Incredible PTA Fundraising Ideas (For Savvy Schools) school fundraiser ideas

Every school year, the PTA faces a challenge: raising enough money to enhance their students’ education.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and repeat the same idea over and over again. But doing so can leave money on the table as students, teachers, and parents grow tired of old fundraisers. That’s why we’re bringing you 9 fresh fundraising ideas that can help you take your PTA fundraiser to the next level:

Let’s get started with our all-time favorite PTA fundraising idea — school auctions!

1. School auctions

The Basics:

A school auction is a great way to engage parents, students, teachers, and community members.

Auction items can incentivize people to attend your event in the hopes of scoring a fabulous item. Of course, your school will need to offer up items that people will want to bid on. school fundraiser ideas

Your school can gather auction items by:

  • Creating a procurement team, who asks their extended networks directly for donations.
  • Seeking in-kind donations from corporate sponsors or local businesses.
  • Having each classroom create or compile their own auction items, such as themed baskets or artwork.

You can use a combination of these strategies to create the best possible spread and rake in donations from eager bidders!

How it works:

Though there are several different formats that a charity auction can take, silent auctions are the most common choices for schools.

Schools are community-based organizations with families of various socioeconomic backgrounds. Since bidding is anonymous in a silent auction, people may feel more comfortable participating (whereas they might be put off by having to showcase their wealth at a live auction).

In a silent auction, bidders either write down their bids on sheets of paper next to each item, or they can use mobile bidding software. Mobile bidding software allows attendees to bid right from their smartphones. They can even receive notifications when they’ve been outbid, so that they can stay on top of their choice items.

No matter which format you choose, using charity auction software can help you plan and execute your event.

Why we recommend it:

Auctions are an excellent type of fundraising event because the people who donate get something in return. In other words, auctions have a built-in incentive for donating. Plus, with school auctions, thanks to your school’s vast network, you’ll be well-positioned to acquire some superb auction items.

Who can help you?

OneCause provides solutions for school auctions with auction and event planning and mobile bidding software.

With OneCause, it’s easy to implement mobile bidding and create a branded auction site.

2. Matching gifts

The Basics:

No matter how you decide to raise funds for your school, you can easily double your donors’ gifts with matching gifts.

Matching gifts occur when an employer matches the donation of an employee. Matching gifts are usually given on a 1:1 ratio, but some can go even higher.

It’s up to the donor to apply for a matching gift from his or her company — but first, the donor has to be aware of the opportunity.

How it works:

This strategy should be targeted directly to parents.

Send students home with matching gift information during your next fundraiser. You can use fliers and letters to explain how matching gifts work.

Plus, you can incorporate matching gifts more readily into your school’s website. If you have an online donation form, consider including a matching gift tool so that donors can easily determine the eligibility of their gifts.

Why we recommend it:

We recommend seeking matching gifts because they’re vastly underutilized and yet have plenty of untapped potential. Think of how much better of your fundraising would be if even 1/10 of the donations to your school were doubled. That would make a huge difference in your year-end numbers and boost the results of all your other school fundraising ideas.

Who can help you?

Double the Donation and 360MatchPro (its larger, more comprehensive matching gift solution) both provide matching gift tools that can help your PTA fundraiser succeed.

Matching gift tools can be integrated into your school’s website. Donors simply have to type their employers’ names into the matching gift search bar, and Double the Donation will provide them with complete information on the eligibility of their gift as well as the steps they need to take to make it happen.

3. Raffles and penny socials

The Basics:

If a charity auction is out of your (or your donors’) price range, consider hosting a raffle or penny social instead.

Let’s go over the basics:


There are many different ways to host a raffle, but in general, donors purchase sheets of raffle tickets for the chance of winning a prize. The more tickets they buy, the greater their chances of winning!

Raffles work great during other fundraising events (like peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns) to keep people engaged and interested in learning more about your cause. As a result, you may need the assistance of event fundraising software to manage both a raffle and fundraising event.


A penny social is an auction and raffle combo. Donors purchase raffle tickets and place them in bowls next to each item. An emcee draws a single ticket from each bowl, and the winner receives the prize! The more tickets a donor purchases, the better their chances of winning.

Since raffle tickets can be sold for a low cost, these ideas can open up your fundraising event to more people. Both students and parents can participate in penny socials and raffles!

Alternatively, you can use mobile bidding software for virtual raffle tickets.

How it works:

Raffles are a bit more versatile than penny socials.

They can follow several formats, including:

  • Balloon raffle. Balloon raffles are just like an ordinary raffle, but each ticket is placed inside a balloon. Donors will have a lot of fun popping their balloons to see if they’ve won!
  • 50/50 raffle. In this raffle, the winning donor will receive half the amount of funds raised. So, if you raise $1,000, they’ll earn $500. Donors will quickly realize that the prize increases with each donation. Plus, your school is guaranteed to make a profit!
  • Straw draw. Students and teachers pay $1 to draw a straw. Each straw has a hidden reward attached to it, such as a homework pass, a free pencil, or the chance to be principal for a day. Make your best prizes scarce, and students may buy more straws to uncover your most valuable offerings.

Any one of these ideas can work well for your school!

For penny socials, as with silent auctions, the most important consideration will be gathering your items.

Package smaller items together to create prize baskets. Each basket can be themed. For example, gourmet popcorn, DVDs, candy, and a fleece blanket could be combined to make a movie-themed basket!

Why we recommend them:

Both of these options are particularly suited to school fundraising because they appeal to parents and students alike. There are few fundraisers that the kids can get involved in, but penny socials and raffles break that mold.

Who can help you?

OneCause offers virtual raffle tickets, which can streamline your event. After all, you won’t have to worry about purchasing rolls of tickets yourself, and guests won’t run the risk of losing their tickets or forgetting how many they’ve placed in each bowl.

Product Fundraising

The Basics:

Product fundraising is a popular fundraising idea for PTAs, PTOs, and other school groups to raise much-needed funds.

That’s because it offers a win-win solution for both fundraising groups and their supporters. When people contribute to a product fundraiser, they even receive a tangible benefit for themselves: whatever product you are selling.

A few favorites include branded merchandise (like travel mugs, flip flops, or face masks) or tasty snacks (like cookie dough, cotton candy, or chocolate bars).

How it works:

For most product fundraisers, you’ll collect pre-orders ahead of time. Then, you’ll submit your orders to a fundraising partner to create and distribute your items. This way, you don’t have to worry about managing inventory or shelling out upfront costs! The fundraising company might even charge a minimal wholesale price, allowing your school to retain the rest of your fundraising revenue.

Why we recommend it:

Product fundraisers are especially popular choices for school fundraising ideas because you already have a built-in group of eager fundraisers—your students—making it a top choice for a peer-to-peer campaign idea.

All you need to do is get a group of volunteer fundraisers who are willing to take on the role of sales people for your school. When they sell your products to their own family and friends, you can increase your fundraiser’s reach farther than you would be able to on your own.

Who can help you?

Working with a dedicated product fundraising company can simplify every aspect of the fundraising process. While there are certainly tons of fundraising companies to choose from, we recommend ABC Fundraising.

ABC Fundraising offers a wide range of available products to sell and even helps set your campaign up for success by providing your team with a custom-branded online web store and order-taking flyers.

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