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Drive Fundraiser Ideas

Gift Card Drive Fundraiser Ideas

Draw in the broader community with these fun and engaging events!

Did you know that 51% of people forget to use their gift cards? After the first six months, the likelihood that they’ll get used drops significantly. But the gift card industry is booming—and that means a lot of unused gift cards are lying around, forgotten in drawers and wallets. And that’s good news for you if you’re looking for school fundraiser ideas, church event ideas, or ways to support another great cause.

A gift card fundraiser is an effortless way to raise donations. When you partner with CardFunder, we’ll handle all the processing of funds. At your fundraiser, you’ll collect gift cards with a remaining card balance. You can connect with people in your broader community by holding a fun community event while drawing in more support. 

We’ve gathered some of our favorite fundraiser ideas, many of which you can do virtually or in person. Collect attendees’ gift cards as “payment” for what you provide. Those unused gift card balances can make a big impact when you pool them together!

Traditional Fundraisers

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These tried-and-true events are great school fundraiser ideas that have stood the test of time. They’re also great for churches and other community groups, letting you connect more strongly with supporters while raising funds for your cause! 


A raffle is easy to set up, and raffle tickets are easy to sell. Plus, you can pair a raffle with any other public event. Get local businesses involved, asking them for donated products or services! 

Car wash

Grab your buckets and sponges, and set up a car wash in your school or church parking lot. If you need a more central location, ask a local business to let you use their lot on a weekend day.

Bake sale

Have the bakers in your group contribute sweet treats and set up shop! You might ask a local farmer’s market if they’d donate space for you one Saturday to reach a bigger crowd.

Yard sale

Have everyone bring their unwanted (but good quality) items to a central location, like your church or school, and let the public “buy” them with their donated gift cards. Donate what’s left over to charity.

Calendar sale

Design and sell a calendar featuring favorite community places, student drawings, or local photographers’ work. You can even get more creative by adding special community days or historical events to your calendar.

Fun Community Events

These engaging events draw people from your town to participate in a fun group activity! All of them are great for school events or church fundraisers.


This event has apparent benefits, highlighting the fun of reading. Whole families can join in together. Have participants get sponsors who donate gift cards to the cause. Then get together at your school, church, or community space with stacks of books and see how long you can all keep reading!

Game Night

Gather everyone together for a fun-packed night, setting up different game stations around your space. Invite family, friends, and other community members to join in the fun.

Trivia Challenge

Test people’s knowledge, virtually or in person, with this super easy activity. Offer snacks and refreshments to round out the event. You can choose a specific topic or keep it broad!


Group members (or students) can each bring a big batch of a “one-pot” meal, like chili or rigatoni. Attendees sample them, then vote on their favorite.

Holiday-Themed Event

Hold a gingerbread house competition or an Easter egg hunt for some holiday-themed fun! Challenge attendees to make the most captivating and delicious gingerbread house or find the most eggs.

Pancake Breakfast (or Spaghetti Dinner)

Serve up an easy meal like pancakes or spaghetti. Seat guests and treat them to live music, a comedy act, or other entertainment as they eat!

Used Book Sale

Collect used books from students or group members. Then, organize them by subject or reading level and invite the public to browse and buy them.

Community Concert

Recruit local musicians or bands to entertain the audience. (These bands might draw in their friends and followers!) Hold your concert in an outdoor setting, like a football field or schoolyard. Or, look for a large indoor venue, like your church—ideally with good acoustics.

Movie Night

Hold an outdoor film night on the lawn of your school or church, using a big screen and projector. Encourage people to bring blankets or lawn chairs. Set up a table with snacks (or offer bake sale goodies there).

Outside-of-the-Box Ideas

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TED talks by kids

Have each kid present a short virtual speech, as long as they feel comfortable doing so. They can invite friends and relatives near and far to attend.

Bedazzle anything!

Community members can bring clothes, shoes, or other items to have “bedazzled” with fabric paints, stamps or prints, and embroidery. Group members or students can bedazzle things on the spot, right before their eyes. Or they can offer guidance as people decorate their items using the supplies provided. The sky’s the limit!

Craft Workshop

Each participant receives a kit to make a particular craft for this event, either in person or via mail. Then, a kid or adult presents a tutorial on how to do the craft.

Plant Nursery

Grow vegetable and flower seedlings and have a plant sale! Couple it with a plant walk by a knowledgeable group member if you have a garden or natural area at your site.


Hold a kids’ storytime, and then an adults’ version as kids nap or play in a supervised area. Offer plenty of snacks and beverages. Or, do a virtual storytime.

Mystery Dinner Theater

Put on a show for attendees as you serve them dinner. In this immersive experience, actors in the play are seated among and serving the guests, and events happen throughout the evening that reveal more clues. Guests try to solve the mystery as they eat dinner.

Penny War

For this event, group members (or classmates) get into two or more teams. Each brings as much spare change from home as they can find to fill their jar in an effort to collect the most pennies. One penny is worth one point. The catch? Each team can put nickels, dimes, quarters, bills, and gift cards into the other team’s container, which are subtracted from the value of their opponent’s pennies. In the end, the team with the highest points in their jar wins a prize. And all the funds go to your cause!

Ready to get started on a school event idea or fundraiser for your church? It couldn’t be simpler. Just sign up with CardFunder to launch an innovative and successful fundraising campaign! For more online fundraising resources, click HERE.


BankRate, “Poll: Americans Are Sitting on $15 Billion in Unused Gift Cards and Credits”

NCFA Canada, “The Economics of Unused Gift Cards”

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