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Fundraising for Charity and Helping Others: Ideas for Schools

Linda Crampton is a writer who is concerned about social issues. She hopes to encourage anyone who is able to do so to help people in need.

The Power of a Group to Help Others

The power of one person to cure social ills and support those in need should never be underestimated. A collection of people may have a greater potential to help humanity on this planet, however. This is not only because more people are involved in the effort but also because in a group people can encourage and support each other. A school is an ideal group for helping people in either the local community or the global one.

I believe that one role of education should be to help children develop empathy for others and the ability to help people who are less fortunate than themselves. Parents and teachers can guide children in this learning process. Young people are often enthusiastic when something interests them. Their enthusiasm for helping others can spread to less motivated people in the school community, in their families, and in the wider community where they live.

Bake sales are popular fundraisers.

Bake sales are popular fundraisers.

School Fundraising Events for Charities

There are many possible events that students can organize to raise funds for charities. Most of the activities in the lists below have been done by my high school students.

Students develop organizational skills and practice teamwork as they prepare for a fundraising event. In my school, we have a student-run community events committee. The students in this committee suggest, plan, and hold fundraising events and activities (with a little staff guidance and supervision).

Most parents have no problem with their children participating in school events designed to help others, but the parents should be informed about an event in advance. This will enable them to withdraw their children from an activity if they object to the children raising money for a particular charity or participating in a certain event.

Candy may not be healthy, but it sells very well as a fundraising treat.

Candy may not be healthy, but it sells very well as a fundraising treat.

Some Fundraising Ideas for Schools

Fundaising ideas for schools include the following:

  • Run a sale: Popular examples include bake sales and candy sales, but many other items could be sold. These include potted plants, produce grown in a home garden or on other land owned by the family, and homemade crafts.
  • Collect donations: Items that could be collected include bottles and other items that recycling centres accept and pay for and donations of coins or bills. Even low-value coins or bills can create a helpful donation if there are a lot of donors.
  • Organize car washes: These are great events for enabling families to work as a group. They require quite a lot of effort from the car washers, though, especially if the cars are very dirty. The organizers should make it clear whether only the exterior of the vehicle will be cleaned or the exterior and the interior and whether the exterior will be polished as well as washed.
  • Organize guessing games: For example, people could guess the number of candies in a jar. People could pay a small fee to enter the competition. The person with the closest answer would win the candy.
  • Sell raffle tickets: The tickets could be for donated items, plants that students grow from seed, or art and crafts created by students or their families. Local businesses may be willing to make donations for a worthy cause. This is especially useful if the students' families can't afford to do this.
  • Sell tickets for services: These services could be performed voluntarily by parents or students. A student could sell a ticket to mow a lawn, babysit, or pet sit; a parent could sell a service related to his or her career, training, or practical experience, such as making a cake, cutting someone's hair, cleaning gutters, etc.
  • Sell tickets for a special event: This event would be one in which all performers provide their services voluntarily or in which all of the items used at the event are donated. Examples include a drama performance, a school dance, or a potluck meal. In return for a little publicity, businesses may be happy to donate food.

More Fundraising Ideas

More fundraising ideas include:

  • Hold a "bring and buy" sale or a garage sale: Families donate items that they no longer want and other families buy them.
  • Sell cookie dough, frozen pies, or gift wrap: These could be provided by fundraising companies. Students may receive prizes from a company if they reach certain sales goals.
  • Hold a competition that has an entrance fee: A paper airplane competition could be great fun. Sports events could be enjoyable, too.
  • Participate in a 24-hour famine for charity: Students stay at school the whole time, participating in interesting events and sleeping when necessary. They are given fruit juice at regular intervals but don't eat food. Students get sponsors to support their "famine" monetarily. Parents must sign a permission slip for this event. The slip should clearly state the conditions of the famine.

Senior High School Students Can Help Others

The students in a high school graduating class are often very keen to raise funds for their graduation ceremony. They frequently have lofty ambitions for the event. It would be great if they used some of their enthusiasm for obtaining money to help others.

Grads might agree to donate a small percentage of the money that they raise to a charity. This could be made a requirement if fundraising is done on school property, but I think that it's better if the students decide to donate money voluntarily. They may need a gentle suggestion to do this, though.

Students or schools need to decide how money for charity will be used once it's collected. Students may decide to help a local organization or an international one. Oxfam, Unicef, and Save The Children are three organizations whose websites provide fundraising ideas and suggestions for helping communities in need. Supporting these organizations may be appropriate for some schools.

Creating music can benefit others.

Creating music can benefit others.

Some Activities to Aid the Local Community

It's good for students to sometimes leave the enclosed world of their school and explore the conditions and needs of their community first hand (as long as this is a safe activity). Here are some suggestions for activities other than fundraising that will help people in the community.

  • Perform for the elderly: Sing Christmas carols or play music at a home for elderly people. Usually all that’s required to arrange a visit is a phone call to the home staff. They are generally only too happy to welcome a school choir. Make sure that the choir or music group rehearses well, even if it’s only a temporary organization. The audience deserves the students’ best efforts.
  • Volunteer at a food bank: Spend an afternoon helping at the local food bank or another community organization and consider doing this several times during the school year. The amount of time that the students help may not be very significant for the food bank, but the visit is a wonderful opportunity for students to see that some people need help in obtaining something as basic as food.
  • Run a food drive: Collect non-perishable items for the food bank in school. The winning class or group can receive a small reward. For example, students in my school have to follow a uniform dress code. Being allowed to wear clothes of their own choice for a day is very motivating for them.
  • Tie the food drive to school events: Collect items for the food bank at special events. My school holds two drama/music/dance productions a year. Tickets are free for parents and other family members, but we ask that the audience members bring a donation for the food bank. Many of them do.
  • Organize a clothing, toy, or book drive: Students could also make a collection of donated clothing and blankets or collect donated toys for children and books for all ages. All of the items should be in good condition. Many areas have local charities that are delighted to accept these items.
Warm blankets are appreciated by many people in need.

Warm blankets are appreciated by many people in need.

Another Activity for Helping the Community

Consider participating in special events designed to help others or draw people’s attention to social problems. For example, my school once participated in a well-organized event in a local park. Admission was by donation to the local food bank. The main aims of the event were to create the largest peace sign ever made from people’s bodies and to be mentioned in Guinness World Records.

We failed at both of the main goals because there weren't enough people present to break the world record. However, we were successful in respect to two additional goals, which were to raise awareness and to support the food bank. The event was publicized in local newspapers and brought the idea of peace to people's attention. In addition, aerial photos of the peace sign were used to create a calendar to raise funds for local schools.

The Value of We Day and a Special Event

For several years, some students in my school have attended an exciting event known as We Day. The event was created by the cooperation of two organizations—Free the Children and Me to We. It's designed to inspire school students to help children and adults who are living in poverty or suffering as a result of social problems.

We Day is fun and educational for high school students. The event takes place in an arena. Entertainers who are popular with teenagers perform. In addition, speakers—many of them famous—talk to the students about childhood poverty or social issues. The event is free for students to attend.

We Day is a highlight of the school year. The goal of the We organization is to help people all year long, however. Students are encouraged to help people in need after the arena event is over. They are asked to participate in one local and one global initiative to help others during the school year. Their efforts will allow them to attend the next We Day event, which is generally held in the early fall.

Some of the students in my school organize a number of projects to help the local community during the school year. After one We Day, they encouraged the student body and staff to participate in the "Adopt a Village" project to extend the range of the school's help.

We Day originated in Canada but is spreading to other countries. It currently operates in Canada, the United States, the UK, and the Caribbean. The video below describes the possible benefits of the event.

Helping Others With Knitting or Crochet

If students like to knit or crochet, they could create squares for blankets. (This is a great project for adults, too.) The squares can be completed on the students' own time or during a lunch time knitting or fibre arts club. Some organizations accept the squares and then sew them into blankets to donate to people who need them. The students could create the blankets themselves for their local community.

The Knit a Square organization accepts squares to support children. My school has never donated squares to Knit a Square so I can't give a personal recommendation, but the organization's website looks interesting and the people involved seem to do important and useful work.

More Ideas for Aiding Others

  • Sponsored runs or walks: Students can participate in a run, walk, or other athletic event and collect donations from sponsors. The donations can be used to support either an international or a local charity.
  • Social networking: Most high school students love social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Social networking may be a very helpful way for students to learn about charities, since many charitable organizations have Facebook and Twitter accounts. The sites can also help students publicize a worthy cause that they wish to support.
A sponsored walk or run can be fun, good exercise, and helpful for charities.

A sponsored walk or run can be fun, good exercise, and helpful for charities.

Guest Speakers for Encouraging Students

While listening to a guest speaker doesn't enable students to help people directly, it may stimulate their interest in this topic. After one We Day event, a speaker from the organization visited my school. She gave an energetic and enthusiastic presentation that included photos and a video. Students asked her a lot of good questions afterwards, expressing their interest in her presentation.

The success of a guest speaker depends heavily on the person who visits the school. The best speakers are interesting and informative. They hold the students' attention instead of just making them happy that they're missing a class.

Big and Small Schools Can Help Those in Need

My school has used many strategies to raise funds for charities and help communities. We are a small school, but I'm sure our efforts have been helpful. Hopefully, the students will continue to support charities and communities after they've graduated.

I think that helping others is an important school and life activity. If you have other ideas for projects that are suitable for schools, I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 Linda Crampton


Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 20, 2018:

Hi, Charles. I hope the people in your village are helped. I'm sorry that some people there are having problems.

charles obedgiu on September 20, 2018:

I am so happy here because you said we should think of others.

but someone like me has the heart for those with disabilities and how they can be helped most especially those ones in my village in Nebbi district ,Uganda.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 06, 2017:

Thank you, Sonia. Like you, I think it's important that we encourage young people to think of others.

Sonia Sylart from UK on May 05, 2017:

Hi Linda - This is an extremely extensive and useful resource. Anything that gets children and young people to empathise and enthusiastic to do something to help others gets my vote.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 01, 2017:

Hi, Jessica. Although this article doesn't contain activities specifically designed for people with disabilities, you may find some of them useful. They may need to be adapted, but they could certainly help people give back to the community.

Jessica on April 01, 2017:

I work at a vocational training center in Maryland for people with disabilities. We have a full recreational area for the students while they stay and get training. I need help with some ideas that this department could help with or things that they could do to give back to the community.

torrilynn on December 19, 2013:

You are more than welcome, Alicia.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 17, 2013:

Thank you very much for the comment and the share, Peg! I appreciate your visit. Like you, I think it's important to encourage school students to think of others.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on December 17, 2013:

I love all these wonderful ideas, in particular, the ones where the school choir visits the elderly at Nursing Homes and working for a day at a food pantry or soup kitchen. Those activities are ones in which we can easily help others who need a lift or those who are less fortunate than us. I'm so glad to read that schools still pursue these worthy goals as part of the educational process. Great hub. Way up and sharing this.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 17, 2012:

Thank you very much for the visit, the comment and the vote, torrilynn. Yes, I think that writing about charities can be helpful for publicizing a situation in which people need help. Helping people in a more direct way is very important, too!

torrilynn on December 17, 2012:

I really liked reading your hub about charity work. I wrote a hub about the American Red Cross and I truly feel that writing about charities is a good way to get a word out to others that helping people matters. Also, talking about helping communities by donating clothes, food, and blankets is also a good way to contribute. Amazing hub. Voted up.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 05, 2012:

I agree, Dianna. It's wonderful if We day inspires students to help other people. The event is a wonderful concept. Thanks for the visit.

Dianna Mendez on December 05, 2012:

Love the WE Day concept. Teens getting involved in helping others is a such a great story to hear these days. They will only benefit from serving others.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 05, 2012:

Thank you so much for the comment, the votes and the share, Tom! I appreciate them all.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on December 05, 2012:

Hi my friend, this is such a wonderful hub and i love we day, and all the other great ideas withinin this well written hub.

Vote up and more !!! SHARING !

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 05, 2012:

Thank you very much for the comment, Nell. I appreciate the vote and the share, too!

Nell Rose from England on December 05, 2012:

I love the We Day, and what an awesome hub! so many great ideas, I am really loving the new H.O.W. organisations, voted up and shared! nell

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 04, 2012:

Thank you for the comment, drbj. I hope the ideas will be useful to people.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on December 04, 2012:

Thank you, Alicia, for all these inventive ideas for fund raisers and projects to aid H.O.W. and other worthy charitable organizations.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 04, 2012:

Deb, that's a great idea! Observing nature can provide so much enjoyment and is a lovely activity for older people as well as younger ones. I hope that I'm able to walk in a natural environment and enjoy looking at plants and animals for the rest of my life.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on December 04, 2012:

These are all totally wonderful ideas. For months, I have been encouraging the older folks that frequent the lake to watch birds. One lady even goes out with her walker every day to enjoy the outdoors and meet people.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 04, 2012:

Thanks for the visit and the comment, Michele. It is exciting to think about how far H.O.W. may go and how much effect it may have. I'm glad that Bill created this movement - it's a great idea, and it will hopefully be very helpful to people.

Michele Travis from U.S.A. Ohio on December 04, 2012:

This is is helping H.O.W get better. More ways to help H.O.W.. how far can we go? There are so many things we can do. Thank you for adding more.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 03, 2012:

Thank you very much, Lord De Cross! We day is certainly inspiring for students. It's a great event, and the We day website provides lots of opportunities for students to help people in need.

Joseph De Cross from New York on December 03, 2012:

Great Ideas AliciaC. That We Day seems so promising. Thanks so much for taking your time and write such a caring hub!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 03, 2012:

Thank you for the lovely comment, Bill!! I appreciate it very much. Based on the reaction of high school students in the Greater Vancouver region, Seattle students should love We day!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 03, 2012:

What a fantastic hub, Alicia! Well done! I love the We Day, and I look forward to it being in Seattle, an hour away from where I live. There is a plethora of great projects in this hub; your school is lucky to have you.

Thank you for being a part of this movement.

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