Healthy Fundraising Ideas for National Nutrition Week

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  Published on Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Healthy Fundraising Ideas for National Nutrition Week

Library Home  >  Health, Wellbeing & Nutrition
  Published on Tuesday, 17 October 2017

It's National Nutrition Week (15-21 October) and with increasing understanding and awareness about the role of early education and care providers in helping children develop healthy eating habits for life, we thought it might be helpful to remind you about the range of healthy fundraising and catering options available to help you banish the bake sale and the sausage sizzle forever!

For most early childhood education and care providers fundraising activities are an established feature of the annual calendar. These extra curricular events usually rely on support from the parents and enable providers to plug the financial gap between what is earned through fees and what they spend. The key to a successful fundraiser is to ensure everyone has fun and to give participants the opportunity to do something out of the ordinary.

Traditional fundraising promotions for early childhood involve asking children (and their parents) to sell copious boxes of chocolate and lollies to their friends and families. Another popular idea is the bake sale, where cupcakes and sweeties are sold to service families. Although these activities are undeniably popular with children, for services committed to healthy living, they send conflicting messages about what your service stands for and your internal policies and procedures relating to nutrition and eating habits.

Thankfully there are plenty of healthy options available to early childhood education and care providers wanting to do things a little differently.

Healthy fundraising is the way forward because it:

  • Sends consistent messages about what your service stands for and reflects the health policies, practices and philosophy of your service.
  • Enables your service to promote the fact that it values the health of the community and acknowledges its role as a positive role model for children and families.
  • Does not put pressure on people to spend money on buying items they don't philosophically agree with.
  • Supports a whole of community commitment to wellbeing and learning about healthy lifestyles and making healthy choices.
  • Ensures health and wellbeing are not compromised for profit.
  • Demonstrates the rewards of raising money and promoting healthy living at the same time.
  • Can promote local businesses selling healthier options
  • Does not advertise or endorse unhealthy products.

Healthy fundraisers incorporate choices that:

  • Promote healthy eating guidelines
  • Use fresh, seasonal, high quality products
  • Link to curriculum learning
  • Encourage participants to be physically active
  • Require minimal time, financial outlay, organisation and equipment
  • Ensure good financial return
  • Encourage fun, friendship and community involvement
  • Involve staff, parents and children
  • Can provide link to other community organisations
  • Meet legal, ethical and liability requirements
  • Ensure that safety (including food safety) is a key consideration

There are lots of healthy ways to raise funds for your service and they can be divided into four main categories:

  1. Healthy food fundraisers
  2. Physical activity fundraisers
  3. Healthy living fundraisers
  4. Generic fundraisers

Healthy Food Fundraisers

Healthy food fundraisers require you to ditch the cake stand and the sausage sizzle and look at innovative new ways to encourage people to open their wallet in exchange for food. These catering options can be used for events such as Father's Day breakfast, Easter celebrations, Chinese New Year, end of year parties and so on.

Consider options such as:

  • Healthy BBQ: Use lean meat, haloumi cheese, veggie patties, kebabs, chargrilled vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, corn, sweet potato or mushrooms and serve with wholemeal wraps or rolls. These can be jazzed up with home made condiments and relishes.
  • Fruit smoothies or kebabs: with the help of a few borrowed blenders and some frozen fruit, smoothies are a great summer fundraiser. Fruit kebabs loaded with melons, grapes and banana and sprinkled with desiccated coconut are also easy and popular.
  • Healthy pizzas: Make healthy pizzas on pita bread or halved English muffins and use various vegetables, pineapple and lean meat. Let children add their own toppings. Sell them by the slice rather than whole.
  • BBQ corncobs: A little bit of butter is all it takes to turn a humble corn cob into a delectable treat!
  • Pancake/pikelet breakfast: Use part wholemeal flour or include rolled oats in the batter. Use a non-stick pan to cook them. Serve topped with fruit. Or try savoury pancakes or pikelets for a different flavour.
  • Baked Spuds: These are a tasty, nutritious and low cost snack and can be baked in advance and sold during special occasions in your service. Spuds can be topped with a variety of fillings like baked beans, ham, pineapple, corn and tuna.
  • Frozen summer treats: Blend fruits with yoghurt or fruit juice and serve as frozen popsicles (you'll need to source freezable plastics) or serve frozen fruit on skewers (use straws instead of skewers for young children). Bananas are especially delicious.
  • Hot cross buns or healthy mini muffin drive: These are healthier options than chocolate fundraisers when bran, wholemeal flour or fruits are used and portions are small.
  • Children's birthdays: Bake your own cake/muffins using less sugar and margarine for children's birthdays and charge parents a small amount of money to cover costs of the ingredients. This way you are in control of what ingredients are used and can modify recipes to make them healthier.

Activity fundraisers

  • Hula-hoop competition
  • One hole or mini golf
  • Mini obstacle course
  • Back yard cricket
  • Family walk-a-thons
  • Dance-a-thons
  • Active Discount Vouchers: Contact local businesses and clubs to see if they would be happy to donate discount vouchers to the gym or recreation centre that can be used for raffles or quiz prizes

Healthy living fundraisers

  • Healthy recipe books: Compile your own healthy recipe book of the more popular dishes at your centre.
  • Vegetable seedlings: Organise cheap/donated seedlings from a local nursery to sell to families or community members. Another option is to grow your own vegetable seedlings from seeds and sell them to families and community members.
  • Healthy cooking lessons for parents: Use your centre's popular dishes and charge a small amount of money to cover food costs and raise funds per lesson.
  • Healthy Food Theme Day: Promote a health event happening in the community by providing a healthy food event linking with the theme e.g. Healthy Bones Week – link with a dairy-based Fruit Smoothie Day to encourage higher calcium intake.
  • Decorate water bottles, plates or jars: Children can buy them to decorate and fill them with water or healthy snacks.
  • Quiz nights: Feature questions about healthy eating, physical activity and health. Give prizes promoting healthy eating or physical activity.

Generic fundraisers

  • Face painting or Henna tattoos.
  • Personalised Christmas cards, calendars, T-shirts: Using photos of children at centre or events. Or families can use their own photos.
  • Children's decorative name labels: This can be used on wristbands, hats, beanies, socks, cups or plates.
  • Discount voucher books: The Entertainment Book is popular and easy to source.
  • Second hand books: Organise cheap or donated children's books from bookshops and staff to sell to families or community members.
  • Raffles: Include prizes like homemaker items, vouchers or fruit hampers.
  • Sun protection kit: Include sunscreen, hat, moisturiser or lip balm.
  • First aid kits.


Planning fundraising activities according to the season will help you keep costs down and maximise profits. If you sell food or items the children were involved in creating, the parents will be more inclined to buy, so try and ensure the children are involved at every stage of the production process. If you opt for physical fundraising, ensure the activity you choose is quick, fun, easy to learn, doesn't require much equipment and is low risk. Limit fundraisers to one per term, this will minimise parent fatigue and ensure you deliver a well-organised activity.

Fundraising ideas for child care centres by SA Department of Health.

Healthy Fundraising: Ideas to Promote Health While Still Making a Profit by Cancer Council NSW


This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Thursday, 21 January 2021