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The beginning of each school year brings a special kind of excitement among students, teachers, and the community, and therefore comes with ample opportunities to hold some of the most well-attended and profitable fundraising events you’ll do all year long. So if you’re looking for back to school event ideas then you’re already on the right track for your school fundraiser this year.

In this blog, you’ll learn more about: 

What makes back-to-school events so special, and how are they different from those held during the rest of the school year? Here, we’ll dive into the advantages that come with holding fundraisers during this part of the year, and then provide a list of specific back to school event ideas you can use to boost profits year after year.

When done well, the right back to school event ideas should be able to:

Drum up school spirit

The beginning of the school year comes with unparalleled levels of school spirit. This is especially true among students in the lowest grade levels who have been looking forward to starting out in their brand new school, as well as those in the highest grade level (and their families) who are soaking up every bit of their last year! The right back to school event ideas will help increase this positive and contagious school spirit energy, setting the tone for the rest of the year!

Ride the “fall sports” wave

Similar to school spirit is the energy behind fall sports. After several months of no school sporting events, everyone is ready to get back into the swing of things! Even if you’re at an elementary school that doesn’t have a football, soccer, or other fall sport team, you can still join the fun by cheering for the local high school team, or even students’ favorite college teams! Back to school events that ride this wave will be sure to go far!

Locate volunteers for the rest of the year

Anyone who has been in charge of a fundraiser can tell you that it’s a small number of volunteers who make the biggest difference.

By asking for volunteers early in the school year, it becomes easier to pinpoint who will provide the best help for the remainder of the year’s events as well. Many times these volunteers will be parents of students who are either in their first year or in their last year as a student in the school building. Go ahead and get them signed up for future events to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Provide info for other events

Because back to school events are often the most well-attended events of the year, they are prime opportunities to provide information on other events that occur throughout the school year. Use your fundraiser as a way to spread communication and awareness throughout the community. This could be information regarding other fundraisers or general school events and needs.

Take advantage of the weather

Chances are, your school is in a geographical area that sees longer stretches of mild weather during the first few weeks of the school year. So take advantage of it, and plan a back to school event that takes place outside! (Just be sure to have a “Plan B” or rain date ready to go and advertise that information as well so everyone knows what to expect.)

Now that we’ve shown the advantages of hosting a fundraiser during the back to school season, your next thought might be, “Okay, great! But what are some specific events or fundraisers that my school could do?” Not to worry! We’ve come up with a list of some great back to school event ideas that are sure to be a hit, time and time again:

Sell School T-Shirts

T-shirts are a perfect way to promote your school spirit AND increase awareness within the community! 

Effort: Low

Age group: all ages

Tips for success: Include the school year (2022-2023) on the design for the t-shirt to increase sales. You could also hold a competition where students submit ideas for the design and vote for the one they like best! If it’s an elementary school, make sure to offer adult sizes as well and get the parents in on the school spirit action. 

Fall Festival

Everyone loves a good fall festival! This is the type of event that can easily become an annual favorite for students and teachers alike.

Effort: Medium to high

Age group: best for elementary 

Tips for success: Sell tickets ahead of time at a discount, and make sure there are plenty of events/games/booths to keep people around for a while! Ideas for events could include: face painting, cotton candy machine, cakewalk, 3-legged race, cornhole tournament, etc. Set up some decorated areas for photo opportunities to help everyone remember what a great time they had! Invite the local newspaper to come and take pictures and showcase your school.

Movie Night

A good movie night could be a stand-alone fundraising event, or part of a bigger event, such as a fall festival or open house.

Effort: low

Age group: elementary or middle school

Tips for success: Make the evening a themed event to go along with the movie, and have some activities for students to enjoy before the movie starts, such as buying bags of popcorn or getting their face painted. Find someone with a large screen and projector, or use a white sheet as a background. This back to school event idea can be held inside or outside.

Homecoming/Tailgate Event

Nothing brings a school community together quite like a homecoming/tailgating event! If your school has a parking lot, you already have everything you need for this event.

Effort: low to medium

Age group: middle or high school

Tips for success: Advertise the event to the general public and invite alumni to come and support the school! Sell hamburgers and drinks and have a table where people can purchase school swag such as t-shirts, koozies, and big foam fingers. Section off a portion of the school parking lot and invite people to come enjoy the festivities with their own lawn chairs and outdoor games!

Silent Auction

A silent auction is a great way to get local businesses involved in supporting your school! All you need is a group of volunteers to ask for donations, and then a space for those items to be on display!

Effort: low to medium

Age group: Any

Tips for success: Businesses will be more likely to donate if they know they’ll get some advertisement from it. Allow them to set up ad materials along with their donations, or thank them by listing the names over the speakers or in a newsletter. Also, keep the number of items for the auction at a premium to drive up bids…no more than one item for every 2-3 people. This type of fundraiser works best when used alongside another event such as an open house or fall festival.

Glow/Color Run

Glow/Color runs are a fantastic and fun way to encourage families to come together in a non-competitive way while also raising funds for your school!

Color runs can be held during the day, and glow runs can be held indoors or at night. 

Effort: medium to high

Age group: Any

Tips for success: Sell t-shirts specifically designed for the event. You could do white for a color run and neon colors for a glow run. For a glow run, provide glow sticks that participants can carry and/or wear. Also make sure to have some good running music ready to go, and have plenty of volunteers on-hand with water for the runners. Provide a photo-op area for participants to show off their colorful look! This is especially effective for a color run where before and after photos can show what an amazing event it was!

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time for everyone, with lots of avenues for growth and change. And these back to school event ideas provide some of the best opportunities to raise funds for your school! When done right, they can also build on things that are even more important such as positive community engagement, increased school spirit and wonderful memories each year for staff, students and their families. 

Need some help getting your back to school fundraiser going? Learn how Booster can help! 

The Ultimate School Fundraising Checklist

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