Published December 15, 2022
Despite receiving funds from the school, running a band can be expensive, especially if your program participates in marching band in the spring and fall. Needing to buy instruments that only get used for marching increases the price of all instrument-focused expenses. On top of that, marching bands travel a lot for parades and events.
Between these two additional expenses, you’ll likely find your department running out of money quickly. You’ll need to turn to fundraisers to help pick up the slack when that happens. Fortunately, there are many fun ideas your school marching band can do for fundraising, and we’re here to show you some of the best options available.
Hold a Practice-a-thon
We’re sure everyone has heard of a walk-a-thon before, but a practice-a-thon is a bit of a new concept. It works similarly to a walk-a-thon, but your students will be doing something that benefits the band: practicing their instruments. Instead of people pledging a certain amount of money for every mile the band student walks, pledging depends on how many sheets of music they play or how many five-minute intervals they spend practicing.
The best part about this fundraising strategy is that it kills two birds with one stone. Your band program will make a good amount of money while simultaneously fitting in a lot of practice. This tactic can be even more effective if you hold one before your next home game or an upcoming parade.
Support a Community Sports Event
Even though your marching band is always there for your school’s team, there’s no reason they can’t play for any other sporting events. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to play for an opposing school, but there are plenty of community teams in your area that would love to have a marching band at their games.
Of course, the important thing here is to turn it into a fundraiser. Most community teams have small operating budgets, so asking them to pay isn’t a great option. Instead, you could ask for donations during the performance. Spectators will surely enjoy having some music to listen to while rooting for their local team and will likely compensate you for your efforts.
Even though people are usually way more giving than you’d expect, it’s not a guaranteed source of income. Something else you could do is find a local business to sponsor your performance. Many small businesses would willingly pay for the publicity. If you want to increase your chances of locking down a sponsor, try to perform at a tournament rather than a standard game. This will ensure that the company will get more people to see their name over a longer period.
Set Up a Band Yard Sale
Community yard sales have become a popular method for fundraising in recent years. People always have old stuff they’d like to get rid of but rarely have the time to run a garage sale on their own time. Setting everything up for them makes it much easier for them to commit to getting rid of their stuff. Plus, more people will be willing to show up and buy things if there is a large selection to choose from.
Of course, setting all of this up means that you deserve a portion of all sales made at the yard sale, which is how you’ll raise funds for your band during this event. Just make sure you come to a fair agreement with all the sellers who are participating in this sale. If you let them know that you’re throwing this event to raise money for the school band, they might be more willing to give up a more significant percentage of their earnings.
Of course, since this community yard sale is for the marching band, you can encourage a band-related theme. Having people bring in their old instruments and sheet music to sell shouldn’t be too hard. These big-ticket items will bring in a lot more money, making this endeavor worth your time.
Plan a Fundraising Concert
One of the most commonly used fundraising ideas that school marching bands have fun doing is a fundraising concert. Since most high school band students participate in both marching and concert band, you can easily turn any of your shows later in the year into a fundraising event.
Focus on playing fun songs that will draw in large crowds. You can either charge them a flat fee at the door or ask for donations upon entering. If you’re afraid that either payment method might not make you enough money, you could also sell food and drinks at the concert.
If you really want to focus on the marching band part of this fundraiser, you can hold a band concert outdoors for all to enjoy. You can do an entire half-time show performance and play some fan-favorite songs. Whichever way you go about it, these concerts are always a fun way to earn money for your program.
Organize a Large Band Event
If you want to go even bigger than a single concert, you can opt for one of the many other band-focused events that other programs throw. Music festivals and battle of the band shows are both great examples of events your school can set up. For both, you’ll want to invite other schools or local bands to come to show off what they can do.
Like with your personal concert, you can charge for admission and refreshments for the event. You might need to share the proceeds with other groups that attend, but you’ll make much more money overall with the number of people that’ll attend these events.
Try Out Virtual Fundraising
While all the previous entries in this list are great options for raising money, they all suffer from one or two flaws. They take up a lot of your time, and you don’t always receive all the money you generate with them. These problems vary in severity, but both can make you feel like the fundraiser wasn’t worth the time or effort.
That’s why you should look into virtual fundraising as a possibility. It takes the ideas of online crowdfunding and makes them work for school programs, such as marching bands. All you have to do is have your students send out some emails, and you’ll see the money start pouring in. Plus, since you won’t have to pay anything for products or venues, all that money goes back to you.
If this is an idea that you think you can get behind, you should check out our marching band fundraiser program. We’ve had tons of experience helping other school bands bring in much more money than they even asked for. Get in touch with us if you want us to do the same for you!