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15 Socially Distanced School Fundraiser Ideas for 2021

As the 2020-2021 school year continues, some districts are distancing in-person, whereas some are hybrid or entirely virtual. While schools work to provide education and support during the COVID-19 era, they face a dire need for fundraising.


With safety guidelines in place, it can be challenging to plan an effective and safe event. However, there are many creative ways to leverage your fundraising events by bringing them online. At 99Pledges, we’ve helped schools like yours work to fundraise around obstacles caused by the pandemic. 


Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of effective hybrid school fundraisers for your school to execute safely and effectively. These events will provide a safe, yet worthwhile time for your participants, and help you reach your fundraising goals. 


Read on for some of our favorite hybrid school fundraising events. To make it easy on your planning team, the event ideas are split into four sections based on interests:


  • Academic Hybrid Fundraisers
  • Creative Fundraising Ideas
  • Tried-and True Fundraisers
  • Athletic Hybrid Event Ideas


Remember, keeping everyone safe and healthy is your priority. Just be sure to market your events in an effective way, and you’ll reach a wide audience of donors in no time. So, read on for more ideas so you don’t have to sacrifice financial goals or fun with your hybrid fundraising! 


Academic Hybrid Fundraisers

Academically themed school fundraisers reinforce your school’s drive for providing a well-rounded education. To learn more about optimizing your online fundraising event with the right tools and resources, check out this guide.

Read-a-Thon

Most schools require students to complete reading logs or encourage some time spent hitting the books. Pull a list of kid-friendly books together, and create an incentive to complete as much as they can. Your school earns money when your students’ donors can pledge money per book read or per hour of reading. 

Spell-a-Thon

Another exciting academic competition is a spell-a-thon. This event can be hosted virtually or in-person at school. To compete, students must complete a 10-word spelling test. Your donors can contribute per word spelled correctly. Award fun prizes for the largest fundraising amounts or for the most correct words.

Online Trivia

Kids love to share what they’ve learned in school, so why not turn it into a fun review game? You can get creative with the theme or perhaps invite teachers from each subject to come up with questions related to their material. This can be hosted via an online video calling service or administered through an online quiz. Be sure to offer prizes for the winners! Contact local businesses for items they may be willing to donate. 


Your educational hybrid fundraisers will keep your students’ minds sharp while keeping them safe! Find additional ideas and best practices at 99Pledge’s guide to social distance fundraising for schools.

Creative Fundraising Ideas

Your school has tons of students with artistic talents, whether it’s creating art, performing music, or another wow-worthy hobby. Provide a space to showcase and help grow your student’s artistic talents with these hybrid event ideas.


Virtual Talent Show

Give your performers a chance to showcase their talents with a virtual talent show for your school. Provide a sign-up form, and close it after a certain amount of participants, to ensure your show is within a reasonable time limit.


This can be done in one of two ways, at a live event where everyone is virtually streamed, or with videos submitted ahead of time. Invite students, families, and staff for their favorite performers by donating in their act’s name. All money will go to benefit the school, but the performer who raises the most funds will be deemed the virtual talent show winner. Don’t forget to promote on your website and social channels. 


Student-Made Art Auction

Have your art teacher reach out to their students to donate some pieces of art they’ve made. Your event team can upload pictures of the art to an online gallery album for easy viewing for your auction attendees.


Host your auction online over the course of a few days or weeks to get the most attention possible for your items. With this fundraiser, your talented students gain recognition for their work, and your school earns money to put towards their mission.


Digital Cookbook 

Raise money for your school by creating and selling a digital cookbook. This virtual fundraiser is made successful when you’re able to collect a ton of favorite recipes from your students, parents, and staff. If you’re wanting to up your game, ask for some from local restaurants, bakeries, and cafes to donate popular recipes. Then, promote and sell your cookbook online.


Virtual Art Class

Ask your art department staff to get involved with hosting a virtual art class. Make a signup link and sell kits of the materials needed to make the project. Your class can teach anything from crayon art to photography, sketching, or other skills geared towards the age group of your school.


Overall, creatively based fundraisers are a great way to show yet another facet of your school’s educational offerings, while giving budding artists exposure to the community.

Tried-and-True Fundraisers

These classic school fundraisers are proven fan favorites and effective fundraisers whether hosted in-person or online. Let’s dive into how you can host them as hybrid events for your school.


Online Spirit Merchandise Sales

These sales can help your school raise money and create brand awareness of your school as people wear your items. Invite your school and community to show their school spirit wherever they are by purchasing your gear on an online page. 


Virtual Auction

There are a lot of components that go into hosting an auction, but the benefits are limitless. For example, you can host a silent virtual auction over a number of days, rather than just on one night. This way, you’re able to get more interactions and higher bids over time.


Just designate online software for your event, and send out invitations with a link to your auction page. If a live auction, the host can show each item via video, and participants bid by commenting in the chat bar with their bids. If silent, host your event over a few days with item pages on your designated site. Then, have supporters check in on their bids throughout your event timeline.


Digital Boxtop Fundraiser

Boxtops have been the cornerstone of school fundraisers over the years. Now that we’re in the COVID era, they have undergone a digital transformation. Now, families can scan their store receipt, search for qualifying box tops, and donate to their school of choice.


To inform parents about how to do this, be sure to send out a quick step-by-step in your next school email blast. No longer do they have to clip or send in any box tops, they can donate right from their home. 

School Dance

School dances are a memorable event for every student. There are many routes to getting creative about bringing your student body together virtually for this event. 


To raise money, sell tickets for the event link, and consider other fun packs of treats to sell for those to enjoy at home. Encourage students to dress up to celebrate on the big night, and encourage them to take photos to preserve the fun memories.


Virtual Movie Night

This virtual fundraiser is fairly simple to organize and appeals to a wide audience. Pick a date, time, and movie. Then, sell tickets to your online watching platform to raise money. You can get creative and sell snack packs for those watching with family. In addition to your tickets, you can also implement an option to donate during and after the movie, when people are feeling good from having participated in your event.


Your school’s hybrid fundraiser events will bring a sense of community back even in times when your students have to be apart. There are no limits to how creative you can get with adapting a typically in-person event to a hybrid one.


Athletic Hybrid Event Ideas

Bring your school’s community together in spirit with some friendly athletic competition hosted in a hybrid setting. These are a bit easier to facilitate online and encourage a socially distanced outdoor activity. If your team needs tips on how to translate an in-person event to a virtual one, check out Paybee’s guide to online event best practices.


Fitness Class

Your school may be hosting online academic classes, right now, so why not offer some exercise classes for students and their families? These can be hosted via pre-recorded video, live on a streaming service, or held outdoors at a safe distance.


Ask your school’s gym teachers, sports coaches, or local instructors to come and host a class for a small fee. Don’t be afraid to be creative with your ideas. For instance, think of how a sports coach could teach a bit about their game, or a gym teacher could involve sit-up competitions in the event.


Virtual Walkathon

Host a walkathon fundraiser for your school. Make sure your participants are proactively collecting pledges for distance walked. Walkers are able to pick their own route and complete the race in their own neighborhoods. Be sure they’re able to track their number of laps and share them online!


A Virtual Chat with an Athlete


This idea can be done with ease in cities with minor or major league teams. Be sure to see if your school community has any members with connections to athletes in the area. Once you have your star, charge your supporters a small fee to access your talk.


In addition to an athlete giving an inspiring talk, open the floor for students and families to have a question and answer session. Young athletes will have this once in a lifetime opportunity to gain advice and inspiration.


Cater to your active and athletic students with opportunities to get out of the house, as well as connect with sports stars in their area. They’ll have fond memories of your efforts, and you’ll raise funds in no time.


Remember, when you host any type of virtual fundraisers, you must promote them effectively for the best turnout. Encourage your participants to take pictures at their version of your fundraiser and post them on social media to draw attention to your school’s efforts.


Again, hosting hybrid events may require some creativity, but offer an array of benefits you may not otherwise gain from an in-person event. If you’re stuck on how to optimize your online event, refer to Paybee’s guide to overcoming virtual event challenges your team may encounter. Be safe, and happy fundraising!


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