Middle school kids are so great! And so is PTO fundraising! Said no one ever!
But in all seriousness, this age set is pretty fantastic in that they are transitioning from kids to young adults and there are plenty of options for fabulous fundraisers for middle school groups.
And for as many challenges as this presents, it simultaneously offers opportunities, especially for fundraising for your PTO / PTA.
Fundraising isn’t just about raising money; it’s about building connections, fostering teamwork, and instilling a sense of pride in your school community.
Successful Middle School fundraising acknowledges this and take advantage of the opportunities, and maybe even celebrates the kid to young adult transition too!
Let’s run down some of the very best ideas for raising money in Middle School or Junior High Schools.
Everyone has to eat dinner, so why not figure out dinner for them by organizing a Restaurant Night Fundraiser and rake in some dollars for your group at the same time?
Partner with the same restaurant each month or a different one, depending on what you think families will like most for a Restaurant Night Fundraiser.
This is a pretty simple money maker since you have only one job: publicizing the heck out of the date(s).
Check out this post for 21 ways to publicize and let families know about your PTO events.
Remind families multiple times about the dine to donate opportunities more than you think you should, because people are busy and will see it once and forget.
Or they may not even see the message. Time your reminders wisely, a few weeks out so the avid meal planners can make note as well as a few days before and of course the day of too.
Include it on your monthly calendar of events to boost your participation rates even further.
And also be sure to let the school staff and teachers know about the restaurant fundraiser too since many will participate, meaning more money raised!
Consider offering unique spirit wear beyond the usual t-shirt to help boost school spirit.
Further incentivize kids to wear their GEAR and buy more by sponsoring Spirit Fridays for kids to show off their mascot gear.
You can really go wild with the possibilities here, but be sure to ask the kids what they’d buy.
One year, the PTO President insisted that flannel PJ bottoms would be a hot seller, so we ordered a bunch.
But they did not sell well at all, unfortunately and took a few years to finally sell through.
Skip having a backlog of inventory and do a little in person market research to get feedback from the student before you place the spirit wear order.
Another fantastic middle school fundraising idea is to organize a movie night or your middle school community.
You have a few options for how to make Movie Night a fundraiser.
You can offer free tickets and a basic snack of lemonade and popcorn and then offer premium snacks like soda and candy.
Or you can charge for everything, including admission to the event as well as for snacks and refreshments and perhaps even dinner!
You might think that you’re risking profitability by offering free snacks, but give it a try.
It’s been my experience that kids will pay for snacks like soda, candy and chips, even if there are free alternatives like popcorn and lemonade, so don’t worry about risking profits by offering something for free.
Structuring the event like with the upgrade option makes the event an inclusive win for all, no matter their ability to pay, and will draw the largest crowd.
Students without extra funds for the premium snacks will still have a yummy option and won’t feel left out of the fun.
If you built it, they will come, since setting something ablaze is a ton of fun!
You’ll just need a permit from your city’s Fire Department, but they’ll let you know the requirements and your school’s custodial staff will have fun helping for this event too.
The fundraising element comes into play with the free and paid snacks, just like for Movie Night.
We offered popcorn, donut holes and apple cider for free but many kids still paid for snacks like Gatorade, soda, chips and candy, much to our surprise.
The second year we organized a bonfire, we were sure to have even more snack options on hand and the sales did not disappoint!
And what’s more, bonfires are typically events where parents will attend too, so you can also offer some spirit wear for sale, further boosting the fundraising income from this family fun event.
Athletic Event Concessions
Next, don’t skip the chance to take advantage of crowds of people by setting up a concession stand for popular sports like football and basketball, as well as other sports that are popular in your school.
As you establish your concession fundraising system, and add equipment and volunteer to support an expansion, add to the other season’s sports to your concession schedule so teams don’t feel left out.
To get started, you really just need a folding table, bulk drinks and snacks, a cash box and a system to take credit card payments.
The system you choose should have the ability to take payments from Apple Pay and Cash App, since those are common teenager payment methods.
The year my group added credit cards as a payment method, we doubled sales.
And again, as you get your system more established, you can add food offerings, like ordering pizza and selling it by the slice or buying a cheese warmer and dispenser and offer nachos.
Plan a school dance to let the kids make connections and give your group another avenue for fundraising.
And this event is prime to replicate the fundraising structure of both movie nights and bonfires.
So you can pick what you think will work best as far as charging for dance tickets that come with free snacks with an option to upgrade or some other situation like described above.
The other fundraising opportunity that presents itself with dances is to offer things that go along with the theme, such as like glow sticks, glow glasses and other glow things for glow dances.
These can all be offered as an upgrade, with the aim being to break even, if not turn a small profit.
Let the kids be kids with updated and refreshed versions of the same games they played at the elementary level.
Make them feel older with different options for prizes that are better suited for older kids.
Candy is a winner for all age groups, but think sunglasses instead of bouncy balls and low denomination gift cards instead of mini slinkies, etc.
Not sure what would make for good prizes? Ask your kids.
They’ll instantly tell you whether something will be considered a hot commodity or cringey!
Need an easy way to have families save the date, recruit volunteers and solicit donations all at the same time?
Check out this fabulous Carnival Flyer Set!
Birthday Yard Signs
Buy a set of Happy Birthday signs and let families “rent” them for a day.*
Add an additional set of birthday signs for a bigger, more attractive display.
An added benefit to getting the additional sign set is that you’ll be able to charge a bit more for the bigger set of signs.
My PTA ran this same fundraiser and had a little success.
We set them up the night before and the signs stayed put for about 24 hours before a volunteer moved them to a new location or stored them until the next delivery time.
We were working with a very small volunteer base, so to grow the fundraising income for this project, we needed more helpers, which we did not have, unfortunately.
But with a larger amount of volunteers, this could be really a fantastic money maker since it is all profit after a just a few rentals!
Graduate Yard Signs
Towards the end of the year, print up a batch of yard signs to celebrate the 8th graders moving on up to the high school!
To help make this a more profitable fundraiser, get a sponsor for the signs and acknowledge their contribution by adding their name to the bottom of the signs.
Sell at the end of the year school events and maybe even offer an early bird discount to front load the sales to relieve the pressure and stress on the Fundraising Chair or 8th grade Chair at the end of the year.
Over to you!
In conclusion, we’ve explored nine fabulous fundraising ideas tailored specifically for Middle School PTO groups.
These creative initiatives not only boost your finances but also foster a sense of community, engagement, and fun.
Whether you’re looking to support educational programs, extracurricular activities, or special events, there’s a fundraising idea here that can suit your needs.
Remember, the success of your fundraising efforts lies in planning, organization, and enthusiastic participation.
Engage your PTO members, students, parents, and the broader community.
Embrace these ideas as a starting point and adapt them to your unique circumstances and goals.
Whether you choose athletics concessions, a restaurant dinner night, a school dance, or any of the other fantastic ideas we’ve discussed, know that you’re not only raising funds but also creating lasting memories and strengthening the bonds that make your Middle School PTO group truly fabulous.
So, go ahead on your fundraising journey with confidence, knowing that you have an array of exciting options to choose from.
Here’s to a bright future filled with successful fundraising endeavors and a thriving school community!
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