While classes are out for summer vacation, many school organizations are still working hard to prepare for the upcoming school year. For example, the PTA might be meeting to plan fun events for students that motivate them to get involved in the community, while the marching band practices for the approaching competitive season.

Because these organizations are still meeting, rehearsing, and preparing over the summer, they need to secure the funding and resources that will help them operate in the summer months and during the academic year. This is where summer fundraisers come in. After all, this is the perfect time to plan fundraisers as students, parents, and other members of the community are less busy with school-related obligations. These summer fundraisers give your school organization the opportunity to diversify its revenue streams and can help ease the financial burdens families face when students participate  in sports, band, cheerleading, and other extracurricular activities.

In this guide, we’ll walk through three kinds of summer fundraisers that your school team or group can launch to raise essential funding during summer break and encourage support even when school isn’t in session.

1. Outdoor events.

During the warm summer months, many people are looking for ways to get outside and enjoy the weather with their friends and families. Take advantage of this desire to enjoy the summer weather by hosting outdoor, family-friendly events to fundraise for your organization.  

Here are a few events that take place outside for your group or team to try:

  • Movie night. Find a large, open space like your school’s lawn or football field and rent a large display screen and projector. Make sure to choose a movie that is appropriate for your audience. To appeal to a wider range of people, you could do two or three showings (e.g., showings for young children, teens, and adults). Double the Donation’s guide to school fundraising recommends asking for a small entry fee along with selling snacks like popcorn and soda to raise money.

  • Field day. Set up a variety of individual and group activities for participants to compete in. To get started, consider classic ideas like footraces, tug-of-war, sack races, and obstacle courses. Ask your school or local sports complex if you can use a field to host the fundraising event.

  • Sports tournament or competition. If your group is a sports team, you might organize a tournament or competition centered around the specific game you play. For example, 99Pledges’ football fundraising guide suggests holding a pledge-based kicking challenge in which participants kick field goals, competing to see who is the best kicker. You can also hold a fun event like a powderpuff game to give female fans a chance to play while players cheer on the sidelines.

To offset the costs of these events, your organization could seek out sponsorships with local businesses. During these partnerships, your school will ask these businesses to sponsor your fundraising event in exchange for displaying their logo on things like signs and merchandise at the fundraiser. And as with any fundraising event, don’t forget to promote it through word of mouth,  flyers posted around the community, and social media.

2. Virtual fundraisers.

When school is out for  break, there can be more disconnect between the students in your group and their teachers and friends. The key benefit of virtual fundraisers is that people can do them remotely, which is particularly helpful when people are on vacation and don’t see each other every day at school. They can also inspire support from people who are not local to your school’s town, like family members of students who live in different states.

These virtual fundraising ideas can help you round up plenty of support even when you can’t connect with your school community on campus:

  • Facebook challenges. These challenges are usually time-bound and are a type of peer-to-peer fundraiser. To follow Facebook’s guidelines, your group will need to set up a fundraiser, share it with your followers, and watch as your supporters join to participate in the challenge. Be sure to choose a challenge that aligns with your groups’ focus. If you coach a soccer team, you might challenge participants to kick five goals a day or run for 30 minutes.

  • Online auction. This idea is similar to an in-person auction, but the bidding takes place online. You can hold a more traditional auction over a video call where participants bid on items live or host an asynchronous auction by using an auction website or app to host the event and your catalog of items. In this case, you can keep the auction open for a specific amount of time (like a week) to give supporters plenty of time to bid.

  • Online merchandise sales. Your organization can sell traditional merchandise like stickers, magnets, t-shirts, and hats with your logo and name on it through an e-commerce store. This is great for students, parents, and other members of your community who want to show their support for your team or group during the new school year. It can also serve as “free advertising” because people will help spread awareness of your organization any time they use or wear the merchandise.

If you choose to hold a virtual fundraising event, make sure to pick a fundraising platform that makes the process simple. For example if you opt for an online auction, make sure that your platform supports mobile bidding. During peer-to-peer fundraisers in particular, it can help to choose a tool that allows your participants to create personal digital fundraising pages that they can use when rallying the support of their friends and family. Before kicking off your virtual fundraiser, make sure to share the details of the event with your community through your school’s website and social media pages to spread awareness.

3. Day camp.

This fundraising idea is a great way to get students and other participants outside during the summer. It can also provide a safe, productive activity for parents to send their children to during summer break. 

These fundraisers involve setting up a multi-day camp in which members of your team coach participants in their sport or activity. If you help run a high school baseball team, they can coordinate with local little league and middle school teams to give them a week of practice sessions and one-on-one training with more experienced players. These younger students likely look up to older players and can learn new techniques to improve their skills.

To secure funds with this fundraising idea, your group can charge an enrollment fee prior to the day camp. You can use the enrollment numbers to determine how many student coaches and supplies you’ll need for the duration of the camp. To generate additional funding, you might sell special merchandise like hats or t-shirts that showcase the name and year of the camp.

While summer might be a break for your school’s classes, your student group doesn’t have to pause fundraising. Leveraging low-cost, DIY fundraisers can help you maximize your fundraising ROI during summer vacation. 

You can also pair your chosen fundraiser with a school-specific fundraising platform to reach your supporters across the nation with personal online donation pages for each of your students.