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Low-Cost Fundraising Ideas for School Groups

Low-Cost Fundraising Ideas for School Groups


When it comes to raising money for school groups, the options can seem overwhelming and endless. Not to mention, you don’t want to invest too much into a single event upfront because the goal is to make as much money for your cause as possible. The good news is that there are many low-cost fundraising ideas for school groups to choose from. Whether you need to raise money for the basketball team to buy new uniforms or for the school band to get new instruments, there are plenty of straightforward, budget-friendly fundraising ideas to consider.

Each of the fundraising ideas listed below is easy to organize and implement. You won’t need to worry about a large amount of upfront costs, because most events can be donation-based or partially sponsored by local businesses. Browse the following options to find the best one for your group’s specific needs and goals.

Color Run

A color run is a great fundraising option because it requires minimal upfront costs. During a color run, each participant wears a white t-shirt and runs laps around the school’s track or through a designated course. At specific areas around the course, volunteers throw colored powders or spray non-toxic paint at the runners. A color run provides students and other participants with the opportunity to partake in a physical activity and enjoy the bonus of looking like human splatter paint by the end of the run.

You can raise money through a color run by charging an entrance fee. You can also ask community sponsors and participant supporters to pledge money based on each lap a runner completes. Color runs are fun for the whole family, so you can encourage everyone to participate.

Recycling Drive

A recycling drive is a great low-cost fundraising idea for school groups that also helps the environment. During a recycling drive, students are encouraged to donate old electronics, gently used clothing and accessories, or other small household items. If you want to make the recycling drive more specific, consider hosting a shoe drive or even a sock drive since many underprivileged individuals are in need of proper footwear.

Reach out to a local organization that will pay to receive the items, and arrange a drop-off once the donation period has ended. This type of recycling drive is a great way to raise money for your cause without a large time or financial investment.

Car Wash

A car wash fundraiser is a classic way to raise money. Students can stand on the side of the road with homemade signs and encourage passing cars to stop and enjoy a wash. You can set up a car washing station in your school’s parking lot and provide soap, water, sponges, and towels for the students to use.

Both students and staff can volunteer to wash cars in exchange for a small donation from each driver. To increase your funds, encourage parents to stop by in their vehicles. Students typically get a kick out of the washing process and have fun interacting with community members. Plus, you don’t need to spend a lot to get a car wash fundraiser up and running.

Bake Sale

Like a car wash, a bake sale is one of the most common options for raising money. Students can bake their favorite tasty treats and package each item in fun wrapping for an extra special touch. During the sale, put some thought into the presentation by using decorative tablecloths and unique display items like cupcake stands and tiered trays.

Encourage some students to bake allergy-friendly items so everyone can find something to enjoy at your bake sale, and be sure each treat has a sign or tag with a list of included ingredients. To ensure your bake sale runs as smoothly as possible, enlist the help of parents to run the cash table or replenish baked goods if they’re running low.

Movie Night

This low-cost fundraising option is ideal for students of all ages. You simply need to organize a movie viewing in your school’s gymnasium or auditorium and charge admission. If you want to reach more people, partner with a local theater to negotiate a reduced price for students, families, and community members to attend a new release. If budget allows, you may even consider renting an entire theater for a private screening.

If you’re hosting the viewing at school, you can sell snacks and refreshments for a small fee to raise even more money. If you’re headed to a theater, ask the management team if refreshments can be purchased at a discount during the event. Movie nights are a fun, low-stakes way for students to raise money.

Book Sale

A book sale is another low-cost way to raise money for your group. Plus, this type of event promotes reading, so what could be better? Ask students and staff to look through their collections and donate gently used books. You won’t need to worry about the upfront cost of the book sale if all items are donated.

Promote the sale in the weeks leading up to the event and invite both school and community members to attend. On the day of the sale, do your best to organize books by genre and target audience, so customers can easily find what they’re looking for. If you keep the cost of each book low, individuals will be more likely to purchase a stack of books. A book sale is the perfect way to recycle books, promote the benefits of reading, and raise money at the same time.

Online Crowdfunding

It’s incredibly easy to set up an online crowdfunding event for your school group. Crowdfunding resources have become increasingly popular over the last several years due to their ease of use and effectiveness. Once the event is set up online, students simply need to promote it via social media posts, emails, and text messages to encourage others to donate.

The best part about crowdfunding is that practically any group or organization can set up a campaign and start raising money right away. This method is particularly popular with sports team, as basketball fundraisers and other team fundraisers can be arranged in a matter of minutes.

Vertical Raise provides an online fundraising system that will help you raise more money in less time, so what are you waiting for? This low-cost solution is ideal for all different types of school groups—including yours!

Low-Cost Fundraising Ideas for School Groups