September 20, 2019

Fundraising Ideas for High Schools

Let’s tell it like it is. High school professionals tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to cool idea resources. In fact, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the complaint. So secondary teachers, this one’s for you! Read on for a list of unexpected and high income generating ideas to raise money with your high school students.

Candy Vending.

No, I’m not talking about adding another junk food dispenser to your school. (Although if your facility is already loaded with them, chances are one fancy red jar of quarter accessed gumballs isn’t going to make that much difference.) What I am talking about is having your PTA support you by approaching businesses around town to let you place candy vending machines at strategic places. Chances are they’ll be thrilled with not being hit up for cash. Again. Assign rotating responsible students to restock the candy machines and collect the cash. The reason candy vending is so profitable and popular among many regular professional vendors is because the candy is dirt cheap to buy and lasts quite a long time in the machines before needing to be restocked. Bonus? The machines are smaller and less expensive as well.


Already having a fund raising dinner? Work in a silent auction that same night.

Art Gallery.

Got some talented students and an oh- so- fabulous art specialist or industrial art teacher? Open up a small gallery for student-produced furniture, welded scrap metal art, paintings, pottery, etc. Don’t forget to include consumable art items based on student art work like notepads for the desk and fridge, blank greeting cards, candles, stationery and calendars. I’ve seen this done with street children at a beach gallery in Cambodia to fund their school tuition and supplies, as well as in the Monte Verde Cloud Forest of Costa Rica where all the craft and art items for sale at a particular shop were produced by children. It definitely takes someone to ensure there’s a system for providing only top notch work for the inventory, but the results as I’ve seen are well worth it!

Salvage Yard / Flea Market.

Got an extra space and some folks willing to help put up even a basic Quonset hut style structure? Consider having a regular (not just once a year) place for people to drop off left over or recycled building supplies, yard sale items, etc. Then, once a month have a Saturday where parents and students volunteer and the community can show up for a chance to get some great affordable second hand items. There was a small community in Arizona that did this only it wasn’t for a school. It was to benefit programs throughout the entire town. Retired volunteers staffed it, and they were open every morning except Sunday. Every single item in their inventory was donated. Their average annual haul? Over one point three million. What could your school do with even half that amount of money?

Event Concessions.

When I was in high school, the French club sold hot dogs and snacks every day at lunch to fellow students, as well as hot dogs and popcorn at all the basketball games. If you haven’t already thought of this, give it a whirl. If you have, consider taking it to the next level and letting the senior class each year have a stand at one or two large fairs and community events. One successful week at the state fair could bring in enough to fund most of that year’s projects. Think about it.

Coffee Shop / Bakery.

This is probably most effective if your school already has a food service program for vocational students. But if you have a place that can be set aside with tables and wireless access that is close to the school supply store, this could turn into a decent money maker. Students, teachers, parents and community members could hang out, munch and get some work done. We met a really interesting gentleman on a trip to Cambodia once who was working with a girls’ orphanage and school in Poi Pet. They had started a bakery at their school which was right next to either a bus or train station. At night after everything stopped running, this place turned into the night bazaar, which is where they sold their baked goods. It raised necessary funds for the facility’s operation and taught them a vocational skill as well. Fabulous!

That’s all for now. As always additional creative ideas are welcome below. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Flickr Photo Credit: Vagawi

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