rock star parking can all be easy to add to your auction. Some high school auctions have raised over $30,000 with only a $150 spend on the platform.
2. Create & Sell a School Book
If your school has plenty of creative students (and it probably does), you might consider having them put their talents together to create a unique product you can sell to raise money for your event. For example, have a teacher write a children’s book and have members of the art classes contribute illustrations.
This is a great idea because pretty much every parent is going to want a copy of a book their child helped make. Put out word via the school newsletter or sell copies at the next school-wide event.
The challenge with this strategy is printing the right number of books—you’ll lose money by printing way more than you can sell, but your margins will suffer if you don’t print in volume. For example, it will probably cost at least $70 for a run of 25 copies, which means you’ll need to sell them at $40 each to make $1000—but a run of 100 copies will probably cost you more than $200, which is a big investment.
3. Hold a Screen-Free Challenge
Here’s another one that’ll be popular with parents—especially those who are worried about the time their children spend in front of screens. The concept is pretty simple: essentially, you find students who are willing to spend a designated amount of time not using their phones or other digital devices in exchange for donations from sponsors.
Better yet, organizing a screen-free challenge doesn’t have to cost a thing. All you’ll need is a way to record and collect donations effectively—oh, and you’ll also have to make sure that the kids don’t cheat. After all, saying you’ll spend time away from your phone and actually doing it are two very different things.
4. Hold a Pancake Breakfast
Cost: Over $100
Pancake breakfasts are almost universally popular—who doesn’t love a good stack of flapjacks? But before you decide on this option, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared for the costs involved.
Yes, kids and adults alike are almost always willing to buy pancakes at events like these—and yes, you can save money on a venue by holding the event in the school parking lot or athletic field (as long as the weather is nice). But you’ll need to make sure you have the equipment and ingredients to make large numbers of pancakes all at once—and if you don’t, getting them won’t be cheap.
5. Hold a Fun Run
Fun runs can be extremely lucrative—but they have to be, since they’re also more expensive and time-consuming than anything else on this list. You might not think it would cost much to have a bunch of people run through town, but events like these often require permits, not to mention medals, shirts, and insurance.
However, if you’re willing to spend the money to set up a fun run and your participants are diligent about finding sponsors, these events have the capacity to raise thousands of dollars. It all depends on who you can get to participate, and how much support each of them can find amongst their family and friends.