Tools like social media fundraisers and online fundraising software are rising in popularity among donors, but receiving a tangible item in exchange for a donation is a unique way to incentivize giving. Schools have long raised a significant amount of money through product fundraisers, which often comprise a majority of their fundraising strategy.

In this guide, we’ll look at four product fundraising ideas your supporters will gladly buy:

  1. T-Shirts
  2. Gourmet Coffee
  3. Discount Cards
  4. Holiday Decorations

To fundraise successfully, you’ll have to come up with product fundraiser ideas that your supporters will actually want to buy. Ready to dive into our favorite product fundraising ideas? Let’s get started.


This section explains how t-shirts make great product fundraisers and boost school spirit!

1. T-Shirts

Spirit t-shirts are a classic product fundraising idea, and there’s a good reason for it—they’re popular! Students, parents, faculty, and alumni all love to show their school spirit by purchasing and sporting a unique t-shirt for their school.

Consider how you’ll sell the t-shirts to parents and students. An online order form with a sizing guide can make ordering simple for parents and students, especially if they’re already comfortable with your existing digital donation platform.

You’ll also have to plan the design elements of the t-shirts. For example, you might include:

  • The school’s brand. Your school’s logo, brand colors, and any other designs relevant to its branding will really display school spirit.
  • The school mascot: Build the design around an image of the school’s mascot or add a mascot icon subtly.
  • Text: Use catchy words or phrases that summarize the school’s motto or mission.
  • Different styles: Offer an option for long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirts to better meet buyers’ preferences.

If your school requires uniforms, hosting “casual Fridays” is a great way to sell shirts—and offer students an excuse to change things up outside of the typical dress code.

For added excitement, you can even start a t-shirt design contest among students to see who can submit the best designs, as voted on by their peers. Then, award the winner a free t-shirt and promote the design!

In this section, we’ll explain how gourmet coffee is a great thing to sell as part of a product fundraiser.

2. Gourmet Coffee

It takes a lot of coffee to get through the school day— that goes for teachers, parents, and sometimes even students! Keep everyone well caffeinated by selling gourmet coffee for your fundraising campaign.

Since coffee is a common grocery list item, most parents likely buy it on a regular basis, anyway. Instead of buying it from a store, parents might be inclined to purchase it from your school to raise money for a good cause.


This section explains how to make your product fundraiser succeed with discount cards.

3. Discount Cards

No one would pass up an opportunity to get a discount, especially if they know their purchase supports a good cause!

Discount cards make such a great fundraiser because the cards offer great deals for the recipient. In fact, this fundraiser can turn a 93% profit, according to ABC Fundraising’s information on discount card fundraisers. Consider partnering with local businesses to offer these discounts, such as:

  • Local restaurants
  • Fast food chains
  • Boutiques and shops
  • Events

Meyer Partners’ guide to donor retention suggests looking at your fundraising data to see how much you raise from various approaches. That way, you can compare and contrast to determine what worked. In the same way, picking discounts might be an experimental process until you determine which coupons are most appealing and truly in demand.

Cards often include coupons and discounts that have the potential to save hundreds of dollars when in use. Even if the buyer doesn’t use every available discount, they’re still typically excellent purchases that can help parents save tons of money.

This section talks about holiday decorations as a favorite product fundraiser.

4. Holiday Decorations

Studies show that charitable giving tends to skyrocket in December—after all, it’s already popularly a season of giving. Parents might already be planning to participate in their employers’ matching gift programs or holiday fundraisers.

This means they’ll be more likely to give (and give more) to your school at the end of the year! Consider selling the following popular holiday decorations to raise money for your school:

  • Decorative wreaths
  • Christmas trees
  • Ornamental centerpieces
  • Strings of lights

To make this holiday fundraiser a success, partner with local businesses like tree farms and Christmas shops to obtain bulk discounts on decorations.

If you want to boost this fundraising further, ask for student volunteers to help decorate the exterior of the homes. Then, supporters can not only purchase decor, but also have it set up for an additional donation.


When you sell products that your supporters truly want to use, you create a mutually-beneficial experience, rather than donors just doing you a favor by making a purchase they don’t necessarily want.

Regardless of the products you choose, one of the biggest considerations to keep in mind heading into the new school year is the emphasis on virtual fundraising solutions. Luckily, many product fundraising partners offer custom-built web stores from which you can sell your items remotely.