Virtual fundraising ideas help schools thrive during unpredictable times
There’s no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live our lives, caused us to rethink our path forward, and taken a disproportionate toll on our youth. The detrimental impact has been felt on multiple levels, from unreliable, constantly fluctuating schedules to a large percentage of children struggling with mental health issues.
Schools have had to delay (or cancel altogether) significant events and milestone markers that help shape the school-age experience (such as senior prom, kindergarten graduation, and grandparents visitation day).
Worsening the impact from these delays and cancellations, school organizations of all kinds are experiencing setbacks due to fundraising struggles. Schools have also had to dedicate a portion of their operating budget to COVID response, complicating finances and future improvement plans.
The current state of affairs is sadly no surprise as we look at hardships, particularly within the school system, endured over the past seventeen months. In fact, teachers and administration have also been unfairly and heavily burdened with the pandemic’s fallout.
“It’s been hard on students and on parents, but the burden of maintaining a space for our youths’ learning and development fell on our communities’ teachers,” writes The Berkshire Eagle.
Truly, the innovation and perseverance of our teachers and school systems have wrought an entirely new level of teacher appreciation.
School fundraising strategies are perhaps more important now than ever before. As an integral catalyst for creating an environment for academic success now, and post-COVID-19, school fundraisers must be dynamic and adaptable. Virtual fundraising ideas are an immediate and effective answer to the call for more school funding.
Facilitating the extracurricular events, activities, and amenities that improve the mental health and outlook of children, online fundraising ideas preserve and enhance the school experience.
We continue to offer a variety of great fundraising ideas during COVID and beyond. Our online fundraisers are designed to be 100% virtual, featuring no face-to-face selling, paperwork, or in-person deliveries.
While the pandemic may have delayed many aspects of our lives, including day-to-day activities at school, now is the time to leverage virtual fundraisers to move us forward.
Keep reading below for our best virtual fundraising ideas for schools during COVID-19:
1. Goodies & Gifts Online
Many of us stress over holiday cooking; that’s why meal prep and making food ahead can really help us out. With this in mind, it is easy to become enamored with the variety of delicious food items. From gourmet food kits, to baking mixes and ready-to-eat cookies, there’s over 500 products found in Goodies & Gifts making hosting and holidays easier.
Going beyond food, as the name suggests, you will also discover books, magazines, masks, and jewelry. Goodies & Gifts Online truly offers something for everyone.
2. Gifts & More Online
In the social media influencer era, getting ideas to refresh our abode has never been easier. For those who like to relax at home, Gifts & More Online provides an array of beautiful home décor.
With over 600 items priced from $9 to $45, this online fundraising store is also a great choice for adding magical touches just for kids or grabbing that unique but hard-to-find gift. Gifts & More Online continues to receive positive feedback from organizations who love the quality and variety of products.
3. Charleston Wrap Online
Charleston Wrap Online makes finding gift wrap fun, featuring highly detailed prints for every occasion. As another holiday-helper, this program offers gift wrapping bundles and value sets, making beautiful gift-giving easy. From keepsakes to luggage tags and magnets, Charleston Wrap teems with over 1,500 items that are both trendy and timeless.
If your organization is looking for customizable items, they will find them here. The shop’s best sellers include wall-hanging photo tiles, eco-friendly kitchen items, and an essential pack of gift wrap. Memorable and thoughtful designs ensure Charleston Wrap will deliver that personal touch for shoppers.
4. Believe Online
Did you know more than a third of Americans say they cook at home daily, and 50% say they cook between three and six days a week? Focused on kitchenware, Believe Online takes time to showcase household gadgets that make chores and cooking a breeze.
With a product category dedicated to children and pets, Believe offers items like a ‘My First Garden” kit and pick-me-ups for your pooches. There is also beautiful jewelry available in the Believe Online Catalog featuring dainty baubles and color palettes.
5. Cookie Dough Online
Cookie Dough Online offers the most popular preportioned tubs and edible dough flavors. Allowing maximum flexibility, cookie dough is shelf stable at room temperature or below for up to 21 days, can be refrigerated for as long as 6 months, or may be kept frozen for up to 1 year.
Implementing an annual cookie dough fundraiser at your school ensures families can keep cookie dough on hand all year long! There is also a little-known surprise about our cookie dough, it is edible – no need to bake it to enjoy it!
The Student Fundraising Chair of the Student Society of Health System Pharmacy writes in their review that, “A ship-to-buyer online fundraiser during the pandemic was a great way to go.” Another reviewer boasts “Selling cookie dough online provided a great solution for our cheer group to reach its sales goals.”
6. Popcornopolis Online
Popcornopolis is, as the name suggests, a high volume, popular virtual fundraising idea for schools. Here you can find our six best-selling flavors – Zebra®, Caramel Corn, Kettle Corn, Jalapeño Cheddar, White Cheddar, and colorful Unicorn mix.
Popcorn always seems to accompany America’s favorite pastimes, whether for ball games, movie night, or family time at the carnival. We’ve mentioned before how popcorn can bring on feelings of happiness. The Popcornopolis campaign has an average selling price of $16 and raises up to 40% profit margin.
Organizations frequently find our popcorn is affordable and liked by many. Our exclusive 5-bag Gift Basket is a best seller and a great year-round gift! Don’t forget that our Popcornopolis popcorn is popped in coconut oil without high fructose corn syrup, gluten, or GMOs.
7. Flowers Online
A green and eco-friendly alternative, our Flowers Online is an unexpected but delightful fundraising idea. Offering a large variety of beautiful eco-friendly flower bulbs and plants, families will be excited to receive these beauties at their door. Don’t have a green thumb? No worries, Flowers Online offers a 100% grow guarantee!
As a fundraiser that provides 50% profit, Flowers is a great choice for raising money and improving the earth at the same time. For seasonally focused success, spring sales run from early November through the end of April, and fall flower sales run from the beginning of June until the end of November.
Consumer reviews rave about the ability to sell flowers to family members across the country as an “easy way to raise money,” and that the flowers were well-received by the community.
8. Cheese & Sausage Online
From cheese spreads, gourmet mixes, and summer sausages, the Heartland Cheese & Sausage Online fundraiser breaks the mold with tasty, flavorful choices.
There’s over 15 unique meats and cheeses to sell, but with a whopping 0 grams of trans-fat. Baskets and assortments make a great gift to give or get. And like our other virtual school fundraisers, Cheese & Sausage Online offers 100% contact-free delivery straight to your customers’ doors.
9. Candles Online
Our Candles and wax melts represent the highest quality in the fundraising market. Choose from eight unique categories. Boutique lines, such as Kalm Candle Co., feature a chic farmhouse theme candle hand-poured with artisan wax and finished with an all-natural wick.
Even if you’ve never spent time in Tennessee, you may know about the origins of the Moon Pie. Moon Pie candles look like the famous tasty treat and smell just as good! Surely a unique gift no matter where you are located.
Candles Online has enjoyed glowing reviews (pun intended) with many customers mentioning the high quality, popularity, and great experience. A teacher from Memorial School exclaims, “This online fundraiser was key during this time when most students are virtual.”
10. Stainless Tumblers Online
You can find premium quality licensed NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS tumblers, collegiate items, and more in this online store. This drinkware promises to keep your beverages piping hot for eight-hours and ice cold for a solid (pun intended) 24-hours.
With people spending more time at home, what better way to support your student’s school or favorite organization than to buy a new, favorite mug? Drinkware Done Differently offers over 200 stainless tumblers and coffee mugs with great sayings like 'Mom Life', the 'Home Series', and 'Say It with Sass,' ensuring your coffee mug has as much character as you.
You can even feature your customized school tumbler on the store. It will surely be sought after by parents, teachers and staff alike.
Big Fundraising Ideas’ online fundraising options offer an immediate, flexible, and effective way to dig into fundraising (and do so free of inventory), despite the past year and half of considerable setbacks and hardships.
We always offer the option to add cash or prize incentives to your online fundraiser to increase engagement. Leveraging the nearly limitless potential of virtual space, these fundraisers offer a critical steppingstone to strengthening schools and school-related organizations nationwide.
Are you looking for more fundraising tips and advice? Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter, where we share our expertise in school fundraising best practices and other helpful information.
Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He’s helped administrators, teachers, and outside support entities such as PTAs and PTOs raise millions of dollars. Clay is an owner and partner at Big Fundraising Ideas.