5 Winter Fundraising Ideas

Winter fundraising can be a double-edged sword; you either have an influx of giving and excitement because of the season, or a lack of traction and buzz because everyone is so busy with their holiday planning.

Our last edition of seasonal fundraising ideas had some interesting examples, including: jog and walk-a-thons, baked good auctions, and a cold water dunk tank.

And we’re building off of that list – which can be adapted for the winter season – to help your parent-teacher group think outside the box for winter fundraising efforts. See something we didn’t mention or consider? Share in the comments below to potentially help another looking for fundraising ideas.

Winter Challenges

Let’s feed off of the fun and frenzy of our fall fundraising guide to get started (phew, say that three times fast!).

Depending on your location you might have more inclement weather for such a challenge. Like the cold water dunk tank though, those in warmer parts of the country can re-create these ideas to make it equally miserable for the participant.

It all starts with persons of interest or stature in your school community. Let’s say, the school principal versus the vice principal. Winner takes the glory. And you rake in the donations from excited supporters who will gladly pay to witness the competition.

Imagine a snow-covered field and every classroom surrounding and cheering for what’s ahead. You’ve been hyping this up for weeks, and the moment is finally here for the participants to build their snowmen….

In bathing suits.

Judges will score based on overall completion and quality during a timed session, and the winner salvages some respect (and bragging rights). And you get a photo-op for the ages.


Like the fall jog & walk-a-thons, it’s a win-win to provide incentive for healthy habits or practices.

In the case of a read-a-thon, you can take advantage of a variety of things (winter weather, end of year resolutions, reading practice) to get the school community behind your winter fundraising efforts.

A-thons allow you to accept pledges per-anything you can imagine. Per book? Great. Per page? Even better. An added dimension would be to have a book or page count that tracks individual and classroom progress to show kids how their efforts stack up to their classmates. Competition is a crazy thing, and it can work in your benefit when kids only want to win, meaning: more reading equals more donations.


Find a dedicated fundraising platform that allows you to automate the collection of both per-unit and flat donations from supporters. Setting a flat rate means a $50 donation is not to be exceeded, even if the activity exceeds it.

Grab-A-Bag Event

This fundraising event consists of selling tickets that allows buyers to “grab-a-bag”. These bags will have a base of goodies and few should offer something truly special. A ticket purchase allows you to get into the event and pick a random bag for a chance to win. No matter what the ticket holder selects, they walk away a winner.

Everyone will be wanting to pick the special bag, and there will be an excitement with every selection.

A grab bag could consist of anything you can imagine; but you’ll have to see what you can afford for all bags, and what can be a bonus or special donation for a handful of the bags.

Imagine having 100 basic bags, and 10 upgraded bags with 2 special bags. Basic bags could include stocking stuffers such as school supplies or home goods, whereas the upgraded bags include everything from the basic plus a spirit item such as a t-shirt or sweater. The special bags could have a bigger prize such as a spa treatment, or gift card atop the basic package.


Be sure to gauge interest in an event like this, and then check costs for all items for the scale you imagine. Also look into the donations or special items and what it takes to gather them. If you’re able to put together a tiered bag system without breaking the bank, you can then figure out what a ticket would cost.

Christmas & New Year Auctions

Auctions can be adapted for both children and parents. It really just depends on the items you’ll be presenting.

Kids’ items could include the latest and greatest new toy or game. Whereas adult items could be a New Year’s “Date Night” or holiday spa treatment.

It’s even better if you can have an item that’s for the whole family as there will be more anticipation and excitement to bid and win. The holidays are a time when everyone has a break from school and work. Take advantage of everyone’s time together, and have bundles such as “Dinner and a Movie”.

Avoid auctioning something that can be purchased just as easily. Packaging items or special experiences is more incentive to bid and win a bundle rather than the individual thing.


Set minimum bids and bid increments on your items. Both minimums and increments ensure you get the donations you expect for each item or package. Inform bidders with “outbid”alerts. This will ensure that bidders continue to compete and not assume a win or become complacent.

Parents Night Out Event

Saving the best for last, we suggest a winter fundraising event that has the potential to be an annual tradition that the whole family looks forward to.

Much of this depends on the availability of both the school premises and families. Ask teachers and families about their holiday availability, and select a single night of the week — likely a Friday — where parents who need a night out can drop their children off at the school for winter activities.

Tickets will include a child admittance to the event, and allow parents to spend the 3-4 hours as they please. They can shop, have dinner, or just relax at home while their little one gets some energy out with friends from school.

Get creative with the event activities, but here’s a few we imagined: pop-up movie theater, gingerbread house competition, artificial snow machine, Christmas tree decorating, and an arts and crafts section where kids can make ornaments for taking home.

How PTOffice Makes Winter Fundraising Happen

Have a question about how you can make these fall fundraising ideas come to life? PTOffice offers a dedicated fundraising platform that is FREE to use and allows you to fully customize a-thons, auctions, raffles, challenges, and more. It worked for Ashlee and Lake Windward Elementary School, and it can work for you as well.