Student fundraising is a long-standing tradition that can be used to solicit donations in a number of situations. Local nonprofit organizations with student volunteers, schools, school clubs and activities, sports teams and extracurricular groups all need funding. Reaching out to the local community with student-organized, -led or -executed activities is a way of raising money for a cause while raising student awareness of a greater civic cohesion. Student fundraisers can also encourage public interest in education.

Face Off

Though Nicolas Cage and John Travolta tried this one to disastrous effect by literally taking their faces off in the 1997 movie "Face/Off," online resource Fundraiser Insight assures that the more traditional approach to a face-off is a good way to involve students, faculty and staff in fundraising activities. Fundraiser Insight suggests two type of face-off fundraisers: a standard competition such as a race, marathon, video game or trivia face-off; or a team competition like softball, flag football or Survivor-like contest of wits. Donors give money to participants to enter the event: for example, "Please Donate $5 so Sally Can Participate in a School Marathon." Participants can ask donors to pledge additional funds if their candidate is the eventual winner. Faculty and staff can participate by pledging to do things like shave a head or dress like a chicken once donations reach a certain level.


The United Way of Summit County, Ohio, suggests holding a carnival or outdoor picnic as a means of raising money with and for students and student groups. Games like dunk and fish tank can be played for donations. In the dunk game, students pay $1 for a chance to throw a baseball at a target and potentially soak a fellow student or teacher in a tank of water. For fish tank, fundraisers would keep a number of students and teachers in an enclosed space until a predetermined amount of money is raised, at which point they can all be released. Food and goods solicited from local businesses can be sold to raise additional funds. Artistic students can draw portraits, paint faces or give makeovers in exchange for small donations.

Bake Sale

Online resource Fundraiser Help recommends a bake sale as a fundraising activity in which students can actively participate. Younger students can help parents make cookies, brownies, cakes and other baked goods, which are then sold for the benefit of the students. Older students can create their own baked goods for sale.

To diversify the event, you can organize a musical cakewalk. For this activity, set up a sidewalk or tile-floor area where a certain portion of the floor is the winner’s area. Have participants walk or dance while music plays. Stop the music. The participant standing in the winner’s area gets a free cake. Fundraisers can sell tickets to the cakewalk for a small donation.

Car Wash

Step By Step Fundraising recommends a car wash for student fundraisers. To organize a student car wash fundraiser, it's best to find a large, flat area with a spigot that's in an area where you'll get a lot of attention. To wash cars, students will need a hose or a water supply with which to fill buckets. Some soap and a handful of student volunteers, and the car wash is a go. Charge customers a set fee for the service of car washing. A graded donation scale can be set up such that small cars are charged one fee, station wagons another and vans, SUVs and trucks a third. A station for cleaning the inside of vehicles can also be set up to raise additional donations.

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About the Author

Will Gish slipped into itinerancy and writing in 2005. His work can be found on various websites. He is the primary entertainment writer for "College Gentleman" magazine and contributes content to various other music and film websites. Gish has a Bachelor of Arts in art history from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.