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Anatomy of a Successful School Fundraiser

Anatomy of a Successful School Fundraiser

What do successful fundraisers have in common? Find out here as FutureFund breaks down the anatomy of a fundraising campaign that works. Learn what elements to include in your campaign so that you can meet your school group’s goals.

Thank You Letter Template for Business Donors

Thank You Letter Template for Business Donors

Create genuine and effective thank-you letters for business donors to your school fundraisers. Use this template from FutureFund to get started, then send it out using our platform’s built-in messaging system.

Published on February 3, 2022

30 Creative High School Fundraising Ideas

Looking for a fundraiser for your high school? Here are 30 of the best fundraising ideas for PTAs and PTOs that will help you achieve your goal.
30 Creative High School Fundraising Ideas

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Hotdog/Pie Eating Contest

Have contestants pay an entry fee for the chance to be the hotdog/pie eating champion! 

kids at a pie eating contest

Tug O War: Teachers Vs Teams

This competition is the perfect opportunity to see who’s the strongest: the teachers or the student sports teams!

Ask 10 teachers and 10 students to volunteer to be on a tug-o-war team to go head to head against one another. Then, allow the students to vote to see who they want to go up against each other by putting money into their chosen person’s lock box. 

At the end of the voting period, the top 5 teachers and the top 5 students who have the most money in their boxes will make up the tug-o-war teams that will compete against each other. 

Feel free to set this event on a Saturday and turn it into an all day festival-style party, or just have it as a part of a pep rally on an early release Friday.

Battle Of The Bands

Allow the students to showcase their musical abilities in a good ole fashioned battle of the bands! Allow 5-7 bands to sign up and pay a registration fee and charge an admission fee for the spectators to come listen. 

You can turn this into a concert on the grass style event, where the bands play outside on a bigger stage where theres more space for seating, or you can plan it to be more like an indoor talent show thats inside and easier for crowd control. 

Either way, allow the patrons to enjoy the music and vote on their favorite band!

Design Showcase And Silent Auction

Allow your students to enter their homemade design creations in a showcase with the potential of a patron bidding to take it home. The design creations can include anything: needlework, clothing design, yarn creations. Anything! 

This event will allow the students to show a side of themselves that their peers and community otherwise wouldn’t be able to see, and provides them with a creative outlet while allowing for a fundraising opportunity! PTA/PTO can also offer an award for the item that’s sold for the highest bidder.

Color Run

Plan a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or full marathon in a color run style! Upon registration, collect a fee and remind the participants to wear as much white as they can for the race. Then set up different color stations at different intervals along the race! 

Include a variety of ways to die the participants: precolored water balloons, actual powdered dye, squirt guns filled with water. The possibilities are endless! By the end, the particpants will be exhausted, splattered, and ready to participate in another color run.


Sell tickets to MORP! Morp is prom backwards, which means that everything the students would do for prom, they do the opposite for morp. 

Usually get a fancy dress/new suit? Go in sweats. Usually spend a fortune on make up and a fancy hair style? No (or minimal) make up and throw that hair into a messy bun. Usually go out to a fancy restaurant for dinner? McDonalds today baby! If the PTO/PTA wants to decorate, make the space look really relaxed like a students bedroom. 

Add silly posters to the walls, include some couches if there are any available, and play music where the students can either dance or sit and just hang out. 

Pool Party

Come together with your community pool and plan a pool party where the PTO/PTA can either collect all of the funds from the event or they can share them with the pool facility. Allow your patrons to bring whatever floaties or other pool equipment they want, and call up some food trucks to provide lunch/snacks for your hungry swimmers. Some food trucks will allow the organization that invited them to share some of the proceeds from the event so don’t forget to ask when you invite them. 

Other than that, provide some music to listen to while swimming and maybe a few bubble machines. The party will be the talk of the town for weeks afterwards!

pool party

Lunch And Learn: How To Do A Comedy Set

For a fee, teach the students to write and perform a comedy set from the bottom up. Allow them to test their skills in front of their classmates a few days/weeks after the class by hosting a…

Comedy Show/Roast

Allow anyone who wants to show their chops to put out their best material in a stand up comedian style show or allow the students to roast a brave individual. 

Charge the roasters a fee to participate and feel free to have someone go over the jokes before the actual roast to make sure everyone is comfortable with the material. Event organizers can also charge the audience to watch the show but just don’t forget to let them pick a Comedy King or Queen after the event is over

Alice In Wonderland Themed Tea Party

Put together the fantasy land from the Alice in Wonderland tea party scene and collect donations to attend! As always, costumes are encouraged but not required and feel free to have a few sign up slots for the party so the guests come in shifts instead of all at once. That way, it’ll make the party more manageable for the organizers and truly allow each person to have the full tea party experience.

Movie Marathon

Charge a flat fee per person for a movie marathon! Pull a series of classic movies that your students haven’t seen before and show it as a movie marathon on a Saturday or over the course of a long weekend. Think cult classics that the students probably have heard of but have never seen. Provide popcorn and some comfy places to sit, plus some time for snacks and bathroom breaks and you’ll have an event that grows in participants every time you host it.

full movie theatre

Sell A Parking Spot

Is your campus limited on parking spots or are there only a few choice spots that are really popular for the students and/or staff? Auction the parking spot off at an event! The PTO/PTA can also order and post signs detailing who has permission to park in the spot for the school year.

Go To The Prize Box

Plenty of teachers already use this activity as a reward system in their classrooms, but the PTO/PTA can elevate it with a touch of mystery, which would make it the perfect prize for a raffle contest! 

Go to Walmart or Target and spend $20-$50, or whatever the event price range is, for a wide array of items that students would be interested in. Bring the things back and wrap them, in either wrapping paper, plain brown paper, or newspaper depending on the theme for the event. Then, allow the students to pay for raffle tickets and if their number is called, they get to pick one of the items from the box!

Wrapping the items is just an idea as even non-wrapped items in the box would still work. Also feel free to pair this event with a bigger, festival or carnival style event to add even more opportunities to collect donations.

Flip Flop Decoration Contest

Give your students the opportunity to decorate a set of flip flops! Allow the students to vote on which pair they like the most, then pass around order forms for the students to place their orders. Once you’ve gotten all the forms back in, send the winning pair out and have them made as the artist intended. 

This event would work especially well with high school seniors and allow them to have a keepsake from their final year as students in their hometown.

flip flops at the water park

Social Media Challenge

Are there any big social media movements sweeping TikTok or Instagram? If so, feel free to jump right in! The Ice Bucket Challenge allowed the ALS Foundation to raise over $220m over the course of a few months. In the event of another challenge of a similar nature, have the students donate to participate and post it on the school’s website or Instagram page.

Golf Cart Cash Bar

Are there any golf courses in the community? Check with the course and see if they would allow some of the students to run a golf cart cash bar one day to raise money for the school! If they’re in high school then its doubtful that they’ll be over 21 but they can sell sodas, juice, and snacks to the golfers as they go about their games.

Spelling Bee

When is the last time the school held a spelling bee? Allow the students to register and pay a fee to participate. The last person standing gets to take home THE GOLDEN BEE!

Haunted House

Have the students come together to put on a haunted house during Spooky Season, complete with fake blood and Jason masks. The PTO/PTA can pair this event with a series of other things in a Fall Festival like event with plenty of games and opportunities for patrons to donate.

house at dusk on a foggy night

Eco Friendly Plant Competition

Allow the students to put their best plant foot forward in a competition to find which plant is the best for the environment. Bonus points if they bring in a living example of it to show their peers. 

Eco Friendly Science Fair

Have the students put together their best idea for reducing the size of the human footprint on the planet. The PTO/PTA can have the science fair contestants pay an entry fee, have the spectators pay a fee to walk through the fair, or both! Best idea gets a prize!

Dive In Movie

Partner with your local pool to host a movie night! Charge an entry fee and allow the participants to bring all the floaties that they need to be comfortable during the movie. 

Art Showcase And Silent Auction

Give your students the opportunity to show their creative side in an art showcase! For a registration fee, allow them to bring their sculptures, paintings, drawings, or anything else they’ve created for the chance to have a piece of their art actually sold in a silent auction. The PTO/PTA can also include the chance for the artists to win a prize for their art being the most expensive piece sold that night!

ladybug on wheat

Duct Tape The Principal To The Wall

Charge students $1 per strip of duct tape to tape the principal to a sturdy wall. Don’t forget the photo at the end to savor the moment and relive that it happened.


Charge an entry fee to a karaoke night and see which one of the students can keep up vocally with Adele or Beyonce.

Car Wash

An oldie but a goodie! An old fashioned car wash is a great way for the community to get to know the students and for the students to make a little extra money for the Booster Club.

car wash fundraiser

Homeroom Decoration Contest

Give the students a donation goal and once they reach it, allow them to compete in a homeroom decoration contest! The winner of the contest can be who makes it to their donation goal first and gets to decorate their homeroom first or who is the best at decorating their homeroom after their goal is reached while giving them a head start according to when they reached their goals. Winner gets a prize to share with their homeroom!

Sponsorship Letters

Have a group of your students sit down and write letters to businesses asking for sponsorships and donations! This works especially well for a-thon events or teams looking for support for pricier items that the school can’t cover themselves.

Pet A Puppy: Finals Stress Relief

Collect a fee to allow stressed out upperclassmen to take a mental break to pet/cuddle some adorable puppies!

dog walking down the street

Scrabble Tournament

Collect a registration fee to hold a scrabble tournament! Have several boards going at once so event organizers can proclaim a winner the same day!

Capture The Teacher/Principal

Set a donation goal for your students that, once reached, “locks the teacher/principal away” for a day/hour and gives the students a free day/period.

creative fundraising pinterest

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