21 Awesome ideas for youth fundraisers

Looking for a cool idea for a youth fundraiser? Check out our simple suggestions. We’ve included 21 of our favorite fun and easy money-makers – they’re bound to get your fundraising off to a great start!


Try any of these delicious fundraising ideas and you’ll see the power food has to bring people together.

  1. Bake sale. Whether the goods are homemade or store bought, you can’t go wrong with this classic form of fundraising.

  2. Drinks stand. There’s nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold beverage on a hot summer day. Set up a booth on a busy corner and sell away! During the winter months, your booth could sell hot chocolate and coffee – and if you’d rather not brave the chill, why not set up inside at your school or the local ice rink?

  3. Bowl them over. Throw a world-famous Mary’s Meals’ ‘Porridge Party’. [link to Porridge resource]

  4. Ice cream social. Stock up on some ice cream and toppings and charge people to build their own sundaes. You can also rent an ice cream truck to come to your event and donate a portion of the proceeds to Mary’s Meals.

  5. Pizza, pizza. Everyone loves a good pie! Ask a pizzeria or local business to donate pizzas for your fundraiser and sell them by the slice.

  6. Pancake breakfast. Not just reserved for during the Calgary Stampede, pancake breakfasts are simple to pull together. ‘If you cook them, they will come’ – even if it’s in the middle of a school or workday!


Whether you go it alone or join together with friends, these are all great ways to keep fit while helping some of the world’s poorest children.

  1. Basketball bonanza. (or volleyball, soccer, bowling, hockey…!) Sports tournaments and athletic challenges are a fun way to create community engagement and raise awareness. This type of fundraiser is relatively simple to set up and you can charge players an entry fee to participate.
  2. Throw a ‘thon’. Whether it’s a dance-a-thon, bike-a-thon, read-a-thon, walk-a-thon, or marathon, this type of event is very popular and could even draw a crowd of participants and onlookers. With careful planning, there’s a good chance you can meet – or even surpass – your fundraising goal. 
  3. Set a milestone and conquer a new challenge. Take on a walk, climb, run, swim or cycle to raise funds. Share your journey with your loved ones and peers and let them encourage you – with their kind words and bucks!


It’s amazing how much difference one person can make – and the chain reaction your actions can start!

  1. Give it up. Skip a favorite treat during Lent, or challenge yourself to a month without coffee, movies, cell phone, video games, chips, or chocolate. Save up the money you would have spent to gift to hungry children through Mary’s Meals.
  2. Social media challenges. Do you remember the “Ice Bucket Challenge”? You could come up with an idea for something similar or take to social media to make a difference in other ways from the comfort of your couch! e.g. Facebook/Instagram birthday fundraisers, head shave / don’t shave / hair dye for donations, or sell items on Marketplace to the highest bidder.


When Fundraising becomes more like FUN-raising!

  1. Come together. Have a Superbowl party or hold a movie night for Mary’s Meals. Just pick your venue (it could be your backyard, church basement or even an empty classroom) and watch the Superbowl or your favorite movie with friends and family. Ask your friends to bring a dish and collect donations in a bowl or jar placed conveniently by the snack table. We can provide flyers about Mary’s Meals – and even an inspiring short film you could play before the main feature!

  2. Host an art or talent show. Ask local artists to donate a piece of work and hold a show to sell the works for charity. Make sure to arrange any commission the artists want ahead of time. Showcase some local talent at your church, school or even on your driveway, your garage or your backyard! You could also have a bake sale or drinks stand during the intermission or ask local businesses to donate items for auction.

  3. ‘Battle of the bands’ / karaoke contest. Host an event with local bands at home or another venue and charge an entry fee. Or power up a karaoke machine and set up your event as a game where participants pay to “volunteer” each other to sing songs.

  4. Host a quiz or games night. Teams pay a small fee to register and compete to win a donated prize or a portion of the proceeds. You can create the quiz to suit your crowd or pick out a selection of games you know they’ll love. And, of course, you could sell snacks and drinks too and share some of our flyers and videos during the event.


We are all about being fantastic neighbors! These ideas not only help you do good for our cause, they also help you do good for your community.

  1. Carwash. Make a splash – and some cash – by holding a carwash with your friends.

  2. Sell it on. If you’re planning a cleanout, have a garage or yard sale for Mary’s Meals. Or get some friends together in your neighborhood and organize a larger event at your church, school, or community center.

  3. S’no problem. Keep busy during the winter months by offering to shovel snow from your neighbors’ sidewalks in exchange for a donation.

  4. Swap shop. Invite your friends to exchange their pre-loved clothes, music, books, or games for something they want (in return for a small donation).

  5. Mow for meals. Challenge your friends to the Mary's Meals Mow 50 Yard Challenge. "I've just mowed 50 yards and am challenging you __________ (name of person) to do the same."
  6. Great greetings. Make and sell your own Christmas cards and handmade gifts over the holidays or recruit some volunteers to help run a gift-wrapping service in exchange for donations.

Get Involved – Opportunities to Create Change

Start a club at your school, church or community group

Start a club

Find out how grassroot fundraising changes children’s lives


Become a volunteer and spread the word about our work