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Low-Cost Student Incentives for Your Next Fundraiser

Low-Cost Student Incentives for Your Next Fundraiser
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Inexpensive ways to inspire kids to participate in your school fundraiser.

by Elizabeth S. Leaver


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Individual Incentives

Principal for a day: The student gets to make announcements in the morning, give the student body a special activity like extra recess during the day, eat a special lunch with the principal, etc.

Low-cost student fundraising incentives: principal for a day
Photo credit: Charlene A. Macneil

School secretary for a day: The student is allowed to answer the phone, take attendance, greet visitors and make visitor badges, and run notes to classrooms, among other tasks.

Low-cost student fundraising incentives: School secretary for a day
via From the Hawk's Nest

Ride in a police cruiser and tour of the police station: This incentive works best in a smaller town. Contact the information officer at the police station to make arrangements.

Low-cost student fundraising incentives: ride in a police cruiser

Morning with mom, dad, or other relative: Let a family member come in and spend an hour or two with their child at school. Arrange with the child’s teacher to allow the visitor to do a special activity and have a snack with their child.

Low-cost student fundraising incentives: morning with a special relative

Homework pass: Arrange with teachers to give the student one or two “no homework tonight” coupons.

Low-cost student fundraising incentives: homework pass
via Middle School Math Madness

School sleepover: The winning student gets to invite friends to spend the night at the school. The student’s family takes care of overnight supervision; as a bonus, ask the principal to stay late and come back early the next morning—with doughnuts.

Low-cost student fundraising incentives: school sleepover

Pizza or ice cream party: Offer the chance for a pizza or ice cream sundae party to the top-performing class. (Alternatively, if a teacher or principal prefers to avoid the distraction, offer coupons for those treats at lunchtime.)

Low-cost student fundraising incentives: pizza or ice cream party

Classroom or All-School Incentives

Teacher gift: Offer the class with the highest participation a modest gift for the teacher (for example, an Amazon gift card) in addition to the students’ incentive.

Low-cost student fundraising incentives: teacher gift

Extra recess: Check with the principal on what she’d allow (one extra period, every day for a week, or some other arrangement).

Low-cost student fundraising incentives: extra recess

Pick a theme day: The class that performs the best gets to choose a dress-up or spirit theme for the school, like Hawaiian day, sports day, or silly hair day.

Low-cost student fundraising incentives: class choice theme day

Game afternoon: Check whether the principal would allow the winning class to spend an afternoon playing board games or whether students can bring personal gaming devices from home (or a mix of both).

Low-cost student fundraising incentives: board games afternoon
via Walden School Blog

Movie time at school: Let the class with the most participation vote on a movie to show at school, and provide popcorn to make it special.

Low-cost student fundraising incentives: movie at school


Principal incentives: You’ll find ideas for cute and funny principal stunts (all adaptable for individual teachers, if desired) in “Fun Principal Incentives To Motivate Students.” Additional low-cost incentives, including some that can work as fundraisers on their own, are listed in “Low-Cost Fundraisers Can Mean Big Fun” by blogger Caitlin Tobin.


Get more fundraising ideas, tips, and resources in PTO Today's Athon Fundraising Hub. 👉


Originally posted in 2016 and updated regularly.

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