We all need a little fundraising inspiration sometimes. To help you succeed in your mission to raise money for a good cause, we’ve put together our A-Z list of tried-and-tested student fundraising ideas.
Auction – Put out a plea for unwanted items that are still in great condition. Arrange an auction where students can bid on each of the items, with all of the money going to your good cause. You might even be able to get shops to donate brand new items if you ask them nicely.
Abseil – Challenge students to abseil down a well-known landmark in exchange for donations from their friends and family. The more scared they are of heights, the bigger the donations!
Afternoon tea – Book out a space in your Students’ Union and start making the sandwiches. Hotel afternoon teas can be pretty expensive, so students will enjoy the chance to go to one that’s not only cheaper but also for a good cause.
Bag packing – Most supermarkets will allow you to pack the shopping bags of their customers at the till. Have some collection buckets around so that customers can thank you for your service with a little donation.
Book sale – A book sale is a great way to raise money while recycling books at the same time. Ask students to bring books that they don’t need anymore and charge other people to buy them.
Barbecue – This fundraising idea is weather dependent, but can raise a lot of money for your cause in the sunshine. Remember that you’ll need to meet health and safety requirements if you’re selling food.
Collection buckets – Ask your Students’ Union, library and campus cafés if you can leave collection buckets on their counters and by any tills. A sure fire way to get any loose change in students’ pockets!
Calendars – Printing a special university calendar is a great way to raise money in the run up to the new year. Arrange for fellow student societies to star on the pages and organise a themed photo shoot. Sell the calendars online and in your student shop.
Craft fair – Arrange for all of the arty and creative societies to bring along a selection of work they’ve made to be sold to other students. Ask each artist to promote the event on social media so that you have lots of interested buyers attending.
Doughnut sale – Everyone loves a doughnut! Did you know that places like Krispy Kreme will sell doughnuts in bulk at a lower price if it’s for charity? Buy a batch using the charity discount, then sell them to students at the normal retail rate.
Dog visits – Arrange for your local guide dog charity to visit campus and ask students to donate money to be able to meet them.
Disco night – Book your Students’ Union out and run a themed club night. Depending on the arrangement with your Students’ Union, you could collect money from the cost of entry or the cloakroom.
Enterprise competition – Team up with your enterprise society for an Apprentice-style competition. You could even ask your Union President to pose as Lord Sugar.
Early bird tickets – Strike a deal with a local club that you’ll sell early bird club night tickets to students, in exchange for a percentage of the money the tickets make.
Fancy dress – Organise a bar crawl or club night with a fun fancy dress theme. Charge for entry and offer a prize for the best costume.
Foreign coin exchange – Advertise that students can bring all unwanted small coins from their last holiday to your society at a designated collection point on campus. You can then exchange them back to pounds and add the amount to your fundraising total.
Face painting – This fundraising idea works particularly well during Freshers’ Week or at Halloween. Set up a stall in your halls or at your Students’ Union and offer to paint faces for a small fee.
GoRaise – The easiest of all student fundraising ideas! Sign up to GoRaise and you can raise money for a good cause every time you or your friends shop online. Spread the word so that your family and friends can fundraise when they shop too.
Games night – Book out a space in your Students’ Union and bring along as many board games and decks of cards as you can find. Giant jenga is a bonus if you have it!
Guess the sweets – Buy some sweets from your local pound store and pop them in a jar. Have passers-by make a small donation to guess the number of sweets in the jar. Make sure you get everyone’s contact details so that you can email the winner.
Hair styling – Gather some budding hair stylists and set up a stand in your Students’ Union. This is perfect for right before a night out or graduation ball.
Halloween party – Organise some spooky Halloween celebrations and go all out on the decorations.
International fair – One of the best things about university is meeting people from so many different countries. Book a space in your Students’ Union and get in touch with all of the cultural societies and ask them to run a stall each. Students can come along to learn more about different cultures.
Ice skating – Organise for a group of students to go ice skating around Christmas time. If there’s no ice rink in your university town then you can arrange a group coach to the nearest one.
Jailbreak – Jailbreak is when groups of students compete to get as far away from campus as possible, but using absolutely no money for their travel arrangements. Students pay to take part and there’s a prize for the student group who can get the furthest. Remember to emphasise the importance of being safe while you’re blagging tickets and hitchhiking rides!
Jewellery making – Get some materials together, like metal wire, string and beads, and hold a jewellery making class. You could invite an art or fashion student to run it to give the class some extra tips.
Karaoke – Most universities have a karaoke night in the Students’ Union. Ask if you can hijack yours for a night so that all the entry money goes to charity.
Knitting class – Did you know that knitting is known to have the same benefits as meditation? Get a group together, chill out for the evening and see what you can create.
Laughathon – Organise a comedy night at your Students’ Union. Make sure that you’ve got a host of hilarious acts lined up, then charge for entry and snacks.
Litter picking – Litter picking is a great way to get donations and clean up the planet at the same time. Team up with the council or local community group to find a space for you to litter pick.
Marathon – Test yourself and your volunteers with a running challenge. Whether its 5km or a full marathon, make sure to set up a fundraising page where your family and friends can send donations.
Matched giving – This one will involved some serious networking but is totally worth it in the end. Form a relationship with a local or national business who is kind enough to match the money you fundraise across the year, therefore doubling your fundraising total! Start by researching the corporate social responsibility policies of different companies and send out some emails to see who could be interested.
Nail painting – Gather some keen nail artists and set up a nail painting stand on campus. This is especially great for themed charity events, such as Breast Cancer Now’s Wear It Pink Day.
Nomination game – Nomination games can take social media by storm. Think up your own version of the Ice Bucket Challenge or No Make-Up Selfie, start nominating other students using a hashtag and watch it spread.
Odd jobs day – Create a Facebook group where students can post all of the odd jobs they need help with, like car washing or food shopping. Put your society committee to work for a day helping out with all of the odd jobs, in exchange for a donation of course!
Olympics – Host an Olympics-style competition between all of your university sports clubs. Why not switch it up so that the rugby team are playing netball and the swim team are trying football? Remember to have bucket collections on the sidelines.
Personal challenge – Encourage your volunteers to set themselves big personal challenges which their friends and family can sponsor them for, such as climbing Kilimanjaro. Did you know that you can fundraise for a challenge every time you shop online with GoRaise?
Paintballing – Paintballing is a brilliant day out for any adrenaline-hungry group of students. Charge for the ticket, travel and a little extra for a donation to charity.
Quiz night – Quiz nights are easy to organise and lots of fun, not to mention a big money raiser if you can get enough people there. Charge entry per team and make sure you’ve got a variety of questions in your quiz.
Quiet time – Challenge your volunteers to not speak for 24 hours. They can ask their family, friends and housemates for sponsorship.
Raiding – Raids are when your society members take to the streets for some good old-fashioned bucket shaking! Make the day into a competition to keep spirits up – who can get a £20 note from a member of the public? Don’t forget to wrap up warm if it’s winter.
Raffles – Selling raffle tickets is an easy way to fundraise for your chosen charity. Make sure you let local businesses know about the raffle, as you might be able to get some donated raffle prizes.
Recipe book – Collate your favourite student recipes and have them printed in a recipe book. You could ask the student body to submit their recipes too – they’re more likely to buy the book later if their recipe is featured!
Sabbatical Officers – What’s the point of having Sabbatical Officers if you don’t get them involved in student fundraising? Challenge your Sabbs to do something funny for money and make sure lots of people are around to watch and donate.
Swimathon – Take advantage of your university pool and hold a sponsored swimathon.
Sumo wrestling – Hire out some sumo suits and set up a battle in the middle of campus.
TV series marathon – Book out a lecture theatre and put on a popular TV series (Friends usually goes down well). You can charge for entry to the show, as well as a little extra for snacks like chocolate and popcorn.
Treasure hunt – Set up a treasure hunt around campus and ask people to donate to receive the first clue. Why not theme it around a holiday like Easter or Christmas?
Tuck shop – Head to Poundland or a Cash and Carry to stock up on sweets and treats, then sell them on campus for a day. This idea is bound to go down well at exam time, just be sure to check with any campus catering outlets that it’s okay for you to do.
University challenge – Hold a battle of the brains with any volunteers who think their general knowledge is up to scratch. If Jeremy Paxman’s not available, why not get a Sabbatical Officer to host the quiz?
Unwanted items sale – One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Ask students to bring their unwanted items to a designated drop-off point on campus, for you to price and sell.
Video shoot – Arrange to film a music video with all of your fellow clubs and societies. Pick a song that everyone will know and ask for a small donation to take part.
Valentine’s speed dating – Get a group of guys and girls together (aim for even numbers if you can) and hold a speed dating event.
Varsity match – Every university will have a varsity match at some point in the year, when your sports teams will play a rival university for victory. Find out when varsity is taking place and take some collection buckets along. You could even sell hot drinks and snacks.
World record attempt – Find a world record which you think you could beat, invite a Guinness World Records official down to adjudicate and go for it! Make sure to do it in a public place where they’ll be lots of students walking by to donate.
Waxing – This idea is painful for those directly involved, but hilarious for everyone watching. Invite your Sabbatical Officers and Big Names On Campus to take part and watch the donations roll in.
Wine and cheese – Hold a wine and cheese night in your Students’ Union; you might even be able to get the products donated by a kind local supermarket.
Xbox tournament – Set up some Xboxs with a range of games in your Students’ Union. Ask for donations from anyone who wants to play. Make sure the games are multi-player for maximum involvement.
X-Factor talent show – University is full of talented people. Give them the opportunity to perform in an X-Factor style talent competition. Ask for a small donation from everyone who enters and remember to have bucket collections in the crowd.
Yoga class – Invite your university yoga society to run a class specially for charity. Remember to think about the costs of paying the instructor and booking a space when you’re deciding how much to charge for entry.
YOLO challenge – Challenge every member of your committee to complete a challenge that’s on their bucket list, whether it’s sky-diving or going vegan for a month. They can ask their family and friends for sponsorship.
Zumbathon – Pick an open space on campus which lots of people walk past and hold a sponsored zumbathon, a non-stop zumba marathon that lasts as long as you decide! Remember to check the weather forecast and consider the health and safety of your dancers.
Zombie bar crawl – Last but not least in our list of student fundraising ideas, this one goes down especially well at Halloween. Spread the word that a deadly virus has broken out on campus and the only antidote is at the last bar on the bar crawl. First years come dressed as themselves while second and third years dress up as zombies and bring some non-permanent marker pens. The challenge is to make it to the last bar without being ‘infected’ with a pen mark. Consider getting t-shirts printed so that you can identify all bar crawl attendees.
Remember that you can always top up your student fundraising total quickly and easily using GoRaise. By starting with GoRaise when you shop online, you and your friends can raise money for your student society, cause or challenge and it won’t cost you a penny. Find out more and start boosting your student fundraising for free.
Thanks for the image to Gavin Whitner (musicoomph.com).
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