Fundraising ideas for students

Is your college or university looking to support Make-A-Wish but you’re struggling to come up with fundraising ideas?

There are lots of fun ways you and your fellow students can come together to help grant life-changing wishes.

Fun and games »
Music and movies »

Sports-themed fundraisers »
Business-related fundraisers »

Events, galas and parties »
Food and drink »

Creative fundraising ideas »

Get started with your fundraising event »

Fun and games

Blind bowling or costume crazy golf night

Reach out to a local bowling alley or crazy golf course to receive a percentage of ticket and concession sales. Put a twist on it with blindfolds for a couple of the rounds, or playing the game in costumes.

Hold a scavenger hunt

Design a hunt around your university grounds or local area. Charge a fee to take part in the the hunt in the form of a donation to your fundraiser.

Set up an online gaming stream or tournament

Charge a participation fee and collect donations on the stream for achievements reached, or allow viewers to set challenges for a donation (e.g. play the next two minutes with your eyes closed).

Beat out your frustrations fundraiser

Take this to the next level with a Halloween-themed fundraiser. Hang a thick multi-layered pumpkin pinata. Have people donate to take a swing to get the prize inside. or hold a good old-fashioned plate smashing stall. Get people to donate old crockery and charge a fee to throw cricket balls.

Pie or sponge throwing fundraiser

Stand the participants in front of a tarpaulin and provide ammunition in the form of pies, wet sponges or water balloons with every donation to your fundraiser. Increase your chances of donations by persuading lecturers or university staff to volunteer as targets.

Ready to get started?

Sports-themed fundraisers

A rear view of two #WishHeroes getting ready to take part in the 2021 London to Brighton Cycle challenge.

#WishHeroes taking part in the London to Brighton Cycle Challenge

Arrange a bike-a-thon

Set either an individual or group target for the number of miles ridden, or simply ask supporters to donate an amount per mile. This is not only a great way to raise money, but you’ll be building your fitness at the same time. You can even combine your fundraising with your everyday commute to your lectures. If you don’t want to arrange your own bike-a-thon, why not get a group together and enter a team in one of our cycling challenge events?


Work with the college gym to “check in and out” members as they log hours. Have participants ask parents and friends to be sponsors.

Selfie-themed 10k

Organise a campus 5 or 10k with a cool theme: Selfies! Runners take photos of themselves with certain campus landmarks in order to finish the race.

Arcade/go-cart/sporting events

Work with a local arcade, or even a sports team to reserve their location or reserve tickets at a group price.

Start planning your fundraiser

Zak driving a blue Lego go-kart, during his trip to Legoland.

Wish child, Zak riding a go-kart during his wish to visit Legoland

Events, galas and parties

The Art of Wishes 2021 Gala - Image © Dave Benett / Getty Images

The 2021 Art of Wishes Gala (image © Dave Benett / Getty Images)

Put on a fundraising gala

Find a space - maybe your college will let you use a room, or many pubs have spaces that they let out free as long as your guests are buying drinks. Draw a bigger crowd by getting a local band to perform. Raise money by charging an admission fee on the door. You could even reach out to local businesses to donate prizes for a charity auction on the night.

Organise a keynote speaker series

Set up a series of interesting speakers. Charge an entry fee and ask your speaker to donate their time.

Rule breaking auctions

Most college students will happily donate for the chance to break certain campus rules, especially social ones. Make sure you get agreement from university staff beforehand though!

Break the balloon silent auction

Stuff balloons with silly and awesome prizes and tasks: clean a room, make a meal, gift cards, free passes, butler for a day. Students bid on a balloon. Each winning bidder pops his/her balloon to reveal what’s inside.

Organise a pet party

Make your event a community affair by having a fun costume contest and treats at the local dog park. You can charge a small entry fee in the form of a donation, but the fun is free.

Start planning your fundraiser

Creative fundraising ideas

Wish child, Bethany holding up some greetings cards she made.

Wish child, Bethany holding up some cards she made after her wish to have an art station

Love rocks

You might decorate a bunch of love rocks they can get for a donation or create a love rock garden. Allow people to donate to decorate the rocks and put them into the garden.

Art installation

On a large white wall, create a colour the numbers image. Create a donation amount for each section, and using their designated colour, have the donors either colour in or create a fun piece of art on their section.

Dare to dream

Have people sponsor you to do crazy dares. These shouldn't be in the realm of injury but fun, like have people sponsor you to shave your head, eat a hot pepper, or sing in public.


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