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Fall is an excellent time to turbo-charge your school fundraising. The school year is still fresh, and so is enthusiasm among students and families. Plus, with the mild weather of autumn, you can take advantage of outdoor school fundraising ideas before it gets too cold. And there are plenty of awesome holidays in the fall to inspire your fundraising with fun seasonal themes.

So, without further ado, we present the best school fundraisers for fall! (Note many of these outdoor school fundraising ideas can be adapted to an indoor setting in case of bad weather.)

The Best School Fundraising Ideas for Fall outdoor school fundraising ideas

 

General School Fundraising Ideas

1. Bake Sale

Effort: Low

Cost: Low

Potential profit: Medium-high 

Grade levels: Elementary school, middle school, high school

You can’t go wrong with a bake sale. This tried-and-true school fundraiser is great for any season, but it’s certainly more pleasant to crank up the oven when it’s cool outside. Plus, fall brings the opportunity for a range of delicious seasonal goodies featuring pumpkin, apples, and more. Encourage participants to bring their best pumpkin bread and apple pies.

Tip: Sell seasonal refreshments that donors can enjoy with their baked goods like hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and yes - even pumpkin spice lattes!

2. Pajama Day

Effort: Low

Cost: Low

Potential profit: Medium

Grade levels: Elementary school

This low-effort fundraiser works by inviting donors to sponsor students for the privilege of wearing their pajamas to school for a day. Teachers and administration can participate too - all they have to do is donate! Include plenty of sleepover-themed activities throughout the day, such as drinking hot chocolate, cuddling up with a blanket and a good book or movie, and more.

Tip: This is a fundraiser that can easily be paired with a read-a-thon (see below).

3. Read-A-Thon

Effort: Low

Cost: Low

Potential profit: High

Grade levels: Elementary school, middle school, high school

What’s better than raising money for your school? Raising money while helping students develop a love of reading! With a read-a-thon, donors pledge a certain amount of money per book or pages read by participating students. This is a great fall fundraiser because it can be held inside on a cold day and helps kids kick-start their enthusiasm for books when the school year is still fresh.

Tip: The great thing about a read-a-thon is you can boost profits by auctioning off the latest book series kids are excited about, or hold a raffle with prizes such as new books, kindles, reading lights, bookmarks, and more. You can also sell snacks and drinks like cookies, crackers, fruit, and hot chocolate.

4. Dance Marathon

Effort: Low

Cost: Low

Potential profit: High

Grade levels: Elementary school, middle school

Dancing is one of the healthiest activities for your mind and your body. It’s also a great way to raise money, especially once it starts getting cooler outside! Open up your school cafeteria or gym and invite students to come dance the night away - and earn some cash for your school! You can rent sound equipment and lighting to make this event a real party. You can even add fall-themed decor, like hay bales and pumpkins. Make it a costume party if it’s near Halloween!

Tip: Put a twist on your dance-a-thon by adding Boosterthon’s DanceFit to your event. Developed in partnership with the popular game Just Dance, Dance Fit incorporates high energy music and a super fun dance routine into your event. You also get access to the MyBooster platform, making tracking and collecting donations even smoother.

5. Chili Cook Off

Effort: Medium

Cost: Low

Potential profit: Variable

Grade levels: Elementary school, middle school, high school

The weather’s getting colder, and that means it’s time to warm up with a bowl of chili. Invite your school community to partake by holding a chili cook off! 

This is the perfect fall school fundraiser for so many reasons. Not only do community members get to show off their cooking skills and guests get to eat some delicious chili, but you’ll raise money for your school in a super fun way that lets everyone indulge in some friendly competition. 

Sell event tickets for a chance to attend and test the chili, and remember to sell refreshments and desserts as well. It’s not a bad idea to make it a party with music and games too! Bobbing for apples, anyone?

Tip: Encourage participants to try their hand at vegetarian chili so that all dietary needs are met at the event.

6. Fall Pep Rally

Effort: Medium

Cost: Low

Potential profit: Variable

Grade levels: High school

Pep rallies are a staple in school culture. Why not turn your pep rally into a fundraiser? Open up your gym or football field to the whole school community and spread school spirit. Sell admission tickets to attend. 

For added profit, open the concession stand, give the cheer squad, dance team, and marching band a spotlight to show off their talents. Most importantly, take this opportunity to sell school spirit gear like t-shirts, hoodies, decals, drawstring bags, and anything else that will help students and parents show their school pride.

Tip: Raffle off exciting, fall-tastic prizes like a Thanksgiving turkey, admission to a Halloween event, or a gift card to a local business. This is a great way to maximize profits!

Outdoor School Fundraising Ideas

7. Fun Run

Effort: Medium

Cost: Low

Potential profit: High

Grade levels: Elementary school, middle school, high school

A fun run is a classic, reliable fundraiser for any time of year. Donors pledge to donate a certain amount of money per the distance run by participants. All you need for this outdoor school fundraising idea is space and school spirit! Use your school track or work with local officials to block out a track in your town or nearby nature trail. This is a great way to encourage students, family members, and community members to get outside and get their blood pumping while raising money for a great cause.

Tip: Want to take your fitness fundraiser up a notch? Have participants wear custom shirts sponsored by local businesses to show their school spirit and community support as they run for fun(ds)!

8. Fall Fest

Effort: Medium

Cost: Medium

Potential profit: Variable

Grade levels: Elementary school, middle school, high school

Fall fest is a wonderful  family-friendly fundraiser for your school! Set up tents and tables on your football field or school parking lot, sell admission tickets, and offer autumn drinks like apple cider, pumpkin spice lattes, and root beer, as well as snacks and sweets.

Tip: Hire a DJ or tap student talent to make sure guests are entertained with music throughout the night! Though fall officially kicks off in late September, this outdoor school fundraising idea can take place in September, October, or even November, depending on the weather patterns in your area. 

9. Tailgate Party

Effort: Medium

Cost: Medium

Potential profit: High

Grade levels: High school

Fall means football season, and football season means tailgate parties! Tailgate parties are great for drumming up school spirit, but why not kill two birds with one stone by also using your event to raise funds for your school? Open up your parking lot and sell admission tickets to the tailgate party of the year. Set up tents, have fun yard games, and serve great snacks, drinks, and maybe even burgers if you’re feeling ambitious. 

Tip:  Partner with community members or local businesses to sell scrumptious refreshments that will keep guests satisfied as they await the kick-off of the year!

Holiday School Fundraising Ideas

10. Haunted House

Effort: Medium

Cost: Low

Potential profit: Medium-high

Grade levels: Elementary school, middle school, high school

There’s only one time of year when it’s appropriate to scare the socks off your friends and neighbors - Halloween! It’s spooky season, so give the people what they want with a haunted house fundraiser. Set up some frights, then sell admission tickets to those who dare to enter!

Tip: Tap the theater department to spearhead your haunted house. They’ll no-doubt have the talent, costumes, and props to take your spooky school fundraiser to the next level.

11. Costume Contest

Effort: Low

Cost: Low

Potential profit: Medium

Grade levels: Elementary school, middle school, high school

A costume contest is a super easy, flexible school fundraising idea that can be easily added to another event, like a fall pep rally or dance marathon. To maximize profits, have participants ask donors to sponsor them for the privilege of entering the costume contest.

Tip: Give the contest a theme so participants have some guidance for their costumes!

13. Pumpkin Carving Contest

Effort: Medium

Cost: Low

Potential profit: Medium

Grade levels: Elementary school, middle school, high school

This is another school fundraising idea that is a great addition to other fundraiser events, such as pep rallies, tailgate parties, or school carnivals. Raise funds by selling pumpkins to participants, who will then show off their pumpkin-carving talents to create the spookiest pumpkin of all!

Tip: After the event, feature all the jack-o-lanterns somewhere prominent on your campus to show off your school’s talent!

13. Sell Pumpkins

Effort: Low

Cost: Medium

Potential profit: Medium-High

Grade levels: Elementary school, middle school, high school

If there’s a local pumpkin supplier you can partner with, selling pumpkins is a fantastic fall fundraiser that’s easy for schools and great for the community. You might even be able to acquire donated pumpkins if you ask nicely!

Tip: Selling pumpkins is a great fall fundraiser on its own, but if you host a fall event such as a tailgate party, dance marathon, haunted house, etc., advertise your pumpkin sale at the event!

14. Turkey Trot

Effort: Medium

Cost: Low

Potential profit: High

Grade levels: Elementary school, middle school, high school

What’s better than a walk-a-thon? A turkey trot! This has become one of the most popular and reliable fundraisers for all kinds of organizations across the country, including schools! Usually held on Thanksgiving day, turkey trots are popular because they let participants burn some calories and work up an appetite before indulging in a delicious holiday meal with family and loved ones.

Tip: Pair your turkey trot with a shoe drive or can-a-thon (see below) to really lean into the spirit of giving back and use a software like MyBooster to make donation collection a breeze. 

15. Can-a-Thon

Effort: Low 

Cost: Low

Profit: Medium

Grade level: Elementary school, middle school, high school

There’s no better fall fundraiser than a can-a-thon. This variation on a food drive is the perfect way to raise funds for your school while giving back to the community. Students, parents, friends, or family members can pledge a certain amount per can - from 1 cent to $1 or more. Once the cans are added up, the donations are tallied and collected, and the cans are passed on to a local charity or families in need!

Tip: To incentivize participation, provide donors with raffle tickets and raffle off a free Thanksgiving turkey or pumpkin pie.

Ready, set, fundraise!

Fall is an exciting time of year, packed with fun holidays, good food, and excitement for the school year. Take advantage of the season’s high spirits with these outdoor school fundraising ideas. You’ll create an amazing fundraiser to remember!

Want an extra hand with your outdoor school fundraising ideas? Booster is here to help! Learn about fundraising with Booster today.

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