5 School Fundraising Ideas That Are Better Than Bake Sales

Healthy alternatives to selling cookies and cupcakes to raise money for school

talent show
Let kids show off their talent at the next school fundraiser.. Getty Images/Westend61

With growing awareness of food allergies, childhood obesity, and the benefits of limiting sugar in kids' diets, bake sales just aren't as popular as they used to be. But with a little creative thinking and help from parents, teachers, and staff, schools can come up with fundraising ideas that don't involve baked goods.

1. Book Sale
Ask students, parents, and teachers to donate any books that are gathering dust on their shelves and then sell each copy for a big discount ($2 to $5 a book).

During parent-teacher conference time or on a designated night, have students volunteer to man the desks and sell the books. This is a win-win for parents and kids: not only do they get to make some space on their shelves for more books and help their school raise money, but they can scope out new books at a discounted price.

2. School Auction
Parents can donate much-needed services like babysitting or birthday cupcakes. For those who have special skills, such as bartending, cooking or playing guitar and singing, they can offer up their services as a party chef or bartender or entertainer.

3. Kids' Crafts Kits Sale
For just a few dollars, parent and kid volunteers can put together some great kids' crafts kits to sell to raise money for school. A crafts bag can include any of the typical things you might see in a kids' crafts box such as crayons, markers, origami paper, washi tape, crafts scissors, and more.

You can also sell some activity bags for kids, which can include puzzles, activity books, rubber bands to make jewelry, and more; these boredom-busters are lifesavers when kids have to travel or need something to do at a restaurant.

4. Talent Show
Enlist the help of some parents and teachers and put on a show!

Kids can help write a script, pick songs and music, and even pull out old Halloween costumes to incorporate into a play. Children who play instruments or sing can also show off their talents, and everyone can contribute their time and energy to a fun night while raising money for books, school supplies, and other funds for their school.

5. Fruit Basket Sale
Parent volunteers can go to a local farmers' market and pick up fresh fruits and vegetables. Then kids can help put together pretty baskets of produce to sell at their school's next fundraiser. Not only is this a healthier alternative to baked goods, it can give kids a chance to get creative as they add colorful and beautiful fruits and vegetables to a basket for sale.

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