Are you bored of the age-old bake sales and car washes to raise money for your high school sports team? Go innovative with some awesome fundraising ideas!
This blog post provides new yet exciting avenues of fundraising for your sports program. Community events, school, or online campaigns, the following ideas are sure not just to help you meet your financial goals but also to bring enthusiasm and energy to your team.
So, let's dive in and explore some creative fundraising ideas that are sure to make a splash!
1. Tailgate Party
If there’s one thing that high school sports fans love, it’s tailgating. And that’s why a tailgate party is often the most popular fundraising event for a high school athletic program.
The idea of parking-lot parties before football games has become so ingrained in American culture that many fans don’t even consider going to a game without participating in some way—even if they’re just eating and drinking.
So how can you make your tailgate party stand out? And how do you turn it into a money maker? First, let’s talk about location. If possible, find somewhere near the school or sports complex with ample room for parking and setting up tents or grills.
Creating excitement is key. Playing music—live or recorded—is always good. So are decorations in your team colors. Why not encourage attendees to wear jerseys or team merchandise? This lets young athletes know other people care about them and value their hard work.
Now let’s talk food and drink. Burgers and hot dogs are always popular, as are French fries. Drinks might include soda pop—or something harder if everyone is 21 or older—and you can round things off with desserts such as cookies.
To help generate more income on top of whatever people have already paid at the gate (if anything), why not sell T-shirts with your team logo while you’re at it? They could be a big seller.
2. Fun Run
Are you responsible for getting money for your secondary school sports program? Then consider hosting a fun run/walk — a great way to promote physical fitness and raise funds for the team or squad.
First, choose an attractive, safe course that runs through your neighborhood. Get permission from local authorities if necessary. Set a fee to register (say $25) that covers the cost of a T-shirt or other giveaway item on race day.
Promote the event with posters around town, ads in local papers, and posts on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram
Encourage participants to form teams (such as members of one high school graduating class competing against those from another) who will work together to raise money by offering prizes not only for top fundraisers but also for the fastest runners.
Make sure there are plenty of volunteers along the route directing runners so they don’t get lost.
If it fits within your budget (and public health regulations), consider adding some fun elements along the route — water balloon stations or foam-pit jumps, say — to help convince more people to participate.
Don’t forget post-race snacks: Have water, fruit, and energy bars available once participants have crossed the finish line.
For an exciting and energetic way to fundraise for your high school sports program, a dance-a-thon is hard to beat. A dance-a-thon combines the buzz and fun of dancing with raising money for a good cause.
To make sure your dance-a-thon goes off without a hitch, start by finding a large indoor space – such as your school gymnasium or a local community center that you can rent out – as well as DJs or playlist equipment so participants have something to boogie to.
Next, encourage students and community members alike to get involved by selling tickets in advance. Make it competitive by setting individual or team fundraising targets – maybe even offering incentives or prizes for the best movers and shakers among your fundraisers.
Then comes the big day itself: how will you keep people entertained? Different genres of music? Dance challenges? Games? Guest dancers/performers?
Also worth thinking about is making sure everyone stays hydrated (as well as energized) during what could be quite an ordeal – water stations are one idea, and healthy snacks are also an option.
Finally, don't forget social media posts/flyers to promote the fact you are organizing this event. People need telling!
4. School Sleepover
Revolutionize your school sport’s fundraising program by hosting a sleepover at the school. The event will take place over a set time period and give students an opportunity to bond with their classmates while raising money for their favorite athletic teams.
Start planning by selecting a date that works best for most students, including many athletes they would like to help support. Then, talk with administrators about using sections of the building, such as the cafeteria or gymnasium.
To maintain order and ensure safety, you’ll need enough adult chaperones to supervise attendees throughout the night.
Creating activities throughout the night at different locations within the building will make this event feel special – maybe one room could be filled with games; another might continually show movies; another station could focus on making crafts or posing in front of a photo booth.
Consider charging an admission fee and/or selling tickets for various events taking place during your overnighter.
Don’t skimp on food! Snacks should be available throughout the evening (and relationships must be built so funds can be generated), plus some kind of refreshments. The morning meal also needs consideration (if possible, ask parents to assist in cooking/serving).
Promote this gathering via social media. Create flyers and hang them in hallways. Make announcements during class meetings if allowed!
5. Haunted House
Want to raise funds for your high school sports program while giving people a scare they’ll never forget? How about putting on a haunted house? It’s sure to be thrilling – and very profitable.
To get started, find somewhere in the school you can turn into a spooky setting. The basement or gymnasium might work well, or any unused space with lots of nooks and crannies. Dim the lights and decorate like crazy with cobwebs, skeletons, and ghosts.
Next, recruit ghostly volunteers – students who are up for dressing up as zombies or other scary creatures. They will be stationed around your haunted building, ready to terrify anyone who passes by.
Once that is sorted out, plan different scares for different parts of your haunted house so there are surprises at every turn. If possible, make some rooms scarier than others so visitors can choose their level of fright when buying tickets.
You’ll need to advertise online and by word-of-mouth to bring people running. Consider offering advance ticket sales (or selling them on the door) with differing prices depending on how much extra terror punters want to pay.
Finally, think about extras: Could you have Halloween-themed food stalls selling eyeball cupcakes and brain burgers? Or maybe a photo booth where visitors can remember the spookiest night ever? And enjoy!
6. Parents Night Out
For parents craving a little R&R and keen to support your high school sports program, Parents Night Out is the perfect fundraising event. What’s not to love? Parents would obviously donate some money to your sport’s team!
To plan an amazing Parents Night Out, you’ll need a suitable venue – your school gym or community center might be ideal. Spread the word to parents that they can have an evening off while their children are supervised and having fun.
Next up: organize a packed schedule of activities for kids throughout the event, from games and crafts to movies. You could hire professional babysitters or call on responsible volunteers.
Consider charging an admission fee based on how long the event lasts or offer different pricing options if families have more than one child.
Promote Parents Night Out via various channels such as social media or flyers sent home with students (and don’t forget about announcements during school events).
Make sure you’re clear about drop-off and pick-up times, whether parents need to fill in any forms or permissions, and what additional services will be offered (such as dinner).
If you want to raise money for your high school sports team, you should think of new ways to do it. That's because the same old fundraisers can get boring.
But if you come up with unique and creative ideas, people will be more likely to open their wallets. Plus, cool events can bring your community together — which is a win in itself.
Whether they're designed to support a specific sport or the whole athletic department, these gatherings are about more than cash.
They help build camaraderie among kids and their families. And that does matter. When students feel connected to their school community, they do better academically and have fewer behavior problems. So what are you waiting for?