Event & School Fundraising Ideas

When it comes to fundraising for special events and schools, the number one goal is to have a high profit margin. We’ve done the math for you and can report that concession foods bring in an average of 70%–80% profits, making it an ideal way to raise money. You don’t have to be an expert to see this kind of a return. Here at Gold Medal, we’re available to give you fundraiser tips from themes to concession choices and more. From training your volunteer staff to choosing the right size popcorn machine, you can browse our site for school fundraising ideas and so much more.


School Concession Stand Do's and Don'ts

Tips for School Concession Stand Operators

A lot goes into managing a school concession stand, and it can seem overwhelming. But with a little planning, you can learn to invest your time and energy in efficient and effective ways. Our experts have created this list of do’s and don’ts to help you along the way.

  • DO the math. Concession food costs can be as low as a quarter per serving, allowing great flexibility in pricing. Popcorn, for example, can yield up to 82% profit, even when sold at a price of $1.50 per bag. You can earn more in one afternoon at the snack stand than a month’s worth of other fundraising efforts.
  • DON’T be too complex. The best advice for planning your menu is to keep it as simple as possible. Use popcorn kits, conveniently made with the proper amounts of corn, oil, and salt premeasured. Cotton candy can be packaged in advance to help keep lines moving during busy times. Make sure you aren’t creating extra work for yourself!
  • DO stick with known profit-makers. Foods like popcorn, hot dogs, and nachos should be your foundation items. These are easy to make with user-friendly equipment, and you can upsell by creating special combos with drinks and offering add-ons like chili on hot dogs for more sales. Certainly consider fun new menu items, but fall back on old favorites for reliable profits.
  • DON’T forget to promote your snack stand. There are several low-cost ways to steer traffic to your stand. Visit the crowds and take free samples to spectators. Get the announcer involved. Hand out flyers with specials in the parking lot as teams and families arrive. Give out helium balloons to kids on opening day. Be creative!
  • DO have fun! Remember that you’re not just providing something to eat – concession foods are a full sensory experience. When you can, incorporate food production into your selling process. Smelling and hearing popcorn freshly popping or watching someone operate a cotton candy machine helps to attract attention and sales. And keep in mind your original purpose: to raise money for your school!
  • DON’T try to do it all alone. Capitalize on your volunteers’ strengths and experience. For example, people who have worked in sales or hospitality have the skills to work as a cashier or in food prep at your concession stand. Ask what others in similar positions what’s worked for them. And don’t forget that your supplier should also be an asset. Let them help with training, equipment service and product recommendations.

Suggested Concession Equipment for School Fundraising

El Nacho Grande Bag Cheese Dispenser


  • Virtually no clean-up (no cheese touches any machine parts)
  • Peristaltic pump to get the most out of every bag of cheese or chili – little food waste
  • Preheating area for second bag of cheese

Estimated Profit Margins = 75%

Make sure to use:

#5278 El Nacho Grande Cheese

#5282 El Nacho Grande Chili


Nacho Cheese Cup Warmer


  • Simple operation
  • Compact size
  • Integrated Chip Rack available

Estimated Profit Margins = 75%

The supplies you’ll need:

#5277 El Nacho Grande Deluxe Portion Pak Cheese

#5265 El Nacho Grande Portion Pak Nacho Chips


Ultra 60 Special (6 oz. kettle)


  • PowerOff® Control – machine turns off automatically after 15 minutes of idle time for added safety, reduced energy costs, & extended kettle life
  • Tempered glass – safer, stronger, & easier to clean

Estimated Profit Margins = 85%

Be ready to pop with:

#2836 Mega Pop® Corn/Oil/Salt Kits


PopMaxx with PowerOff® (12/14 oz. kettle)


  • PowerOff® Control – machine turns off automatically after 15 minutes of idle time for added safety, reduced energy costs, & extended kettle life
  • Stainless steel cabinet
  • Heated corn deck

Estimated Profit Margins = 85%

Try our all-in-one kits:

#2839 Mega Pop® Corn/Oil/Salt Kits


Twin-Bowl Frusheez®


  • 3.7 gallon capacity per bowl
  • Cup clearance of 12″
  • Standby switch allows slush to be refrigerated overnight

Estimated Profit Margins = 80%

Get all your delicious, easy-to-fix flavors:

Frusheez® Mixes include cherry (#1241), blue raspberry (#1242), grape (#1243) and more!


Small Pizza & Pretzel Warmer & Merchandiser


  • Powered by the Simplex Humidity System
  • 9-hour water tray
  • With #5553-05 Combo Kit - Holds two 15” pizzas & 24 jumbo pretzels
  • Rotating racks

Estimated Profit Margins = 72%


If you start to wonder if your efforts are worth it, remember to take a breath, ask for help, and keep in mind the reason behind your work. Your school concession stand is a large part of the sports experience, and your profits will help fund great things for the students. And once you have a handle on the basics, think about taking your fundraising to the next level!