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Nonfood Fundraising Ideas
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Non Food Based Fund Raising Ideas

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1.  Shopping Donation Programs

If your school has only one volunteer to organize fundraising, this is the place to start. Check out the links
below and sign your school up for all of them. These programs require participants to sign up, but most
can be done online. Once registered, a donation is automatically made to the school every time the
participant shops. There is no added cost to the participant; the donation is paid entirely by the merchant.
Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers can all support the school at no cost to themselves by
registering with these programs.
? Escrip: Supporters register grocery loyalty (like Safeway), debit and credit cards, and
participating merchants will make contributions to your chosen group, based on purchases made.
Paperwork-free, the purchases are tracked and available online. Sign up at
? Albertson’s Community Partners; school or PTA must join the CP Program. Supporters
indicate which organization they support when applying for Preferred Savings Card (or
retroactively). A percentage of sales go to the school. On-line tracking available. Info at
? Schoolpop; register at this site and your school will automatically get a donation every time you
shop at hundreds of online merchants, like L.L. Bean, Barnes & Noble, Expedia, Kmart, Macy’s,
Nordstrom; works for many catalogs and stores too (
? Target; the target school Fundraising Program makes a donation to your school every time you
shop with a Target Visa or Guest card (
? Office Depot; sign your school up for the “5% Back to Schools” program, and families who buy
their back to school supplies at Office Depot can simply give the name of the school to the cashier
and 5% of their purchase price will be rebated to the school
? For more information on fundraising using the Internet, including setting up your own website or your
own online shopping mall, visit
Corporate Donations
Many corporations, such as Boise (OfficeMax), Levi Strauss, Charles Schwab, Starbucks, Macy’s, Radio
Shack, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America will match employee contributions to schools. Some companies,
such as The Gap and Starbucks, will make a cash donation to a school for volunteer hours worked by a
parent. Remind parents to check with their employer to see if such benefits are available.

2.  Benefit Events

Some stores and restaurants will allow your school to sponsor a day or evening benefit. The school
publicizes the event and distributes flyers; customers bring the flyer with them and a portion of their
purchase is donated to the school. Try Borders for book shopping, or Chevy’s or Fresh Choice for dinner.


Macy’s hosts Benefit Shopping Days; schools participate by selling tickets that give customers a
discount on Macy's purchases during the event. Schools keep 100% of their ticket sale proceeds
and get an additional donation through in-store ticket redemption. For more information, please
call Macy’s Community Relations Hotline:1-800-287-7426
Many stores sell scrip; these are gift certificates which your school can buy at a reduced price (usually
about 8-10% off face value) and then resell at full face value. Stores which sell scrip include Macy’s, JC
Penney, Mervyn’s, Payless Shoe Source, Fresh Choice, Good Life Grocery, and Rainbow Grocery.


3.  Things to sell appropriate for all ages.

? Auction, live or silent, of donated goods and services; popular items for elementary school
auctions include field trip for 3 or 4 children to the zoo, or a tide pool, or a nature hike, led by a
favorite teacher; the opportunity for a child to be Principal for a Day (2 hours plus lunch with the
Principal is usually enough for most kids); for adults, seats at a 12-person dinner party hosted by a
school family and featuring an elaborate menu
? Balloon bouquets for special occasions (birthdays, Valentine’s Day)
? Bead jewelry and accessories in school colors
? Book sale, especially used books donated by students and resold for $1 each (also CD’s, videos,
? Candles
? Car wash; tickets good for a wash can be sold in advance; may be held on the playground at
? Earthquake kits; among the most useful items are a manual can opener, matches in a waterproof
container, a utility knife, and a gas shutoff wrench. Can also include light sticks, 4x4 inch gauze
pads, adhesive tape, “space blanket” (to retain body heat), flashlight, and a fire extinguisher (ABC
?Emergency kits for cars
? First aid kits
? Flowers or plants, especially for holidays such as Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day
? Glow in the dark novelties (necklaces, earring, tumblers, etc.); these are incredibly popular at
high school dances
? Graduation Day sale of flowers, balloons, stuffed animals, for families to buy on the spot to give
to grads
? “No Bake” Bake Sale (from the Reach Every Child/Horace Mann web site, by Alan Haskvitz)
“My favorite fundraiser is the No Bake Sale - Bake Sale. It is easy, all profit, and the parents
appreciate it. First, create a list of baked goods and complete cards with the item names and
prices, for example, "Carrot Cake, $5." The parent selects this baked item NOT to make and
sends $5 instead. You respond with a note thanking them for the carrot cake. Offer a variety of
baked goods from "First Marriage Wedding Cakes" to "Crestfallen Angel Food Cake." The
students can name the items and research how much they would cost to make, so it is educational
as well.
“Send the list home and have parents decide what not to make. You can also send the list to
others in the community. Obviously, it is all pure profit and pure fun, especially the "Oops I
Burned the Turnovers" which usually go for $10 and the $15 pan of "Brown Knees."
“And the best part is, think how many calories aren't consumed!”
This is a wonderful site and has links to many other fundraising ideas
? Raffle
? School spirit items – tee shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, lanyards, pennants all printed with the
school logo
? School supplies - spiral notebooks, assignment pads, pencils, pens, calculators with school name
and logo or just in interesting designs
? Student artwork
? Stuffed animals
? Teacher gift shop; set up before the winter holidays and during the last weeks of school, as
parents are shopping for teacher gifts. Could sell typical gifts such as candles, soap, note cards,
picture frames, gift certificates from bookstores or supermarkets (especially if bought at a
discount and sold at a small markup), bookmarks or book covers, bud vases, pretty mugs filled
with fancy tea bags, scarves, mufflers, gloves, book lights, travel coffee mugs, disposable
cameras, Macy’s scrip
Appropriate for elementary school
? Calendars, especially designed by students
? Ceramic tiles, hand painted by kids and parents, for a wall or walkway in your school
Similar idea with bricks (could also be done with stepping stones)
? Cookbook, featuring favorite recipes of school families and staff members
This can be done without using an outside company by soliciting recipes, especially of ethnic
recipes, from families; typing them up and copying the pages, then collating and binding using
binding combs (available at office supply stores); students could also illustrate their family’s recipe
? Educational games
? Greeting cards, especially designed by students
? Holiday decorations
? Kid-oriented natural hair care products
? Party bags for kids’ birthday parties; filled with an assortment of novelties (bouncy balls, glitter
pens, fancy erasers, toy cars or plastic jewelry, puzzle books, glow in the dark novelties, mini
beanies, tiny flashlights); saves time and effort for party-planning parents; novelties can be bought
in bulk
? School mascot temporary tattoos
? School photo ID
Appropriate for middle/high school
? Birthday, Valentine’s Day, or Congratulations message delivery; students deliver a message to
the recipient for a fee
? Bottled water with the school’s own label
? Refillable water bottle with school logo
? SAT practice test; many test prep companies contact high school administrators trying to sell
their test-preparation courses to students. Some will provide a free administration of an SAT
practice test; school sponsors the test, advertises it to students, and sells tickets to take the test
(around $20, or whatever the market will bear.) Students take the test and receive their scores
within a few days from the company, which also offers guidance on how to interpret the scores.
Students are then free to make an arrangement with the test company to enroll in the test prep
course, or simply to walk away with no obligation. Test prep companies vary in their policies, so
it would be wise to talk to several to see which offers the most information to students before
making them commit to enrolling in the course.
? Stadium cup, pompoms, megaphone, foam spirit hand or paw, imprinted with school name
? Stadium pillows
Walkathons and other “thons”
Walkathons have become popular fund raisers and are a good alternative to food, as they
encourage more exercise. Students solicit sponsors to pledge a certain amount per lap for each lap
they walk on a set course; those most likely to make a pledge include parents, garndparents,
siblings, other family members, neighbors. This can be done on a track, or laps around a sports
field. Laps are recorded for each participant and the sponsors are billed for their pledge.
Participants can also solicit a flat donation pledge (set amount not based on the number of laps
completed.) Some schools raise additional money by selling a colorful tee shirt designed by
students which promotes the event. Variations: bike-athon, skate-athon, jogathon, jumpropeathon.
Other “thons”, all based on the idea that participating students solicit pledges for each unit they
accomplish, include:
? Mathathon; students are given a math test with a set number of problems (say, 20). Pledges are
collected for each problem correctly solved. Even kindergartners can compete, writing numbers in
correct order from 1-20. Older students solve algebra or geometry problems.
? The same idea can be adapted to a geography or science format
? Spellathon; hybrid of a spelling bee and a thon; pledges collected for every word correctly
spelled; optional bonus pledge collected if student wins the bee
? Readathon; pledges collected for every book (or amount of pages) a student reads in a set time
(say, a month).
For more "thons". Check out this site:
? Faculty Follies talent show; afternoon performance with cheap tickets for students; evening
performance with higher-price tickets for parents and friends of the faculty
? Carnival; an oldie but goodie, featuring games of chance, refreshments, performance by the
school music group, face painting, bouncy house, etc.
? Teacher/student sports competition - basketball game, baseball, softball, whatever. Tickets sold
to watch the kids defeat the teachers (or vice versa).
? Dance for adults; a twist on the typical school dance. The students run this one for the parents
and teachers. Student jazz band provides the music; students sell refreshments; students
chaperone (no “inappropriate” dancing by parents, please!). Students can also sell corsages and
set up a photo station for parents to have their portraits taken for an additional fee
? Magic show; hire a professional and sell tickets, or have students and faculty perform
? A hybrid “thon” and entertainment event is the dance marathon, in which participants pay to
enter and a prize is given to the participant who is able to dance nonstop for the longest amount
of time. The last one left dancing wins. This could also be done with aerobics.
? Adult spelling bee; just like the kid version, but this time it is the parents, teachers, coaches, and
principal who are competing, while kids run the show and sell the tickets

More lists of fund raising ideas are available at: