school fundraisers

Your school’s supporters provide you with the help you need to make each school year great, and what better way to engage them than fundraisers that give back to the very community they’re a part of? Whether it’s parents, family, or alumni, inspire them to give by engaging them in new and exciting ways to give back to the school. 

Instead of endless requests for donations or invitations to networking events, invite them to participate in inspirational fundraisers. Creative, engaging fundraisers help supporters feel like they’re making an impact on your school and are a part of the community. 

To help you spark meaningful conversations with your school community, we’ve gathered seven inspirational fundraising ideas schools of all sizes can try out. 

Educational Fundraisers 

Educational fundraisers link your school’s mission with community contributions. In other words, when supporters give to these fundraisers, they can see directly how their donations impact your students’ education for the better. Here are a few ways to incorporate student education into your school fundraisers

Art Classes 

Encourage creativity and raise funds at the same time by hosting art classes for students, alumni, and family members alike. Your community will be excited to support your school while learning a new skill. Plus, as a bonus you can potentially even help highlight a local artist’s skills by asking them to help volunteer at your fundraiser.

Depending on the size of your art class, you can use a school classroom or partner with a local art program at your community center to rent out their art studio. Buy shareable art supplies, and be sure to purchase extras that can be saved for the next event—depending on the turn out, this event could be repeated for even more fundraisers! 


If your institution focuses on primary school education, increasing student literacy is likely an important goal for your school. By hosting a read-a-thon, your students can help your school raise money by working on their personal and class reading goals. 

Read-a-thons raise money by having friends and family members pledge to donate a fixed amount. Then, your school will host the read-a-thon, encouraging kids to read as much as they can in a given timeframe. Students continue to reach out to their family and friends for donations throughout the event, and their reading progress can inspire new donors or multiple donations. 

You can make managing your read-a-thon easier for students, teachers, and donors by investing in read-a-thon software. For instance, students and teachers can log reading time on Read-a-thon’s online school fundraising platform. Students can then send their personal reading log page to family and friends to collect promised donations. 

Not only does this fundraiser encourage reading, but it can also grow your school community by demonstrating the initiative your school takes in supporting childhood literacy. 

Creative Fundraisers

Tap into your more creative school’s supporter network and bring your community together by hosting a unique fundraiser. You can even showcase your students’ work with some of the following creative fundraising ideas. 

Art Gallery

Invite your school community to engage to enjoy and even purchase art by hosting an art gallery event. If your institution has advanced art classes or an art school, this is the perfect opportunity to showcase students and community members’ art while also raising money.

Here are a few ways to raise funds with an art gallery: 

  • Partner with a gallery. Partner with a gallery to secure an event space. You can raise funds by charging for admission or arranging for a portion of profits from sold artwork to go toward your school.
  • Host it yourself. If your school has the proper event space, you can host your gallery in your cafeteria, gym, or a set of classrooms. Find artists in your local community and invite them to present their artwork in your gallery. Just like if you partner with an official gallery, you can charge for admission or arrange for a portion of the proceeds from sold artwork to be donated to your school. 
  • Have artists donate their work. Invite your alumni and community members to donate their artwork to your school’s gallery. Then, whether you’re hosting the event yourself or have partnered with another organization, all the funds can go straight to your school.

You can encourage participation in your art gallery by highlighting student and alumni artists. Community members will be able to see how your school has influenced your students’ creative talents, demonstrating the positive impact your community can have by giving to your school.


Raise money for your school by hosting an auction where community members can bid on unique items and experiences. Start procuring auction items early by asking your school community members and local businesses if there is anything they would like to contribute. Highlight alumni and supporter businesses that make a contribution, providing some positive promotion while also shedding a light on the success of your school’s alumni. 

According to Handbid’s guide to silent auction items, these are a few of the most popular auction items you can include at your event: 

  • Exclusive sports game tickets 
  • Signed instruments
  • Extra graduation tickets 
  • Commissioned paintings
  • Class baskets 
  • School experiences 
  • Museum tickets 
  • Seasonal experiences 

Silent auctions are a great addition to other events like orchestra concerts, dance performances, or theater productions. Encourage guests to show up early to your event so they can browse items and make their initial bids, then allow them to check in on their items and up their bids during breaks and intermissions. 

Literature Reading 

Stoke the creativity in your school supporters by inviting them to participate in or attend a literature reading. Whether it’s in the school library, a classroom, or a local coffee shop or bar, a night of literature can bring a wide variety of supporters together.

Reach out to any alumni who may be writing books or have published one in the past. They will be glad for the publicity, and it will demonstrate your continued investment in students to your community. You can also invite current students and community members to read writing they’ve been working on like: 

  • Novels 
  • Short stories 
  • Poetry 
  • Songs  

Partnering with your school’s English department can help you showcase current student work and demonstrate the opportunities you provide for your students. 

Your community is bound to be inspired by a night of literature. You can charge an admission fee, include a donation booth, and sell concessions to help raise money for your school at the reading. 

Alumni Engagement and Student Involvement 

Alumni are a key component of your school’s community network, and you can steward relationships with them through your fundraisers. Learn how to initiative donation conversations with these alumni based fundraisers

Matching Gifts 

Matching gifts are the perfect opportunity to show supporters how impactful their contributions truly are. Many companies offer to match yearly donations that their employees make to nonprofits of their choice. Consider launching a matching gift campaign to encourage supporters to check if their companies have a matching gift program. 

To maximize the potential for this fundraising campaign, leverage a database of matching gift companies to help supporters verify their matching gift status. Post on your social channels reminding supporters and donors to check their status even if they’ve already given this year, because some companies will continue to match gifts even months after the initial donation. 

Peer-to-peer Fundraising

Encourage your students, alumni, and staff to share their favorite experiences at your school with  a peer-to-peer fundraiser. Peer-to-peer campaigns raise funds by having your alumni, students, and other supporters fundraise to their family and friends on your behalf. This can help humanize your institution as donors will be able to give directly to someone they know personally who was helped by your school. 

During your peer-to-peer campaign, help supporters put their stories into words so they can share them with friends and family. Here are some ideas for how your supporters can share their experiences: 

  • Funny anecdote about their time on campus 
  • Favorite location or club on campus 
  • Story of their favorite class or professor 
  • How their education has changed their life

Have your supporters share their fundraising page with their network to raise awareness and inspire other community members to remember and appreciate their experience at your school.

When fundraising for your school, don’t forget to utilize the power of your supporters’ social networks. Promote your fundraisers and their outcomes on social media to reach more potential donors. Be sure to show appreciation for your school community members who contribute and participate in your fundraisers. After all, they are the foundation to your institution.

Chad Strazzara

Chad Strazzara

Chad Strazzara is AlumniFinder's Marketing Specialist and started in August of 2022. Chad takes great pride in his connection to his hometown and Pacific Northwest culture and is a devout fan of the Seahawks and Mariners. He graduated from Gonzaga University in May of 2021 with a degree in journalism and digital marketing.