33 Clever Fundraising Ideas for College Students

Published May 14, 2021
Group of friends doing karaoke

When it comes to creating a fundraiser for college, you might be clueless. However, whether you are trying to raise tuition donations or getting donations for a college club cause, get several creative ideas to raise cash.

Low-Cost Fund-Raising Ideas for College Group

Are you looking for some fun, yet cheap, ideas your college group might use for a fundraiser? While you can try all the typical ideas like calling or texting people to ask for funs or doing a drive, there are additional ways that you might try to raise money for a cause.

Carnival Games

Games like ring toss, balloon pop, and ping pong ball shoots are fun for all ages. They can also be a cheap way to make money. All you need is a small space and a few small prizes, and you can get some fun carnival games going. Post some flyers and social media announcements about your games and wait for them to earn you some money. It's a fun and cheap way for you to draw in people and get some cash for the cause.

Bike for Bucks

Having people sponsor you to do something is a great way to earn some much-needed funds for a charity or cause. While walking or running events are all over the board, you can try biking for bucks. You can make it even more challenging by having people sponsor you to bike across states or other fun challenges.

Love Rocks

You've probably heard of paper hearts, but what about having people donate money for love rocks. You might decorate a bunch of love rocks they can get for a donation or create a love rock garden. Allow people to donate to decorate the rocks and put them into the garden. Not only is it a great way to earn cash, but an art piece as well. This can be a great event around holidays like Christmas or Valentine's Day.

Envelope Auction

Envelope auctions are going to take a bit of leg work. Why? Because you need to find items that you can auction off that fit in an envelope, so it's great to ask local businesses around you to provide vouchers and such for your fundraiser. You can also make it interesting by having one wanted envelope item and all the others filled with decorated hearts or original art. It becomes a contest as people start to bid on the different envelopes.

Karaoke Night

People love a party. Therefore, you can typically get college students to pay a small donation for a karaoke night. All you need for this event is a karaoke machine and people ready to have a good time. You can even add a competitive edge to your fundraiser by making it a singing contest. The winner can get a small prize which only adds to the fun.

Dodgeball Tournament

For this fundraiser, all you need is a ball and an open area. To earn money, you can either charge an entry fee or have each player try to get sponsorships for their team. Then it's all about a little bit of dodgeball fun!

Costume Party

Costume galas are big for fundraisers. And they earn a lot of money. However, you don't have to have the typical black-tie event. Instead, you can have a superhero costume party or anime party. A comic party could also be a big hit, especially if you add fun extras like a costume contest. While parties can get pricey, you can charge a small fee and have people bring a dish to pass or get vendors to donate for your event.

Art Installation

Grocery stores make money on those little hearts for charities. Take this idea and expand on it by creating an art installation fundraiser. On a large white wall, create a color the numbers image. Create a dollar amount for each section, and using their designated color, have the donors either color in or create a fun piece of art on their section. When the fundraiser is over, you have a creative piece of art and money for your charity.

Squirt Gun and Water Balloon Competition

The fun doesn't end when you get to college. And young adults love to blow off steam. Have them blow off a little steam and earn some money by having a squirt gun and water balloon fight. They can bring their own guns, or you can provide some. To earn money, they would pay a fee to get in. Then let the competition begin. The winner of the competition could get a small prize from a sponsor.

Water Gun Fight

Guessing Game

You've probably seen a fundraiser where a jar is filled with M&M's, and you pay to guess the number. Well, you can do this but on a larger and more creative scale. Instead of candies in a jar, fill a car with balloons. Have them pay to guess how many balloons fit in the car. Or fill helium balloons with glitter and air them up. Have the donors pay to guess how many balloons have glitter. You can then have a popping reveal.

Beat Out Your Frustrations Fundraiser

Hitting the pinata is a fun time at a birthday party. Take this to the next level with a Halloween-themed fundraiser. Hang a thick multi-layered pumpkin pinata. Have people donate to take a swing to get the prize inside. Get a vendor to add an enticing price in the center. Having people pay per swing and work to get you the most bang for your buck.

Creative Ways to Raise Money for College

Rather than trying to raise funds for your college club, you might be trying to get funds for college itself. In that case, you might want to take a more personalized approach to your fundraising journey. Try out these ideas for raising funds for your college tuition.

Miles for Money

When it comes to raising funds for your college tuition, you can have people sponsor every mile that you walk, run, bike, or hike. You will not only document your miles for everyone to see, but you're earning college tuition too. Maybe each different mile can have a specific significance in your education journey.

Dare to Dream

Have people sponsor you to do crazy dares. These shouldn't be in the realm of injury but fun, like have people sponsor you to shave your head, eat a hot pepper, or sing in public. The crazier it seems, the more people are going to want to get involved.

Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt doesn't have to be costly, but it can be a lot of fun. And if there is a mystery involved with what people are going to find, it's even more alluring. Map out a trail with clues along the way and have people donate a fee to join in the scavenger hunt fun. This is even more fun if you add a theme like finding the wand scavenger hunt or following the fairies trail.

Letters to a Crush

Designate yourself as the personalized cupid for your friends, family, and others. Therefore, people can provide you with a small donation to deliver secret crush letters. You might do this via texts, social media, or in person. Not only can you earn college money, but it's a fun fundraiser around Valentine's Day and Sweetest Day.

Yard Flamingos

Yard flamingos are all the rage. Create a yard flamingo fundraiser. People bid to get someone's yard anonymously showered with yard flamingos for 24 hours. You can do this over the course of a month or two to add the fun and mystery.

Flamingo Garden Ornaments

Spin to Win

You need tuition money, and your family wants you to do chores. Try a spin to win fundraiser. Create a spinner with various chores on it, like washing cars, mowing lawn, tutoring, babysitting, etc. You might also add things that you're going to school for, like accounting consultation, website consultation, etc. Add a few free spaces into the mix. Have people donate for a spin to win. Create vouchers for them to use at any time.

Candy Grams

While you still in high school, you can auction off candy grams. For a small donation fee, you give heart-felt candy and notes to crushes and love interests. Just make sure to keep it fun and anonymous.

Call It Quits Challenge

Have your friends, family, and anyone else sponsor you to give something up for a designated amount of time. For example, they could sponsor you for minutes or hours to give up anything from pizza to chewing gum.

Pet Party

A party is a party, even a pet party. Get not only your friends and family but their pets involved in a pet costume party. Make a community affair by having a fun costume contest and treats at the local dog park. You can charge a small entry fee donation. But the fun is free.

Swing Fundraiser

You aren't a kid anymore, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun at the playground. Harness your inner child and have a playground fundraiser. For example, you might have people donate money for each minute you are on the swings or hanging from the monkey bars. Your family will take part for the photo opts alone.

Rubber Band Fundraiser

People love those rubber bracelets or bands. Buy them in bulk with your name and school. With every donation, they get a rubber band. It's a simple and easy way to get some much-needed funds at any time.

Virtual College Fund Raising Ideas

While it's fun to get together, it's not always possible. Therefore, virtual fundraisers are all the rage, especially during pandemics or flu season. When it comes to creating a virtual fundraiser, give these ideas a try.

Halfpoint Images

Moving Through Crowdsourcing

Looking to get funds for college, GoFundMe is an option. However, it's not the only crowdsourcing resource out there; you can also try ScholarMatch or Indiegogo to start your campaigns. The key here is to create a story that is trend-worthy and promotes your cause.

Social Media Challenge

TikTok is chock full of challenges. Use this to your advantage by creating a social media fundraiser challenge. Get everyone involved by creating a challenge that is trend-worthy like #ThePushUpChallenge.

Designer T's

Not only can you have a contest to design the image for these custom t-shirts, but you can use a web store like customink.com to have people purchase t-shirts for your campaign. Generally, you get some much per shirt bought. The better the design, the more you could make. Remember, it's all about share, share, share!

Appreciation Post-Its

It's important to be kind! Therefore, you can create an appreciation post-its event. Set up an online event, and people can donate to post appreciation post-its to those special people in their lives. Earn a bit of money and make people smile.

Virtual Class

Do you have some mad cooking skills? Are you a cocktail connoisseur? Share your skills with the world by creating a virtual class that they can donate to attend. Not only can these be perfect money makers, but you can host them several times.


You've probably heard of a walk-a-thon or a read-a-thon, well this is an online-a-thon. So you can run, walk, read, play video games, what have you. Donors sign up to pledge for minutes, miles, laps, and more. All you have to do is keep a log of your activity for peeps to follow. After the time is up, donors are charged for their pledge.

Quiz Night

Who doesn't like a good quiz night? Using an online quiz app, have people sign up to play and test their minds. With the right amount of promotion, it's a fun and relatively painless way to make money quickly.

Online Swear Jar

It's hard to watch your language online, have a fun competition to see who can go without swearing the longest. If you fail to keep it clean on any of your social media accounts, you donate a specified amount of money into the swear jar. It's all in good fun.

Crafting Together

Have a Zoom or Google Meets crafting night and have people donate to attend. These can be hot fundraisers around holidays. You can also turn these into a craft and sip, depending on the ages of the college students.

Bang or Bust Auction

Round up different sponsors for items to auction off. You can also go to your local dollar store and pick up little trinkets. Fill a paper bag with your sponsor items and trinkets, assign them a number and let the fun begin. Let the auctioneers know what the big-ticket items are before starting. You can make some mad cash.

Online Garage Sale

Getting rid of stuff that you don't need anymore is a great way to make some dough. But who has time to set up a garage sale? Instead, you can have an online garage sale. People make donations for the stuff, and you declutter. Now grab your old stuff and start taking pictures.

Movies With Friends

Rather than having a movie marathon, you can have a Netflix fundraiser. Create a 24 hour Netflix movie marathon where you chat and watch some of your favorites. People simply donate to be part of the fun. Center your marathon around popular series and shows like watching the Marvel movies in order.

Keeping the Fun in Fundraiser

It can be hard to find new college fundraising ideas. However, you don't have to stick with the old standbys of bake-offs or car washes. Instead, you can get creative by trying a few of these ideas for college club fundraisers or earning college tuition.

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33 Clever Fundraising Ideas for College Students