18 Fabulous Fall Fundraisers for Schools, Clubs, Teams, Anyone
Ideas & Tips for Volunteer Groups of Any Size
A successful fall fundraiser doesn’t just happen – parent leaders know this all too well. Detailed planning and organization, plus a dedicated crew of volunteers, are needed to raise the funds to support your group’s important goals and programs. Whether your volunteer group is big or small, we’ve got fresh and fab fall fundraising ideas to make this season your most profitable one yet!
As you’re choosing your fundraiser, factor in an honest assessment about the people power you expect to have from parent and student volunteers. If you have a lot of eager parents to support your efforts, you can plan a volunteer-intensive fundraiser such as those listed below. If your group has the same 10 people helping all the time and it’s difficult to get other parents to commit to pitching in, consider our list of Fundraisers for Smaller Volunteer Groups below. (Pro Tip: Regardless of your group size, SignUp boosts participation by making it easy to ask for help and easy for parents to sign up and pitch in. Automated reminders mean busy parents keep their commitments. Learn more here. )
Fundraisers for Larger Volunteer Groups
If you have enough volunteers to successfully host a bigger fall fundraising event, consider:
- Chili Cook Off: Host a chili cook off competition at the school or sports field. Ask participants to bring out their signature recipes and let attendees judge which ones are the best. To raise funds at the event, charge an admission fee and allow attendees to taste test and vote on their favorites. Host a prize ceremony at the end to recognize the favorites and crown the winner.
- Fall Carnival: This all-time favorite fundraiser takes an army of parent (and/or high school student) volunteers and is sure to build school-spirit, lasting memories, and meaningful profits! Check out everything you need for organizing your carnival including helpful tips, activity and booth ideas, free printable signs, and more.
- Fun Run / Walk: Great for promoting exercise and great for raising funds! Reach out to local businesses to secure sponsorships for your event and/or ask participants to find their own sponsors (i.e. crowdfund). You could make this a themed or costume event – think superhero run, zombie walk, or turkey trot.
- Pie Bake-Off: Embrace the fall frenzy for pumpkins, apples, and aromatic spices by hosting a pie bake-off. Collect a registration fee from each contest participant, and welcome supporters to savor the array of delectable treats for a small fee. Spice things up with a panel of local celebrity judges, and voilà – an exciting contest awaits! Consider auctioning or selling surplus pies to further boost your revenue.
- Pumpkin Patch: Use the fall season to your advantage and host a pumpkin patch fundraiser at the school baseball field, local park, or another community venue. Many pumpkin farms will provide pumpkins to you on consignment and you get to keep a portion of the proceeds. If you have a sufficient number of volunteers, consider these fun pumpkin patch fundraiser additions to pump up your event (and profits)!
- Schoolwide Garage Sale/Craft Sale: Sell parking spaces to families and local small businesses to bring their wares and also charge a small admission fee for community members to come and shop. (Vendors keep all the money for items they sell.) Ensure a healthy turnout and make it an 'event day' by arranging for a concession stand or food trucks (sharing proceeds) and having students perform during the event (think guitar band, choir, recorder group, dance troupe, drum line, etc.)
Fundraisers for Smaller Volunteer Groups
If you’re short on volunteers, consider simpler fundraising ideas like product sales, virtual fundraiser activities, and live events that don’t require more than 10-15 people to run things such as:
- Bonfire: A fundraising event perfect for chilly fall evenings! (Just be sure you check your local fire ordinances first.) Charge an admissions fee and/or sell hotdogs for roasting in the fire and s’more kits. Have attendees take turns telling scary stories and/or set up a game of flashlight tag a safe distance from the bonfire.
- Givebacks Virtual Fundraisers: With options like online auctions, raffles, and crowdfunding campaigns, it’s easier than ever to raise the much-needed funds for your cause with our friends at Givebacks (previously MemberHub) – all virtually and seamlessly.
- Movie Night on the Field: With donated equipment, host a viewing of Hocus Pocus, The Addams Family, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, or another family-friendly seasonal film – costumes optional. Rent the rights to the movie and then sell tickets to attend. Consider adding picnic dinner or pizza sales, a concession stand, or a MemberHub Raffle to boost profits.
- Pet Costume Contest: Use SignUp to gather participants and host a fun costume contest for pets. Charge a small entry fee to attend and ask the local pet store to donate prizes. Find a photographer for your event who will donate their services or a portion of their earnings to your cause.
- Product Sales: The most successful product fundraisers are for items that parents want to purchase – either for their own family, or as gifts. Think gourmet coffee, delicious chocolate from See’s Candies and frozen pastries from ButterBraid. Other successful items are home and garden basics such as mulch, bulbs, trash bags, light bulbs, mattresses (yes, mattresses), and sheet sets.
- Pumpkin Carving Contest: Host the contest in the school parking lot and charge an entry fee – set aside a portion of the proceeds as prize money for the selected winner.
- Punkin Chunkin Contest: Have contestants build their own catapults to launch their pumpkin or make it a contest of personal skill in which participants hurl their pumpkins to see who can throw it furthest. This post-Halloween fundraiser gives folks one more chance to have some fun with their seasonal pumpkin! (Pro Tip: Make it a fundraising trifecta by offering pumpkin sales at your patch early in October, hosting a pumpkin carving contest mid-month, and sponsoring a punkin chunkin contest in early November!)
- Rake-a-thon: This one is perfect for high-schoolers. Wrangle the team or club and go door-to-door (in pairs) and sign up neighbors to rake their yard for a suggested donation. On raking weekend(s), gather the crew with rakes, lawn bags and a truck for removal to beautify the neighborhood.
- Restaurant Fundraiser: Allow people to participate in your fundraiser at their convenience with a tried and true restaurant fundraiser. Check out these tips for hosting a profitable restaurant fundraiser .
- Tag Football Game: Host a faculty versus students tag football game and task the players with asking friends, colleagues, neighbors, and family to buy tickets to this special event. (Pro Tip: Pair with a concession stand fundraiser for maximum profits.)
- Tailgate at the "Big" High School Game: Sponsor a tailgating event for the football game against the big rival team. Charge a fee for special food (or sell food-truck tickets), and add fun games like corn hole, limbo, and football toss to get families of all ages excited and participating. You can also use this opportunity to sell school and team t-shirts, magnets, mugs, etc. (Pro Tip: If your high school streams the game, recruit technologically savvy helpers to hook up a television set and wifi to an electric generator so partygoers can watch the big game from the tailgating area.)
- Virtual Dares for Dough: Make a list of funny and bizarre tasks that school leaders, older students and parents will voluntarily do in exchange for donations. Use SignUp to have participants sign up for challenges they wish to complete. Then, using the MemberHub auction software to set a minimum price, have supporters bid on the dares. Will the 2nd grade teacher plank in the drop-off line, will the principal shave his head, will the coach wear a crazy wig for a day, will the student council race to eat a pudding cup with no hands? All dares are completed on the same day or designated time period.