Creative Online School Fundraising Ideas: Inspiring and Innovative Approaches


Woman Contributing to an Online Fundraiser from her Desktop

Gone are the days of the bake sale and the coupon book fundraisers. Schools that want a competitive edge to give the most to their students throughout the year need to go above and beyond, thinking outside the box.

We have broken down why innovative fundraisers are so important and how you can start raising more money for your school.


Table of Contents 

148 Fundraising Ideas That Really Work-1

The Importance of Fundraising for Schools

Schools should never take the value of fundraising for granted. Without sufficient funding, schools limit their ability to provide quality education to their students, whether they’re considering elementary school fundraisers or options for older students. New programs and schoolwide initiatives are only possible with appropriate funding. With modern marketing moving away from archaic sales strategies toward customer-centric experiences, school fundraising must take on the same creative approaches regarding their fundraising efforts. 

The experts at Vanco make supporting innovative fundraising ideas a reality. The decades of combined experience of Vanco’s leadership make their expertise among the best available. Get the most out of your school fundraising efforts by using cutting-edge strategies with expert support behind you. 

Exploring Innovative Fundraising Strategies 

Ideally, schools wouldn’t need to do fundraisers, but the reality is that they must if they want to be able to afford unique learning experiences for their students. Innovative fundraising plays a key role in engaging students, families and the community in financially supporting your school. 

Addressing Fundraising Challenges in Schools

The average person is highly saturated with advertisements every day, from email marketing, social media marketing and ads on radio and television. While fundraising should be able to justify itself, many people are wary of spending money, especially in the current financial climate. For this reason, fundraising efforts must inspire parents and community members alike to invest in students’ educational experiences. 

The Role of Creativity and Innovation in Community and Student Engagement

With so many fun school fundraising ideas to choose from, your school can set itself apart from neighboring institutions by being thoughtful and thinking outside the box in your fundraising approach. 

Engaging the Community in Fundraising Efforts

Involving members of the community in your fundraising efforts widens your scope and increases your overall fundraising potential. The parents of children attending your school are guaranteed to participate, as the funds raised directly benefit their children’s learning experiences. Getting your school community members on board increases your potential earnings and is easy to do if you’re willing to approach your fundraising efforts with creativity. 


Top Creative Online Fundraising Ideas

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Students and teachers all call on their networks to raise money individually toward larger causes, often in exchange for perks and prizes based on money raised. This peer-to-peer fundraising is not a new concept. This strategy, when attached to a highly advertised event, can take school fundraising to new heights. Moving fundraising campaigns online with this strategy allows each student and teacher to share their unique fundraising website with friends and family, increasing your fundraiser’s overall reach. This can be a great option for elementary school fundraisers. 

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Adding competition to your fundraising can give students and their families additional incentive to participate. The desire to be the top fundraiser at their school increases when there is a large incentive or prize for the most successful fundraiser. 

Online Auctions

Drive donations by auctioning off items during a limited time. Community members and parents can increase their bids until the auction closes, inspiring price wars and bringing in more funds for your school. 

Pajama Day

This elementary school classic gets teachers and parents just as excited as their students. Students come to school in pajamas for one day as long as their parents donate to support the elementary school fundraiser. Adding an online peer-to-peer element to this fundraiser can increase returns. 

Fashion Show

Showcase students' style and collaborate with local retailers for school community engagement that takes your ticketed event to the next level. 

Superhero Day

This simple fundraiser is similar to pajama day. Students get to dress like their favorite superhero for one day in exchange for a fundraising donation. 

School Carnival 

As enticing to the local community as it is to students, hosting a fall- or summer-themed carnival is a great way to raise money for your school. Sell snacks, tickets for games and rides and other items at this ticketed event to make the most fundraising impact. 

Art Show

Showcase student artwork, host live auctions and run an upscale concession stand to heighten this ticketed fundraiser. 

Talent Show

Encourage students and staff alike to show off their talent in this tried-and-true fundraising event! 


This fall fundraiser is a huge hit among students, parents and school community members alike. Sell food and drinks, offer live entertainment and award a prize to the best-dressed participant to keep your donors partying like they’re really in Germany. 

Costume Run

The combination of dressing up in something silly and racing is a great event for students, who will all want to be the fastest runner and the top fundraiser. 

Thanksgiving Dinner

A perfect way to celebrate the start of the holiday season, hosting a Thanksgiving dinner fundraiser is an earnest way to thank your donors for their continued support of your school. 

Bake Sale

Not your mother’s bake sale, the effective fundraiser bake sale features all types of delicious baked goods as well as the ability to vote on your favorite dessert by spending money on it. 

Car Wash

The car wash fundraiser puts volunteers and students to work while engaging the community and leaving cars spotless. 

Movie Night

To get the most out of this classic fundraiser for schools, use donations to pick which film will be screened. Volunteers select two or three movies, and families and community members make donations to encourage the selection of their preferred movie. Once you select a movie, this ticketed event can feature a concession stand, games and more! 

Spring Sports Tournament

A remix of the beloved field day, a spring sports tournament has students, staff and their families competing athletically and in peer-to-peer fundraising. 


Best Practices for Successful School Fundraising

Organizing fundraising events for students should never be a one-person responsibility. Fundraising efforts should be shared by a dedicated fundraiser team of enthusiastic staff and volunteers. The best way to get the word out is by sending parent newsletters, posting in local Facebook groups and regularly teasing exciting aspects of the fundraiser. 

Parents and community members will not part with their money frivolously. What is the money going to be used for? Why is this use important and necessary? Being able to answer these questions in a meaningful way will enhance your overall fundraising outcomes. You may also want to include these frequently asked questions on your donation form. 


Online Fundraising: Expanding Your Reach

Developing a Dedicated School Fundraising Landing Page

Your school’s website should feature a landing page specifically for fundraising. This way, those interested in supporting your school can easily donate and view your upcoming fundraising events at any time. 

Leveraging Social Media Platforms for Fundraising Awareness

Posting to local Facebook groups, participating in TikTok trends and tweeting about your upcoming events with local hashtags are all ways to increase your fundraiser’s reach. You can also accept online donation options to encourage people to give. 

Email Campaigns for Fundraising Outreach

Keeping an up-to-date email list and regularly interacting with potential donors ensures successful fundraising. 

Incorporating Video Content in Online Campaigns

Be it a behind-the-scenes look at your upcoming event, a video from the same event a year prior or testimonials from teachers and students, video content is incredibly compelling in inspiring donations. 

Partnering with Influencers or Local Celebrities

If relevant to your community, a post from an influencer or local celebrity can spread the word about your event to a larger audience than you could on your own. 

Interactive Online Fundraising Events

With Vanco, gamified online fundraising events are easier than ever. Using leaderboards in peer-to-peer fundraising with a sleek landing page raises the stakes and encourages donations throughout the online event. You can also use text-to-give campaign options to make it even easier for people to donate online. 

Using Crowdfunding Platforms

Crowdfunding platforms make it incredibly easy to share your fundraiser beyond the scope of your local community. From text-to-give campaign options to a more traditional crowdfunding campaign, this can give you a lot of options. 

Encouraging Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

A little competition can make all the difference. Encouraging students, teachers and staff to raise more than their peers pushes everyone toward achieving the common goal of reaching fundraising goals by focusing on their contributions to the whole. 


Case Study: Successful School Fundraising Events

Athletic Director Julie sold out fundraising events and brought in over $16,000 for her school with Vanco’s easy-to-use software. Think of the good you could do for your school! Easy-to-use fundraising products like this can make the process of fundraising easier for everyone. 


Key Takeaways

Creative fundraising is the future, but you don’t have to go at it alone. Vanco's state-of-the-art services were developed with the sole purpose of supporting you. Raise money, collect payments and finance your school all with one convenient software. 



What are some creative online fundraising ideas for schools using Vanco's services?

Vanco users have online auctions, peer-to-peer fundraising and more at their fingertips. 

How can Vanco's online payment solutions enhance school fundraising events?

Online electronic fundraising makes it easier than ever to participate in school fundraising. By increasing their reach, schools can raise more money from more people in their communities and beyond. 

Can Vanco's platform support peer-to-peer fundraising initiatives for schools?

Yes, it can. 

What tools does Vanco offer for promoting school fundraising events online?

Vanco offers Vanco Events, which makes electronic ticket purchases easy to do online. 

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How does Vanco ensure secure online transactions for school fundraising? 

Vanco is PCI-certified, making online transactions safe and secure and payouts from fundraising events seamless. 


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