We understand the importance of providing schools with the necessary resources to ensure student success. Whether you’re part of a PTO or the PTA meeting fundraiser goals is vital.

page elementary PTO with book vending mahine

In this blog post, you will find a list of the top ten PTO fundraising ideas. These ideas range from traditional bake sales to innovative walkathons, all aimed at raising funds while promoting community involvement.

To ensure your PTO runs smoothly, here is a list of the ten best PTO & PTA fundraising ideas. These ideas are guaranteed to excite parents, teachers, students, and volunteers for the upcoming school year!

Bake Sale Bonanza:

Bake sales are classic fundraisers that appeal to everyone’s sweet tooth. Get your community involved by encouraging parents, students, and local businesses to contribute their favorite baked goods.

Make your bake sale stand out by choosing a theme like ‘Parisian Bakery’ or ‘Chocolate Delight”. Of course, label all food with possible allergens.

Themed bake sales do not generate as much revenue as other fundraisers. Advertising on social media in addition to traditional flyers can greatly enhance their impact.

Remember, the goal of a bake sale is to have fun while raising money during school hours without leaving anyone out. Even if the bake sale only brings in a couple hundred dollars, from cookies to cupcakes, every bite helps support your school.


School auctions are a popular choice for fundraising campaigns because of their high revenue-driving potential. Auctions can offer a wide range of appealing items. For example, high-ticket travel packages and sports items draw attention. Community-focused prizes such as student art, gift certificates to local businesses, entertainment, and dining packages also perform well.

With such a diverse selection, there are endless possibilities to engage supporters from all parts of the school community. Additionally, auctions create an exciting and competitive atmosphere, fostering energy among participants.

To ensure a successful PTO fundraising auction, your team must have the right organizational tools in place. This involves a straightforward bidding process. Set your nonprofit team up for success. Make it easy to effectively manage bids, notify winners, and ultimately generate more funds.


A walkathon or fun run is the perfect way to get active and raise funds at the same time. Participants gather pledges from friends and family for every mile walked. Create a sense of friendship while promoting health and fitness. Enjoy the outdoors and showcase school spirit at the same time with this fundraiser.

Dunwoody Elementary School near Atalanta, Georgia used the money raised from their annual Tiger Trot Fun Run. The PTO utilized the funds to acquire their very own Inchy’s Bookworm Vending Machine.

Penny Wars:

Penny wars are an easy fundraiser for any PTO. If your group is seeking a quick and easy way to generate new donations, this is it. In fact, penny wars involve the students themselves, turning it into a fun and competitive game played between classes at school.

Here’s how it works:

penny war kid

·        Each team, or class, has its own jar placed in a public area.

·        Students can start dropping coins and dollars into the jars.

·        The class with the highest amount of donations wins!

Participating in penny wars is exciting and enjoyable for students. It’s as easy as dropping a few coins into a jar.

Wheatland Center School in Wisconsin just ran a successful penny war campaign for their book vending machine fundraiser. Read about it here.

Dine and Donate Delight:

Partner with local restaurants for a dine-and-donate fundraiser. Invite families and friends to dine out on a designated night. The restaurant will donate a percentage of the proceeds to your group.

Numerous restaurants are more than willing to collaborate with local PTOs fundraising efforts. Consider asking them to host a special fundraising event.

Don’t forget to reach out to independently-owned local restaurants! They will likely welcome the opportunity to attract larger dinner crowds. Consider it a win-win by promoting a local business.

These events are highly popular among parents and students, making them a surefire hit within your entire school community.

Movie Night Magic:

Host a movie night fundraiser under the stars, in the school gymnasium, or at the local theater. Set up a big screen, sell tickets, popcorn, and snacks, and enjoy a cinematic experience with friends and family. Choose family-friendly favorites or classic films to appeal to all ages.

Pro Tip: Some community run theaters offer promotion packages already.

Field Day:

Bring the community together for a day of friendly competition with a game day gala. Set up booths for traditional carnival games, sports challenges, and other activities. Sell tickets and offer prizes to winners, creating a fun-filled atmosphere for all.

Book Fair Bonanza:

Encourage a love of reading while raising funds with a book fair. Partner with a reputable book distributor to offer a wide selection of titles for all ages, but you could consider running a book swap bonanza as well.

Allow students to donate books in exchange for tickets that can be used to ‘purchase’ other books. Of course students and parents can always have the option to purchase tickets, too!

Swaps and Fairs are a great way to promote reading while raising some quick funds. At either event Students, parents, and teachers can browse and purchase books, with a portion of the proceeds going to support your school’s programs and initiatives.

Pro tip: Promote your book event on social media to entice more traffic.

Holiday Shop Spectacular:

 Spread holiday cheer and raise funds with a holiday shop fundraiser. Set up a temporary shop where students can purchase affordable gifts for their loved ones. From handmade crafts to small trinkets, there’s something for everyone to enjoy while supporting your school.


Join the 5,000+ schools across the country using Read-A-Thon to raise funds for PTO groups. Read-A-Thon is an effective fundraising platform

  • Raise Funds – Students solicited pledges for the Read-a-thon, with donors having the option of flat contributions or per-book donations.
  • Reward Reading – An awards assembly announced class and individual winners, with the top homeroom representative smashing a pie into the principal’s face. Prizes, including a climbing pass from Highlands Sports Complex, will be distributed to students who read and collected the most donations.
  • Community Involvement – Donors included Vance Memorial Presbyterian Church, Peterson Healthcare and Rehabilitation Hospital, and Wheeling Convention and Visitors Bureau.
  • Determine Use Case – The book vending machine will be used for positive reinforcement, with students earning tokens for good behavior to exchange for books.
  • Bonus Benefit-  Extra funding will go towards purchasing books for the vending machine.

Ready to Get More School Fundraising Ideas?

These top 10 PTO/PTA fundraisers offer engaging ways to support your school while bringing the community together. Whether you’re seeking funds for field trips, classroom supplies, or a book vending machine, these ideas are guaranteed to generate revenue throughout the school year.

Visit the funding section of BookVending.com to learn more ways PTO and PTA’s can support literacy in the classroom.

Don’t forget to explore our other funding resources like Title I funding and Grant Resources and Corporate Sponsorship.

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