Top 10 Best Virtual and Creative Christmas Fundraising Ideas

Brainstorming fundraising ideas for this winter isn’t an easy task. Schools can’t rely on traditional holiday shoppe fundraiser, snifty pencils, dances, or other large events that involve gatherings. While some companies, like Kids’ Kastle, offer hybrid and virtual secret santa gift shops, this isn’t something that all schools have access to or it doesn’t pull in the same funds that schools need.

To help get motivated and create some holiday cheer, we’ve put together 10 virtual and creative winter fundraising ideas any school can take advantage of. We focused on low-cost, easy set-up, and maximum interest levels. We hope that these holiday fundraising ideas excite all students from elementary school to seniors, and can complement your normal holiday gift shop fundraiser. 

school christmas store

A Snowman Building Contest is a Fun Holiday Fundraising Idea

We love the snowman building contest because it’s flexible for virtual and online school set-ups! If you’re having an in-person school holiday shop fundraiser, you can schedule the snowman building contest to run the same day. This allows your visiting student and family groups to keep social distance as they build outside and shop inside, and it creates decorations everyone can enjoy!

Even if you’re not doing a Christmas shop fundraiser, you can run your snowman building contest one of two ways. Invite families out to build their snowman at safe distances on the school grounds, or have families make the snowmen at home and send in pictures with the students standing by their creations!

A small fee to enter with an affordable prize will get families active, involved, and raise funds easily for your school.

Host an Ugly Sweater Contest

This is another Christmas fundraising idea for schools that works for schools on-line or in person. For students and families who come on-site to shop your school Christmas shop, have them dress up and pay a small fee to enter the ugly sweater contest. Have a few different prizes you can reward at the end of the shopping day to celebrate the winners — people can vote, or you can have a panel of judges from the PTA or student council.

If all of your school holiday fundraisers are staying online, host the contest virtually! Students and families can either submit photos that everyone votes on, or you can do a virtual video session, like a fashion show! Either way, everyone will have a great time voting, dressing up, and chatting about the holiday.

school christmas store

Think Outside Traditional School Christmas Shop Ideas and Involve the Family Pets

One great thing about virtual fundraising ideas is that you can think about how to include the pets of the students! Have students and families submit photos of their pets dressed up in holiday outfits, celebrating winter holidays, or matching their owners in look-a-like contests.

Families and students will love showing off their pets and getting creative with photography and outfits. Post the photos online and let the voting begin! Have a small fee to enter with fun prizes families will want to win — maybe it could even be a free gift from your school’s Santa gift shop or something for the pets themselves.

Make Your Holiday Gift Shop Fundraiser a Virtual Silent Auction

A fun school Christmas shop idea is to create a virtual silent auction! Students love the traditional holiday gift shop fundraiser, and this adds an additional element to help get parents, families, and community members involved.

Work to create partnerships with the community, and offer prizes like gift baskets, gift cards, discounts, meet and greets, and more. The great thing about a holiday virtual silent auction is it can run for an extended period of time, it can raise plenty of funds, and it shows a community connection.

These also offer gift ideas to those placing the bids, so you’re more likely to see people engaging and promoting the sale.

When in Doubt, You Can’t Beat a Raffle for a School Fundraiser

Raffles are a tried and true school fundraiser idea, and it’s one everyone can take advantage of, online or in person. Just like with your silent auction, team up with local community businesses or creatives for some fun and exciting raffle prizes.

Whether these are tailored to the kids and come from your holiday gift shop, or you create something for the parents, it’s sure to create a buzz of excitement.

Raffles can be hosted both in school and virtually, and you can choose between shipping the items or having local pick up stations. Raffles have the potential to be limitless with funds, and are easily promoted. No matter how elaborate or simple you decide to go, look into your options for a raffle this season.

A Fun Holiday Fundraiser Idea is Wreath Sales

Consider the members on your school’s PTA and other teachers and parents that get involved each year with the fundraisers — chances are, you know more than one crafty and artistic person who is a wiz with homemade items. A wreath sale is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of those crafty skills from the parents and teachers in your community!

Pull together a group to create holiday wreaths, and involve the help of the students! These can then be sold online or in person to raise money for your school. This is a great holiday fundraising idea because each wreath is unique, handmade, and comes directly from the local community and even from the students themselves. It may involve a bit more prep, but is well worth it for the fun.

Keep Your School Fundraiser Simple with a Movie Night

Movie nights are a great holiday fundraising activity for families from your school because you can host them outdoors with minimal investment or planning. With a quality projector and a large lawn space near the school’s exterior walls, you can project any movie you wish onto the side of the school.

Set up can include chairs from the school, or make it picnic-style if the ground hasn’t gotten too cold, and ask families to bring blankets as the night grows chillier. Snacks can be bring-your-own, or you can sell treats that families have made as part of a concession stand to increase fundraising funds. This is a great way for kids to take a break, get outdoors, and for parents to relax, all while helping your school.

An Interactive Holiday Fundraiser for the Kids is a Scavenger Hunt

While families are waiting on their school santa shop gifts, ask them to take part in a scavenger hunt. Once your local area is seeing a lot of Christmas and holiday decorations, have families drive or walk around and look for items on the homes, like icicle lights, an inflatable Santa, a depiction of Rudolph, and others! They can take pictures or cross the items off of a list and submit them after a couple of weeks.

If you prefer to stay indoors, make the scavenger hunt happen online or in students’ homes. Have them submit photos of holiday decorations and ordinary objects around their house, instead. A small fee to enter with affordable, enticing prices can do a lot. Plus, the kids will want to participate and the parents will enjoy the activity.

Consider Cooking Lessons for Your School Holiday Shop Fundraiser

Many school fundraisers include food, dough, and similar items during one season or another. If a member of your PTA or a teacher is a wiz in the kitchen, take your food holiday fundraiser one step further and offer cooking lessons. The great thing is, these can happen online, right over video chat.

You can tailor your food fundraiser to parents with quick dinner ideas and healthy lunch items made in under 15 minutes, or you can make an activity for the kids, like holiday cookies or other fun treats they’ll want to make. This is a great option for every family and provides a skill many people are interested in.

Wrap Up Your Christmas Shop Fundraiser with a Virtual Talent Show or Telethon

Don’t let your holiday shop fundraiser be the last hoorah of the year. Take your student’s talent show online with a fun telethon! Kids can record their acts right in their living room, and you can have teachers or parents provide informative and fun craft projects, educational moments, or comedy sketches inbetween acts.

Think back to PBS when viewers would pledge money and be entertained as they watched the show. You can even note that you will have a parent or teacher complete an incredibly goofy act if certain funds are raised while the telethon is happening, like pouring ice water over their head or cutting their facial hair. Be creative! A lot can happen online. 

Your Holiday Gift Shop Fundraiser Can Be More Online

Just because normal fundraising activities are out, does not mean your school is going to lack the proper funds and holiday cheer this year. Use virtual learning and online tools to your advantage, and think about simple ways to keep kids engaged that excites families and parents. With a little community effort, your holiday fundraising this year can go a long way.