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PTA Fundraising Ideas
Parent teacher associations (PTAs) serve a vital function in schools with multiple PTA activities. For many students, home environments vary, and many schools serve students with different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. These differences create an important home-school gap many students find themselves navigating every day. PTAs can successfully bridge the school-home gap and provide students with an improved learning environment, and bring parents into the fold where they can participate in and help improve the school.
Funding is often a challenge, however, and successful fundraising efforts can strengthen the link between home and school. With both busy parents and busy teachers, finding great ways to fund the organization is often an uphill battle. Luckily, there are plenty of great ways to raise money without overworking or overextending students, teachers, parents, and volunteers.
We’ve compiled some of our favorite PTA fundraiser ideas that are easy to pull off, fun, and will keep students interested. Fundraising ideas for students are some of the best bonding experiences out there! Here are some PTA fundraising ideas for students, parents, and teachers.
PTA Fundraising: Elementary School
Elementary school is a pivotal time for students. They’re learning how to love learning, and successfully work with their peers. Fun fundraisers can serve to reinforce their love of working together to accomplish something great and help fund the PTA at the same time, bringing them more resources and enriching their learning environment. Here are some PTA fundraising ideas for elementary schools.
Everyone loves field day, and this is also a great time for fundraising. There are a few different ways to make money for the PTA while also giving students much needed outdoor time and cardiovascular activity. If students can all afford it, you can charge entry to participate in field day, or charge by events and hold competitions—tug of war, foot races, freezetag.
If you’re worried about lower income students being unable to participate, you can instead make the entire day free for students, but invite local vendors to set up and sell snacks or lunch, with an agreement that they donate a percent of their proceeds to the PTA.
Principal for the Day Fundraiser
The concept is simple for this one—students can buy raffle tickets for an entry into the drawing. Whoever is drawn, becomes “principal for the day.” Students can sit in the principal's office and get a break from class for the day, and by allowing students to purchase multiple entries, this drawing can raise quite a bit of funds.
Read-A-Thon Pledge Fundraiser
Read-A-Thons are great for two reasons. Parents and others involved with students can make pledges of donations linked to how many pages or books students agree to read. This will encourage reading for the students and raise money for their future at the same time.
PTA Fundraising: Middle School
Middle school is a transitional period for many students. They’re beginning to lose interest in things they enjoyed in elementary school while getting ready to move towards high school. This can make middle school fundraising ideas seem like a steep challenge as you try to make their learning environment as enriching as possible.
No need to fear! There are some great ways you can engage students, make money for the PTA, and have some fun at the same time. Here are some fun PTA fundraising ideas middle school edition.
Chances are, there’s somewhere nearby—whether it be a park, a river, or a local trail—that has more litter than it should. This can be a great opportunity for a PTA that’s in need of extra funding.
Organize a cleanup day for students and donors can pledge a dollar amount for each bag of trash filled, or even for each piece of trash picked up. As students learn how satisfying it can be to watch nature get cleaned up, you can raise funds for their future at the same time.
No matter what age, most students enjoy some off-time from learning—but the learning doesn’t need to stop here. Having a carnival day is a great way to give students some outdoor time, and teachers can help set up booths that are fun and educational at the same time.
Booths like trivia competitions that draw from their curriculum can do both. To raise funds, you can either host the carnival on a non-school day and charge entry, or you can charge entry only for certain events—like a dunk-the-principal booth.
Teacher Jail Fundraiser
Not unlike the principal-for-a-day drawing, this is a simple one. Have students purchase tickets or raise donations to have their teacher placed in “teacher jail.” You can either select one teacher, whose students raised the most, or set a threshold that students need to meet.
This might simply be the break room with construction paper bars on the door, but having a free period or two will delight students, and give teachers a break at the same time.
PTA Fundraising: High School
As students prepare for their next step—whether that’s trade school, college, or starting on their own path—high school is a crucial time where we try our best to prepare them for the world ahead. Having funds for the PTA is important for this transitional period where they learn what adulthood might be like. Here are some high school PTA fundraising ideas.
Battle of the Bands
Battles of the bands have never really gone out of style. Students will love this chance to show the world the new ways they’re growing as a person and discovering their affinity for art and music.
To raise money for the PTA you can charge admission for attendees and charge a fee for bands competing. Parents will get to see their kids and their friends performing, and students will get a chance to show their classmates their musical side.
If there’s one thing high school students love, it’s their personal devices—tablets, laptops, phones. Fundraiser ideas can seem difficult during COVID as well. Whatever the case, chances are students are getting plenty of screen time.
For parents and teachers, this fundraiser can be quite a win-win. Students will log their non-screen-time hours and volunteers can pledge a dollar amount for each hour. Parents can enjoy watching their teens spend time away from their screens, while they earn money for their future at the same time.
Chances are you’ve seen them on TV, or seen your teens watching them. Cooking competition shows are exciting and fun—and tasty. Give students and teachers a chance to show off their culinary prowess and earn funds for the PTA while cooks get competitive. Hold a cooking battle and charge for admission to watch. Students and teachers can compete and learn a thing or two about cooking while they PTA raises funds.
This could even be one of the best fundraiser ideas during COVID for high school, as the cooking battle could go virtual!
High school is often a time for teens to learn to express themselves through fashion. They often love their clothes and styles, and this will give you a chance to use that love to raise needed funds for the enrichment of their school. Host a fashion show and let students showcase their emerging fashion sense, while you raise money. Charge for admission so parents and friends can come watch, while raising funds at the same time.
PTA Fundraising: Small Schools
With a smaller student and parent body, raising money for smaller schools may seem like a challenge, but luckily there are some great ways that PTAs can raise money even for small schools. Here are some PTA fundraising ideas for small schools.
Bake sales have always been a great way to raise money for PTAs. The cost of ingredients will be far outshadowed by the amount people are willing to spend on baked delectables. Volunteers can show off their baking prowess while earning money for the PTA at the same time.
T-Shirts are always popular, and this is a great way to raise funds even with a smaller student body. Students can sell and buy T-shirts emblazoned with either school logos or designs they come up with themselves. Either way, they’ll enjoy having new merch while they raise money for the school’s PTA.
PTA Fundraising: Christmas
Christmas time can be a beautiful time, but it can also be a tough—and expensive—time of year. Luckily, there are some great ways to raise funds around the holiday season, ensuring the PTA and students they serve won’t go without this year. Here are some Christmas PTA fundraising ideas.
Gift Wrapping Service
Around this time of year, presents are huge—and wrapping them can be a huge undertaking. Use this as an opportunity to raise funds by hosting a gift-wrapping service. Donors can pay to have their gifts wrapped and volunteers can host a wrapping party to get together, have some fun and snacks, and wrap presents for a good cause. This could even tie into PTA Christmas gift ideas, as you never know what presents (and for whom) could be getting wrapped!
Ugliest Sweater Competition
One of the greatest parts of Christmas is ugly-sweater parties. Host an ugly sweater party, and charge students, parents, and friends entry to the party. During the party, you can host an “ugliest sweater” contest, and award one winner the prize of ugliest sweater.
In order to raise more funds, you might consider charging entry into the contest itself, or you may simply charge for admission to the party. Either way, everyone will have a good laugh and raise money for a good cause.
During COVID, school might have changed a little bit. If you’re doing distance learning, it may seem tricky to raise much-needed funds for the PTA. Along with that, the PTA fundraising ideas during COVID may have dwindled! Not to worry, though, we have some great socially-distanced fundraising ideas for schools.
Virtual Movie Night
Everyone loves movie night, and virtual movie night even has some added advantages. Students can get together over a meeting service like Zoom or whatever platform your school is using, and enjoy chatting while watching a popular movie and raising funds for the PTA. Charge a small fee for entry and watch everyone enjoy the show. It will be even more cost-effective than a normal movie night because students will be supplying their own snacks and “venue.” This goes to show that virtual PTA fundraising ideas can be just as entertaining!
Virtual Trivia Night
Not unlike virtual movie night, this will be very cost effective. Host a trivia night and invite parents and students alike to participate, for a small fee. Watch as students show off their knowledge and raise money for the PTA at the same time—all from the comfort of their own homes.