Middle School Fundraising Ideas

For educators, engaged parents or members of a parent-teacher organization, coming up with fresh fundraising ideas that will encourage the community to give can be challenging. The start of the school year can be an incredibly busy time, especially for teachers, and parents who have just shelled out a bunch of cash on school supplies and clothes may be reluctant to spend even more on a fundraiser. But raising money is crucial to ensure that kids get the most out of their school year.

Get Your Students Involved

What better way to get students engaged than by recruiting them to help your school meet its fundraising needs. By giving middle school students an active role in your fundraising efforts, you impart an appreciation for all of the work that goes into financing their education, and you encourage them to take on leadership roles and express their creativity.

  • The California Department of Public Education lists a preference for active over passive learning as common among middle schoolers.
  • It goes on to emphasize that these young people tend to prefer learning skills that solve real life problems.
  • Retired teacher Peter Lorain argues that middle schoolers are just becoming comfortable problem solving, planning, and controlling impulses.

Six Great Middle School Fundraising Ideas

  1. Hold a Pancake Breakfast

    Publicize your pancake breakfast well in advance via email, school newsletter and social media, and invite members of the community to support your crowdfunding campaign online. Charge a flat fee per breakfast in the form of a donation to your fundraiser, and solicit parent volunteers to help prepare the food in your cafeteria. Offer pancakes and a variety of other breakfast foods, and recruit students to serve meals and refill guests' coffee. Encourage parents to bring extended family, friends, or members of the school community that they want to get to know better as guests, and organize seating charts in the cafeteria by groups. This fundraiser can be a tasty opportunity to bring the community together!

  2. Host a Dance

    Preteen students are often eager to socialize with their classmates outside of school hours, and benefit dances provide an opportunity for that while raising money for your middle school fundraiser. Make sure to offer alternative activities for kids who aren't comfortable dancing, and ask your student government organization to take on an active role in planning for and publicizing the dance. Recruit parent and teacher volunteers to chaperon, and ask families to make a donation to your crowdfunding campaign in lieu of buying a physical ticket. Find an alum or community member who is willing to DJ in order to cut overhead expenses, or recruit a local band to perform (appropriate) music for the occasion.

  3. Organize a Tie-Dye Event

    Buy Rit or a similar low-cost fabric dye in a variety of colors, and set up a tie-dye booth. Invite students to bring their white tee shirts, socks, or sweatshirts to dye in exchange for a donation, and make sure they write their name in Sharpie somewhere inside each article of clothing. Fill buckets with cold water and a few dye packets to ensure bold colors. Teach students how to tie up their clothes for a bull's eye or swirled pattern and then choose a color. When tie-dying on a large scale, it's usually best to submerge clothing items yourself; it helps prevent prevent a mess and reduces waste.

  4. Give Students the Chance to Leave Their Mark

    If your middle school fundraiser benefits a construction project or some other upgrade to your facilities, brainstorm ways you could raise money by letting students contribute a handprint, quote, or some other artistic flourish. You could ask them to find a sponsor for each tile in a garden mosaic, or if they are prone to donating, you could give them the chance to engrave their name or a message on a brick. Maybe charge students a small amount to leave their handprint in paint or cement or to make their own mini-mural on a small section of wall. Anything that encourages creative expression and helps raise money in small amounts can be a huge success!

  5. Host a Cake-Decorating Contest

    Consider hosting a variation of the numerous sweets-related fundraisers out there by organizing a cake-decorating contest. Participants can donate a set amount to your crowdfunding campaign to participate. Ask a local bakery or grocery store to donate plain, unfrosted cakes, and see if any other businesses are willing to donate gift cards or goods for a winning prize. Have contestants make their own frosting and decorate the cake however they like, and then bring the cake to school the day of the event. Gather a panel of judges to choose a winning cake, and then auction off all of the contenders to benefit your fundraiser.

  6. Arrange a Game Night

    From Scrabble to Catch Phrase to Jeopardy!, there are dozens of options for group games that help expand middle school students' vocabularies and keep them entertained. Encourage families or groups of families to sign up for the game night as teams, making a minimum donation as an entrance fee. Host the event in a gym or auditorium, and keep the fun going tournament-style or let groups rotate freely between different games. Provide snacks and have volunteers from a parent-teacher organization keep the evening running smoothly. Hopefully this will provide an opportunity for students to socialize in a low-pressure atmosphere and connect with peers outside their immediate friend groups.

Blaze New Trails

For many people, middle school is a difficult time, an awkward in-between period in which students struggle to adjust to bodily changes as well as increased responsibility and freedom. But middle school fundraisers can actually be constructive projects that make this new territory less threatening for students. By organizing a crowdfunding campaign that features events that allow kids to socialize and express their creativity, you help them become more confident young people while raising money for the school. If you haven't already created a campaign, launch one today.

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