30 Fundraising Ideas for Scouts
Looking for fresh fundraising ideas for your scouting troop beyond popcorn and cookie sales? Look for projects where scouts can feel truly invested — just make sure to clear any ideas with your council beforehand to get any approvals needed.
Make Something Creative
You’ve got to fill up meeting times with different activities. Put those little hands to work creating a work of art that can also do good and raise money.
- Create Cards - This isn’t just for donations at Christmas. Consider all the other holidays — especially ones less publicized such as Grandparents Day and National Scout Day. Be sure to include your troop’s contact information on the back in case the recipient wants to donate at a future date.
- Make Teacher Appreciation Gifts - Check school calendars for teacher and staff appreciation days and hold sales well in advance. Parents are often looking for fresh ideas for these days and a small gift that is also a donation to scouting can be a great solution. Genius Tip: Try these 50 teacher appreciation ideas.
- Produce Cookbooks for and by the Kids - Put together and sell a low-budget cookbook filled with the favorite recipes of troop members and their families. Online tools make this task affordable and easy to accomplish with a professional look.
- Participate in Local Church Craft Fairs - It’s always great to find opportunities where large groups are gathered. Be sure to plan far ahead to give your members ample time to create beautiful items that will best represent the troop.
- Produce an Art Show - Present scout artwork for sale during a regularly scheduled meeting. Consider staffing different booths with arts and crafts lessons with projects where siblings and families can participate.
Collect donations for raffle baskets with an online sign up! SAMPLE.
Plan a Service-oriented Fundraiser
Scouting emphasizes giving back to the community, so this is a great way to teach this value while raising money for the troop.
- Recruit Sponsors for Community Service - Arrange several community service projects and have scouts get sponsors for each hour they complete. Offer a selection of service projects to be performed throughout the year so sponsors can choose among a variety of organizations.
- Organize a Walkathon - They’re easy to produce and also a good way to encourage physical activity. If you don’t want to do one big event, you could have the scouts find sponsors for every mile they walk during a given month.
- Collect Recyclables - Many items such as inkjet cartridges, small electronics, video game consoles and more can be sent to a recycling organization for cash. These types of projects not only teach scouts about protecting the environment but also prevent products from ending up in landfills.
- Coordinate a Literacy Project - Arrange for troop members to read books to younger children and find sponsors for their time. Contact afterschool programs at your local schools, YMCAs, childcare centers or Boys and Girls Club programs.
- Complete Chores for the Community - Have members donate their time to different charities for tasks such as yard work, cleaning, small repairs or other odd jobs and get sponsored to do these chores. The charity receives the benefit of the work completed and the troop receives needed funds from donors.
- Pick Up Cans and Trash After Community Festivals - Research opportunities for your troop to help (for a fee) with cleanup after community events such as picnics or outdoor family concerts.
Plan a Special Event
Bring together family and community members by offering special services or hosting events that contribute to a favorite cause.
- Organize a Class for a Fee - Teaching kids or parents new skills in crafts, cooking, camping survival, first aid and more can be a great fundraiser and possible path to merit badges.
- Pick Your Favorite Photo Contest - This idea is perfect for a fundraising booth in a school or church fair. Troop members must submit their favorite photos for the contest (may be humorous, showing a past troop event or anything of interest to a broad audience) to be posted at the booth. Each photo is numbered and votes are cast by purchasing a ticket for a favorite photo.
- Host a No-Show Ball - This is a low-budget event because the only actual costs involve the invitations, thank-you notes and postage. There are a lot of busy people who are willing to support a worthy cause by simply purchasing a ticket and are excited to not have another event to put on their calendar. Be sure to include a postage-paid return “RSVP.” Genius Tip: Reduce costs by sending out invitations with an online sign up and collecting “ticket” money via SignUpGenius Payments.
- Sponsor a Car Wash with Extras - Find ways to offer something different with this favorite. For example, add packages of varying levels, such as vacuuming service and tire detail for a little more money or a quick window cleaning for less. Offering drinks and snacks for sale while people are waiting can add another source of funds.
- Host a Dog Wash - Offering premade bows and bowties for the pets’ collars adds a fun extra touch. Include special deals for families with more than one pet.
- Host a Parents Night Out - With enough volunteers and adult supervision, this is a great way to serve your community’s families and raise money, too. Strategic timing can help, so consider parents’ needs for Christmas shopping, Valentine’s Day dates and other times of the year where extra babysitting help is especially needed.
- Plan a Spa Day – Perfect for older Girl Scouts and Mother’s Day (or any day to show extra love and appreciation). Sell personalized spa appointments including manicures, pedicures and facial treatments, all given by members of the troop.
- Set Up Restaurant Nights - Find local restaurants willing to donate a specific portion of an evening’s proceeds to your troop, then find creative ways to promote your event in the community.
- Sponsor a Father-Daughter and Mother-Son Dance - Consider joining forces on a project including both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to create a truly memorable event for all involved. Sell tickets for your cause, as well as raffle prizes at the event.
- Host a Bike and Trike Parade - Teach bike safety for younger siblings and community members. This creates an excellent teaching opportunity for the scouts. Ask for a suggested donation to your troop or cause.
- Host a Community Meal - Traditional chili cook-offs, spaghetti suppers and pancake breakfasts are all great ways to raise money and promote teamwork. Consider finding a troop parent with unique cooking expertise willing to guide your troop to a new cooking adventure such as Thai Night or traditional Bolivian cuisine.
Organize a carwash fundraiser with an online sign up! SAMPLE.
Hone Your Sales Pitch
Selling doesn’t end with Boy Scout popcorn or Girl Scout cookies. Help encourage the entrepreneurial spirit with these ideas.
- Deliver Dinners for a Week - Find volunteers from the troop willing to each sponsor one night of the week. The purchased dinners could be homemade by the volunteers or even donated by a restaurant. Genius Tip: Organize meal deliveries with an online sign up.
- Arrange Flower Sales - This is great for celebrating and showing appreciation on holidays and special recognition events. Think about offbeat ones like school award ceremonies, Little League tournaments and more.
- Coordinate Used Book Sales - It’s a great way to give old books new homes and raise some money in the process. Troops can also include handmade items such as crafts and cards for sale.
- Sell Gift Baskets - This could be connected to a specific holiday, such as Christmas, or before Teacher Appreciation Day. Consider a combination of handmade crafts or baked goods by the troop members, as well as donations from local businesses.
- Seed Sales and Planting - There are several organizations that offer great options for selling easy-to-grow varieties great for fundraising as well as teaching kids about growing vegetables and flowers.
- Run a Concession Stand - Depending on the school or community event, consider starting out small with a table, water bottles and granola bars. Scale the amount of offerings depending on event needs.
- Organize an Online Sale - Perfect for when your troop is having a hard time finding a physical venue to host an event. Go high-tech by creating a website where potential buyers can see photos of handmade or donated items for sale for fundraising. You can also opt to sell directly through social media sites for simplicity.
- Provide First Aid Kits - Help kids learn about all that’s needed for a basic first aid kit by preparing them together, then look for local health fairs that will allow your troop to distribute and charge a small fee as a donation.
Fundraising doesn’t have to be a grind. Mix up your plan for the year, and you’re sure to see results that help your troop — and help others.
Laura Jackson is a freelance writer based in Hilton Head, S.C., with her husband and two teenagers.