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38 Best Fundraising Ideas for Kids in 2023

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Published April 6, 2023 Reading Time: 10 minutes

Offering fundraising opportunities that kids get excited to be a part of brings its own set of unique challenges. While children tend to make everything just a bit more fun, tailoring your activities to an audience of all ages, skills, and interests requires a dose of creativity. Fortunately, we have plenty of easy fundraising ideas sure to engage children and parents alike.

Below, we’ve identified the 38 best fundraising ideas for kids in 2023. You’ll find everything from traditional fundraising activities, like raffles and auctions, to more creative fundraising ideas, like flamingo flocking and battle-of-the-bands concerts.

The Best Fundraising Ideas for Kids

1. Sell Tickets for Coveted Raffle Items

Host a raffle. After all, raffles are a tried-and-true fundraising activity. Simple to execute, kids will have an easy time participating. Here’s how to make it happen:

  • Choose an item: Source an item from a community partner or popular store. It should be something desirable but not too expensive. 
  • Sell tickets: Encourage school students, young athletes, or children from local church communities to sell raffle tickets to participants or family members at an event.
  • Draw a winner: Draw the winner and encourage that person to post a photo or celebration post with their raffle prize on social media to draw more attention to your cause.

2. Sell Candy Bars

Include children in your fundraising efforts by selling candy bars in bulk. Kids can sell the candy at school, parents’ offices, events, or church.  

Plus, many candy bar companies provide fundraising discounts. For example, you can contact the Hershey’s distributor to find a local, reliable distributor for all your chocolate bar needs.  

3. Host a Penny Drive

Partner with local businesses and restaurants in your community to put fundraising jars at checkouts. Children visiting these establishments with their parents or guardians will have the opportunity to make a small gift to your nonprofit by putting a few cents in the jar. 

Parents may also encourage their children to take on additional chores or tasks at home to earn an allowance, then donate that money to your nonprofit’s fundraising jar. This is a great way to engage the entire family and create a seamless, no-fuss fundraiser. 

4. Round Up With Local Businesses

Ask local kid-friendly businesses to partner with your fundraising initiative. You could host an ice cream social at the local ice cream shop or offer discounted tickets to a nearby theme park. This encourages families to spend a day or evening together while simultaneously supporting a good cause

While you have the children together, educate them on the importance of what you do and why events like this are so valuable. This education at a young age can make a big impact. 

Another great way to source additional donations is to ask customers attending the partner event if they’d like to round up their purchase and contribute to your fundraiser. It’s a small ask for customers (since they always give less than a dollar), but that money adds up over time.

5. Hold a Walk-a-Thon

Plan an unforgettable walk-a-thon with a pledge fundraising model. Children can ask parents, friends, and community members to donate based on their performance—measured by miles, laps, or time.

6. Host a Kid-Friendly Auction 

Encourage children to contribute material items or original creations to your in-person or online auction. Ask them to create an art project or painting, or maybe they want to spend their allowance on a new item for the event. 

Before nailing down your plan, determine if you’d like your event to be a traditional or silent auction model. Aside from contributing their items or creations to the auction, motivate each child to get involved in other ways like: 

  • Congratulating winners with handwritten thank-you notes
  • Delivering auction items to winners’ tables at the live event
  • Encouraging friends and family to bid on their items

7. Guess the Number in the Jar

Stimulate children’s minds while including them in your cause with this fun way to fundraise. Fill a jar with candy, trinkets, or coins and ask kids to guess how many pieces of that item are in the jar. 

Put your jar at an event, school classroom, or local business, and ask for a small fee or 30 minutes of volunteer time for contributors to guess the quantity inside. The winner gets the jar and all the goodies inside.

8. Create a T-Shirt Fundraiser

Invite children to create unique designs for T-shirts that reflect your cause, then ask them to vote for their favorite. Feature the winning design on T-shirts you plan to sell to supporters, family, and friends. 

Don’t forget to add a call to action to your shirts (e.g., “Save water, save the planet”) so that your shirt can act as a brand-awareness builder and free advertising.  

9. Prepare a Scavenger Hunt

Encourage children at a local school to design a scavenger hunt. You could charge admission for kids and families to participate or exchange their participation for volunteer time. 

To elevate childrens’ participation in your event, ask them to:

  • Identify items for the scavenger hunt
  • Plan where to hide the items
  • Create clues and riddles
  • Give out hints (when necessary)
  • Count the points
  • Award the winners

10. Host a Talent Show

Provide an opportunity for kids, classmates, or community members to show off their skills with a talent show. Charge a small admission for participants and audience members and sell concessions at the fundraising event

You want everyone to feel supported and encouraged, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it a competition. Recruit judges to assess the talents and award an overall winner. 

11. Plan a Local Race

Plan a 5K fun run for kids and adults. Charge an admission fee for the runners and give a small percentage of the proceeds to the winner, or dedicate 100% of the fees to your mission, and instead feature the winner on your social sites, newsletter, and homepage. 

Depending on your environment and the time of year, you can get creative by doing the following:

  • Trail race
  • Stroller race
  • Speed-walking race
  • Midnight race
  • Snowshoe race
  • Costume-themed race

12. Sell Flowers

Consider selling flowers around holidays, like Valentine’s Day or Easter, that children can send to their friends, parents, or loved ones for an affordable price. You could do this online or in person and even take it up a notch by adding delivery services. This adds a personal touch to the experience that recipients are sure to appreciate.

13. Bake and Sell Treats

Encourage children in your area to pick a few recipes they’d like to make and ask parents to help them bake these special treats. You’ll also need to organize a drop-off location for families to deliver the treats they made, then sell them to the community or go door-to-door. 

14. Wash Cars

Recruit a group of young volunteers to host a traditional pop-up car wash. You could partner with a local business, school, or church to secure prime real estate and exposure for this activity. Then, invite kids to wash the cars and collect the money. 

15. Offer Lawn Services

Ask around your community to see if any young supporters can provide lawn-care services. This can be especially helpful for senior citizens or those unable to perform these services themselves. Lawn services could include:

  • Mowing grass
  • Trimming bushes and trees
  • Picking up trash
  • Planting flowers
  • Mending fences
  • Painting
  • Shoveling snow
  • Raking leaves
  • Watering plants

16. Pick Up Christmas Trees

Offer to pick up and dispose of real Christmas trees in exchange for a small donation. Pass out flyers or go door-to-door before Christmas to get pledges. After the new year, young, licensed supporters of your nonprofit can rent or borrow a truck or trailer and pick up the trees for donations. 

17. Hold a Parent’s Night Out

Recruit babysitters to watch the younger kids while parents go out for a date. Ask parents for a small donation or partner with local restaurants on the same night to donate a percentage of sales to your cause. Either way, these young adults support your cause by volunteering their time. 

18. Partner With Restaurants and Businesses

Provide an opportunity for parents and families to visit restaurants and businesses in your community. Teenagers could set up a free daycare night at the school or community center to watch the kids while the parents go out.

Partner with businesses to guarantee a percentage of sales as donations to your cause. Restaurants and shops in your community get more business, parents get much-needed alone time, and you raise donations—everyone wins.

19. Host a Karaoke Night

Recruit your supporters within a certain age range to perform at your event and encourage them to find friends and family who will come support. Ask audience members to donate a small fee for entry or sign up for a volunteer opportunity. 

20. Offer Face Painting

Provide face painting services at events like a parade or field days. Invite children in your community to do the face painting as an opportunity to serve and build relationships with other kids involved with your cause. You could ask for donations in exchange for the face painting or sell snacks and beverages at your stand for guaranteed revenue. 

21. Provide Gift Wrapping Services

Partner with a local community business to provide gift-wrapping services around the holiday season. Here are a few businesses you might consider partnering with:

  • Bookstores
  • Toy stores
  • Clothing stores
  • Candle stores
  • Perfume and fragrance stores

Teach children how to do the gift wrapping, then let them provide the service. It might not be perfect, but it’s an opportunity for them to serve others. Plus, any gift will mean more because a child wrapped it. 

22. Have a Trivia Night

Gather families and children together for a trivia night. Ask for donations for entry and reward the winning person (or team) with a small prize. But don’t forget to encourage participants to seek pledges from their community beforehand. For example, a family might collect pledges based on how many points they accumulate. 

23. Run a Shoe Drive Fundraiser

Collect used (or unused) shoes from kids in the community who have outgrown their favorite pairs. Children go through shoes quickly, and those pairs deserve a better home than stuffed in a closet somewhere. Give parents and children an opportunity to put their retired sneakers and sandals to good use by donating them to your shoe drive fundraiser

24. Create an Obstacle Course

Challenge local youth groups or classes at school to design an obstacle course and charge a small fee to participate. Children can either pay for an attempt or purchase an upgraded package that allows for unlimited tries.

25. Sell Cookie Dough

Let donors buy the one thing with a longer shelf than baked goods at bake sales: cookie dough. Plus, it’s irresistible. Donors will love purchasing this tasty treat from children in their community because they can either eat the cookie dough raw (yes, please!) or bake it when they want fresh cookies. 

26. Hold a Book Sale

Ask kids in your area to collect books they’ve already read or left deserted on their bookshelves and put them up for sale. Resell them for a steep discount to collect profits for your cause. Parents will love finding a low-price deal on a book they’ll likely have to purchase for their kids’ required reading programs. 

27. Sell Popcorn at Events

Partner with community, school, church, sports, and recreational events to sell popcorn. Kids can run the stand with the assistance of a parent or volunteer and explain your nonprofit’s mission to customers as they purchase their snack. 

People will likely enjoy the extra concession options, and you can collect donations off hungry attendees. Popcorn has an incredibly high return on investment, so your nonprofit organization can keep the bulk of the revenue.

28. Put Your Teacher in Jail

Get classes to work together (maybe to jail the principal) or put them against each other (to jail the “winning” teacher). Metaphorically, of course. “Jail” means the teacher has to sit in their classroom or the teacher’s lounge while the kids have a field day or extra recess. 

29. Plan a Pumpkin-Carving Contest

Sell pumpkins and carving supplies for a jack-o’-lantern competition around Halloween. You might make this fall fundraising idea part of a bigger event or host it separately. Reward the winning pumpkin carver with a trophy or trinket they can keep as a reward. 

30. Organize a Family Game Night

Provide everything the whole family would need for a hassle-free game night. This might include: 

  • Space (gym, recreation center, public area, or pavilion)
  • Games (board games, card games, and party games)
  • Snacks (chips, desserts, and drinks)

Then, find some fun referees for games like Twister or tag. You could also create a family-vs-family tournament and reward the winning family. 

Participants can register for a set fee or agree to run a peer-to-peer campaign that engages their friends and family. Once they raise a certain amount, they’re welcome to attend. 

31. Initiate a Field Day

Host a field day after school or on the weekend with events for kids to participate and compete in various sports. Add sports they might have never tried before, like hacky sack, climbing, jumping, and Frisbee. Charge a small fee for kids to participate.

32. Start a Rubber Duck Race

Encourage participants to purchase a rubber duck to enter in a water race (ducks should have numbers on the bottom). The donor with the winning duck wins a prize. 

You might even consider breaking this into smaller groups to allow more participants to win. For example, you might have 10 races of five contestants rather than one race with 50. 

33. Set Up Flamingo Flocking

Flamingo flocking is a fun way to engage your friends, family, and community. Here’s how it works:

  • Someone donates money to nominate a neighbor for flamingo flocking
  • Kids sneak over to the house and plant pink flamingos all over the yard
  • Kids leave a note asking for a donation and nomination
  • Kids move the flamingos over to the next yard
  • You repeat until you’ve reached your fundraising goal (or you run out of houses)

34. Form a Read-a-Thon Fundraiser

Host read-a-thons. Rather than earning pledges for laps or miles walked, like with walk-a-thons, collect pledges for the following:

  • Books read
  • Pages read
  • Minutes spent reading

35. Host a Sports Team Competition

Hold a competition for athletes to compete for the crown. But remember, sometimes, becoming the local champion is enough of a prize—so think about your specific audience. Host tournaments throughout the year and rotate sports like:

  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball
  • Flag football
  • Hockey
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Pickleball

Sports tournaments are great for peer-to-peer fundraising, especially when sports teams can run a joint campaign or ask each teammate to run an independent campaign and compete to see who raises the most. The winner can then be named the team captain.  

36. Build a Mini-Golf Course

Let kids design a backyard mini-golf course. You could use cups as the holes, then get creative with everything else. Use whatever is around the house or in your yard to make a one-of-a-kind game. Then, invite neighbors and kids in the community to come pay to play. Reward children who hit a hole in one with a prize. 

If you want to make this a community event, challenge kids to design the best course and submit photos or videos of their course design to be voted on by the public. Then, recreate the winning course in a local park for everyone to come try. Either charge a small course fee or sell food and merchandise for purchase at the event. 

37. Plan a Pancake Breakfast

Cook and sell pancakes at a before-school event or on the weekend before a long day of sporting events. Pancakes are another cheap item with a high return on investment, so you have the potential to earn quite a few donations with low expenses.

To involve the kids, assign them to the toppings bar. People can come to them for whipped cream, powdered sugar, chocolate chips, or fresh berries. They can either serve the toppings or just be the ones who report when items run low. Either way, getting them involved to some degree is a great way to introduce them to your cause. 

38. Set Up a Battle-of-the-Bands Concert

Empower your kids to compete on the big stage to see who’s the top band. Consider dividing the competition into age groups, like elementary school, middle school, and high school. Ask for donations to enter the family-friendly competition and for entry to the event. Reward the top band with a trophy and prize. 

Do More With Elevated Fundraising Tools on Classy

Bring any of your great fundraising ideas for kids to life with Classy. Classy’s fundraising platform empowers your supporters with leading crowdfunding, peer-to-peer, recurring, and fundraising event features. Kids will have all the tools they need to fundraise on behalf of nonprofits they care about:

  • Comprehensive fundraising suite
  • Virtual, hybrid, and in-person event management 
  • Optimized, direct-giving technology 
  • Flexible payment processing
  • Best-in-class software integrations
  • Personalized donation pages and forms
  • Powerful reporting and analytics

Want to see how your nonprofit can optimize its fundraising with Classy? Request a demo to talk with one of our experts.

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Your Nonprofit's Guide to Engaging Gen Z

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