12 Products to Sell For Your School's Seasonal Fundraiser
As a higher education fundraising professional, it can be a lot of pressure to constantly come up with new, innovative fundraising ideas for your school. Seasonal fundraisers are a great way to add variety and excite donors. When you host a seasonal fundraiser, you play into students’ and donors’ existing excitement for the upcoming season, leading to more engagement.
Plus, product fundraisers make seasonal fundraising easy. All you have to do is pick a season-relevant product to sell, and donors receive something tangible in return for their contributions. It’s a win-win!
To get you started, we’ll provide three ideas for each season for a total of 12 engaging fundraising ideas you can use throughout the year.
Fall Fundraising Ideas
Starting a new school year can be daunting, especially for freshmen. Besides the academic stressors of beginning college, many students stress about finding their footing socially.
With a pizza fundraiser, you can bring students together at the start of the year and help them forge lasting friendships. Work with a local pizza shop to provide pizza pies at a discounted rate. Then, you can sell them to students by the slice or by the pie and provide tables for them to enjoy their meal.
Alternatively, you can sell pizza at your back-to-school club fair to encourage students to attend. Let students grab a quick bite to eat while they check out all the extracurricular activities your school has to offer.
2. Care Packages
Many parents send their children care packages during their first semester of college to show that they miss them and provide some treats from back home. Make it easier for them to do so by hosting a care package fundraiser.
Have older students stuff boxes with items such as:
- School apparel
Then, set up a care package fundraising page on your website, and promote it on social media to spread the word to new students’ families.
One of the most exciting parts of the fall season for students is Halloween. Consider hosting a Halloween-themed movie night with spooky movies. That way, you can sell popcorn at the event for students to enjoy and earn money for your school.
Since popcorn can stay fresh for a long time, you can also include alumni in your popcorn fundraiser. Sell the popcorn online, and ship it to alumni so they can join in on the fall fun from anywhere.
Winter Fundraising Ideas
4. Cookie Dough
Who doesn’t want to enjoy a warm cookie fresh out of the oven during the colder months? ABC Fundraising recommends hosting a cookie dough fundraiser because they have a high earning potential and cater to different tastes with a variety of flavors.
Plus, this type of fundraiser can bring students together and provide an indoor activity to help them stay out of the cold. Students can use their dorm kitchens to bake the cookies together and even swap them in a holiday cookie exchange hosted by their resident advisors.
5. Wrapping Paper
Wrapping paper is a must during the holiday season, so you might as well allow your supporters to purchase it and give back to your school at the same time. Along with selling wrapping paper, eCardWidget’s Christmas fundraising guide recommends hosting gift-wrapping services to help donors wrap their gifts during the holiday season.
Students can volunteer to work the gift-wrapping station and sell the wrapping paper there as well. Then, you can invite members of the community to come to campus and get their gifts wrapped in exchange for a small donation.
Warm students’ and donors’ hearts with a candle fundraiser. To make this fundraiser even more suited to the holiday season, choose scents like peppermint, pine, and gingerbread.
This type of fundraiser presents a good opportunity to remind donors of matching gift opportunities at year-end. Send alumni and other supporters an email notifying them of your candle fundraiser. Include a short paragraph that thanks them for their contributions throughout the year and reminds them to submit any lingering matching gift requests before the year wraps up.
Spring Fundraising Ideas
7. Flower Bulbs
Nothing screams spring like flowers! Have environmental clubs on campus host a flower bulb fundraiser. That way, they can give students tips on how to keep their new plants healthy throughout the season.
Parents and alumni with gardens may be enticed to participate as well. Let them know about your fundraiser in your newsletter, detailing how they can order the bulbs online or pick them up on campus if they’re local.
8. Cotton Candy
Bring everyone together before the school year ends with a spring carnival! Allow student groups to run booths, and offer games and food for everyone to enjoy.
Then, top it all off with a cotton candy fundraiser! You’ll transport students back to their childhood with this nostalgic snack and earn a ton of funds for your school.
9. Gourmet Coffee
When the end of the school year looms close, students start stressing about finals. Late library sessions become the norm, and some will pull all-nighters in hopes of acing their final assessments.
For many students, coffee is a must, especially during this busy time. Help them fuel up for finals with a gourmet coffee fundraiser. You can also sell and ship coffee bags to alumni, allowing them to reminisce about the woes of college finals.
Summer Fundraising Ideas
Remind students and alumni of their alma mater during summer break by selling branded flip-flops. That way, they can show off their school spirit at the beach or the pool all summer long!
Work with a product fundraiser provider that can find an apparel company best suited for your flip-flop fundraiser. For example, you may want to customize the flip-flops to your school's colors or add your logo, so you’ll need to work with a company that can cater to your needs.
A snack fundraiser is easy to pull off in the summer because you can ship snacks to alumni and students no matter where they may be. Consider selling snacks that can travel well in the heat, such as:
- Trail mix
Whether they choose to enjoy their snacks on a picnic, by the pool, or on the journey traveling back to school, a snack fundraiser is sure to please supporters of all ages.
12. Discount Cards
Gear up your students for back to school with discount cards that offer them savings at local restaurants and shops near campus. Then, you can sell the cards and put the funds toward programs that will benefit your school community.
Not only can these discount cards help your students save money, but they’ll also get them excited to return to campus and support their favorite local vendors.
While these suggestions should give you plenty of inspiration for your next seasonal product fundraiser, make sure to survey your students and alumni to collect data about which products they’d prefer to purchase. That way, you can ensure you have high participation rates and raise sufficient funds to support your school’s programming.
About the Author
Debbie Salat is the director of fundraising activities and product development at ABC Fundraising(r) - Debbie joined ABC Fundraising(r) in 2010 and is responsible for launching over 6500 fundraising campaigns for schools, churches, youth sports teams and non-profit organizations all across the USA. With over 20 years of fundraising experience, Debbie knows the path to success for fundraisers which she shares with groups on a daily basis so they can achieve their fundraising goals.
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