Fundraising Ideas That Work

How to raise $500 to $5000 quickly for your school, church, sports, or public service charity.



The messy room fundraiser

Philip Copitch, Ph.D.


Dear Dr. Phil,

My school is small and the 7th grade class field trip costs $350. Every student has to pay their own part. This is a problem because some kids don’t have the money.

Mary, 7th grade.


Let’s make a mess to raise funds for your school trip

Dear Mary,

May I suggest that you make a real mess for your fundraiser. The concept is easy: when the school is full of parents, such as during open house or back to school night, the 7th grade sets up a kid’s bedroom in the gym or in the school yard.

(One school did this fundraiser for for basketball camp scholarships during the halftime of their home games.)

The idea is that you bring in furniture, books, and clothing, and make a movie scene depicting a spotless kid’s bedroom. The more stuff the better. Make the room look perfect. Put down a rug, make the bed. Fill a chest of drawers with tons of clothes. Put clothes on hangers in a “closet” area. Add stuffed animals and all sorts of knickknack stuff. (Avoid breakable items or liquids.)

The goal is to invite a parent to make a riotous mess for a donation of, say $20. They get to throw stuff all over to great applause!! Once the room is trashed, the whole 7th grade quickly folds the clothes, picks up other items, and puts everything back in its place. Then you ask another parent to trash the room again…and again.

The parents will have a blast trashing the room. The kids will have a blast seeing how fast they can put it back together so they can raise more money.

Have fun. Advertise the event a few weeks before. Beg the parents to attend. Get some of the more active parents involved with bringing stuff to make up the room. These parents will help encourage others to attend and open their purses.

Once, when I was running this fundraiser, a mom offered $100 for the pleasure of watching her child put the room back together by herself. The girl was a great sport and the crowd cheered her on.

It was hilarious.

Good luck with your fundraiser.

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