Whether you’re attempting to raise money for your child’s playgroup, a kindergarten event, your child’s medical or educational expenses, or adoption fees, fundraising can be tough and exhausting. Sometimes, raising the needed funds just seems unattainable.
However, with a little bit of hard work and inspiration – you can reach your fundraising goals.
Getting kids involved with fundraising can help instill the values of hard work, gratitude, and generosity. But that doesn’t mean these fundraising ideas need to be boring for them!
There are plenty of effective and fun fundraising ideas out there that will encourage kids to get in the spirit of giving while still having a lot of fun running around and playing.
Who says a kids event can’t be both fun and profitable? Consider one of these
13 Fun Kids Fundraising Ideas:
1. Birthday Party Fundraising
Almost all kids enjoy birthdays and birthday parties, especially when they’re receiving gifts! Switch it around and throw a birthday bash that gives the kids the gift of giving.
Choose a cause to support – whether it’s a hands-on local project or raising money for a specific organization. Invite family and friends to come to the birthday party with a donation in lieu of a gift (described on the invitation), and have fun making a difference!
Guests could also have the opportunity to leave a birthday message in person or on a dedicated donation form and make a donation.
Decorate the party space with design elements that reflect the chosen nonprofit. For instance, if the chosen cause is wildlife protection, fill the space with greenery and photos of animals, have someone paint panda faces on kids, give out T-shirts with the organization’s logo, and serve a healthy, plant-based meal.
A simple twist on birthday gifts can help benefit those in need. Consider wording an invitation such as, “[Our child] or [The children in our kindergarten] feel so fortunate that they want to help others feel fortunate too.”
2. Mad Hatter Picnic
The Mad Hatter picnic is all about the details. Decorate with hand-sewn playing cards, rose bushes, over-sized vibrant flowers, beautiful mismatched crockery, vintage music and – of course – tea and scones.
Make sure to coordinate enough tables and/or folding tables and chairs for your expected attendees, plus a few extras.
Your picnic menu should include several main and a couple of side dishes, all kid-friendly. Make sure to consider all dietary preferences and allergens.
Make sure you have enough volunteers to serve and prepare food, as well as sell tickets and organize entertainment.
Organize fun activities (e.g. treasure hunt, musical toadstools, face painting, tea tasting, teacup decorating, hat making and croquet).
The Mad Hatter picnic is a phenomenal fundraising idea for the whole family since the theme can get both adults and kids involved.
3. Spelling Bee
Spelling bees are kids fundraising classics – and for a good reason. They are a fun day of competition, and other than some marketing efforts, they are very profitable fundraisers that require very little work. All you need to find are spellers for your competition and an appropriate space/location.
Most kids spelling bees will see them compete as individuals. Every participant is asked to spell a different word. They might call out their answers or write them on boards.
Rounds usually get progressively harder. You could also theme rounds or the whole spelling bee (e.g. music, space, science, animals, etc.)
Keep the kids in the competition as long as possible. However, ultimately the kids will start making mistakes, one by one until a clear winner is left.
Pro tip: Find an entertaining spelling bee master to keep the crowd engaged and laughing. Consider having short acts in between the rounds (e.g. acting, singing, dancing).
4. Field Day
Design a fun-filled day of age-appropriate competitions for kids, and watch the donations pour in.
Here are a couple of field games you could consider:
– Sack race: Each contestant gets a sack and lines up at the starting line. The fun starts when each contestant takes off, taking steps short enough to fit inside the sack without falling. Those who fall get right back up and try to catch the other contestants.
– Egg race: Give each child a plastic or hardboiled egg and a spoon. Have the kids walk or run from one point to another holding the spoon with the egg balanced on it. The winner is the first one to get to the end point without dropping the egg. Or dropping the egg the fewest times.
– Red Rover: Two teams line up opposite each other, no more than 30 feet apart. The first team agrees to call one player from the opposite team, and chants, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (player’s name) on over!” The person called runs to the other line and attempts to break the chain (formed by the linking of hands). If the person called fails to break the chain, this player joins the team that called Red Rover. But, if the player successfully breaks the chain, he may capture either of the two players whose link was broken by the dash and bring them back to his original team
Like with most other sports fundraisers, raise funds by selling admission tickets for kids to join in the field day, either individually or in teams.
Pro tip: Set up a refreshment and snack stand. Refreshments are a great way to make some extra money with water, juices, cookies and baked goods, or even sandwiches.
5. Talent Show
A talent show lets kids express their non‐academic talents and interests, all while they’re having a lot of fun with their peers.
Recruit willing performers, and once you have secured a line-up of performers, advertise the show in your local area.
Find an appropriate venue and think about setting up a concession stand. Consider scheduling time for a brief intermission during the show so that visitors can visit the concession stand and not miss any of the show.
Stagger your performers so that all the musicians, singers, and dancers are evenly distributed throughout the show.
To turn your talent show into a fundraiser, you can sell tickets (either at the door or ahead of time), sell t-shirts, bracelets, food, professional photographs of the performers, and more.
6. Face Painting
A face painting fundraiser is a simple and easy kids fundraising idea.
Face painting works best as an attachment to another fundraising event, like a picnic or a fair. It takes very little planning, and the items you’ll need to run this fundraiser are cheap and easy to source. You need a table and chairs, plates for the paint, makeup removing wipes, and paint and paint brushes.
You don’t have to have a professional artist at disposal – all you need is someone who is good with kids and happy to spend a day with them. Have the parents pay a fee in order for kids to have their face painted. Have some photos available of different face paint designs for your supporters to choose from (superheroes, patterns, animals, stars, hearts).
You might want to provide instant photos of the face painting for an additional dollar or two, so the kids and parents have a lasting memory to take home with them.
7. Water Balloon Fight
A water balloon fight fundraiser is a straightforward kids fundraising idea which guarantees success.
In addition to being fun for the kids, this is also a great summer fundraiser. Everyone appreciates the opportunity to cool down and have fun outside during a hot summer day.
To raise funds, you could charge a flat admission fee to join the fun or you could charge participants $1 for every water balloon.
For this event, you’ll need a location where water balloons won’t cause damage and you can easily clean up afterward (try a local park and make sure you get the official permission first); a few hundred balloons; the help of volunteers; containers to store the water balloons in.
On the day of the event, make sure you set up a booth where participants can register for the event.
Then, fill all the balloons with water and set up stations for drinking water, especially if your event is on a hot day. Blast good music and let the fun begin! Don’t forget to have the kids help with the clean-up later on!
Pro tip: There are many ways to super-boost this fundraiser in order to raise more money:
– Charge additional $ for a “sure shot” from just a few feet away;
– Charge additional $ for “target insurance” for people who don’t want to be targeted;
– Set up food booths – cold lemonade, watermelon, ice cream;
– Other games.
8. Pizza Night
Let’s face it, who doesn’t love pizza?
Visit a local pizza place and see if they’ll donate pizza-making ingredients and their space to you for a few hours.
Either organize a fun lunch for families, charging slightly more for the pizzas (profits going to a good cause) or organize a “make your own pizza” party.
Have small pizza dough shapes prepped, together with the tomato sauce and other typical pizza toppings (mushrooms, peppers, corn, onion, anchovies, cheese). Let the kids or families assemble their own pizzas and then have one of the restaurant’s staff members bake them in the pizza oven. Charge admission fees for families or kids to join this event.
9. Cupcake Decorating Party
Cupcake decorating is one of the most fun kids fundraising ideas out there, almost as fun as biting into the cupcakes later on!
To organize a Cupcake decorating party, send out the invites and promote the event well in advance. This will give parents enough time to plan around the family schedules. Suggest to parents that they dress their kids in clothes they won’t mind getting a little messy.
Buy or bake plain cupcakes and purchase cupcake decorating supplies (or have them donated by local bakeries and stores). Place the decorating supplies on tables together with plain and chilled cupcakes. Your supplies should include cupcake tips, flavoring oil for the frosting, food coloring, sprinkles, spoons, and other tools for kids to decorate with.
Choose a suitable location (e.g. a sunny patch of grass in a garden, a kindergarten or schoolyard), and set out tables and supplies for decorating.
You could also display the cupcakes at the end of your decorating event, and have people purchase them or award the best one. You can also set out jars in front of the eggs, and people can vote for their favorites with their spare change.
10. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are always fun, but especially when you’re a child! Channel the spirit of fun and adventure with a scavenger hunt fundraiser.
Promote the event online and offline, letting participants sign up to participate individually or in teams (recommended).
Plan the scavenger hunt route and triple check it’s appropriate and safe. Make sure that kids will be supervised by their parents or other adults at all times. Also, try to organize the scavenger hunt on a sunny day!
Have small items ready to serve as prizes for the winning teams. Kids will be more motivated to find everything on the list if they know there’s a prize waiting for them at the end.
After hours spent scavenging for items, your participants are going to be hungry and thirsty! Have refreshments ready for everyone afterward.
11. Pet Parade
Kids seem to have a natural love for animals, so this kids fundraising idea is sure to be a win!
Decide what kind of pet parade to organize i.e. will you include any pet, regardless of species or size? Or will it just be a dog show? Or a cat show? Then, source an appropriate location. Outside locations might be the most convenient, especially if dogs will be participating.
When organizing the pet parade, the most important thing to keep in mind is the animals’ safety and well-being. Bring supplies to clean after the pets and have plenty of food and water on hand!
Charge participants (and their pets) a small fee to enter the show, and then charge admission for those who want to attend. Have judges award in lots of different categories: Silliest Pet, Fastest Pet, Most Fashionable Pet, Sleepiest Pet, etc.
Alternatively, partner with a local shelter and organize a pet party at your local school or playground (or any other green and child-appropriate area). Have the shelter bring over adoptable dogs (and any social and calm cats). You could co-organize this fundraiser with the shelter. Since you both benefit from the fundraiser, it makes sense to join efforts in organizing it. As a part of the fundraiser, you could organize an interactive workshop which teaches children how to properly handle animals in order not to hurt them.
12. Clothes Drive
Hosting a fundraiser where you ask families to clean out their closets instead of their bank accounts is a welcome change!
Everyone has to clean out their closet from time to time, especially with kids outgrow clothes before they even wear them.
Promote the event through emails, flyers, posters, and word of mouth. The collection location for your drive could be anything from a yard to a garage – anything that will allow lots of people to come by and you to store boxes. Decide on collection days – you don’t want to limit potential donors to just one day – and your team will need at least a few days to sort through all the donations.
Involve the kids in the promoting and the sorting of the clothes. This fundraiser is both socially and environmentally friendly, it promotes awareness raising, it declutters homes and supports schools focussing on sustainability and waste reduction.
13. Teddy Tombola
For a simple and easy kids fundraising idea, organize a teddy bear raffle, either as a stand-alone event or as part of a fair.
A couple of weeks before your teddy tombola, ask for donations of clean soft toys, particularly new and unused. Many kids have unwanted toys just lying around!
Once you collect all the toys, go through the collection and make sure they are clean and safe. Then, for extra fun, name all the teddies (e.g. Lazy Luke, Happy Hopper, etc.). Write all the names on small pieces of paper twice. Pin one onto the teddy (you can use stickers or pins) and fold the other and place it in the tombola box/jar.
Kids pay to pull a ticket from the box and win the corresponding bear. Also, place some blank tickets in the box/jar.
When it comes to simple fundraising ideas for kids, a teddy tombola is hard to beat. It’s easy to put together and run, and it can bring in a surprising amount of donations.
Kids fundraisers need to be both creative and efficient. Our top picks can easily be adapted for any age or grade level.
Don’t forget to show how the funds will be used and why raising the money is important. Working towards a specific target also helps boost engagement and raises morale.
Finally, while most of the kids fundraising ideas we shared above are physical events, do not forget about the digital. Set up a modern, functional, mobile-optimized donation form to receive donations online.
Having an online donation process can help relieve some of the work. Check out Donorbox – a powerful donation software that easily integrates into your website and allows you to receive both one-time and recurring donations.