Sometimes it can be difficult for universities and colleges to come up with fun, unique fundraising ideas. Or maybe your school is worried about the time and preparation that go into planning a successful fundraiser.

We understand these challenges and want to help! By incorporating technology into your school fundraisers, you can make fundraising easy and engaging.

We’ve got a list of seven simple and effective fundraisers:

  1. School T-Shirt Fundraiser
  2. Crowdfunding
  3. Text-to-Give
  4. Charity Auctions
  5. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
  6. Matching Gifts
  7. Best Seat in the House

Let’s get right into the fundraising ideas!

  1. School T-Shirt Fundraiser

Booster_Ablia_Schoolfundraisingideas-heading1 (002)

College students (and alumni) will love the opportunity to purchase a T-shirt with the school’s mascot or a line from your alma mater (school song). It’s a great keepsake, and students and professors will be able to show their school pride!

A school T-shirt fundraiser is pretty versatile because you can sell shirts during your other fundraising efforts, as well as online, or at college and university events.

Of course, you can sell other merchandise as well. Take a look at the following popular school items you can customize and sell:

  • Hats
  • Car decals and stickers
  • Water bottles
  • Notebooks
  • And much more

With so many options available, you can sell all different types of branded gear!

How to Get Started

Starting a school T-shirt fundraiser is a lot easier than it sounds. First, you’ll need to find a wholesale company that will print your customized shirts.

If you’re concerned about having a lot of inventory, some companies will sell and distribute the shirts for you, so you don’t have to store a lot of merchandise. Plus, you’ll only pay for the shirts you sell!

These companies often let you set up a fundraising page on their website (like crowdfunding) where donors can purchase your shirts.

  1. Crowdfunding

Booster_Ablia_Schoolfundraisingideas-heading2 (002)

For colleges and universities, crowdfunding can be one of the easiest ways to raise money for your school.

With the right approach, your campaign has the potential to become viral and raise a lot of money in a short period of time.

Crowdfunding is so effective because it uses technology and social sharing capabilities to help you reach the most potential donors.

Those who want to show support can donate to your cause and share your crowdfunding page with their networks.

How to Get Started

Creating a crowdfunding campaign is quick and simple; the most important part is picking a platform.

Did you know that there are more than 150 crowdfunding platforms in North America alone (source)?

That’s a lot of options to choose from! Luckily, you can narrow down the options by looking for the following core features:

  • Mobile-friendly fundraising pages
  • Social sharing buttons
  • Space to tell your story and add video and images
  • Customization capabilities (so your page matches your school’s brand)

You can further reduce your choices by looking for a crowdfunding platform that’s specific for universities and colleges.

3. Text-to-Give

Booster_Ablia_Schoolfundraisingideas-heading3 (002)

Text-to-give is a convenient way for supporters, students, and professors to donate to your school.

Text-to-give is a common fundraising idea among nonprofits and churches, because the giving process is convenient and quick.

For instance, if donors are browsing their Facebook newsfeed and come across your nonprofit, they can donate on their phones and continue browsing their social media.

Why not start accepting donations via text message?

Here’s how a typical, text-to-give donation would go:

  1. The donor texts a donation amount to your number or shortcode (specifically made for text-to-give donations)
  2. The donor is sent a link that takes the individual to a mobile-friendly donation form.
  3. After filling out personal and payment information, the donor can confirm his or her gift.

Text-to-give provides donors with the flexibility to donate whenever and wherever, especially when they don’t have cash or a checkbook handy!

How to Get Started

With a text-to-give campaign, there’s little your school has to set up. Creating the number and linking the donations to your account is all handled by the software provider.

All you have to do is find a provider that fits your needs and price.

It’s important to look for a provider that’s PCI-compliant, which means they stick to a strict set of rules created by the Payment Card Industry. PCI compliance protects your donors’ payment information and keeps your school safe from fraud.

  1. Charity Auctions

Booster_Ablia_Schoolfundraisingideas-heading4 (002)

While they often take considerable time to plan, charity auctions are well-suited for schools, because of their interactive nature.

You’re probably aware that there are multiple types of charity auctions. For example, your school can host a(n):

  • Silent auction, which requires donors to place bids on bidding sheets or by using their phones. This is the most popular auction type for schools because donors can place bids at their own discretion without a public declaration.
  • Online auction, which takes place digitally. Schools set up an auction site with images and descriptions of all the items. Supporters can register to place bids.
  • Live auction, which involves an auctioneer introducing items and calling out amounts. Participants place bids by raising bid paddles. This type of auction is not very common among schools.

Choose the auction that best fits your needs and resources. For instance, if you’re not familiar with organizing a charity auction, start with an online event, because there will be less planning required.

How to Get Started

When it comes to planning a charity auction, it’s important to remember it could take up to nine months to properly plan for your event.

With that said, don’t let the timeline intimidate you. Charity auctions are beneficial for schools in more ways than just generating funds; they’re an opportunity for you to interact with your supporters.

When planning your event, keep this short checklist in mind:

  • Make sure you have a planning team in place to organize the event. Team members should include members to help with the decorations, item procurement, and auction monitoring.
  • Find a venue for your auction. If your school has a large campus, you can host the event in one of your buildings to save on costs.
  • Procure items and experiences to auction off. It’s important to do some research before acquiring items. After you understand what your participants want, you can start asking supporters and businesses for in-kind donations.

With the help of a strong team and a solid plan, organizing your school auction can be easy.

  1. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Booster_Ablia_Schoolfundraisingideas-heading5 (002)

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a popular way for nonprofits and schools to raise money, and here’s why:

  1. Your loyal donors solicit donations on behalf of your school.
  2. You can leverage your donors’ connections to gain new supporters.

So, what exactly is peer-to-peer fundraising?

Essentially, this fundraiser recruits your loyal supporters and puts them on the frontline of fundraising. Donors will set up individual fundraising pages, set a goal, and ask their friends and family members to contribute.

Usually, peer-to-peer campaigns end with an event to celebrate all the fundraisers’ success, but they don’t have to.

How to Get Started

Even though your donors are the ones asking for donations, your school still has a role to play when creating a peer-to-peer campaign.

You’ll need to recruit your fundraisers as well as:

  • Equip your fundraisers with resources to help them create their pages and ask for donations.
  • Post updates on your peer-to-peer campaign’s progress.
  • Share encouraging messages to keep your fundraisers motivated.

Even after the campaign ends, your job isn’t done. You’ve acquired a ton of new donors, and while they gave to your school, they may not know much about your background or history.

Make sure you update your donor database with all the new information and thank your donors with an acknowledgement letter and a packet of information about your school.

  1. Matching Gifts

Booster_Ablia_Schoolfundraisingideas-heading6 (002)

Your school might already be familiar with matching gifts, but maybe you don’t see the results you want.

When donors give to your nonprofit, they can request a matching gift from their employers, which means you can potentially double the amount of funds you raise.

While there is a lot of potential with matching gifts, all the responsibility to submit a request rests on the donor. Furthermore, many donors don’t know about their company’s matching gift program, and if they are familiar, they don’t know how to submit a request.

Luckily, there are strategies you can implement to help educate donors and get them interested in submitting a matching gift request.

How to Get Started

If you want more donors to know about matched giving, you need to promote matching gift programs.

Here’s how:

  • Create a dedicated page on your website about matching gifts.
  • Add a search tool to your donation form and matching gifts page where donors can search for their company’s program.
  • Mention matching gifts in your acknowledgement letters and donation receipts.

The more you educate donors about the matching gift process, the more comfortable they’ll feel about making a request.

  1. Best Seat in the House

Booster_Ablia_Schoolfundraisingideas-heading7 (002)

The best seat in the house fundraiser is a great way to raise money and promote school activities.

Essentially, the best seat in the house is a raffle with the prize of having two of the best seats at an upcoming sports game, school concert, or another event.

For even more incentive, you can provide the winners with free concessions in addition to their prime seats.

How to Get Started

Since this fundraiser requires little planning other than ensuring that you have prime seats to give away, the crucial part of making this raffle a success is marketing.

If you’re not sure how to promote your event, try a few of the following strategies:

  • Use automated email software to send emails to your donors with information on the raffle, or include the details in your email newsletter.
  • Take a picture of the prime seats and share the photo on social media with information on how to participate.
  • Include details about the raffle when you promote the game or concert the prize will be for.

Once people know about your raffle, you can sell tickets for $1 and announce the winner!

Now that you’ve read seven great fundraising ideas for schools, it’s time to start your own fundraiser.

You can use one or two (or a combination of our ideas!) to raise funds for your school.

About the Author

Andrew Hurley is the Director of Ecommerce at Booster, Created by CustomInk. Booster makes it risk-free to raise funds and awareness by giving you a platform to sell custom T-shirts and collect donations.