Family Life


4 min Read

Profitable and Easy Fundraising Ideas

Stacks of coins

Planning a fundraiser that is profitable, efficient and unique is a challenge, but with a fresh perspective, making money can be a positive community-building experience. Check out these ideas.

1. The Litterless Lunch

Product: reusable lunch bags and containers
Profit Margin: 30% – 40%
Commitment: 2 people
Bonus: promotes healthy eating by discouraging packaged foods

Toronto-based Koru Fundraising offers online programs with flyers and DVDs to kick-off your program. Co-founder Michelle Boigon is a passionate and helpful ambassador for the program that sells lunchtime gear such as canvas totes and stainless steel water and food containers, which are all non-toxic and BPA free,

2. Family Photos

Service: Family portraits
Profit Margin: 50% – 100%
Commitment: 2 people
Bonus: brings parents into the school

Seek out local photographers who are willing to donate their time (or reduce their fee) to come to the school for a family portrait night. At Ross Ford Elementary school in Didsbury, Alta., the portrait night is woven in with parent/teacher interviews. The sitting fee is just $10 (all profit), which includes a complimentary 8×10 portrait. Families are able to view the proofs and order additional prints if they choose. Both nights were fully booked.

3. White Elephant Sale

Product:slightly used goods
Profit Margin: 100%
Commitment: 5 people
Bonus: promotes recycling

With a handful of dedicated volunteers and teachers, this community-minded garage sale creates a special day for children to participate. A flyer home requests donations of household goods with an emphasis on quality toys, books, music and movies. Volunteers sort and price items, keeping with a $2 maximum. On sale day, students come prepared with a grocery bag, pocket change and a keen shopping eye. Leftover goods are donated to the local thrift store.

4. Garden and Seed Sale

Product:flowers and seeds
Profit Margin: 50% – 75%
Commitment: 3 people
Bonus: promotes community beautification

In the spring, canvas local gardeners and garden centres for donations of seeds, seedlings or bedding plants and host an afternoon of garden sales in the schoolyard. In the fall, capitalize on the bountiful harvest in your area and visit local growers to organize a harvest party. Nicole Scott, a parent organizer for Good Wood Public School in Good Wood, Ont., made arrangements to have a nearby orchard provide bushels of apples at cost, which were then marked up and sold before Thanksgiving.

5. Eco-Recycling

Profit Margin: 75% – 100%
Commitment: 1 person
Bonus: generates long-term income

Set out a drop-off box in a convenient location and collect electronic waste such as inkjet cartridges, digital cameras and cell phones, scanners and printers. Companies such as Think Recycle will ship your waste and send  you cash rebates. St. Clare School in Woodbridge, Ont., uses the Think Recycle program and purchases flowers and trees for the school garden from the funds gained from collecting this electronic waste.

6. Art Auction

Product:items featuring your child’s artwork
Profit Margin: 25% – 40%
Commitment: 2 people
Bonus: promotes arts education

With Budding Artists, your child’s art can be transformed into keepsakes such as mugs, totes, clothing and jewellery. Kits come complete with paper for creating the image, product catalog and order packets.

7. Green Home Extravaganza

Product:eco-friendly supplies and accessories for the home
Profit Margin: 30% – 35%
Commitment: 2 people
Bonus: raises environmental awareness

Many companies will help you organize fundraising programs that sell products such as tree-free paper, all-natural cleaners, environmentally friendly batteries and bamboo cutting boards. Ernest Manning High School in Calgary and du Bout de l’Isle in Sainte-Anne-de Belleue, Que., have organized successful campaigns with Envirobottles.


Jellybean Jar

A colourful jar of jellybeans is an irresistable temptation. Ask a dollar per guess and the winner gets the beans!

50/50 draw

Sell tickets for $2 a piece or three for $5. The lucky winner gets half the money and your group gets the other half.

Bake Sale

At a parent’s night, concert or fun day, trays of donated baked goodies will do the trick, generating 100% profit.

Published in August 2010.

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