18 Parent-Teacher Association Fundraising Ideas For During (And After!) COVID-19

Fundraising April 27, 2021

Tatiana Morand

By Tatiana Morand

To say the last school year has been tough is an understatement. 


Just like every other function related to schools, Parent-Teacher Associations have had to pivot quickly. 


And after a year of trying to get creative, you may be hitting a wall when trying to come up with new Parent-Teacher Association fundraising ideas — especially considering you might be used to doing them in person rather than online. 


If you’re feeling a little (or a lot) burnt out in the planning department, don’t worry! We have you covered. 


This article will go over 18 different parent-teacher association fundraising ideas you can put together with ease. We’ll even divide up the ideas by online and in person, once it’s allowed – we all need something to look forward to, right? 


Each idea will include:

  • The cost, indicated by $ for low cost fundraisers to $$$$ for high cost fundraisers

  • The difficulty to plan, on a scale of one (the lowest difficulty) to five (the highest)

  • The earning potential, indicated by ★ for the least earning potential to ★★★★ for the highest


Let’s get started!


Virtual Parent-Teacher Association Fundraising Ideas

Online fundraising is key to keeping your organization earning during COVID-19. Here are the top PTA fundraisers during COVID you can plan from behind your screen.

 

1. Virtual 5k Walk

Cost: $$

Difficulty: 4

Earning Potential: ★★★


Virtual walking and running events have become an easy way for 5k and 10k races to adapt to our virtual situation, and you can do the same for a walk-a-thon or run to support your school! Send out fun race packages to those who register and encourage participants to fundraise on their own. The cost of putting together the race packages is the largest expense, given you can’t gather so you don’t need to provide snacks to walkers along the route. 


This is especially easy if your parent-teacher association has planned walk-a-thons in the past – you can reuse those assets to make this significantly less difficult to plan. 


2. Face Mask Fundraiser

Cost: $$

Difficulty: 2

Earning Potential: ★★


Why not help your student population have school pride while staying safe? Branded facemasks are a great fundraiser that can be done online. Email the school parents an order form, have them order right from home, and assign a few volunteers on your parent-teacher association to send the masks out via mail. 


Your earning potential for this one is heavily influenced by how much you decide to sell the masks for, so you want to find the balance between a solid fundraiser but not making them too expensive. Ask parents what they’re willing to pay before you decide.


Bonus, you can support a local business by commissioning them to make the masks for the fundraiser. It’s a win-win!



3. At-Home Gala

Cost: $$

Difficulty: 5

Earning Potential: ★★★★


At-home galas are all the rage right now. You can tune into an event from the comfort of your own home, and people log in to enjoy. You can sell tickets to join and plug an additional fundraising link throughout, encouraging parents to donate. It’s also a great way to get the student body involved. They can participate as performers or guest emcees!


Since these require a little more effort, like planning the program, coordinating the stream of said event, and potentially sending gift bags to viewers' homes, you’ll want to save this fundraiser for bigger moments. 



4. Email Campaign

Cost: $

Difficulty: 1

Earning Potential: ★


This is an easy, extremely low-effort fundraising idea. However, it’s important your emails aren’t just a surprise communication asking for money.


You should be regularly emailing your parents, so integrate asking for donations to the parent-teacher association as part of your emails. You never know if people will be feeling generous that day!

 

5. School Pride Social Media Challenge

Cost: $

Difficulty: 1

Earning Potential: ★


Social media challenges take off all the time – remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Create a challenge that’s special to your school body. Kids can post online and tag their school’s accounts (with parent permission, of course) showing off their school pride, and challenge their friends to do so as well. Then, you can ask parents or other fond relatives to make a donation when their kids are tagged to participate. 



6. Family Trivia Night

Cost: $

Difficulty: 2

Earning Potential: ★★


Who doesn’t love trivia nights? Create a family-friendly trivia night that families can “buy in” to participate. It gives them an activity to do with the kids at home that they don’t need to plan and you get a super low-cost fundraiser. The real effort comes with creating the questions, but ask participants the categories they want to see to make planning even easier. 


The best part is that actually putting the game together is relatively easy. Ask your school if they have a Kahoot account – you’ll be able to whip up a trivia game in no time. 



7. Super Silent Auction

Cost: $$-$$$

Difficulty: 4

Earning Potential: ★★★-★★★★


It doesn’t get more silent than a virtual auction! Reach out to your school community and see if people can donate prizes, and then work to come up with some of your own. Finding items for the auction may end up being your largest expense, but you can control this cost based on what you spend on additional items.


Share the auction items and have the schools in your community bid on them. Any money you earn on top of cost is great!


To keep it simple, you can post the auction items as a photo album on your school Facebook page – no need to build a site to host. Overall, this requires a little more effort. 



8. Virtual Paint Night

Cost: $

Difficulty: 2

Earning Potential: ★


Do your kids have a favourite art teacher? Then you’re set for a virtual paint night!


Set up a Zoom event, have a teacher lead kids through a piece, and they can follow along from home. Charge a small entrance fee and use supplies that families likely have around home. This is an easy fundraiser that also brings the student body together — and helps decorate your home! 

 

 

9. Virtual Cooking Class

Cost: $$$$

Difficulty: 2-3

Earning Potential: ★★★


Virtual cooking classes have become popular options for date nights or professional team bonding, but you can easily make this work as a parent-teacher association fundraiser as well. 


Work with a local, family-friendly restaurant to create a “cooking class” menu. Families can pay to participate and the ingredients are delivered right through the restaurant in some cases. A chef walks the group through the how-to on Zoom. 


The difficulty and cost can vary depending on what type of cooking class and if you have the restaurant or family's source ingredients, but the earning potential is up there! People are willing to pay for a good meal.

 

 

10. Snail Mail Chain

Cost: $

Difficulty: 2

Earning Potential: ★★


The Zoom fatigue is real, so why not encourage some fun snail mail?


Have students design and submit different postcard ideas, get them printed, and have families pick them up at the school curbside. Each package of postcards includes the postcard and stamps, so families pay a small fee that covers the cost and adds a donation on top.


You get to raise money, get the student body involved, and encourage kids to stay connected.



11. Netflix Watch Party 

Cost: $

Difficulty: 1

Earning Potential: ★★


Miss nights at the movies? Turn it into a parent-teacher association fundraiser!


Have families register for a family-friendly movie night. You can stream the movie to different homes through the free Teleparty Chrome extension so the kids can chat on the side and make movie snacks to be delivered to kids attending movie night to add a little magic. As long as the cost to join covers a little above the cost of snack bags, you’ll earn a profit!



12. Candy Grams

Cost: $$

Difficulty: 2

Earning Potential: ★


Candy grams are a sweet way to stay in touch while students are apart!  


Have students or parents pay a small fee and they can send a candy gram to somebody else in their school. 


The heavy lifting will fall on volunteers for this PTA virtual fundraising idea – they would be the middleman in addressing the candy grams! With the right PTA software in place, however, this should be a breeze. Just look up members of your organization from there! 

 

 

13. Virtual Talent Show

Cost: $

Difficulty: 2

Earning Potential: ★★


There is no doubt that your school is packed full of talented kids. Give them the chance to show off their new quarantine hobbies and talents through a virtual talent show.


Families can pay for a “ticket” to attend the show. Ask for extra donations as they buy their ticket or think about adding a dollar as a “talent fee” for kids participating. Create the schedule and let them each take their turn participating. 


See about getting the school staff involved as well. Kids will be so excited to see their teachers showing off talents – it’s a great way to bring everybody together. 


In-Person Parent-Teacher Association Fundraising Ideas

Looking forward to in-person? You’re not alone. Here’s a few ideas to get you excited for the future.


1. Golf Tournament 

Cost: $$$

Difficulty: 3

Earning Potential: ★★★★


A golf tournament is a great way to ease into in-person events. Courses have been open on and off throughout the last year, meaning your parents who have been golfing throughout may find this a comfortable first event.  


You can have families team up and offer prizes for grades with the most parent participants, best team spirit, and a hole-in-one winner for the smaller golfers on the course. 


Remember that people will be jumping on outdoor events when the time comes, so start looking early to ensure that you can actually (1) get a golf course and (2) the price tag isn’t insanely high.

 

 

2. Paid Dress Down Day

Cost: $

Difficulty: 1

Earning Potential: ★★


With literally no cost associated and next to no effort, this is a great idea! Especially if your student body is used to class in pyjamas on Zoom or Google Classroom. 


Throughout the week, let students bring in a donation ranging from $2-$5 to let them “dress down” on Friday. It’s a super simple fundraiser and you can repeat it often – who doesn’t want to dress down?



3. Welcome Back Carnival

Cost: $$$$

Difficulty: 5

Earning Potential: ★★★★


School carnivals are a classic for a reason. Once it’s safe, you’ll want to celebrate big time — so why not go all out for a carnival?


It will require a lot of effort and a decent amount of cash up front, but it’s worth it to welcome your community back together. Look into renting inflatables, create games in classrooms, and get parents involved! Kids can buy tickets to participate in different activities (what kid will skip the change to soak their math teacher in a dunk tank?) and parents can plan games or host rooms.


While it’s a lot of effort, the earning potential is high. And if you do this as your big “welcome back”, it’s likely parents will be feeling extra generous in the spirit of celebrating. 



4. Dance-a-Thon

Cost: $$

Difficulty: 2

Earning Potential: ★★


It’s time to capitalize on a year of kids learning TikTok dances at home with a Dance-a-Thon!


Kids ask for people to sponsor them to take part in a dance-a-thon. Kids who dance the longest receive prizes and the sponsorship goes to the school. While some people do 24 hour dance-a-thons, you might want to limit this to a school day. 


You can also get parents involved as volunteers and DJs!


5. Bake Sale

Cost: $

Difficulty: 1

Earning Potential: ★★


Just like carnivals, bake sales are a classic for a reason. Kids love the chance to get their hands on a treat and love to participate!


Have families sign up to bake different treats (cookies, cupcakes, muffins, or an old family recipe!) and bring to school on the same day. Each treat comes at a price, and kids can treat themselves throughout the day. 


The sweetest part? How simple and low cost this is for the PTA!



6. Parents’ Night Off

Cost: $

Difficulty: 2-3

Earning Potential: ★★


Parents will be excited for a night off once it’s safe to do so, so why not turn that opportunity into a PTA fundraising opportunity?


To bring this fundraiser to life, round up a couple of volunteers to watch kids in the school gym. Set up some games, craft, or a movie – for a contribution, parents can drop their kids off for a few hours and enjoy a (well deserved!) night off from the kids after being home together.  




Being on the PTA is a huge commitment, and staying creative during COVID can be tough. But backed with these parent-teacher association fundraising ideas, you’ll be able to keep your community connected and raise some major money virtually until it’s time to celebrate in person.


If you need some more inspiration, you can also download our free eBook packed with nearly 100 more fundraising event ideas. 


Best of luck with your next fundraiser! 


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