Sharp Ideas for a March Madness Fundraiser

We serve a wide variety of groups on Cheddar Up — from schools to HOAs to churches to small businesses to friends — and their collection needs are even more diverse. But we seem to have found common ground across them all: a March madness fundraiser. The adage must be true; sports unite everyone.

Take a look at some of our favorite bracket competitions and coinciding events.

**Please note that fundraisers/raffles of this nature may be prohibited in some states and it is users’ and payers’ responsibility to determine compliance with their own local laws.**

1. Office buy-in with option to buy 1, 2, or 3 brackets

The tournament competition among coworkers has been intense!* We love the way this company used its collection to offer the option to buy multiple brackets. While you could use the quantity selector to let payers choose the number they want to purchase, we like that this example clearly shows upfront that 3 brackets is the max option. Utilize our customizable receipts to send the link to your online bracket pool — that way, only people who pay can play, and you don’t have to track who’s received the link or not! It’s also smart to automatically close the collection before game time to discourage late entries.

Trail Mix Fundraiser

*By intense, we mean this company’s pool exceeded $4,500! That’s a lucky winner.

2. Community March Madness fundraiser with prizes for top 3 winners

We love a cheesy good pun, so of course, we love that a pool made a bracket pool. Here, a local nonprofit swim and tennis club collected $10 for each bracket entry and offered first, second, and third places prizes redeemable at the pool. They opted to use the quantity selector and capped the per-person quantity to 10.


Trail Mix Fundraiser

3. Athletics department fundraiser that splits the winnings

This is a smart approach: Have a buy-in for brackets, and your organization pockets half of the pool, while the winner takes the other half. It adds an extra incentive for donors to support your organization.


Trail Mix Fundraiser

4. School or alumni “squares” March Madness fundraiser

We see sports “squares” fundraisers a lot.* (And we mean a lot!) While they’re commonly used in relation to football games, this alumni association made a go for a March Madness fundraiser. 

How does it work? Individuals or organizations start with a blank grid of 100 squares — with the numbers 0–9 at random across the top and down the left side — and sell each square for a given amount. The group in this example chose $50 per square, no limit per person. 

The purchasers’ names are put at random on the grid. When a game is completed, you determine the winning square with the last digits in each team’s score. The 0–9 on the left side represents the losing team, and the 0–9 across the top represents the winning team. If the final score is 85-81, for example, you will find “1” on the left side, and “5” on the top. The person who owns the square where the numbers meet earns the chosen prize. Check out the attachment in this example for more detail.

Trail Mix Fundraiser

*The average earnings for sports squares is around $2500, but depends on how much your squares cost. This example will earn $5000 if all 100 squares sell, plus more if they do multiple grids. Your net will depend on what you decide to pay out.

5. Elementary PTA March Madness fundraiser with daily raffles

No game predictions here — this elementary school created their own kind of madness to raise money for an updated playground. For 10 days in March, the PTA selected a daily raffle winner from the $10 entries. Buyers could purchase as many as they wanted. 

Two things we especially love about this collection format: Their detailed description box also includes a link to the playground renovation plan, which is so helpful for donors to know how they’re money is being used. (You could also add an attachment.) They also included a fundraising progress bar to show off how much they needed to reach their goal.

Trail Mix Fundraiser

6. Special school basketball game

This is another example of capitalizing on a seasonal event to create a March Madness fundraiser. A school in New Jersey hosted their own basketball game — graduating 6th graders against their parents, teachers, and local law enforcement. Tickets cost $2 at the door (hi, point of sale!), or bundled and discounted for those who ordered ahead.

Trail Mix Fundraiser

In short, before you go

A March Madness fundraiser is an easy way to capitalize on a seasonal event to support your group. You can collect donations with a bracket pool or a related event, and Cheddar Up will manage the receipts and records.

Collect for FREE

Whether you’re collecting dues and fees, fundraising, managing an event, creating a sign up, or selling something online or in-person, you can do it with a Cheddar Up collection.

You’ll want to ask your group’s organizer for a link. For privacy reasons, it’s not possible to search for this on Cheddar Up.

Learn more about paying on Cheddar Up

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