20 Fun and Effective Fundraising Ideas for Preschools and Nurseries in the UK

Fundraising can provide vital cash for nurseries and preschools, helping to upgrade facilities and support a range of additional activities and projects, from music classes to sports lessons. And fundraising events are an effective way to engage with parents and the broader community, helping you forge stronger relationships with your stakeholders. 

If your preschool or nursery is in need of a new playground, facilities for children with special needs or new tech for the classroom, or you want to refresh your offering of toys and games, then take a look at our 20 fundraising ideas for inspiration. Here we outline some fantastic fundraising events and projects you can consider to raise donations. Some are simple, others involve more extensive resources and organising, but you can put on a mixture throughout the year to provide a variety of fundraising activities. You can even combine multiple ideas into the same event if you want.

1. Sponsored Read-A-Thon

With read-a-thons, your kids are challenged to read as many books/pages as possible with their parents up to a given date. Parents can ask people to sponsor the children for a given amount per book/page, that will then be collected and donated once the read-a-thon comes to a finish. 

2. Pyjama Day

Children, and teachers, can pay a small fee to come to nursery or preschool dressed in their pyjamas. You can add bed-time themed events to the day too, to really embrace the theme.

3. Craft Fair

Arrange a craft fair where parents and local artisans can sell their handmade wares, from toys to clothing and from home decor items to beauty products. You can charge a small fee for stalls or ask for a voluntary donation from each of the sellers.  

4. Bake Sale

Host a bake sale where parents and staff can contribute homemade treats, with the money raised from selling the baked goods donated to your nursery or preschool.

5. Sponsored Walk

Rather than a fun-run, a sponsored walk may be more appropriate for little legs. Organise a sponsored walk for children, parents and staff, with participants collecting donations from sponsors for each lap or the distance completed.

6. Plant Sale

Host a plant sale where parents and other members of the community can purchase flowers, plants and herbs. If possible, encourage donations from local nurseries and garden centres, with a promise of visible sponsorship or recognition in return.

7. Family Quiz Event

Arrange a pub-style quiz for families to participate in. Create teams and charge an entry fee, with a prize offered to the winning family. You can maximise the potential of the event by selling food and drink on the night too. 

8. Teddy Bears’ Picnic

Organise a teddy bears’ picnic where you ask for a small donation for children to be able to bring their favourite soft toy with them to nursery or preschool. Organise fun, picnic-themed events and lessons for the day to really get into the spirit of it. 

9. Custom Calendar Sale

Create a custom calendar for your nursery or preschool that can be sold at the start of the school year. You can add school events to it, plus holidays and other useful dates for parents. You can select artwork made by children for each month of the calendar. 

10. Talent Show

Host a talent show for your children and teachers. You can charge an entrance fee for attendees and consider awarding prizes for different categories, or for all participants.

11. Charity Car Wash

Set up a car wash event where people can be charged a donation fee to have children and staff wash their cars. 

12. Dress-Up Day

Organise a themed dress-up day where students and staff come dressed as their favourite characters from fiction, or to a particular theme. Ask for a small donation from each participant.

13. Storybook Ball

Throw a ball at your nursery or preschool where kids and staff dress-up as characters from books. Then simply charge a small donation entry fee to attend the ball. You can arrange party food, dancing and other activities, and you can tie the event in with National Read a Book Day (6th September) if your term starts before then. 

14. Seasonal Festivals

You can host seasonal festivals to celebrate the start of each of the four seasons. For winter you can have mulled wine for the parents and Christmas-themed games and prizes. In summer you can host a BBQ with plenty of outdoors games for the kids. 

As well as themed activities, games and decorations, you can also run lessons about each individual season. You could charge an admission fee to the festival, or offer seasonal goods for sale, like food and crafts. 

15. School Cookbook

A range of bespoke book publishing companies offer a service where they create limited runs of cookbooks for a modest price. You can work with your staff and parents to collect a selection of recipes and photos, that can then be published as a nursery cookbook that’s sold to raise funds.

16. Storytelling Afternoon

Host an event where children can listen to stories read by parents, staff or special guests. This is a great idea to engage with your wider community of parents and supporters. Do you have any interesting or well-known parents who would be willing to read a book for the kids? 

Then, simply create a cosy atmosphere for everyone to relax in, and charge an entry fee for the event.

17. Community Raffle

Set up a community raffle with items donated from local businesses and parents – if you’re based around other local businesses, pay them a visit, explain why you’re fundraising and ask for any kind donations. These could include locally made products, vouchers for services, or homemade goods. Then all you need to do is sell the raffle tickets amongst parents and staff before you have a draw to win the items. 

18. Movie Night/Day

Host a movie night or day at your nursery or preschool, or even book out a local cinema. You’ll screen family-friendly films that will appeal to children and parents, with donations coming from ticket sales as well as snacks and refreshments on the day. 

19. Sports Day

Organise a sports day where children can compete in races and games. Don’t forget to offer events where parents can get involved too, like parent and child three-legged races. Simply charge an entry fee to raise money, and also consider offering food and drinks to raise additional funds.

20 Guess the Baby Photo Game

This is a simple but super fun idea. All you need to do is collect photos of staff and children as babies. Create a compilation of them, such as an online page, and then invite people to make guesses on who is who. Offer a prize for the winner – the person who makes the most correct guesses. All you need to do to raise funds is charge a small entry fee to each entrant. 

Maximising your Fundraising for your Nursery or Preschool

How you decide to fundraise for your nursery or preschool will depend on your fundraising goals and how much you’re aiming to raise. These ideas should help to inspire you. You can then adapt the most suitable of them to your needs, depending on the resources you have available and the interest of your students, parents and staff. 

To make your fundraising initiatives as successful as possible, you can seek to involve parents and other community members to gain their support and their expertise, as well as to strengthen relationships. Make sure you promote your fundraising events, especially online and via social media, to maximise awareness, participation and funds.