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5 Easy School Fundraiser Ideas to Raise Money Fast

5 Easy School Fundraiser Ideas to Raise Money Fast

This year our team decided on taking our students on an all-inclusive field trip from DFW to the Texas State Capitol and the Alamo in swanky charter buses!

It's our big field trip for the year and it turned out to be pretty expensive.

When we presented our idea at our "Parent University" meetings that our grade level hosts each nine weeks, some of our families felt the cost was too much.

They told us their student would likely not attend. Our hearts sank.

Because we see so much value in the educational components and most of all, the experience, we knew we were going to fundraise and help bring the cost down.

Some of our students haven't left city limits and this would take them across our state! Which, honestly, could be across 2 states if we didn't live in Texas.

We knew fundraising could be exhausting on top of teaching, so we thought of ideas that would help us preserve our physical and mental health. And that would still give our students an opportunity.

Here are 5 fundraising ideas for you to try!

The fundraisers are listed, in my opinion, by how much work goes into them from least prep to most prep.

1. Hat Days on Fridays

This has been a super popular and easy to put together fundraiser. Students can donate $1 to wear a hat on Friday. Our campus decided no hoodies because of district dress code, but depending on your campus, I bet you could get a lot more donations if you allow hoodies that one day, too.

Our campus has only one entrance in the morning, so this made it easier to set up a table to collect donations.

How do teachers know who paid to wear a hat that day?

Our team lead came up with a super easy management system for this and it's worked beautifully! She has a stamp that matches the paw of our mascot and we use a different color ink each hat day.

Then, we send an email to staff the day before telling them what color the stamp will be on a student's hand if they paid.

So far we've made $100 each month with this fundraiser.

2. Aluminum Can Recycling

We got this idea from a teammate whose daughter goes to another campus in our district. Their teachers decided to connect conservation with fundraising by collecting aluminum cans for recycling.

And yes, we encouraged the inclusion of adult beverage cans, because let's be real. You get more cans that way!

We set up 2 designated drop off dates each month during our fundraiser and had a parent volunteer for each who was willing to haul the cans in their truck bed or trailer to the recycling site in our city. Check for sites near you. You might have better luck contacting your city or town's waste and recycling department.

We created a flyer to post around school and send out to families in Class Dojo and Remind. We also made a video message for our campus news that we show students 2x a week.

Families collected and kept cans at home and only brought them to school on those 2 dates to a designated location. The parent volunteer took the cans and brought the donation back to our campus for us to turn in and deposit.

Our first small truck bed load of cans from just our grade level has raised $24.

3. Restaurant Fundraisers

I had a hard time deciding if this was more or less work so I put it in the middle because it depends on the restaurant.

We've had success with Chick-fil-A, Chuck-E-Cheese, Chipotle, and Panda Express. Each restaurant has different policies and procedures, so you'll want to reach out to them individually.

We found that Chick-fil-A had us talk to a real person first by calling or asking in the restaurant.

But for Chuck-E-Cheese, Panda Express and Chipotle you'll want to go straight to their website to fill out an application.

Because if you are old school at heart like me and want to walk in to order and ask a manager, you'll probably be told they do everything online now. It was really fast, though!

Some restaurants, like Chuck-E-Cheese, encourage you to be onsite during your fundraiser (and they give teachers a free meal). Other restaurants don't require you to be on-site or they have strict rules about what you can do if you are on-site during your fundraiser (e.g., no passing out flyers or soliciting to restaurant guests that day). Make sure you read their rules and follow them before, during, and after an event!

What you raise really depends on your marketing and community support. We asked our families to share on their social media and to tell all their friends and family. We told them it was a free way they can help us earn more.

Another thing to keep in mind is many of the restaurants have a minimum pre-tax sales amount you must bring in before they cut you a check.

We just had our first Panda Express fundraiser and had sales of $189.60. Because we had more than $100 in pre-tax sales we were eligible to get back 20% for our campus.

As we get our totals back from the other restaurants I'll update this blog post.

4. Candy Grams

I had no idea what a candy gram was until I saw a colleague hold this type of fundraiser on her campus with lots of success! It's a little note you tape to a lollipop (or other treat) and students can send them to each other or a teacher, or like mine do - to themselves!

This fundraiser does take a bit of work to prep and deliver, but we like it because it also encourages acts of kindness and words of affirmations for students.

We found the most success when we sold these a few days before and the morning of a major holiday or holiday break. For example, on our campus the times we sell are Halloween, Thanksgiving, Winter Break, and Valentine's Day.

Students pay $1 to send a note and lollipop to another person. We bought 100 lollipops from Sam's Club for about $12 (not an affiliate link) to get us started, but we also thought about asking parents to donate lollipops so we had less of an initial cost next time.

We set up at the front entrance and students can purchase a candy gram before going to eat breakfast or to class.

We suggest you enlist the help of older students or parents to help with this because you can get quite the crowd and younger students benefit from someone writing for them.

A big tip: write the name of the recipient's teacher (who you will need to deliver the candy to) on the back of the note so you don't end up with lots of notes with no place to go because you only have a student name!

We would ask students to volunteer to attach the lollipop to the notes and deliver them at the end of the day. This was the most tricky part, because usually the only time we had was recess or our lunch time.

Because it was for such a short time period, students were happy to volunteer and miss a few minutes of recess. They liked knowing they helped raise money for their trip. Parents were also willing to help us once they knew how much money they could save by donating just 20 minutes of their time.

5. Deanan Gourmet Popcorn

Let me just say that I LOVE this fundraiser and Deanan Gourmet Popcorn as a company. I am not an affiliate, just a happy customer.

This makes the 3rd year I have personally used Deanan Gourmet Popcorn for a fundraiser and it's been relatively simple and profitable for our field trips. They are local to North Texas, but they ship to the Contiguous United States.

We do the direct sale fundraiser where we set up at school and sell to students and at campus events. But, Deanan also offers virtual fundraising and pre-order forms for direct sale if you want student to go out and pre-sell and then you place an order.

If you are interested in all the details about how I set up, coordinate, deliver, and manage this Deanan Gourmet Popcorn fundraiser with our team (with freebies of all the documents and graphics we have used) enter your email below and I'd be happy to send it to you when I get it all together, because when we collaborate, everyone wins!

Deanan sells full size packets, single size, and premium packets. You can get flavors like: Dark Chocolate, Vanilla, Say Simple, Cheese Corn, White Cheddar, Salsa 'n Cheddar, Caramel, and Kettle Corn (my personal favorite).

What we appreciate most is their excellent customer service and amazing profit margins. We typically sell 1 bag for $3 and 2 bags for $5 and we make about 60% profit each time. It's so easy to place multiple orders once we run out and students and parents have had nothing but good things to say about the flavors, portion size, and value.

Our most popular flavors with students are Vanilla (rainbow) and Cheese Corn. The adults like Dark Chocolate, Kettle Corn, Say Simple, and Salsa 'N Cheddar.

We made $1,000 selling popcorn at school and during events for around 3 months.

Other Fundraiser Ideas from Teachers in our Community

Our community member Cindy said, "We've had good turnouts for dances. We have one for K-2 and another for 3-5. We charge $5.00, which includes the dance (our PE teacher has a sound system he uses during classes and we play CD from it), popcorn (we have our own popcorn machine, small popcorn bags are reasonable, we get small cups from a local restaurant (donated), and we ask staff to bring in a soda."

She also did a King and Queen Contest in February and charged $1.00 for each vote. They did a King and Queen for K-2 and one for 3-5.

During Valentine's Day they sold candy grams, but also had chocolate and sweets available for purchase at varying prices.

Cindy says a raffle is also a great fundraiser. She suggests you ask your local Walmart, Target, or other store to donate a football, basketball, etc. She says you sell tickets for the raffle and draw for the winners.

Try these 5 successful fundraisers, today!

If you're wanting to raise money quickly and easily, you will want to try these 5 successful fundraisers. Each offers a variety of prep work so you can choose the type of fundraiser that works best for your time, goals, and campus community.

In the comments, tell us which successful fundraiser you've tried so we can add it to this list!

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