Top 14 University Fundraising Ideas

Top 14 University Fundraising Ideas

Are you looking for ways to raise funds for your university? Fundraising can be a great way to cover the costs of a project or event or raise money for a special cause. There are lots of fun fundraising ideas, so don’t be afraid to get creative!

In this article, we’ll explore creative fundraising ideas tailored to universities that will help you reach your fundraising goals! Let’s get started!

Why fundraising is important for universities

Fundraising is an important part of any university’s budget and helps to cover expenses for student activities, scholarships, conferences, and other educational purposes. Fundraising allows universities to engage with their local community and build relationships with alumni, businesses, and organizations. Plus, it provides a great opportunity for students to gain experience in planning and running events.

Read more about trends in higher education fundraising to keep your fundraising strategy up to date in this article.

Fundraising ideas for universities

Here are the top 15 fundraising ideas for universities:

Put on a fundraiser dinner

Fundraising dinners are an effective way to raise money for your university. Host a dinner at a local restaurant or catering venue, invite the community and alumni, charge a table fee, and donate the proceeds to your university. Sell tickets through a fundraising platform like MaxGiving so you can keep track of your guests and accept donations online.

Hold a sports tournament

Put together a sports tournament with teams from your school and other local universities. Offer cheap admission for spectators and charge an entry fee for the teams who compete. You can organize tournaments for activities like football, badminton, or even ping pong. Be sure to sell snacks at the event for some extra donations!

Organize a fashion show

If you’re looking for a more glamorous way to fundraise, why not organize a fashion show? Reach out to local businesses or designers and ask them to donate clothing and accessories, and then charge people admission to view the showcase. Enlist students, alumni, or faculty to “model” the clothes on a runway. They’ll love getting involved in the fundraising event and will have a ton of fun playing model for the night. Sell the merchandise after the show to bring in more donations. 

Remember, with any fundraising event, you should always include many ways for people to give. Sell dinner tickets to a catered meal after the fashion show or incorporate a paddle raise portion into the event. You can also sell raffle tickets for “fashion-themed” items such as a designer handbag or suit or a new wardrobe from a high-dollar fashion designer.

Sticking with the fashion theme will help your fundraising event feel cohesive and will keep those donations pouring in. Plus, it will be a unique night to remember for all your guests!

Create a fundraising page

Set up an online fundraising page to reach out to potential donors beyond your local area. Fundraising pages are easy to set up and manage, making them perfect for university fundraisers.

They are also a great way to track and accept donations, sell tickets to any fundraising events, and inspire donors to give. Use an all-in-one fundraising software like MaxGiving to put together a custom donation page in minutes!

When fundraising for your university, consider setting up peer-to-peer giving pages. These personalized fundraiser pages allow alumni, students, faculty, and other friends of the university to campaign for donations from friends and family. Peer to peer giving is a great way to get your supporters personally invested in your mission and get hands-on in the fundraising process. 

Engage your local community

Fundraising events don’t have to be limited to the campus; reach out to your local community and ask them for their support. Fundraising ideas for community involvement could include sponsoring a local event, participating in a charity walk/run, or hosting an outdoor movie night off campus.


Set up an auction

Online auctions can be an excellent way to raise money for your university. Ask people in the community or on campus to donate items that can be auctioned off online, and host them on a fundraising auction platform such as MaxGiving. Offer affordable options and more luxury items that appeal to a variety of supporters.

You can also put on an in-person auction. Have alumni and businesses donate items or services that can be auctioned off, then invite community members to bid on them during your event. Sell tickets to the auction and consider including a meal or other activities.

Have a raffle

Raffles are great for fundraising, as they’re easy to organize and don’t require a lot of effort on the part of your team. Find a large item to raffle, such as a car, smart TV, laptop, or another desirable item. This will help increase the number of people willing to buy raffle tickets and will increase the donations going to your nonprofit organization. You can also host a 50/50 raffle, where instead of a prize, the winner receives 50% of the earnings from the raffle tickets. 

Not only will this reduce your time trying to procure a raffle prize, but it is a great way to get people excited about the drawing as they see the winnings continue to increase. 

Organize an alumni event

Alumni events are a great way to connect with former students and generate donations for your university. In fact, most university donations come from alumni! You can ask alumni to make donations or purchase tickets to attend the event, where you can feature speakers, performances, or activities that reflect the university’s mission and values.

Alumni events can also be a fantastic way to raise awareness about your university’s fundraising efforts. Invite alumni from different generations and give them the opportunity to reconnect with their alma mater and learn more about how their donations will benefit the school.

Have a presentation about upcoming projects, show off campus improvements that were made thanks to donations, or feature inspiring stories from current and former students. This will give alumni a chance to feel more involved and make them more likely to donate.

Sell university merchandise

Selling school merchandise is a good way to raise funds and show off your school’s pride. Choose items that alumni, students, faculty, and community members will want to buy: T-shirts, coffee mugs, hats, notebooks — anything with the university logo on it!

You can also look into selling custom university items like blankets, tote bags, and water bottles. People will be more likely to purchase these unique items that can’t be found anywhere else.

Utilize social media

More and more universities are utilizing social media to reach their fundraising goals. It is a great way to reach a wide audience, so use it to your advantage. Create an online campaign with specific fundraising goals and post regularly about the progress you’re making. Leverage the power of influencers or other well-known figures in your community to spread the word about your university’s fundraising efforts. 

You can also encourage supporters to share their stories and experiences with your university on social media. This will help spread the word about your fundraising efforts and make them more relatable to potential donors. 


Host a large fundraising event

Put together a larger fundraising event such as a gala or concert. Charge admission and feature entertainment, speakers, and more. You can also provide food and drinks to attendees for an additional fee. This is a great way to bring in large donations and increase awareness.

Have a talent show or karaoke night

Put together a talent show or karaoke night and charge admission. This will be a fun way to attract people while raising money for your university. Have performers sign up in advance, sell tickets online, and provide food and drinks for attendees.

Donation jar

Set up a donation jar at your university and ask students, faculty, and staff to contribute what they can. You could also leave the jar at local businesses or set it up at events that your school is participating in.

Organize a 5K race

Put together a 5K race where participants can walk, jog, or run in support of your school. Charge a fee to register, and consider offering prizes or T-shirts for participants. Utilize a peer to peer giving software that allows individuals to raise funds on behalf of your university. You can also provide opportunities for anyone who wants to donate extra money to your organization by offering mobile donation options at the event. 

Raising money for your university doesn’t have to be a challenge. With these fundraising ideas, you can create a successful event that will generate the funds you need while engaging alumni, community members, and more.
Be creative and think outside the box for additional ways to keep the donations flowing in. To gain access to one of the best all-in-one fundraising event management tools on the market, start your free demo of the MaxGiving fundraising software or contact us today to see how we can help you raise more, stress less.

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