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Fundraising tips

95 Profitable Things to Sell for School Fundraiser in 2024

February 29, 2024

The wrong way to sell for school fundraisers: Offering unprofitable products or services that do not resonate with the interests and needs of students, teachers, parents, and alumni groups.

The best way: Offering items or experiences that promise high profits for your school fundraising campaign —and are valuable to your students and donors.

So, to save you from the hassle of thinking about the profitable things to sell to raise money, we've come up with 101 profitable things to sell for school fundraiser in 10 different categories —

  1. Food, Beverages 
  2. Apparel & Accessories
  3. Books, Stationery & Educational Supplies
  4. Games, Toys & Entertainment
  5. Home & Kitchen Essentials
  6. Pets zone
  7. Health, Safety & Wellness
  8. Crafts, Party Supplies & Decor
  9. Technology gadgets
  10. Outdoor sports equipment

Food and Beverages to sell for a school fundraiser

1- Doughnuts

There's always a tendency for students to ask their parents to buy pastries for them when they come for school runs or a fundraising event. 

I did this a lot too! So, set up a pastry shop, collaborate with bakers, and sell doughnuts. As a plus, you can do some branding packages to promote your local restaurants.

Photo by Zgraphica on Unsplash

2- Popcorn fundraiser

This is one of the best snacks to sell at any event because it's a favorite for many—both young and old. Popcorn is not only sold at movie night, you can sell them to raise funds during day events. 

Hire a local popcorn vendor and sell Popcorns of different flavors. Ensure that the popcorn stand is very close to the most active spots at the fundraising event.

3- Pizza fundraiser

There are two ways to leverage the universal appeal of pizzas for school fundraising:

4- Candy & Lollipop fundraiser

Kids love candies. To raise funds for school, partner with a local candy shop that sells candy bars and get a wrapping paper bundle to package the bars.

Look out for when students are celebrating birthdays and sell candies to birthday celebrants so they can gift their classmates during celebrations.

5- Ice cream

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!" says Howard Johnson, once a famous Massachusetts ice cream purveyor. Ice Cream is an enjoyable food fundraiser for schools. Sell during closure hours especially when parents troop in for school run and during holiday season lessons.

6- Tea

Tea is one of the most consumed beverage drinks. It is a fantastic fundraising product to sell in the food/beverage category during fun events and meetings.

For example, during PTA meetings,  you can sell tea drinks to parents and teachers and keep proceedings for school funds.

7- Apple fruit / Gourmet apple

Sell apples to keep the doctors away from your students, their parents and your teachers. It's even more profitable to sell apples that are coated with caramel, chocolate, or vanilla flavors.

8- Pasta

Not everyone wants to get a quick snack, some might want to eat pasta. Pasta is a fast food so students and donors can get it on time.

Organize weekly pasta deliveries during lunch hours for students and donate profits for funds.

9- Holiday-themed bake sale

Work with bakers and set up a good-looking table to sell cakes and other pastries. For example, buy two, get one free, buy a brownie, get a shot of milk. Bake sales are very popular with everyone.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

10- Sausage rolls

Partner with wholesale bakers and local restaurants to deliver high-quality sausage rolls and fries. Sell during meetings, school hours, and school parties.

11- Biscuits and energy drinks

When I was in college, I bought biscuits a lot during midday lunch hours and I always gulped it down with a soda drink or lemonade. Students still do it, so sell a lot of it. It's a profitable food fundraiser!

12- Pancakes

During school lunch and breakfast hours, you can partner with your school's local cafeteria to sell pancakes to students. Since most parents don't have time to prepare a pancake at home, their kids can buy in school and be filled.

Apparel & Accessories to sell for a fundraiser

13- Branded T-shirts

Branded t-shirts are one of the most fantastic fundraising products to sell. Schools can create branded t-shirts with their logos and slogans. Parents and students are enticed to rock these tees and improve the school’s visibility to get more supporters.

14- Lunch Box sale

Most students take a lunch box to school daily. Sell lunch boxes and imprint your school logo and name. Make it part of the uniform kit for new students—doing this helps your school raise more money.

15- Tote bags

In colleges and universities, tote bags are popular. It's a good fundraising idea for colleges. Customized tote bags can be sold to students, teachers, and parents. In addition, you can set up a referral program so that supporters can sell to family members.

Photo by Angelina Yan on Unsplash

16- Gently used clothing sale (Donors wear)

Students outgrow their clothes in a matter of weeks or months, not years. So, why not host a gently used clothing sale? Parents, teachers, and students can donate clothes that don’t fit them anymore (or that they just don’t like) and you can organize an afternoon of shopping and events.

17- Custom School bags

Students feel good when they put on a school bag made by their school with their names emboldened on it. Sell these ideas to parents at a cheaper rate compared to the market rate and see how they rush it.

18- Personalized water bottles

Water bottle fundraising is an innovative approach to raising funds that combines practicality with brand visibility. It is selling custom-branded reusable water bottles to support a specific cause.

19- Towels

I got a lot of towels as gifts while I was in grade class. As I write this, I vividly remember my parents paying a few bucks for end-of-year parties and the perk was getting a towel as a gift with your school's name unscripted on it.

20- Coffee mugs

Fun fact: coffee and tea taste better in a mug. You know, right? So, people cherish mugs a lot, and selling them is a way to get funds. Even better when you brand them. Take a look at the picture above and see how Havard med school customized the mug with its logo.

Photo by Harvard Medical School on HavardShop.

21- Caps

Teachers wear caps often, especially during rallies, sports, and outdoor events. Customized caps can be sold to them as a way to foster their identity as employees. It can also serve as mementos and remind supporters of your school's merchandise.

22- Shoe drive

Collect spare or lightly threaded shoes from donors, recruit volunteers, promote widely, and partner with a facilitator for easy fundraising. Once the shoes are given out to brands for recycling, the school gets a profit.

23- School hoodies

During the fall and winter months—students, teachers, and parents need to stay warm. Brand new hoodies and add your school logo, slogan and name of student. Sell to newly admitted students and old students.

24- Umbrellas

Schools love to gift students umbrellas and they make a cool sum from it. Here's how: put a price for end-of-year or festive parties and gift-branded umbrellas. However, you must make it cost-efficient since it's not too profitable.

25- Custom socks

Students can't do without socks. Offer to give students two pairs of branded socks at a low cost and see how the figures troop in. Note: you can add it as a deliverable for students buying new school uniforms.

26- Custom leggings

Parents prefer to kit their female kids with leggings for moderation. Customizing these leggings in different sizes and colors will reduce the burden on parents who struggle to get their wards’ size.

Pro tips to get you started with this category:

Books, Stationery & Educational Supplies to sell for a fundraiser

27- Virtual coupon books sale

A digital coupon book is a list of special discounts from businesses in tourist areas, shopping centers, or entire towns for promotional purposes.

Partner with brands who have special discounts and create a list of the coupons. Sell your coupon books to parents and supporters either by directing them to the company’s website or by presenting your inventory to them in person. This is a great fundraising idea for schools.

28- Notepads

Students and teachers use notepads a lot in school. In most schools, they add the price of customized notes to their tuition fees—this means that parents or guardians pay a sum for notes per academic session. This is a great way to raise funds.

29- Pens

What is a school without a pen? Meaningless. Your school can brand pens with the name of each student and offer limited slots to students and teachers to arouse FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

30- Textbook sales

When I was in college, my parents were in a dilemma as regards purchasing textbooks from my school or getting them at external bookshops. While the latter was cheaper, the former was more fulfilling — because I was going to get the exact edition and copy preferred by the school.

31- Art supplies

Students use art materials a lot for fine art and applied topics. Art materials like watercolors, crayons, drawing pencils, and drawing boards can be sold to raise funds. As a plus, you can customize these materials with the school's name and logo.

Photo by Kosolovskyy on Unsplash

32- Online tutorial subscriptions

Now, more than ever, students have access to technology at their fingertips. Schools can sell online tutorial subscriptions for students in exam classes to practice Q/As, watch video tutorials, and answer practice questions.

33- DIY craft kits

Students engage in creative DIY activities in school. For example, in middle school, I painted art, and I did a local tie & dye shirt. These activities can draw the attention of students to express their creativity, so parents can buy for them.

34- Customized envelopes

Apart from customizing these items with your school logo and name—you can brand envelopes with different taglines for different gift purposes. For example, a birthday envelope card, valentine card or an envelope of the students’ academic results.

35- School academic calendars

Most parents and students want to be kept abreast with the academic schedule for each year. So, selling customized school calendars to them can be a way to raise funds. In addition, you can customize each calendar with a picture of each class.

36- Coloring Books

This is a great fundraising item to sell in elementary and middle schools. Kids love to draw and play with colors. Add different themes and colors. Brand it with your school logo and market it beyond your school community.

37- Calculators

Students in high school, colleges and universities use calculators for mathematical studies. How about you partner with a calculator brand to sell calculators with their names unscripted on it for safety and keepsake?

Games, Toys & Entertainment to sell for school fundraiser

38- Comic CDs

Students love to watch comic shows and cartoons. However, some comic shows are not rated for kids to watch and parents don't like it. Partner with film CD sellers and curate a list of comics suitable for students to watch. Offer this to their parents and teachers.

39- Puzzle and game books

For kids who are just starting out in school, their parents may want to buy creative building blocks, illustrations, and puzzle cards for them. Your school can come up with creative games and illustration books and sell them at an affordable rate.

40-Cultural exhibition shows

During cultural exhibition shows. You can encourage parents to prepare a variety of delicacies. Host an eating contest, add a registration fee, and give prizes to parents with the most tasty delicacy.

41- Custom educational video games

In high school, I played educational video games with my classmates often, during breakz. It was all fun because it tested our precision and cognitive ability to answer questions fast.  

The good thing is, I paid a penny to play these games for hours. This fundraising idea is worthwhile.

42- Language learning games

Sell flashcards, board games, or subscriptions that make learning a new language fun for students, teachers and parents. Some schools offer foreign languages as courses, this is a great way to foster diversity and raise funds.

43- Cartoon character costumes

Kids love to wear their favorite cartoon character costumes. The image above shows that of Spiderman and Captain America. Get a ton of these costumes and sell them to parents. They can wear these costumes during fun parties and events.

44- Balloon pop

Balloon pops are exciting and fun fundraisers for students of all ages, particularly younger students.

All you have to do is fill balloons with small prizes or messages and sell them. Participants pop the balloons they’ve bought to find out what they’ve won!

Home & Kitchen Essentials to sell for a school fundraiser

45- Spice racks

Offer a variety of spice racks that cater to different preferences and kitchen sizes. Customize the racks and sell at discount rates to parents.

46- Seasonings and Spices

In addition to selling spice racks, you can add seasonings and spices as part of a special bundle. This not only adds value, but also encourages people to use their new spice rack immediately.

47- Oven gloves

Collaborate with design & printing brands, send the drawings of a student along with the school name and logo. Tell them to embolden it on the oven glove and sell it to parents. But first, ensure it's pre-ordered by the child's parent to avoid loss.

48- Pot holder

Your school can sell pot holders to moms during fundraising events, PTA meetings, and school parties. Partner with a parent who sells kitchen utensils and finds a spot where she can sell them. In turn, you get a share of proceeds.

49- Plate racks

A plate rack is a must-have kitchen essential for parents and teachers. Customize plate racks with your school name and logo and get a variety of racks to sell.

50- Bottle openers

During school parties, drinks and champagne are the order of the day. Make customized bottle openers available and sell them on dinner tables. Offer to give it out permanently when they purchase.

51- Home flowers

Some schools invest in gardening and agriculture. Collaborate with the teachers who educate students on Agriculture. Offer to auction some flowers in the school environs to parents and alumni groups.

52- Door hangers

Whether it's a tag that reads—reader at work or sleeping, check back later—parents and teachers might want to get these door hangers and keep them at home. As well, you can customize these hangers with the school's name.

53- Custom chopsticks

Engrave the name of your school on wooden chopsticks. Sell to parents during cultural day shows. You'll make high proceeds from this as people want to try out different delicacies without messing up themselves.

54- Kitchen grater

Sell kitchen grater. Moms can't do without it in the kitchen. Kitchen grater varies for usage from cutting cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, and a host of other salad recipes.

55- Dish Aprons

In high school, I did home economics practicals regularly. While I dislike cooking—haha, it's stressful—I was able to join my classmates in cooking fried foods and baking cakes. I made an apron to use for cooking.

A caveat: Teach students how to make aprons. Organize a DIY and pick the best-designed aprons. Sell these aprons or donate them to raise funds. This is a very cosy effective way to fundraise.

Pet items for school fundraiser

56- Pet collars

We all know how excited young students—and, if we’re being honest, most parents and teachers—get when they take their pets out for a walk or a party. 

Sell attractive pet collars to them so they can use them to restrain and identify their pets.

57- Pet treats

Pet treats are made from various combinations of meat or meat-derived materials with other ingredients. Bake homemade organic pet treats and sell packaged ones to pet owners in school. For example, you can bake a dog treat.

58- Animal toys

Kids in kindergarten classes and elementary school love to play around with animal toys a lot. It excites them a lot as if it were real. So, selling clean knitted stuffed animals is a way to raise money in elementary school.

59- Pet feeders

Pet owners are always on the watch out for where to get pet feeders, especially automatic ones—so their pets get fed when they are absent. Partner with pet feeder merchants in your local community and offer gift cards to parents and pet owners in school.

60- Pet clothing and beanies

Host a pet talent show and ask pet owners in the school to showcase their pet’s extraordinary abilities on stage. This show can be held during school parties as a way of entertainment.

Photo by Charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

61- Pet Cameras

Cameras are good for pet owners that want to be aware of their dogs' behaviors. Organize live demonstrations at school events where parents can see the pet camera's features firsthand, and visualize its benefits for their own pets. 

Health, Safety & Wellness items to sell for school fundraiser

62- Custom face masks

It's post-covid and a lot of people still wear face masks. It has become part of fashion. Customize face masks—preferably one with clothing material—with your school logo and name. Sell to students and parents during winter and spring.

63- Hand gloves

Students in high school and college go to laboratories for practicals. Your school can partner with glove manufacturing companies to prepare customized gloves that can be sold to them. In addition, you can ask donors to donate funds to get gloves for school cleaners.

64- Hand sanitizer

Some students play a lot during break hours in school. Selling hand sanitizers is a way to encourage cleanliness and hygiene. 

65- First aid box

Some parents and teachers have no aid box at home for emergencies. Partner with the Red Cross Society in your local environs or health centers and give discount cards to parents.

Photo by Kristine Wook on Unsplash

66- Workout apparel

During fundraisers, create a booth for selling workout apparel. You can sell hair bands, sneakers, workout kits, and little dumbbells for students. Parents find this enticing since they take their wards on outdoor sports often.

67- Bicycle helmets

This is a great product to sell in elementary and high school. Kids drive bicycles at home and for safety purposes, they'll need a helmet. Sell customized and fitted headgear of all sizes.

Crafts, Party Supplies & Decor to sell for school fundraiser

68- Photo booth props

From chalkboards where guests can write messages to include in the photo, to Mr. and Mrs (your name here) signs and other funny expression signs — these props can be sold during photography contests to raise more money.

69- Wristbands

Another cool item to sell is a customized wristband. Churches and other organizations sell this a lot. Your school can partner with wristband manufacturers to create customized bands and sell them to anyone associated with the school.

70- Embroidery kits

Students in high school love to express their creative imagination and artworks during holiday seasons. Set up a contest, ask for donations, and supply these kits to them for holiday work. When school resumes, you can auction a few artworks.

Photo by Benjamin White on Unsplash

71- Crochet kits

Similarly to selling embroidery kits, you can sell crochet kits to female students who want to create clothing. In return, you can offer them prizes and brand the wears.

72- Beaded jewelry kits

Ask parents and teachers for minimally worn jewelry. Extract some beads out of them and host jewelry-making contests for female students to showcase their creative ability. In turn, parents and teachers can purchase the renewed jewelry beads.

73- Fridge magnets

As a keepsake for students and parents, sell customized fridge magnets. Add your school logo and slogan.

74- Festive seasonal decors

During Halloween, Christmas, and other festive parties—sell decor ranging from costumes to caps and dresses.

75- Custom KeyHolders

A KeyHolder is a very useful item in households. It doubles as a souvenir. In the image above, a text is inscripted on the keyholder, do same by adding your school’s motto and sell to parents during fundraising events.

Photo by Muhammet SAIN on Unsplash

76- Wall art

“Character, commitment, and excellence” — that's the motto of the high school I attended. It still sticks because I remember it. How about you sell artwork that can be pasted on the walls of the homes of your students?

77- Car stickers

Car stickers serve as keepsakes. Sell branded car stickers designs to parents and teachers. It's a way to advertise your school in public

78- Door stickers

Just like other items in this category, door stickers are keepsakes and an advertising medium. Encourage donors to use it on their doors to get the attraction of prospective school customers.

Technology gadgets to sell for school fundraiser

79- Laptops

If your school has a computer based center with lots of desktops and laptops, and you want to raise funds—get a few of the gently used laptops and auction them. Let the highest bidders win. This is a surefire way to raise more funds.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

80- USB flash drives

If they have a laptop, then they most likely need a USB flash drive. Students in college use flash drives often to receive tutorials. You can sell these drives to them in a customized flash drive sleeve.

81- Earbuds

Students might not find this relevant. However, you can sell to parents and teachers. Partner with an earbuds brand, and get limited gift cards. Share with parents who are interested in getting these buds at discount rates.

82- Customized smartphone cases

Think about the feeling that comes with having a customized picture of yourself on your phone case. Reach out to highly supportive donors and give them free cases. Afterward, run a quick pre-order sale—by now, other donors are craving the package.

83- Virtual reality tickets

This is one of the best tickets to offer when fundraising for school. It can attract a ton of donors. Partner with VR shops and come up with an attractive user experience.  Sell tickets to VR experience events for parents, and students — align each experience to their taste.

For example, kids want to play games. Parents might want a sophisticated experience

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash

84- Phone grips

A phone grip or pop socket is a simple plastic circle that mobile owners attach to the back of their phones using an adhesive. Add your school logo and sell it out. Ensure it has quality adhesive.

85- Laptop sleeves

If you have a laptop, then you need a sleeve for it. Now, you want to sell laptops to students in middle and elementary school. Add laptop sleeves to the bundle!

86- Tablet sleeves

Most kids use tablets rather than laptops. Sell these sleeves to their parents. Imprint your school logo and slogan on it.

Outdoor sports equipments to sell for school fundraiser

87- Swim Goggles and Caps

Most students in elementary and middle schools are engaged in swimming lessons. Sell swim Google's, caps and custom towels to their parents. As a plus, offer to engage them in monthly swimming lessons at school.

88- Soccer balls

Students play football often. And a big catch is getting them to pay for any ball they use on the school field. This a is great way to get their attention because they'll often get balls outside the school premises.

89- Soccer boots

How about you brand soccer boots with your school color and the name of every player on the sports team? During inter-school soccer matches you can invite donors to support the creation of more soccer boots.

90- Sports training kits

Students always find a feel of vibes in joining the sport team. Sell branded school sportswear and make it mandatory for parents to buy.

91- Skateboarding contest

Host a skateboarding contest during sports hours. Encourage students who have skateboards to register and participate. Give out prizes in return.

92- Yoga mats

Create customized yoga mats. As a plus, offer online yoga sessions for parents, teachers, and students. Put a price tag for everyone who wishes to join the yoga community. 

Photo by Elena Kloppenburg on Unsplash

93- Tennis rackets and balls auction

Many schools have gently used tennis rackets and balls. Put them on auction and get the highest bidders to take them. You can also partner with gym centers and sports brands to sell gently used sports equipment.

94- Jump ropes

Funny enough, I don't know how to skip using jump ropes. But I see kids do it a lot and it's a great cardio exercise. Sell customized jump ropes to parents and encourage workouts!

95- Fitness bands and trackers

One of the best fundraising ideas you can implement is to host health seminars. Collaborate with health brands to come and educate parents and other donors during fundraising events. In addition, you can offer to sell fitness bands and trackers.

4 best tips to sell school fundraising items like a pro

Successfully raising funds for your school requires more than just having valuable items to sell. It's about fostering a sense of community, consistently  engaging supporters in meaningful ways, and building lasting relationships that benefit. 

The following tips make selling items easier and encourage long-term relationships with your school’s supporters.

1- Embrace community building first

Before you start selling items, ensure that you've built an engaging community of school supporters, parents, and teachers. Create an online group and add parents to share their ideas and communicate with teachers.

2- Be consistent with your fundraising campaign promotion

Make sure that all your marketing material is consistent with your school’s branding. Always use the same logo, colors and fonts. This will allow your campaign material to be recognizable. And supporters will know its you (their favorite charity) right away

3- Use multiple promotion channels

Don't rely solely on one channel for promoting your school's fundraising campaigns. Distribute your posters, videos and social media templates consistently so you can target more potential supporters and new students.

Maximize your online presence and email lists. Take the words to the streets via promotion walks. Partner with media organizations for publicity on air.

4- Offer rewards to donors and buyers

Appreciate those who buy your school items. Send them automated “thank you” messages when they purchase online. 

Offer rewards and incentives for active donors within your school community—for example, you can choose to publicize donors’ businesses on your school yearly magazine —This act of gratitude encourages them to donate more funds for your school.

FAQs

What are the most popular school fundraisers?

The most popular school fundraisers are:

What is the most profitable thing to sell in school?

The most profitable things to sell in school are found in the following categories — 

Can I sell fundraiser items online?

Yes, you can sell fundraiser items online using Zeffy’s zero-fee fundraising software. Here's how it works: