Charity Events & Fundraisers

These are often some of the most fun things your group can do. The fact that you can raise money doing it is a bonus. I won’t list every possible fundraising event you can do for your school, church group, or sports team, and couldn’t even if I wanted to. The only limit to what you can do is your imagination.

There are, however, several types of events that have been around forever because they work!

A Car Wash: The Perfect Cheerleader Fundraiser

OK, truth be told, any group can give a car wash. I’ve seen little league baseball teams do it, and when I was in high-school, my Key Club did it. However, and I’m not saying this to be sexist, but if you have high-school or college girls in your group, and they give a car wash, you can be certain that every guy with a car is going to come by. When my Key Club had a car wash, we were pretty evenly mixed between guys and girls, but the vast majority of folks who drove up were guys who wanted to talk to the girls.

Pancake Breakfast: Hard Work, but Great Money

I grew up in a small town in Alabama. Once a year our Key Club would take over the school lunchroom and put on a pancake breakfast with our local Kiwanis Club. I don’t know exactly how much money was raised, but at $3 per person, we had people lined up from 5:00am to almost noon. You need cooperation from your school (or somewhere with an industrial size kitchen), and a lot of willing hands, but this can be a great “one day” fundraising event.

Bachelor/Bachelorette Auctions

These can be a ton of fun, but they’re really only suitable for older groups, such as college groups or local charities. If your high school group has enough “older brothers” or “single moms” or “dads”, then you could put on this type of event as well. Usually, though, these functions are put on by local charities, with local celebrities and personalities serving as the bachelor or bachelorette.

An alternative form of this that might be more suitable for younger age groups is a “hired hand for a day” auction. In this form, you simply auction the use of one of your group members to the highest bidder for a few hours of work, usually something simple like raking leaves, mowing the lawn, etc. There can be numerous variations on this theme, so be creative, and consider how best your group could use this type of fundraiser.

Fun Runs/Walks

I use to love these. Typically held on a Saturday morning, several dozen up to a few hundred folks would gather to run a short distance such as one mile (or walk it, in many cases). There are many ways you can use this as a fundraising event. Typically, the entrants (the runners) would pay an entry fee (say $20), and get a free event T-Shirt. You can often get local businesses to cover the cost of printing the t-shirts, sometimes by having “sponsored by” type ads screen printed on the shirt itself. Our local hamburger joints would always donate 100’s of hamburgers, hot dogs and cokes and thousands of French fries for the participants’ lunch. Local businesses love to help worthy local causes… you just have to ask them.

One variation on this technique is used most famously by the March of Dimes. Each year they hold a ten mile walk-a-thon, where the walkers go around and get people to pledge various amounts for each mile they walk. While that’s the most common approach, be creative, and see what your group can come up with.


This article just scratches the surface. There are infinite ways in which your group or team can hold a fundraiser on a Saturday morning or afternoon and help from animal rescue programs until human trafficking awareness. Be creative. Get your group together and have a brain-storming session.