31 Fall Fundraiser Ideas for School to Bring in Big Bucks

Woman Taking a Photo of Fall SceneryFall is a great time to organize events and raise money for schools, so we’ve collected some fun fall fundraiser ideas for schools to use as is or modify and make their own. The following fundraising ideas for schools capitalize on all the numerous festivals and events that occur between October and the first of the year. This article includes 31 easy fundraising ideas that are easy to set up and are suitable or easily adapted for a wide age range of students from kindergarten through 12th grade students. Many of the ideas incorporate parents and even the community such as pumpkin decorating ideas, fun runs and penny drives.  Additionally, some of these events could benefit from collaboration with school funding organizations but is not necessary.

The events will need some teacher or parental oversight but can be designed by students. Younger children can help with creating artwork, posters, decorations and hang up signs while older students can help organize and run the fall school fundraisers.  

Read on and find your favorite school fundraising ideas to try out this fall. 

1. Bonfire 

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Hosting a bonfire event can be a great way to bring a big group of people together. Not only is it a great opportunity for parents, students and school staff to socialize, but it is also one of the most lucrative fall fundraiser ideas for schools. Funds can be raised through the selling of tickets for the event.  

You can raise additional money by running stalls. Some easy ones are food and drink stalls. You can buy items in bulk and for a better price at a local cash-and-carry store, then sell them at your event. Another way to raise funds at a social event like a bonfire are family-friendly games. These can be inexpensive to create, especially if you get the students involved with making them. 


2. Pumpkin Carving Contest

Student Carving a Pumpkin for a Fall Fundraiser

A pumpkin carving contest can be a great event to host, especially if you have a regular community market, such as a farmer’s market, where you can rent a stall. Have the event span the whole day and open it up to anyone at the market. Raise funds by charging a fee to enter the contest. 


Divide the winning categories into age groups to encourage younger children to enter and feature a display table for all the finished carved pumpkins. Award a prize for the best-carved pumpkin in each category. 


3. Apple Bobbing 

This classic game can be incorporated into any larger fall fundraiser ideas for schools (like the bonfire event we mentioned), or it could us used as an exciting feature during the school day, such as during the kids’ lunch hour. Raise funds by charging people to enter. Keep a tally of the time it takes for each person to catch their apple and award a prize for the quickest. 



4. Walk-a-Thon 

Fall can be a great time for walking. Not only are the temperatures more comfortable, but also, the time is right, and you’ll get to see the leaves changing color. Different walks can be organized for different age groups, with older students possibly taking on full-day hikes and younger children walking around a local park. 


To raise funds, students are each given a sponsor sheet to take home, with the challenge of asking their friends and families to sponsor them for the walk.  


5. Bake-Off 

Student Baking Pastries for a Fall School Fundraiser

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't like cake. Running a bake-off event can be a great way to get students involved in the kitchen while having fun. This can work in two ways as a fall fundraiser idea for school. The first way is to charge a fee for parents or students to bake the best-looking cake. Divide it into categories to encourage more people to enter. Another way to use cakes for fundraising is to allow people to try all the cakes and name a winner based on their favorite one. The ‘voters’ all pay a fee to enter, and a prize is given for the best-tasting cake. If you work in a school with classrooms set up for home economics or cooking, then this can be a great fundraiser to do during a school lunch break where other students can spectate.   


6. Movie Night 

This can be another great family-friendly event. Most schools will have a large hall with a projector screen. Use this to run a themed movie night - you could do it once for Halloween and then again for Christmas giving you two opportunities to fundraise. Raise money by charging an entrance fee.   A movie night also has other great money-raising opportunities through the sale of cinema-style foods, like popcorn, drinks and other snacks to help raise funds. 


7. Football Game 

American football player holding supporter foam hand against american football arena

If you’re looking for a more active way to raise money, a football game could be. As part of this fall fundraiser idea for schools, charge a fee for a team to enter. Have different categories so that students of all ages and experience levels can participate. It can even be exciting for an adult category where students get to see their teachers play against each other.  This could be a great way to get the whole community involved as a fundraising football event by inviting other schools and parents to take part. 


8. Oktoberfest 

Run an event based on the traditional German beer celebration that happens in October. This is an event in which parents will get involved, and because of its novelty value is a great way to raise funds by charging a fee to participate. This works best when you collaborate with local pubs and businesses, organize a route, moving from different bars to try a small beer, before moving on to the next. Ask a local restaurant if they can supply a German-themed menu to complete the night. Then donate the money raised to your school.  


9. Costume Run

Kids in Costumes at a School Fun Run Fundraiser 

This fall fundraiser idea for schools works well for both Halloween and Christmas. Open this event up to the community to encourage more people to enter. Encourage participants to raise funds by having them get sponsors who commit to paying a fee for each mile completed or another fee for completing the entire race. You can also have categories for best costumes per age and people can buy a raffle ticket to vote (and win prizes donated by community businesses).  


If you’re worried that younger kids can’t complete the full course, have a fun run (1 mile or less) to kick off the event. This could also be expanded into a weekend event as a family fun run with different ages running at different times and days. 


10. Thanksgiving Dinner 

Organize a charity Thanksgiving dinner. Raise money through the sale of tickets, which can be sold to both families and community members. If you have the space, you could run this in a decorated school cafeteria or gym or hire a community center. Partner with local businesses and restaurants to cater for the event. 


11. Christmas Fair 


The lead-up to Christmas is a great time to host a fall school fundraiser. One of the best ways to do this is by organizing a Christmas Fair. Advertise this to local, small businesses that sell things like decorations, gifts and traditional food and invite them to have a stall at the event. Raise funds by charging for a table space. You can also have students create their own Christmas décor such as cards and ornaments to sell at the Christmas Fair. 


12. Yard Raking Service  

Another good fall fundraiser idea for schools is to have students set up a fall lawncare service to sweep leaves. Students can pitch their services to local businesses and their neighbors to sweep leaves off lawns, driveways, decks and porches. The fees paid go to the students’ school.  


This idea is inexpensive and just requires a bit of organization and some responsible students. This is also a great way to help the community. 


13. Cookie Dough Fundraiser 

School Cookie Dough Fundraiser

Everyone loves the taste of freshly baked cookies, but a lot of people just don’t have the time to make cookies from scratch. Solve this problem by hosting a cookie dough fundraiser. You can involve the community by asking local businesses to supply the dough. You can upsell by providing fun items to decorate the cookies with such as colored icing and seasonal cooking cutters to make them more seasonal. 


14. Community Yard Sale 

Fall can be a great time for a house clear, especially before the festive season starts. Many people choose to have a clear out at this time of year. Hosting a community yard sale on the school grounds can be a great way for people to get rid of their unwanted items. Mostly these items would be destined for the bin, instead, people donate these items to help raise funds for the school. An alternative way of doing this is for sellers to hire a table for a fee. 


15. Slumber Party  

This can be exciting, especially for younger children, when sleepovers and slumber parties start to become part of their social lives for the first time. Run a fundraising event that draws on this fun experience for children while raising money by charging a fee to attend. During the event you can have board games, a dance, activities like table tennis and ping pong or even a movie. Offer snack foods and beverages like hot popcorn and hot chocolate with marshmallows. You can even read bedtimes stories when the children are snuggled up in their sleeping bags.  


This does take a little more effort to organize as you’ll need the necessary waivers and permissions to be signed. You’ll also need enough adults to help the teachers with this fall fundraiser idea for schools. 


16. Carol Singing 


This classic fundraiser is great towards the end of fall and the lead-up to the holiday season. Small groups of students go round to houses in their neighborhood, knock on the door and sing a Christmas song or carol. If the area your school is in isn’t suitable for caroling on people's doorsteps, then organize a Christmas carol concert at the school instead.  


17. Talent Show 

One of the joys of working with students is that they are full of hidden skills and talents that often get overlooked. Running a talent contest allows these students to showcase their fabulous skills to an audience. Divide the contest into categories, either by age, or style of talent, for example, maybe one student is a great magician or perhaps another is a comedy genius. Raise funds by selling tickets for the show. Advertise this to parents and the wider community. You can also sell snacks and drinks at the event to help raise more funds. 

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18. Scavenger Hunt 

A scavenger hunt takes a little bit of planning, but they’re a great fall fundraiser for schools to get students excited and involved in the process, plus can be adapted to work with different ages of students. They can also be a great family-friendly activity. 


Scavenger hunts can be easily themed, whether it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas. Choose a location and a day with a prize for those that complete the scavenger hunt.  Then have teams pay a entrance fee to compete. Rather than having teams begin at staggered intervals where they can benefit from answers found by the teams ahead of them, have teams leave at the same time and judge each team by how long it takes them to complete the scavenger hunt successfully. This will make the game fairer. 


To make this fall fundraiser idea for schools even more fun, encourage teams to create their own theme based on the overall theme and dress up. Prizes can be given for the best team costumes, best individual costume and more. Judges can be comprised of local businesses who donated prizes or participated in the hunt in some way like using their store as a hiding place for a clue. 


19. Penny Drive 

Penny drives are a simple way for younger students to participate in a fall fundraiser for schools and feel involved in the process. Ask them each to bring in an old jar from home. During class, students can decorate the jars with a fall theme. Once the jars are completed, give students a time frame, it could be a week, to take the jars home. They can ask family and friends to put in any loose change they have. This is also a good opportunity to delve into the back of the sofa or investigate cluttered drawers to find stray pennies. They could even go door to door and ask neighbors to throw in some pennies or other change) for the fall school fundraiser. The aim is to fill the jar with loose change to donate to the school. 


As an incentive, offer prizes for the best-decorated jar. For this age of the student, it's important to get them to understand that any size donation is worthwhile, as not all students will be in the position to fill a jar. 

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20. Family Fun Day 

A family fun day is a great way to get everyone involved in your fall school fundraiser. Although it takes some organization, this is a relatively inexpensive event to run. Charge a fee for registration and allow families to sign up as a team to compete in a range of events to score points for their team. 

There are a ton of fun competitive events to include: 

  • Tug-of-war 
  • Sack Race 
  • Obstacle Course 
  • Wheelbarrow Race 
  • Egg Race 
  • Three-legged race 


This is a great fall fundraiser idea for schools that will bring families together for a common cause to get everyone involved in a fun event.  


21. Raffle 


A raffle is a great way of fundraising and can appeal to everyone from parents to the community. Contact local businesses to offer a donation of an item and create raffle baskets from these donations. Sell tickets to parents and the wider community to raise funds.  Raffles work best when linked to another larger event, such as the family fun day or bonfire events we suggested. Make sure you advertise the raffle well to encourage more sales. The winner is the person with the ticket pulled from the jar at random. 


22. Auctions 

This is similar to the raffle, although a lot less if left up to chance. This works particularly well if you have some high-value prizes. Similar to the raffle, speak to local businesses to ask if they could donate to your fundraising cause.  

 Some popular high-value items can be things like: 

  • Theatre tickets, 
  • Sporting events, 
  • Spa experiences, 
  • Theme Park tickets, 
  • Hotel or Bed & Breakfast packages, 
  • Gym memberships, 
  • Signed memorabilia from local celebrities, 
  • Restaurant vouchers, and more. 


Allow people to bid on each item over a certain time frame. You could even run this fall fundraiser idea for schools as a silent auction to encourage higher donors to enter and it works as a great online fundraising event. 


23. Chili Cook-off 

A chili cook-off is a great fall-time fundraising idea for schools. It’s also a perfect opportunity to get parents and kids to cook together to raise money for a good cause. Sell tickets for the chili cook-off, where attendees get to try different samples of each of the chili and vote on which one they like the best. The best team gets a prize. 


24. Christmas Gift Wrapping Service 

Gift box from a school fundraiser

Some people start their Christmas shopping early, and often towards the end of fall, they have their gift shopping done. Offering gift wrapping to parents and the wider community is a fall fundraiser idea for schools that is perfect for busy families who don’t have the time to wrap the gifts themselves. 


Send a letter home to the parents about a school gift wrapping service to let them know what Saturday students will be wrapping gifts in exchange for a fee. You can charge an overall fee for all gifts, or you can charge by gift quantity and size. While students and teachers and parent volunteers are wrapping presents, play Christmas music and sell hot cider, chocolate and tea along with mine pies or cookies and holiday-themed treats for people to eat while they wait.   


25. Sell Hot Chocolate During School Hours 

As the holiday season gets into full swing, the air gets chillier. What’s nicer than the feeling of wrapping your hands around a nice cup of warm hot chocolate during the school day? Classrooms can be chilly so students would welcome a warm drink. Set up a fundraising stall where students can pay a small fee for a cup of hot chocolate to help raise funds for the school. 


26. Parents-Off Day 

The idea is simple. Students complete various jobs around the home, which can range from things like mowing the lawn, bringing them breakfast in bed, taking out the trash, preparing dinner or cleaning a car. These jobs are completed in exchange for a donation to your school. It’s a good idea for school staff to set some guidelines and limitations for the types of jobs and a suggested donation, just to keep everything in check.  For older students, this could also be pushed out as a service to the wider community, with a list of different household jobs students could provide the service for in exchange for a fee. 


27. Trivia Night

A fun school fundraising idea that's also family-friendly is a trivia night. This event can be based on a theme, whether it’s Christmas or Halloween. Charge a fee per team to enter. Have different rounds to make it more inclusive for everyone and base answers around the theme. Following are some fun theme-based trivia ideas. 

  • General trivia based on a theme.
  • Historical facts based on a theme.
  • Sports questions based on the theme.
  • Music round where they must name the title and artist of a song.
  • Screenshot or photo round, with what film the screenshot is from anagram rounds or riddles. 

28. Fashion Show or Costume Competition  

Dogs in Costume for Halloween

For this fall fundraiser idea for schools, students perform a fashion show based on a theme and then present this as an evening event for parents to attend. Tickets can be sold to raise funds.  Encourage students to make interesting and original outfits based on a theme that they get to showcase to viewers. Rather than out-of-the-box costumes, this is a great opportunity for creative students to showcase their skills.  If a parent or teacher has great make-up skills, ask them to help behind the scenes to give the students a papered feeling. 


29. Custom-made Christmas Cards 

You will see Christmas cards in stores shortly after schools start back after the summer vacation. A great fall fundraising school event could be to take advantage of this and create custom-made Christmas cards (or Hannukah and Kwanza) to raise funds for your school. 


There are a couple of ways to execute this fall fundraising idea for schools. One is that students create artwork based on a Christmas theme, the images are then photographed or scanned in, before being sent to a local printer. Packs of cards with assorted images can be sold via the school for a fee.  Alternatively, students are encouraged to produce several cards each to sell. The cards are put on display at the school towards the end of fall, helping to raise funds for the school. 


30. Guess the Jellybeans 

You could use jellybeans or any other type of candy for this fall fundraiser idea for schools. This inexpensive idea is simple and inexpensive to set up and can easily run alongside other fundraising events you might have planned for the season. Keep the guessing going for a few weeks to get the most entries. People pay a set price, this might be a dollar, to guess how many jellybeans are in a themed decorated jar for one of the easiest fall fundraiser ideas for schools. 


To make it easier for students to guess, have a blank grid with a list of numbers that relate to the potential number of beans in the jar. Participants put their names against the number they think is correct. The winner is the one who guesses the correct number of beans or the closest number. Their prize is the whole jar of jellybeans. 


 31. Create an Online School Store

Vanco Online School Store Graphic

One of the best school fundraising ideas for schools for any season is an online school store. Depending on the fundraising software you use for your school, you can have a whole ecommerce store set up for you, no DIY necessary. This store will run around the clock, raising revenue for key programs that might not have enough traditional funding. Discover how easy it is to get started with one of the most powerful fundraising tools available. It only takes seven minutes to get started. Watch our short online demo. 



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