Mother & son in NYC

We had a Car-Wash-a-Thon in which students washed cars for free, but had sponsors for the number of cars they completed. Including the tips from the "free" washes, we made well over $4,000.00 in one car wash.— Michael, California

Fundraising Ideas

1-Day Fundraisers (skip to section)
Ongoing Fundraisers (skip to section)
Special Events (skip to section)
Creative Fundraisers(skip to section)
Direct Sales (skip to section)
For Music Groups (skip to section)

1-Day Fundraisers
Not all fundraisers require months of planning. These easy fundraisers can generate funds in a day or less, and many of them can be implemented on short notice.

  • Organize a community yard sale in the school parking lot and “rent” spaces to families and vendors. Sell concessions to boost your profits.
  • Host a bakeoff bake sale. Charge participants a small fee to enter the contest, give the winners a small prize, then sell off all the baked goods.
  • Hold a board game tournament and charge a small entry fee.
  • Sell carnations or candy grams on or near Valentine’s Day (can be customized for many holidays).
  • Clean up around your community and have friends and family pledge for each bag you fill with trash.
  • Ask parents who are instructors of enrichment classes (like art, cooking, yoga, or dance) to volunteer to teach a class and charge participants a small donation to attend.
  • Sponsor a pancake breakfast at a local restaurant that is normally open only for lunch or dinner (like Applebee’s) and charge for tickets.
  • Offer a drop-in babysitting night at school. Students (under adult supervision) can entertain the children for a few hours while their parents grab dinner or run errands.
  • Work as cashiers or servers at a local restaurant in exchange for some of the night’s proceeds.
  • Wrap gifts during the holiday season at a local retail store and collect tips.
  • Bag groceries at a local supermarket and collect tips.
  • Manage the coat checks for formal events at area hotels and collect tips.
  • Clean up your local sports stadium following a game in exchange for a donation towards your trip.
  • Work the concession stand at school or local athletic events and collect tips and/or a portion of the proceeds.
  • Hold a car wash. Many groups report raising thousands of dollars in a single weekend with this proven fundraiser.

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Ongoing Fundraisers
Hold these small fundraisers intermittently throughout the school year; small donations can add up considerably.

  • Sell candy or homemade baked goods during lunch breaks or extracurricular activities.
  • Hold a 50-50 raffle; your group splits raffle proceeds equally with the raffle winner.
  • Write letters to local businesses requesting donations.
  • Raffle off a gas card worth $300 or more.
  • Ask local businesses to invite customers to round up their bill to the nearest dollar, with the difference going to your group.
  • Sponsor a competitive coin drive at school. Every penny adds points to the jar and silver coins subtract points. Even teams ending up with negative points are sure to have collected a lot of cash!
  • Post about your upcoming trip on Facebook and invite your Facebook friends to donate through WorldStrides' Gift of Education Facebook Share.
  • Encourage students to send WorldStrides' Gift of Education letters or E-Cards to friends and family.

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Special Events
These fundraisers require considerable planning and organization, but have earned some groups $10,000 or more!

  • Sell tickets to a “Battle of the Bands” or talent show.
  • Host a Dance-a-Thon where students form teams and must dance for 24 hours.
  • Coordinate a coffeehouse at the school and invite student acoustic bands, jazz acts, interpretive dancers, and poets to perform. Sell hot beverages and baked goods to raise funds.
  • Plan a school dance or carnival and sell tickets and refreshments.
  • Organize a drive-through spaghetti supper or barbeque dinner and sell meals to busy parents on their way home from work.
  • Alternatively, sell meals at school before evening events (like PTA meetings) for parents that didn’t have time to get dinner beforehand.
  • Ask local businesses to donate valuable prizes and host a silent auction. Serve dinner to raise even more funds.

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Creative Fundraisers
Even if your school has multiple groups that hold fundraisers, you can certainly find a creative fundraiser that hasn’t been done yet at your school.

  • Sponsor a Flamingo Flocking: community members can pay to have a pink flamingo stuck in a friend or foe’s front yard, and recipients can pay to have it moved.
  • Organize a dodgeball tournament and charge participants an entry fee.
  • Collect pledges for your group to participate in a community service project that benefits the local area, like trail clean-up or painting.
  • Sponsor a “Rock-a-thon.” Students collect pledges to rock in a rocking chair during a lock-in or after-school event.
  • Contact the community relations office of a nearby national sports team and ask if they will sell you a block of seats at a discounted rate. Sell the tickets to your school at face value and have a fun “night at the game” spirit event.
  • Ask teachers to participate in a good-natured “Teacher Torture” day where they volunteer to do fun stunts, like color their hair or wear pajamas to school, and students pay for each vote of which stunt they want most to see.

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Direct Sales
Our Program Leaders and directors have been successful in selling all of these products:

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For Music Groups
Your students’ talents open up even more fundraising opportunities to your group! Consider implementing one of these fundraisers to showcase your abilities to the community and generate support for your music program.

  • Ask a restaurant to donate a portion of their profits on the night of your concert; then encourage students’ families to go for dinner before the concert or grab dessert after!
  • Hold an all-day Rehearse-a-Thon. Collect pledges for each hour of practice.
  • Sell advertising space in your concert program to parents and local businesses.
  • Sell tickets to a special holiday concert. Offer dinner or refreshments to raise even more funds.
  • Sponsor “Singing Valentines” in February to students at your school.
  • Host a karaoke night for friends and family, and charge a small entrance fee or sell refreshments.
  • Sing or perform for tips at your local farmer’s market.
  • Host a benefit concert and invite current students, school alumni, and community members to perform.
  • Post about your upcoming trip on Facebook and invite your Facebook friends to donate through WorldStrides' Gift of Education Facebook Share.
  • Encourage students to send WorldStrides' Gift of Education letters or E-Cards to friends and family.

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Fundraising Tip

Organize a drive-through spaghetti supper or barbeque dinner and sell meals to hectic parents on their way home from work.


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