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PTA Fundraising Ideas Your School Community Will Love, beside students raising their hands in a classroom

10+ PTA Fundraising Ideas Your School Community Will Love

Your next PTA meeting comes up faster than you anticipated, and it's time to plan another engaging fundraiser for your school. But first, you have to decide: Should you stick with an old idea? Or should you try your hand at some new PTA fundraising ideas?

Refreshing your PTA fundraising strategy can re-energize your community, increase participation rates, and bring in more donations for your school. However, while there may be an abundance of interesting options to choose from, it can be challenging to figure out which ones are the best for your PTA to pursue.

To help you in your journey, we've compiled a list of the most popular PTA fundraiser ideas for you to explore. Let's get started!

Click through to sign up for a free Read-A-Thon fundraiser and start engaging your school community in this PTA fundraiser idea.

1. Read-A-Thon: The Best PTA Fundraising Idea

Read-A-Thons are highly effective fundraising campaigns that leave a lasting impact on students' lives beyond the funds you raise to improve their learning experiences. By hosting one of these no-cost fundraisers, your PTA can also instill a love of learning among students!

Students can engage in a friendly competition to see who can log the most reading minutes throughout your fundraiser while their family members make donations to support their efforts.

Reasons why Read-A-Thons are one of the top PTA fundraising ideas, as discussed in more detail below.

Some of the most notable reasons why Read-A-Thons are so popular include their:

  • Focus on reading. A nationwide survey found that nearly half (46%) of parents believe reading education has declined in recent generations. Through a Read-A-Thon, parents, grandparents, and other family members can encourage students to spend more time reading by supporting readers and your school through donations.
  • Digital tools. Read-A-Thon's platform comes with high-quality marketing materials and social media tools that allow you to spread the word about your PTA fundraiser to everyone in your community. We'll send digital and pre-printed flyers and posters to your school at no charge. Plus, you can view your whole school's fundraising progress at any time on a single dashboard.
  • Broad reach. Since Read-A-Thon collects all donations via a secure credit card payment processor, administrators won't have to worry about the pressure of handling the money. No matter where donors are located, they can easily make a gift to support students in their reading journeys.

It takes around just five minutes to sign up for a free Read-A-Thon fundraiser. With no contracts, hidden fees, or need for additional volunteers, you can get up and running with this PTA fundraiser with minimal effort.

How to Host a Successful Read-A-Thon

Read-A-Thon fundraisers are simple, quick to plan, and easy to get your students involved in. The process typically involves these basic steps:

  • Sign up for a free Read-A-Thon account. There is no need to worry about any upfront costs. Simply add a profile image and start exploring the extensive resources available on the platform.
  • Promote your Read-A-Thon fundraiser. Read-A-Thon comes with print, email, social media, and text tools and resources that your PTA can immediately use to spread awareness about your fundraiser. Plus, you can choose from an assortment of videos to present the idea to students and donors alike.
  • Measure your fundraising results. Your Read-A-Thon dashboard will provide real-time data on total donations earned, total minutes read by students, top readers, and top classes. Additionally, you can look up reader names to find more details about individual participants.
  • Receive your funds. At the end of your campaign, you'll receive 75%-80% of the funds raised. If you opt into using the Read-A-Thon prize store, we'll give each reader 15% of their own donations—which won't come out of your school's profit—to spend on toys, games, and books that we'll ship out at no extra cost.

To get an even better idea of how a Read-A-Thon works, check out our brief video summary:

Learn everything you need to know about the Read-A-Thon platform!

As the video highlights, you'll have access to Read-A-Thon's responsive support team at all times throughout your PTA fundraiser. Morrisville Elementary PTA, which raised $43,413 during one of their Read-A-Thons, shared that: “The ENTIRE Read-A-Thon team was supportive and constantly available to help us with any questions or issues that came up during our Read-A-Thon. We look forward to holding our third Read-A-Thon next year!”

Schedule a call with the Read-A-Thon team to learn how you can launch a Read-A-Thon, one of the top PTA fundraising ideas to support student learning.

2. Love My Library Book Fair

This is another way to earn money while promoting a love for reading and learning.

To start fundraising with Love My Library, all you need to do is sign up and create an online or hybrid book fair event. Then, your readers will create donation pages to send to family and friends to raise money.

Your school will get half of the donations earned, which you can either receive in cash or use to buy books from Love My Library's online store. Students will receive the other half of the donations, which they can spend on over 1,000 titles, toys, and games in the store! Sign up for free to kick off a virtual fundraiser that students, sponsors, and community members will be inspired by!

3. Drive-In Movie Night

Choose a free evening when the weather is nice and use the school parking lot to set up a projector so cars can park and watch movies. Have volunteers bring in speakers and a projector and set up booths for food. Before the event, pick a few family-friendly movies to play, and consider having your school community vote on their favorite.

To fundraise, charge admission and sell food and drinks. People can pay to play games before the movie as well.

A drive-in movie night is a fun night for the whole family and you get to raise money. There isn't much upfront cost for this one, but it can reap a lot of money with the right planning.

4. Fall Festival

Fall festivals always promise a good time, whether you're appealing to younger or middle school-aged students. These are scalable to location and the number of volunteers you have available.

Start by setting up booths to sell food and play games. From there, you can have as many different types of booths as you want. Have people buy tickets for different booths and ask volunteers to contribute prizes for raffles throughout the event to fundraise.

5. Gala Dinner

Organize a dinner for parents and community members with pomp and panache. Use the school cafeteria or a venue that someone has available, and have volunteers decorate it.

A spaghetti dinner is cheap and with some breadsticks can be made to look fancy. Have students act as servers and potentially perform in a talent show for dinner entertainment.

Charge admission for dinner, set up a donation jar, and consider running an auction or raffle to make the evening even more exciting. A fancy dinner and a show are something people will be standing in line for!

6. Auction

Everyone has clutter. Here's a chance to turn that clutter into cash! Arrange to hold an auction!

Volunteers bring in things they want to get rid of anyway. Hold the event in the school theater or gym. Set up tables so donated items can be displayed.

People love a good deal! Create flyers for the event and advertise on social media. You can even contact local newspapers and TV and radio stations. This is one you cannot over-advertise.

Have students be runners at the event to show off smaller items. There is a small fee to get a bidder card. Charge a fee so that people who really want an item can pay to have it moved up in the auction. These and money raised by selling the donated items can rake in a significant amount of funding.

7. Product Fundraiser

Product fundraisers provide opportunities for your community to support your school while receiving something in return. To get started, you'll select which items your PTA would like to sell, such as:

You'll typically turn to a fundraising partner to provide and distribute these items once your supporters have submitted their orders to you.

Click through to sign up for a free Read-A-Thon fundraiser and start engaging your school community in this PTA fundraiser idea.

8. Shoe Drive

A shoe drive fundraiser is a PTA fundraising idea that essentially anyone in your school community can get involved in. All you need to do is find a fundraising partner that will accept new or gently worn shoes and send you a check once you submit the shoes you've collected.

Simply set up bins around the school and in classrooms for students to drop off shoes they've gathered from their own closets, their parents, and other relatives.

This fundraising idea has the added benefit of teaching your school's community about the importance of sustainability and how they can play a role in it. Kids tend to outgrow shoes quickly, and donating them to your fundraiser rather than throwing them away is better for your school and the environment.

9. Parents' Night Out

A parents' night out fundraiser is bound to be a hit among parents of your school's community, especially if they have elementary school-aged children. For a registration fee, you can allow busy parents to drop off their children at your school for the evening so they can have a night of rest. To keep children occupied, you can organize:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Board games
  • Movie screenings

This type of PTA fundraiser can be particularly popular around holidays such as Valentine's Day when parents would especially appreciate having some time to themselves.

10. Raffle

Raffles are easy for your PTA to set up and easy for your school community to participate in. First, you'll need to secure some raffle tickets and associated prizes. Some tried-and-true prizes to consider include:

  • Gift cards
  • Concert tickets
  • Gift baskets
  • Branded merchandise

Then, promote your raffle to parents, teachers, and other community members to start raising funds. Just be sure to check for any legal requirements established by your state and obtain any necessary permits before you launch your raffle fundraiser.

11. Matching Gift Fundraiser

A matching gift fundraiser can be a highly engaging online fundraising idea for your PTA. Many companies have matching gift programs in which they'll match the donations their employees make to schools and nonprofits, often at a 1:1 ratio. This means that when a parent gives to your school, they may have the opportunity to make their donation go twice as far.

Spread more awareness of matching gifts by:

  • Sending fliers home with students.
  • Adding basic details to your school's website, especially the online donation page.
  • Posting about it on your PTA's social media pages.

Plus this fundraiser can accompany many other campaigns or events you organize to double the impact of the donations you receive.

Wrapping Up: Making the Most of PTA Fundraiser Ideas

No matter which PTA fundraisers you choose, take the time to look over your results once you've finished. Ask parents and other community members for feedback to assess whether you should keep hosting similar fundraisers or branch out for your next campaign. As long as you keep your fundraising goals and community in mind, you'll be able to plan engaging PTA fundraisers that inspire participation.

If you'd like to learn more about how fundraising and education can intersect to promote learning experiences for your school's students, check out these additional resources:

Sign up for a free Read-A-Thon fundraiser to launch your next successful school PTA fundraiser and meet your fundraising goals.

Want to learn more about Read-A-Thon? Let's chat.

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