Healthy Fundraising Guidelines

fundraising jar

Creating fundraising events that encourage health can be a challenge but there are many options for creative, innovative fundraisers that will encourage kids, parents, and the community to raise funds while having fun and promoting health and wellbeing. The suggestions and sample language below will help your school generate both fun and funds in a positive way!


Research shows that well-nourished, physically active children are more successful

  • Academically
  • Socially
  • Physically 

…and are more prepared to

  • Have a more positive attitude
  • Have increased concentration
  • Have improved test scores
  • Attend school
  • Learn
  • Take advantage of opportunities

Food Fundraisers:

When fundraisers involve food, ensure healthier options are available.  Examples of healthier options include:

  • Baked chips, pretzels
  • Graham crackers 
  • Fresh fruit & fruit baskets
  • Light popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Spices
  • Non-fat & low-fat milk
  • Low fat cheese
  • Water
  • Flavored waters without sugar
  • 100% fruit juices and spritzers
  • Local foods such as apples, herbs, vegetables 

Non-Food Fundraisers:

The [District, School, Organization] encourages healthy fundraising and recommends non-food fundraisers whenever possible.  Fundraising using locally owned and operated businesses is strongly encouraged.

Broadly speaking, non-food fundraising activities can be divided into three categories:

  • Activity-based events (walk-a-thons or auction nights)
  • Limited-time sales (sports apparel with special school logos, dog and cat treats, or plant sales)
  • Ongoing programs (recycling initiatives or box tops)

Activity-based Events: 

  • Auctions
  • Walk/bike/jump-rope-a-thons
  • Fun runs
  • Gift wrapping
  • Grocery store fundraisers
  • Car washes
  • Talent shows
  • Mini golf tournaments
  • Math-a-thons/read-a-thons
  • Workshops/classes
  • Magic shows
  • Teacher – student competitions

Limited-time Sales

  • Books
  • Calendars
  • Candles
  • Ceramics
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Coffee
  • Coupon books, gift checks
  • Custom printed items
  • Donation cards and programs
  • Gift wrap
  • Greeting cards
  • Holiday ornaments
  • Jewelry
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Picture frames
  • Plants and flowers
  • Safety and first aid kits
  • Soap/personal care products
  • Sports novelties
  • Stationery
  • Toys
  • Kitchenware
  • Valentines
  • Baskets
  • Services (lawn care/salon/housekeeping)
  • Frisbees/jump ropes
  • Stadium pillows/cushions
  • Umbrellas
  • Bake-less bake sale
  • Frisbees/jump ropes
  • Key chains
  • Pet treats

Ongoing Programs

  • Recycling fundraisers (recycling companies purchase used items, such as clothing, printer cartridges, and cell phones) 
  • Collecting box tops and food labels
  • Spare penny jar
  • Ongoing bottle and can collection
  • eScrip dining
  • Healthy snack cart

There are great examples of profitable, healthy fundraisers here:

A+ Fundraisers For High Schools- New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Sweet Deals: School Fundraising Can Be Healthy and Profitable- Center for Science in the Public Interest 


April Neujean, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County

Cornell University Cooperative Extension logo