College Fundraising Ideas

By Staff Writers

Published on September 8, 2021

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Fundraising Ideas for College

When clubs and groups on campus need extra money, organizing a fundraiser or donation programs is a great way for them to get the cash they need. In this guide, readers will find a variety of ideas for fundraising events to help them reach their goals. Plus, there’s guidance on mistakes to avoid when planning fundraisers and resources that provide additional assistance.

Top 15 Effective Fundraising Tactics

To be successful, campus groups should choose a fundraising idea that fits the personality of the organization and piques the interest of the donor community. The following ideas are fun and effective for student groups and extracurriculars.

1.Crushing candiesThe popular game Candy Crush Saga can be addictive, and fundraisers can use this to host an all-night event where people play the game for a chance to win a prize. This event can raise money by charging an entry fee and selling food throughout the night to keep participants’ energy high.
2.TutoringMembers of an on-campus group can raise money by offering tutoring services to other students. Organizations should find out their members’ academic strengths and then leverage them as a fundraising tool by helping students who need support in a particular subject.
3.Bike ridingPlanning a bike-a-thon allows organizations to raise money while encouraging bike enthusiasts to get out and ride. People who participate in the event can get sponsors who will donate money to the group based on the number of miles completed. Also, the organization can present a trophy to the biker who brings in the most money.
4.Battling bandsA battle of the bands competition can help raise money while providing publicity for local indie bands. Organizations can assemble local bands for a concert and raise money through ticket sales. Not only does the audience get to enjoy a night of music, they can also vote for a winner at the end of the event.
5.Prime seatingIn the “best seat in the house” fundraising technique, organizations sell raffle tickets so the winner can get a prime seat for one of the school’s sporting events. After completing the raffle, the group sets up a sofa in a prime area to give the winner, along with a few friends, the best view of the game.
6.Movie screeningSecure a venue and hold a movie night fundraiser and collect the proceeds from ticket and concession sales. Also, it’s possible to create a makeshift drive-in theater at an outdoor location with a portable movie projector, screen and speakers.
7.Washing carsBy partnering with a local car wash, a group can hold a car washing event to raise money. Generally, in exchange for a percentage of the event’s proceeds, the car wash will supply the water and students can bring the hoses, buckets, sponges and towels.
8Car bashingTo organize a car bash, a group brings an old car from a junkyard on campus and has people take turns hitting it with a sledgehammer in exchange for a donation. The group should supply eye goggles and remove the car’s glass and gas tank to ensure participants are safe.
9.TV marathoningChoose a favorite series and host a marathon night, charging an entry fee for participants. To make it more fun for the audience, students can ask trivia questions or create a bingo game centered on recurring show one-liners.
10.Selling t-shirtsCampus organizations can raise money by designing custom t-shirts that show off what the group is all about. This allows them to make money on the shirts and gain more visibility for the group.
11.VolunteeringPartner with a local charity and arrange to volunteer for a certain number of hours based on the amount of money donated. Similarly, students can host a serve-a-thon, where they pick up trash and recycling around the community and ask for donations based on how many items are collected.
12.Baking goodsHold a bake sale by securing a location that has a good amount of foot traffic and promoting the event in advance. Also, if the event is planned close to a holiday, seasonal treats will be hard for passersby to resist. Students can buy ingredients like flour and sugar from bulk stores to save money.
13.Buying bricksFor campus groups that need to renovate their space, a buy-a-brick fundraiser can help them get the money they need. To do this, the group has people buy a brick in their building where they can add a personalized engraved message to it. This idea can also be used for sidewalks.
14.Going on the huntGroups that want to capitalize on the spirit of competition can organize a scavenger hunt. Sell tickets for the event and give participants a list of items to find around campus. Organizers can ask a local business to donate a gift card for the winner.
15.Throwing pitchesIn a pitch-a-thon, participants pay $1 for each chance to win a prize for pitching the fastest baseball.
Top 15 Effective Fundrasing Tactics

Dodge These Fundraising Mistakes

A student group can have a great idea for a fundraiser, but unless the organizers execute it properly, they won’t get the results they hope for. The following are some common fundraising mistakes that should be avoided.

Additional Fundraising Resources

10 Fundraising Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

10 Fundraising Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

Compiled by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, this page lists the mistakes that people make with fundraising and how they can be avoided.

131 Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits and Individuals

131 Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits and Individuals

This post from Fundly’s blog provides a variety of fundraising ideas and how they can be executed. Many of the ideas are low or no-cost, which makes them good options for student organizations that may not be in the position to spend a lot on fundraising.

Fundraising – National Council of Nonprofits

Fundraising – National Council of Nonprofits

The National Council of Nonprofits provides basic information that fundraisers need to be successful. This page includes tips on how to find donors, conduct fundraising activities ethically, find corporate sponsors and handle the taxes associated with raising money.

Fundraising Guide – Society for Nonprofits

Fundraising Guide – Society for Nonprofits

On this page, the Society for Nonprofits covers the basic information that fundraisers need to be successful in their efforts. It includes information on the different types of fundraising and the pros and cons associated with each of them, how to effectively raise funds for an organization and strategies for securing grant money.

Fundraising: Good Strategies, Best Practices, and Useful Resources

Fundraising: Good Strategies, Best Practices, and Useful Resources

This guide offers advice on how to raise funds effectively and provides additional resources.

Wise Giving Guide

Wise Giving Guide

These guides, published by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, provides fundraising info from the donors’ perspective. This can give fundraisers an understanding of what donors expect and how to avoid mistakes that will turn off potential donors.

Fundraising Success Guide

Fundraising Success Guide

This comprehensive guide provides advice on how to get the most out of fundraising efforts, find new donors, use email to connect with past and prospective donors, and structure a fundraising event. In addition, it includes case studies of organizations that have created successful fundraising campaigns and events.

7 Golden Rules for Nonprofit Fundraising Success

7 Golden Rules for Nonprofit Fundraising Success

Includes information on how to find and connect with potential donors and enjoyable fundraising ideas.

Best Practices for Fundraising Success

Best Practices for Fundraising Success

This report has information on peer-to-peer fundraising, using mobile devices to reach donors and incorporating social media influencers in fundraising outreach.

Fundraising Guide for Nonprofit Organizations

Fundraising Guide for Nonprofit Organizations

Provides advice on how to create a plan, identify and reach a target audience, set and meet goals, and promote a fundraiser. This guide also offers specific fundraising ideas and includes information on financial accountability.

17 Expert Nonprofit Fundraising Tips

17 Expert Nonprofit Fundraising Tips

On this page, professional fundraisers share their tips.

Fundraising Ideas for Organizations and Greek Life

Fundraising Ideas for Organizations and Greek Life

Compiled by Fairleigh Dickinson University, this report includes ideas that fraternities and sororities can use to raise funds, including athletic activities, festivals and raffles.

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AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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