March Madness Fundraising

Welcome to March…the month where college basketball takes center stage as the NCAA basketball championship tournament kicks off.  During this month, basketball fans, college students, and general sports enthusiasts are all rooting for their favorite teams.  And, don’t underestimate the significance of March Madness…it’s almost as popular as the Superbowl or World Series.

"March Madness Fundraising"

Why not take advantage of all this energy and host a March-Madness themed fundraiser? This could be the perfect time to introduce your organization and cause to a new audience. Bring madness in March to high school fundraising.

Of course, a school basketball team fundraiser makes a lot of sense during March Madness…but your organization does not have to have basketball as part of its mission.  The basketball theme just provides a creative platform and some fun ideas to include in your fundraising campaign.

March Madness Bracket Tournament

Now this fundraiser can really fly with any organization.  And although some may wonder if this is’s just a fun, interactive way to raise money for your cause (and there are no rules against hosting a bracket tourney to benefit a charity). How the Bracket Tournament works…Basically, your organization asks employees, supporters, and community members to pay a set fee ($10) to submit a bracket denoting their “picks” (predicted winner) of each of the games.  Whoever has the most picks right, wins! Offer donated prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place.  These items will cost your organization nothing, and give people incentive to participate in the tournament…for a chance to win some cool prizes.

Create an online fundraising website where you can post stats as to “who is in the lead”, how much money has been raised, and list the prizes for winners.  Announce the Bracket Tourney before the NCAA tournament kicks-off to get people excited and give them enough time to submit their picks before the games begin.

Host a March Madness Fundraising Event

This is an especially great idea for a team fundraising event or school fundraiser. Host your event at a community gymnasium where baskets are readily available, in case anyone gets inspired.  Air the championship game on a large screen, and have other activities going on simultaneously such as: food and drink sales, games, and contests.  Staff volunteers to grill burgers and hot-dogs, and offer soda (and beer, if possible) to sell at the event for additional revenue.  To further support your March Madness theme, offer basketball-themed cupcakes and cookies for desert.

Chance to Win Prizes!

Hold a silent auction or fundraising raffle. Sell tickets and manage the silent auction with nonprofit fundraising software.  Have local basketball celebrities donate autographed jerseys, or auction off season tickets for your local NBA team.  Keep in mind that not every item has to support basketball…tie in some generic things that will appeal to a broader audience such as: spa treatments, restaurant gift certificates, shopping sprees, hotel or B&B stays and more.

Half-Time Fundraising Contests

Have some fun activities during half-time.  Have volunteers from your school and engage your PTA fundraising team to compete against community members in a fun game of H-O-R-S-E.  Ask all participants to make a small donation to play in the half-time game.  Change the name of your game to support your organization.  Example: if your fundraising event is to raise funding for The Boy Scouts, instead of spelling out “H-O-R-S-E” spell “S-C-O-U-T-S”.

There are also plenty of pledge-based activities you could include.  During half-time showcase a “consecutive basket” competition or a “pass-the-ball” contest.  Prior to the big event, have participants collect online donations and pledges with crowdfunding software.  People can either donate a set amount or choose an amount based on how many consecutive baskets a participant can make.  Or for a team event, alternate players so all the pressure is not on one individual.  The consecutive baskets must carry from one player to the next.  A similar idea would be to spread team members up and down the court and have them pass the ball from one player to another.  See how many times they can pass it within a certain amount of time without dropping the ball. Collect pledges based on the number of completed passes.

Start a free trial of our peer-to-peer fundraising software to get your March Madness fundraising event started.


Still looking for ideas? Read about more creative fundraising event ideas.