Fundraising for Charity and Helping Others: Ideas for Schools

Updated on September 26, 2017
AliciaC profile image

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.

Lending a helping hand
Lending a helping hand | Source

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 community.

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. | Source

School Fundraising Events for Charities

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

Some Fundraising Ideas for Schools

Fundraising ideas for schools include the following:

  • bake sales
  • candy sales
  • bottle drives
  • penny drives
  • car washes
  • paying to guess the number of candies in a jar (The person with the closest answer gets the jar of candies.)
  • selling raffle tickets for a donated item, selling donated items such as plants that students grow from seed, or selling 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.)
  • selling tickets for services 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.)
  • selling tickets for a special event in which all the 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.)

Unicef Helping Children

More Fundraising Ideas

More fundraising ideas include:

  • holding a "bring and buy" sale or a garage sale (Families donate items that they no longer want and other families buy them.)
  • selling cookie dough, frozen pies, or gift wrap provided by fundraising companies (Students may receive prizes from a company if they reach certain sales goals.)
  • holding a competition that has an entrance fee (such as a paper airplane competition)
  • participating in a twenty-four 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".)

Save the Children

High School Grads Helping 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 enthusiam 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.

 Listening to a music performance can be very enjoyable for people.
Listening to a music performance can be very enjoyable for people. | Source

Some Activities to Help 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Students could also make a collection of donated clothing and blankets or collect donated toys for children. 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. | Source

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 becauses 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 We Day Event

Helping the Local and Global Community: We Day

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. They have to earn their visit by helping others, however.

Students are encouraged to help people in need after the We Day 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.

Adopt a Village

Helping Others With Knitting or Crochet

If students like to knot 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.

Knit or Crochet a Square to Support Vulnerable Children

More Ideas for Helping 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 networking 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. Social networking sites can also help students publicize a worthy cause that they wish to support.

Guest Speakers

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 which 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.

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. | Source

Big and Small Schools Can Help People 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 that 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.

A Useful Resource

The We Day website has become quite large and contains useful information even for people living in places where no stadium event is held.

© 2012 Linda Crampton


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    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 8 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • SoniaSylart profile image

      Sonia Sylart 8 months ago from UK

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 9 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • profile image

      Jessica 9 months ago

      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 profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      You are more than welcome, Alicia.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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 profile image

      torrilynn 5 years ago

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      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 !

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

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

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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 profile image

      Michele Travis 5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

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

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      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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