A Quick Guide to 5 Types of Clothing Fundraisers for Schools

When brainstorming fundraising ideas for your school, you’re probably looking for creative activities that delight students and inspire their parents to give. From food fundraisers to mini carnivals to auctions, you’ve tried all kinds of engaging fundraising events in the past. However, after a while, you’ll need to seek out new ideas to keep your audience engaged.

For a fresh school fundraising idea, try a clothing-themed fundraiser! If you’re unfamiliar with these events, don’t worry—that’s what this guide is all about. We’ll cover five different types of clothing fundraisers your school can host to freshen up your annual fundraising strategy. With this knowledge, you can plan your next event with confidence.

1. Branded Apparel Sale

In branded apparel sales, you’ll purchase clothing and other apparel branded to your school and then sell those items to students, parents, and teachers. This type of clothing fundraiser is extremely common—you might already be selling branded merchandise for your school!

To ensure your fundraiser is a success, you should:

  • Spice up your branding designs. While your organization’s branding is important, your audience may tire of seeing items with just your logo. Spice up your designs while incorporating your branding to encourage your audience to purchase. For example, Julia Gash created art for various colleges in the United States of campus landmarks, while still incorporating their brand colors.
  • Offer a variety of clothing. People have different preferences and needs for clothing, such as zip-up jackets versus hoodies. To capture the interest of as many people as possible, offer a variety of clothing.

While you can host your sale as part of a larger fundraising event, we recommend opening a dedicated store for your merchandise. By selling these products on the school grounds, students, parents, and teachers can purchase items at any time.

Additionally, for greater convenience, add your store to your school’s website. This maximizes the visibility of your items and allows people to make purchases regardless of their physical location.

2. Clothing Drive

In the United States alone, 17 million tons of textile waste end up in landfills every year, and discarded clothing makes up the majority of textile waste. It’s more important than ever to lead sustainable lives, and you can start with a clothing drive fundraiser—according to Donate This Recycle That, these events are a great way to raise funds and recycle.

Simply ask your audience to collect clothing and textile items, then sell these items to a clothing recycling center. This is a popular fundraiser for busy parents who want to avoid the hassle of discarding outgrown clothes. You’ll do that (sustainably!) for them, and you’ll generate revenue while doing so!

Plus, clothing drives are impactful teaching opportunities since schools and educational organizations are uniquely positioned to educate the next generations about the importance of sustainability. Use this fundraiser to teach your students why reducing, reusing, and recycling is crucial and to steward a new generation of environmentally-minded individuals.

3. Clothing Thrift Store

A clothing thrift store event is similar to a clothing drive, with a few key differences. You’ll accept clothing collected by students, parents, and teachers, but instead of selling them to a recycling center, you’ll sell them back to your audience.

Create thorough guidelines for items you’ll accept to ensure you receive clothing you can resell. For example, you may specify that you only want gently used clothing. Or, you might say that you accept accessories like belts, hats, and bags as well as garments.

To maximize the impact of your event, you should:

  • Accept clothing of multiple age ranges. Children are constantly outgrowing their clothes, making this event the perfect opportunity to clear out the old and bring in the new! With clothes to fit multiple age ranges, parents can give away outgrown clothes and replace them with outfits of the right size. Plus, they’ll be able to purchase items that fit their child more cheaply than if they bought new clothing.
  • Establish a thorough marketing strategy. A clothing thrift store event requires multiple rounds of marketing, as you’ll need to ask your audience to donate clothing and then ask them to attend your event. Be sure to promote the fundraiser through multiple marketing channels, including your school’s website, email newsletters, and social media posts.

Should you sell only some of the clothing you collected for your thrift store event, you can always donate any remaining items to a local charity. Arrange a clothing donation pickup to make the process hassle-free.

4. Clothing Auctions

Clothing auctions are operated and marketed similarly to other school auctions, but their focus is on clothing items. You may solicit clothing donations from families much like with clothing drives or clothing thrift stores, or you may reach out to businesses to sponsor your auction and send you items.

For greater fundraising success, be sure to:

  • Display your items. To increase the number of bids on auction day, display clothing items in a visually appealing way. Use mannequins, tables, and racks so interested bidders can fully see the items they’ll compete for.
  • Offer online bidding. Maximize the number of bidders who can attend your auction by offering online bidding. All you’ll need is the right online bidding software and flattering photos of your items, to expand the reach of your event!

Don’t be afraid to bring on volunteers to help you sort through your auction items and help you display them properly. Be sure to thank them for their hard work after the event ends—Fundraising Letters recommends sending them a heartfelt thank-you note!

5. Fashion Show

While the other clothing fundraisers in this guide offer clothing as the main source of revenue generation, a fashion show event raises money through ticket sales. Plus, this fundraiser is student-centric, allowing kids to engage in raising funds for your school (which they might enjoy more than a closet clean-out!).

To make the most of this event, give students a theme for the fashion show and ask them to dress up and participate by walking down the runway. You can even host this event during or near a holiday, such as Valentine’s Day or Halloween, to get your audience in a festive mood.

On top of that, a fashion show is the perfect opportunity to snap pictures of your students engaging in a fun activity. You can then post these photos to your social media pages, keeping alumni and parents who didn’t attend in the loop. Just be sure to ask parents’ permission before posting pictures of their kids.

Clothing-related events are fun for families and great fundraising opportunities for your school, allowing you to generate the revenue needed to offer a great educational experience for your students. Be sure to thank your community for their participation and emphasize how much their efforts mean to your school. With proper stewardship, you’ll encourage families to continue supporting your school and your students’ education.

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