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Thinking about a fall fundraiser? These ideas will help families with their holiday prep.


Pie Orders

Offer freshly baked or frozen pies for sale, with the goods coming in time to serve for Thanksgiving. Partner with a local bakery or work with a fundraising company.

Boost your profits: Emphasize the time families will save ordering pies rather than making their own from scratch. Schedule delivery or parent pickup shortly before the school’s Thanksgiving break.

Family Photo Mini Sessions

Work with a professional photographer to offer mini sessions (fewer poses at a lower cost). Schedule the fundraiser early enough that families can use their photos for holiday cards.

Boost your profits: Ask a chain photo studio whether they can offer a deal for school families (with your group earning a percentage of profits), or work with a local independent photographer who can shoot family photos outdoors. Select a local park or another nice outdoor area and schedule sessions there. Don’t forget to have a rain date!

Get a free “elf bucks” template to make your holiday shop inclusive


Help families deck the halls by offering decorative wreaths made from real fir and balsam.

Boost your profits: During the order-taking period, display sample wreaths at the school entrance and at the car drop-off line. Put a message on the school sign inviting the public to call in orders (get the principal’s OK first).

Frozen Foods

Fall is a good time for families to stock up on frozen foods in anticipation of holiday houseguests. Offer kid-friendly favorites like pizza, cookie dough, or cinnamon rolls. For any frozen food fundraiser, publicize the pickup time well in advance and send multiple reminders.

Boost your profits: Coordinate with the cafeteria staff to bake and hand out samples for families to taste (and be ready to collect orders on the spot). Ask whether the school (or a PTO leader) has any extra freezer space you can use to hold unclaimed orders until arrangements can be made for their pickup.

Gift Wrap

Work with a fundraising company to hold a gift wrap sale, or recruit volunteers to wrap packages for a fee during set times at the school.

Boost your profits: Place boxes wrapped to look like gifts near the entrance of the school to publicize your fundraiser. If you offer the gift-wrapping service, don’t forget embellishments like ribbons and bows to catch the eye. Involve older students in wrapping gifts or in taking payment from customers. Play holiday music to help volunteers get in the holiday spirit.


Sponsor an ornament craft night for families, or add a single ornament craft to another fall event; charge a small fee for participation. If crafting isn’t your thing, consider working with a fundraising company to sell a custom-made ornament showing your school’s name, logo, building, or mascot.

Boost your profits: If you’re using premade craft kits, have extras on hand at your event in case families want to purchase them. (If you gather craft supplies yourself, send home an instruction sheet with parents in case they want to make more at home.) Time a sale of a custom-made ornament to a big school anniversary.

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