Fundraiser Incentives for Middle School Students

Wow! Oh, the joy of PTA/PTO or parent group fundraising in Middle Schools! Middle School students are quirky, fun and always interesting. However, fundraising with Middle School students can be a challenge. You quickly learn that what works in Elementary School doesn’t work in Middle Schools. While Elementary School students are super motived by the tangible prizes and incentives offered for selling certain amounts of items for a product fundraiser or donation drive, Middle School students just want to get out of class, win cash or of course food! That’s it! It’s easy, right? Wrong, not only do Middle Schoolers not get motivated by traditional prizes, if what’s offered isn’t “Cool” enough, it simply won’t work. Think about that time in Middle School when your principal thought they could encourage your participation or interest with a lame, dated, little kid incentive. You were WAY too cool and kids today are too. When picking incentives for your Middle School Fundraiser, think about intangible items the students can’t find anywhere else. Those exclusive items and experiences that are ONLY available through your school. Think about these proven prizes or incentives for Middle School students are:

  • Time out of their class with their friends. They are super social!
  • CASH! Yep, cold hard cash is a great incentive!
  • Challenges. Middle schoolers are competitive and always up for a challenge or competition.
  • Cell Phone Accessories. Their favorite past time is being on their phone.
  • Events and experiences off campus. Take them to a local professional sports game and tour of their facility, trampoline park or visit a local college campus. The more active and adventurous the activity the better!
  • Gift cards. Middle School kids are shoppers and always want to be on trend.
  • Headphones, music and more! Anything that has to do with music or tv is good.
  • Giant Candy & Food. Oversized candy, lunch from restaurants off campus, donuts, ice cream, food trucks and more. They eat A LOT!
  • Name Brand Electronics. The bigger the brand the better!
  • Fun Spirit Gear. Kids love cool, on-trend clothes and fashion.

No matter what incentives you put together, make sure your principal and staff are on board to make the program important for students. Make sure they know to bring the fun and are not scared to act a little crazy and put themselves out there. I wish you the best in developing a great incentive program for your Middle School! It isn’t easy but it’s fun and can be super profitable for your school, sports team, band, chorus, club or other young teen group. 

Oh, one more thing! Not only are the incentives super important, WHAT you are selling is also important. Middle School kids like to sell things they are interested in. FOOD! Cookie dough is hands down the best middle school fundraiser. Think Otis Spunkmeyer…just the name makes you hungry! 

Set yourself up for success! When you pick the right program and prizes for your Middle School, it’s a win, win and everyone benefits!

- Melissa Douthit
Cherrydale Regional Representative