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Fundraising Ideas for Teens

We have exhaustively covered the benefits of fundraising for your school in several of our other InSights blog posts. We can all agree that as a parent or a PTA member, nothing gives you more satisfaction than knowing you have made a positive contribution to your school.

However, in terms of participation in school fundraisers, few groups are as elusive as teenagers. Have they outgrown selling cookies in front of the grocery store? Certainly. But who is to say that they don’t have a part to play in raising money for their community school? In any case, raising money for a positive cause would be a great opportunity for them to earn their community service hours.

You see, teens are highly social, energetic and find group activities fun, especially when their peers are involved. The trick lies in harnessing this energy towards a good cause. Are you having a hard time getting your community teenagers to join school fundraisers? We present you with the ultimate list of fundraising ideas for teens in 2021.


Teenagers are digital natives and are practically glued to their phones. A text-to-give fundraiser would be perfect for this group of young adults. And, it is pretty simple; they send a keyword text to the school’s text-to-give phone number (e.g., ‘donate’) and confirm the amount they’d wish to donate. Then, they get directed to an online form to complete the donation with a few finger swipes on their smartphones.

Spaghetti dinner

How about tapping into the teenagers’ capabilities in the kitchen? You will be surprised at their culinary skills. With a potluck spaghetti dinner, you simply ask the teenagers to come with cooked pasta, sauce, bread, or drinks. Hold the dinner at the school cafeteria or a community recreation center and have community members pay a certain fee to eat the meals. You could even use the same teenagers to popularize the event on their social media pages and sell tickets in advance.


This idea is easy and inexpensive. It gets bonus points with parents as it encourages their teens to read for pleasure. How does this work? The students obtain pledges from the teachers, parents, family, and friends to read a certain number of pages within a designated period. Include a reward for the winner and see the young adults try to outdo each other, raising more money for the school.

Talent show

A talent show is a great way of recognizing teenagers’ non-academic talents. It also provides an opportunity to showcase their unique talents and interests. The talent show should include all types of performers, including musicians, singers, actors, and dancers. Have the students create and distribute posters inside the school and around the community. To monetize the show, you can sell advance tickets or have people pay at the entrance. You could raise more money by having the students sell merchandise like bracelets, school-branded t-shirts, food/snacks, etc.

Students’ day off

Let’s face it; few things are as exciting to a high school student as an opportunity not to attend school. So, how would you go about this idea? Plan a raffle contest in which the students who collect the most donations get to miss school for a day. Make sure it is not around exam time. You may also want to get permission from the school authorities. You could also make this a classroom competition. Whichever class raises the most money gets an off day or a movie day.

Mobile phones recycling drive

This is yet another idea with massive fundraising potential, especially since young adults are always upgrading to the latest smartphones. There are plenty of companies willing to buy old phones to either refurbish them and resell them or use some parts. Have teenagers (and other community members) donate their old phones and make sure you let everyone know it is for a good cause. The collection point can be set up at the school. Remember to keep people informed about the donation progress (e.g., we have 200 donations so far). Volunteers from the PTA/PTO can help popularize the drive.

‘Bizarre’ car wash

A wacky car wash is a fun idea considering cars need to be washed whichever the season. Have students dress up in funny/crazy outfits or have them don themed outfits (for instance, as superheroes) and volunteer to wash vehicles for the members of the community at a fee. Have the students compete in teams to see who raises the largest amount and reward the winner. To make it more creative, you can also reward the team with the craziest outfits. Again, students can help promote the drive, which will also test their creativity.

School fashion show

Having teenagers show off their modeling skills on the runway in front of their friends and families is a brilliantly exciting idea. This is an event that can be easily organized in the school field. Sell tickets in advance for friends and families to come and watch the most talented model students strut their stuff. To put a bit of spice into it, you can have the school band perform at the event or have teachers put on trendy outfits. The plan just needs a little creativity but guarantees immense fundraising potential.

Outrageous dare

This idea can include students, teachers, and other staff. Have the participants accept to do something outrageous if a certain fundraising goal is met. Ideas can include walking the school compound in clownish outfits, perform a hilarious dance routine in the school cafeteria, and such. Ideas are practically endless.

Principal challenge

Add some fun to the fundraiser by having students donate a certain amount of money to see their principal do something goofy. It would be a good opportunity for teens to see their ever-serious principal loosen up a bit by dying their hair in the school colors, kiss a goat, or other crazy ideas. Make sure you set a reasonable amount that the teens can comfortably raise.


As you can see, there are endless ideas to get teenagers to take part in a fundraiser. You can motivate the students by having them promote the drives on their social media, give them responsibilities, and make it fun. You will be tapping into their immense levels of energy and creativity while raising much-needed funds for your school.

Don’t forget LeanStream is your ultimate school fundraising partner, and we have an exciting catalog of solutions for you.