90 Performing Arts Fundraising Ideas: HUGE Guide for Arts Ensembles

We’ve compiled a list of 90 of the best fundraising ideas for performing arts that your whole organization will love.

The list of booster fundraising ideas is organized into the 5 categories, arranged from easy to hard.

Here’s the list:

Without further ado, let’s dive into the HUGE list of 90 best fundraising ideas for marching bands, winter guards, indoor percussion, and every other arts group.

Happy fundraising!

Simple Performing Arts Fundraising Ideas by FansRaise

Simple School Fundraising Ideas

These school fundraising ideas represent the most typical in that they’re mostly tried-n-true ways to raise money.
It might not be a lot of money, but it’s all relative to the type of high school band fundraiser you’re looking for.

Candy

No other marching band fundraiser has led to more cash made in-between classes than the sneaky sales of M&Ms between classes.

Fruit

Often in basket form. A pretty solid option, but timely delivery is key (the clock is ticking). And we all know high school students never procrastinate.

Popcorn

Might we suggest a “dental floss” follow-up fundraiser? These school fundraisers usually include pre-packaged servings from one of those big fundraising companies.

Wrapping Paper

Everyone has a box of assorted wrapping paper in a closet, and there’s a 100% chance it’s completely unsuitable for the gift you need to wrap.

Plants (Fall/Spring)

Partnering with a local nursery with favorable pricing is key. These initiatives can perform very well around the winter holiday months, too. Maybe they’d be great ways for your winter guard ensemble to raise more money!

Scrips

Essentially an advanced gift card program, this retail affinity giant is ubiquitous in certain regions of the United States. They work with 750+ of the most popular brands, like groceries, coffee, entertainment, and gas.

Coupon Books

Yes they weigh a METRIC TON, but these books can convert into cash for your school fundraising efforts.

Bake Sale

Lots of work, but there will be cookies. Plenty of school fundraising ideas like this one are complicated by health concerns, but they’re a timeless classic — and they still work.

Pies

Some groups time this well with the holidays, as having an extra pie or two is never a bad thing. This one can work very well as a marching band fundraiser at Thanksgiving Day football games, especially if you take orders ahead of time.

Lemonade Stand

If it works for the 7 year old on your block, it can work for you, too. Again, some schools may want to be careful about health requirements for this money drive, but it’s simple, fast, and effective.

50/50 Raffles

The ever-famous 50/50, where an arm’s length of tickets can be the gateway to untold riches. Consider a 50/50 raffle fundraiser at any school event your ensemble runs (except maybe winter/spring concerts – check with your director).

Raffle Ticket

Raffle tickets can work well for lots of performing arts groups like winter percussion or color guard, but be sure to understand all of the factors like permits or taxes.

Penny Drive

Not certain if there’s more to this than gathering up pennies from change dishes, car cup-holders, or couch cushions? We’ve heard of lots of schools turning these into inter-class competitions: who can fill the Poland Spring jug first, seniors or sophomores?

You might try winter percussion vs. winter guard, or marching band vs. chorus.

Amazon Smile

AmazonSmile won’t make you tons of money, but you’d be wise to encourage your constituents to link to your organization. Here’s a blog post exploring another side of AmazonSmile.

Cookie Dough

We all know very little ever reaches an oven. Same health/safety considerations, but who can resist cookie dough? When your product is THAT tempting, you’re bound to sell some merchandise for your school.

Snack Food

Broad category that is a catch-all for a lot of junk food. Some schools and groups have trouble with this, given the dietary health requirements placed on schools. Check with your administration, or sell them off school grounds if necessary.

Auntie Annes Pretzels

Your favorite snack at the mall. Did you know they offer a fundraiser program? Not a bad school fundraiser idea, since they handle much of the minutia for you: auntieannes.com/fundraising

Flower Bulbs

Start a parallel campaign for “potting soil.” Very popular in the springtime, maybe for a summer workshop or band camp fundraiser?

Logo “Swag” Gear

This is a tricky one, because on one hand you want EVERYONE wearing your gear, but should you also profit? It’s a tough question.

Jail Break

“We’ve kidnapped your PRINCIPAL – if you don’t raise $2,000 by the end of the week, you’ll never see him again.” Maybe this isn’t quite the incentive we had in mind…

Hot Dog Cart

May involve permits, and lots of foodservice gloves. You’ll probably need someone to get ServSafe certified, but these school fundraisers can be wildly successful, so it might be worth the effort!

TP + Paper Products

Face it, you’re always about to run out of TP. You know it, and we know it. We were surprised to find this one in our research, but apparently there are some schools who use this fundraiser!

Calendars

Yes, July might have that really annoying kid’s photo featured, but it’s only 31 days. These ones are super popular with the grandparents—and families are one major key to successful arts fundraising.

Bake-at-Home Pizza Kits

These kits have come a long way since I was in high school marching band. Now they’re made of actual, edible food. Sell these on Fridays after school or mid-afternoon. Instant time-saver for families playing shuttle service.

Car Magnets

Come on – everyone needs another trunk magnet, right? If you get enough of them, you can cover an unsuspecting supporter’s car, and charge them to have all the magnets removed!

Mall Gift Wrapping

Staff a table during the mad Christmas rush at the local mall, and wrap gifts for free for a donation.

90 Performing Arts Fundraising Ideas Ebook by FansRaise.

Download the Checklist

Want the print this guide and share it with your staff or parent group?

Download the PDF version right here!

Print it, email it, or share it around with your ensemble’s decision makers to inspire your fundraising efforts.

Let us know which ones you’ve tried!

FansRaise.
Advanced Performing Arts Fundraising Ideas by FansRaise

Advanced Fundraising Ideas

These methods represent activities that require slightly more resources to pull off well. In most cases they require a little more effort, but will most likely provide more upside.

Mulch

We’ve heard of some programs that are relying on this seasonal household purchase that smells “stinky” when delivered, but looks so good.

Hoagie Sale

Whether you sell pre-paid tickets for sandwiches, or you construct some sort of elaborate “assembly line” operation to make them yourself, this can work well for your group. Also, they are absolutely called “HOAGIES” – not grinders, sub sandwiches, or any other derivative…

Compile + Sell a Cookbook

This could be fun, but also time-intensive.

Local Business Sponsorship Packages

Put your booster parents’ skill sets to work and begin to reach out to the local and regional business community. In-kind donations can be as useful as cash, but building these relationships takes time, patience, and an understanding of real value (this blog post explains more).

Christmas Tree Disposal

Some areas struggle with discarded Christmas trees, so this could be a problem your organization solves.

Raffle an “Experience”

A ride in a jet plane, skydiving, race car on a test track, etc.

“Paca Poo” (Alpaca Manure)

No idea if this is possible, but it’s on the list, nevertheless. Read about it here.

90 Performing Arts Fundraising Ideas Ebook by FansRaise.

Download the Checklist

Want the print this guide and share it with your staff or parent group?

Download the PDF version right here!

Print it, email it, or share it around with your ensemble’s decision makers to inspire your fundraising efforts.

Let us know which ones you’ve tried!

FansRaise.
Events Performing Arts Fundraising Ideas by FansRaise

Event Fundraising Ideas

Just what the title says – these events are designed to create a fundraiser out of a scheduled occasion on your calendar.

Rummage Sale

My junk, your junk, our junk.

Craft Show

If it’s big enough, it should draw a crowd.

Home-based Business Sale (Scentsy, Pampered Chef, etc)

If you can lock into a home sales vendor with ties to your organization and they promise a percentage of sales, this could be beneficial for all parties. Remember that your organization’s percentage is probably based on “1st orders” but the benefit to the vendor is additional add-on sales down the road.

Chili Cook-off

Another follow-on fundraiser – sell Tums and Rolaids – but probably worth it for the trash-talking alone.

BBQ

A couple of grills, some lighter fluid, and raw meat. What could go wrong?

Pancake Breakfast

Everything will be sticky afterwards, but so what?

Designer Bag BINGO

Pre-sell tickets, have attendees bring their own food, and then string those 5 magical letters together for a free bag. There may be upfront costs associated with the purchase of your giveaways, so be careful.

Spaghetti Dinner

Have fun with this and ask all attendees to “wear white”. Anyone without red stains gets a free dessert.

Burger Bash or a Cookout

Another “bragging rights” event fundraiser that can be as useful for comedic entertainment as for money. Consider a judged burger competition a la’ “Chopped”.

Car Wash

Car washes won’t make you much money, but it is a way to begin to build relationships across your members or students, which in some ways might be more important. Also, we know of one prominent program in Indiana that sells pre-paid passes for a community car wash for a specific date. Less than 10% of the people that buy passes actually show up to the event.

Golf Outing

A golf outing might be difficult to pull off, but if you partner with someone that understands the mechanics of putting on a charity tournament, this could work really well. Approach your local golf club to see if they can help point you in the right direction.

Mini Golf Tournament

…and if the PGA-type of golf event is too much, maybe mini golf is more your speed?

5K Race

As like the golf outing above, you might want to reach out to race organizers in your area to see if they can help.

“Dancing with the Staff” Fundraiser

I’m not certain if this is for everyone, but you shouldn’t have a hard time getting kids to show up for the spectacle.

Car Show

tied in with cook off, bake sale – A car show is a perfect excuse to tie in more than one of these events (also, don’t forget to run a 50/50).

Carnival/Fair

Holds potential for huge financial gains, but very difficult to produce.

Note from CEO Brian:

“I spent several years with a band program in Southern New Jersey that relied on a week-long community carnival as their primary fundraiser.

It took months to plan, but the boosters documented every step and built a system that made it easy to handoff to new parents coming in.

They rented a large shopping center parking lot and brought in REAL RIDES. The event made low 6-figure revenue every year.”

Polar Plunge

Find a cold body of water in the winter or early spring – VOILA! Have plungers sign LOTS of medical waivers though.

Restaurant Nights

Force everybody to a local restaurant (against their will) and get a percentage of the proceeds. What could be more fun?

Fashion Show

Maybe get a small jazz ensemble to play along?

Auction a Date

Not going to touch this one with a 10 foot pole.

Silent Auction

Blind bidding for auction items.

Treasure Hunt

This could be a really fun activity for a younger age group. Involve your high school students and have them help run it.

“A Night In”

Movie, snacks, drinks – donations would/could be what people would spend for a night out.

Softball Tournament

A softball or even a kickball tournament (or cornhole, 3 on 3 basketball, or any other sports) would work well.

Poker Tournament

Crossing fingers for “pocket aces”.

Trivia Night

If there was ever a question about WHO the biggest NERD is, this will uncover it.

Bowlathon

You can also take bets on who will make the most gutterballs.

Dunk Tank

Who WOULDN’T pay $5 for 3 chances to dunk the BAND DIRECTOR?

Pig Roast

Whenever this is scheduled, please let us know because we are inviting ourselves.

Food Truck Rodeo

Food trucks represent some of the most creative and deliciously satisfying food experiences you’ll ever find. Schedule a bunch of food trucks in consort with another type of event that might be compatible.

Celeb Chef Party

Find a local notable chef, and sell passes for a private table – see if they will donate the food/time and possibly offer coupon passes for a discount to help promote a new location or establishment.

Basket Auction

Themed gift baskets filled with local business donations are easy to pull together.

Bocce Tournament

Of course you might have to educate everyone on exactly what “Bocce” is.

Casino Trip

Maybe it won’t be the scale of an “Ocean’s” movie, but still fun to try.

Crab Feast/Lobster Bake

Choose a crustacean, boil water and sell tickets.

Haunted House

This can be a TON of fun for your kids.

Mattress Sale

Not quite as popular as a couple of years ago – has everybody bought a mattress already?

Sports Event Outing

If you have a sports team in your vicinity, you might be able to negotiate a group block of deeply discounted tickets for a night at the game. You could probably offer a reduced admission (helps them fill empty cheap seats and increase concessions) and STILL make a little money.

Wine Tasting

Perhaps a little “hoity-toity” for some, but we’ve seen events in working class communities do really well

Recycling Day

Align with a waste management company in your area to drive a recycling day for a small profit.

Prom Show

Similar to the Fashion Show above, this one comes with a ready-made audience of dress shoppers.

Alumni Mixer

This can be a great way to engage with alumni.

“Celeb” Basketball/Softball Game

Have a minor B list local celebrity around? Maybe people will pay to see them miss a foul shot?

Duct Tape Principal or Band Director to a Wall

Because who wouldn’t donate to see human torture?

90 Performing Arts Fundraising Ideas Ebook by FansRaise.

Download the Checklist

Want the print this guide and share it with your staff or parent group?

Download the PDF version right here!

Print it, email it, or share it around with your ensemble’s decision makers to inspire your fundraising efforts.

Let us know which ones you’ve tried!

FansRaise.
Performance Performing Arts Fundraising Ideas by FansRaise

Performance Fundraising Ideas

These ideas are probably most suitable to performing arts ensembles and organizations as they involve some degree of public performance of some capacity.

Coordinate a “THON” (drum-a-thon, march-a-thon, etc)

Here at FansRaise, we often see highly successful campaigns that turn a THON into an online fundraiser. This blog post outlines how and why that can be highly effective.

Concession Staffing

If you have the ability to staff a local sports or entertainment venue’s concession operation, this can be a nice ongoing relationship to have.

Benefit Concert

Any excuse to put the kids onstage in front of people, and make a little bit of money in the process is probably a good thing for all involved.

Coffee + Dessert Bar

This is easy – perfect follow-on for any performance you do.

Host a Competition/Festival

Did you know that hosting a competition is generally one of the biggest (and only) fundraisers that most programs do?

Talent Show

Your program is surrounded with talent, so why not put it on display?

Battle of the Bands

Yes, you can make money off of all of those aspiring rappers and garage bands in your area.

Caroling/Playing for Cash

Small ensembles, quintets, trios strolling for donations at different times of the year is an easy one.

Karaoke Contest

100% chance that someone will choose “Sweet Caroline” and “I Will Survive”.

Community Concert (Donation)

Yet another excuse to get together and play in front of an audience (who might donate a few bucks).

NOTE – be sure to add a sensible alternate fundraiser AT your event, such as a bake sale, 50/50, raffle drawing, etc.

90 Performing Arts Fundraising Ideas Ebook by FansRaise.

Download the Checklist

Want the print this guide and share it with your staff or parent group?

Download the PDF version right here!

Print it, email it, or share it around with your ensemble’s decision makers to inspire your fundraising efforts.

Let us know which ones you’ve tried!

FansRaise.
Make-Create Performing Arts Fundraising Ideas by FansRaise

Make/Create/Do Fundraisers

These are fundraisers that involve some sort of cumulative activity to produce, and are probably a little more hands-on than most.

Envelope Fundraiser

Though we’re not familiar with this approach, it looks like it requires envelopes.

Shoe Drive

There are charities that do nothing but repurpose shoes, and they’ll pay for them when you donate discarded shoes.

Closet Fundraiser

Who doesn’t like a good “swap meet?”

90 Performing Arts Fundraising Ideas Ebook by FansRaise.

Download the Checklist

Want the print this guide and share it with your staff or parent group?

Download the PDF version right here!

Print it, email it, or share it around with your ensemble’s decision makers to inspire your fundraising efforts.

Let us know which ones you’ve tried!

FansRaise.
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Ready to start your own?

If your performing arts ensemble needs help raising money—even after reading that list of 90 fundraising ideas—then FansRaise is for you.

We can help your staff or parent booster group set up a program-wide fundraising campaign.

And best of all: there’s nothing to sell.

How does it work? Glad you asked.

Download our guide to see it in action — The $10k Blueprint: How Ensembles are Raising Lost of Money Quickly.

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You’ll be glad you did! Good luck out there, and happy fundraising!

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