Lean Stream

Unique Holiday Fundraising Ideas for Schools

Are you a parent or a PTA member looking to get in on the holiday mood and boost your school’s fundraising dollars? Of course, why not?!

You see, holiday fundraisers are an ideal time to launch a campaign because people are typically in a giving mood. Show your school community the value in supporting your school’s programs, be it the expansion of infrastructure or buying much-needed school supplies.

We realize that picking a fundraising idea can be a challenge. Have no fear, there are plenty of options available. This article provides you with unique ideas that you can use over the holidays to level up your fundraising game and support your school.

Summer carnival

You can get a team of volunteers to help run fun outdoor activities (similar to a field day event) for students and their parents. Encourage participants to buy tickets before the event. You can have different ticket prices depending on the activities. Such activities can include relay races, sack races, balloon toss, etc. Consider having concessions available as a way to raise additional funds at your carnival.

Set up a schoolyard sale

You can organize a school-based yard sale where parents and students can bring second-hand items they would like to sell (for example, books, toys, and other merchandise). Arrange the wares in different tables to keep the items organized and have the proceeds go to the school fundraiser account.

Summer fun run

The summer is an excellent time to organize a fun run or walk. This can involve students, their families, and friends. The students can raise pledges from their parents/friends or ask for a small donation (like $1-$2). To make it livelier, especially for the youngsters, incorporate music, sports, and other fun activities like face painting.

School-based carwash

Running out of ideas on how to encourage your community to donate to your local school? Host a carwash in the school parking lot where you (and other volunteers) offer to wash the cars of parents and other community members at a fee that would go directly to the school’s fundraising account. You will be surprised by how many people bring their cars to be washed once you spread the awareness that it’s for a worthy cause.


One of the most exciting and fun-filled ideas for a fundraiser is hosting a dance-a-thon. It could easily be one of the most brilliant and successful ideas. You could invite students and their families to participate in the dance-a-thon and have them pay depending on the amount of time they spend on the dance floor. The only thing you need is an exciting playlist with upbeat music. We guarantee both students and family members will fall in love with the idea. To make it even more enjoyable, you could sell snacks and refreshments for an additional fee.


Another brilliant idea is to have a group of volunteers bake delightful cakes and organize a cakewalk. How does this work, you ask? Well, place the cakes in a circle and put a number on each cake. Have participants walk or dance around cakes to some music. Randomly stop the music, draw a number, and whoever is standing in front of that number wins the cake. The winner may decide to ‘auction’ the cake to other participants and keep the cakewalk going.

Haunted house

Add some fun to the fundraiser by having students, parents, and friends pay to walk through a decorated section of the school. Make it scarier by having some of the volunteers dress up as ghostly characters. You will be amazed by the number of people willing to test their nerves.

Homemade decoration sale

To organize a homemade decoration sale, have parents or local businesses donate raw materials for making the decorations. Distribute the materials to children and have them make holiday-themed decorations like ornaments and wreaths. Parents can chip in and help their children with the decorations to make them more attractive.

Put the decorations up for sale on a place like Amazon. Don’t forget to mention that the decorations are handmade as it will add to their appeal. Since you will have saved on overhead costs, you will have a price advantage, and buyers will be willing to buy them, especially because it would be for a good cause. This way, you will kill two birds with a single stone; people grab some nice decorations at an affordable price while the school benefits from the donations.

Dress down day

Organize with the school authorities for students and teachers to participate in a dress-down day where they pay a small amount to ditch their school attire for jeans and other casual clothing. With no costs involved, all the money raised goes to the school’s fundraising needs.

Parents Night Out

Yet another fun idea is to have parents drop off their children for a few hours and charge them a small babysitting fee per child. You can make it more fun for the kids by including some fun games or movies.

Organize a clothes drop off

The holidays are a perfect time for families to dispose of items they no longer need. Instead of throwing them away, you can have the parents drop off the clothes (or other items) at a certain point and have the school donate them to the underprivileged. Needless to say, the items would have to be in good, usable condition.

All you have to do is spread the word and have parents and their children pack whatever they don’t need and set up a location where they can drop them off. You could set up multiple pick-up locations to reach out to as many people as possible. Once collected, reach out to organizations like Clothing Drive Fundraiser, which will pay for every pound of items and donate the proceeds to the school. There are also shoe fundraisers like funds2orgs which accepts gently used shoes and pays you for them.


Who says fundraisers for schools have to be expensive affairs? Brainstorm ideas with a colleague and you will be surprised by how many creative ideas you’ll come up with together.  The above ideas can help make your fundraiser a huge success and help your school achieve its goals.

Visit our site or give our LeanStream Team a call at (256) 690-3838 to help you get started!