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School Trip Fundraising 101

School Trip Fundraising 101

Tips to maximize your efforts and create the best outing for students

With museums, historic sites and performance venues re-opening across the nation, students and educators alike are eager for an out-of-classroom experience. Unfortunately, there have been serious cuts to travel budgets across departments, and the crucial fundraising apparatus for many schools has been decimated due to remote learning over the past two academic years. There is good news—with students back in the classroom, there will likely be a push in your local district to resume fundraising and give your children the experiences they’ve earned. But what are the best methods to fundraise. Below, we explain well-honed approaches and emerging, tech-centric ideas to create the ultimate student fundraiser.

Bake Sale

Bake sales have long been one of the most popular fundraising ideas for schools because, like auctions, they rely on donated products. Bake sales work by having volunteers – usually parents or other community members – provide baked goods to then be sold at a community event. A bake sale can be a great opportunity for community bonding, and everyone loves a good brownie or cookie.

However, there are several important considerations to make when planning a school bake sale. You’ll need to organize a sign-up stage and provide clear guidance on what kinds of baked goods you need, that way you end up with a good amount and variety of items. You’ll also need to staff the event and carefully plan your location. Finally, you’ll need to check your local health codes to make sure your bake sale doesn’t break any laws or make anyone sick.


Charity auctions are another tried-and-true fundraising option that can work great for schools—with this type of fundraiser, schools auction off donated items or experiences, using the participants’ bids to supplement the school’s budget. An auction night can help schools raise a lot of money at once while also providing a fun experience for guests (i.e., parents and community members). Schools can choose to host live auctions or silent auctions, in which bidders use bidding sheets or apps to make bids.

One advantage of this school fundraising idea is that auctions can easily be adapted to a virtual format, so fundraising bodies don’t have to worry about finding a space to host the event. Or, organizations can choose to implement auction software at a live event to make the process more efficient and convenient.

The biggest challenge of hosting an auction for school fundraising is making sure the items or experiences you’re auctioning are enticing enough to get significant bids. If you’re hosting a live event, you’ll need lots of resources to both plan and host the event, including finding an auctioneer. Finally, if any part of your auction will occur online, you’ll need to choose the right software and carefully check all technical equipment to make sure the event runs smoothly.


Fun runs and jog-a-thons are among the most popular fundraisers across many sectors, not just schools. One of the strengths of this type of fundraiser is that it centers on physical fitness. Participants get the chance to get outdoors and be active in a fun, non-competitive setting.

Physical events do have drawbacks to be aware of. Because these events center on physical activity, organizers need to take extra precautions to protect the safety of participants. This may mean providing water or food, setting up nurse stations, and/or having medical staff on hand. And, of course, hosting a physical (in-person) event requires even more precautions while COVID-19 is a threat.

Fun runs and other physical activities also require space. You’ll need to carefully plan for the location of your event. Will it be held on school grounds, or will you need to get permits to hold the event off-campus?

Finally, you’ll need to make sure you have enough volunteers on hand the day of the event, including people to set up, supervise, and tear down any physical materials.

Work Directly with a School Fundraising Company

Traditional school fundraising requires hundreds of volunteer hours, from planning to execution to evaluation. Different school fundraising ideas require different planning and organization steps, and schools typically rely on multiple fundraising efforts at once to meet all their fundraising goals. All of this can put immense strain on volunteers who may be balancing other responsibilities.

By partnering with a fundraising company like Booster, you can let the experts handle some of the more time-consuming aspects of your fundraiser, such as planning and execution, so that you can focus on the most important thing: your fundraising goals. In fact, Booster’s fundraising options can help you combine multiple goals into one fundraiser to maximize your efforts. Learn more about how Booster can help take your school fundraising to the next level.

Create a Promotional Campaign

Even the best-planned fundraiser can’t succeed if people don’t know about it. Today, getting the word out about school fundraisers means taking advantage of all the communication channels available, especially the internet. The following tips can help you spread the word and maximize donations:

•Assign someone to head promotion efforts. It’s a good idea to have someone or a group of people in charge of promotion, i.e., planning the promotion efforts, drafting and producing promotional materials, sharing information to social media, etc.

•Have a promotional plan. It’s not enough to simply share a few posts the week of an event. Part of the planning process of your fundraiser should include a specific timeline of your promotional efforts, such as how far in advance you will begin promotion, how often you will post on social media or send emails, etc.

•Share on social media. Social media is a must when it comes to promoting events these days. Use multiple social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, to gain a wider reach.

•Utilize hashtags. When sharing on social media, maximize your reach by using hashtags related to your school, community, or event.

•Make promotional campaigns personal. Don’t just share the details and goals of your event – share photos and videos to let donors see who or what they’re supporting.

•Reach donors where they are. It’s best to use a variety of communication channels to get the widest reach. Take time to understand who your potential donors are and how they prefer to receive information. You will likely end up combining efforts such as email newsletters, social media posts, brochures, and/or a campaign website, depending on the type of fundraiser.

Fundraising Best Practices 

Making the most of a school fundraiser requires careful planning and execution. Below are some best practices for any school fundraising idea

1.Identify specific goals. As mentioned above, donors like to know where their money is going. It’s also important to align your fundraising methods with the amount of funds you need. Start by identifying the specific needs the fundraiser will be supporting, whether it’s buying new computers or funding a school trip. 

2.Align school fundraising ideas with your goals. Once you’ve determined your fundraising goals, choose school fundraising ideas that will help you best meet those goals. For example, a DIY crowdfunding campaign generally works best for specific projects, whereas you may be able to use a spirit wear store for general funds. 

3.Form a planning committee. Your fundraising body, such as the PTA/PTO, likely has many fundraising projects to manage throughout the year. It’s important to decide who will be working on what project and when. Within each committee, assign roles and responsibilities carefully so that everyone knows their part. 

4.Determine how you will promote the fundraiser. With all the volunteer hours and resources that go into a successful school fundraiser, it’s crucial to make sure people know about it so that you can actually reap the benefits. Have a plan in place for how you will get the word out about your campaign or even, including brochures, social media, etc.

5.Evaluate the success of the fundraiser. The best way to improve your school fundraisers is to evaluate the successes and failures of past campaigns. After each fundraiser, have the planning committee discuss what worked well and what didn’t and record these discussions for future planning.