The school is out of money, the protagonist is out of a job
, or a good cause requires money. What do you do? A fundraiser of course!
In a typical set-up, a protagonists' school class has to sell something for fund raising, and there is a reward for the person who sells the most. After initial failure, the protagonist will employ a Zany Scheme
to sell obscene amounts of it and end up with a mountain of money. The Lonely Rich Kid
will just spend their own. More often than not, the reward ends up being lame.
- Happy Days: Fonzie gets a job as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman in "Fonzie the Salesman"; he doesn't last long because nobody wants to buy his encyclopedias and one woman flirts with him so he gives them to her for free.
- The Addams Family has an episode in which the rest of the family thinks Gomez is broke so they try to raise money. Morticia teaches fencing, Pugsley and Wednesday sell lemonade, Grandmama and Thing (a hand) try to sell badges but no-one buys any, and Uncle Fester tries to sell something door-to-door. The latter goes into a funk when he fails to sell anything.
- Friends: Ross accidentally injures a Girl Scout while she was selling cookies door-to-door, so he takes over selling cookies for her and gets into a competition with the girl who sold more than him; he ends up buying the cookies himself.
- The Andy Griffith Show: Opie and all the boys in town are trying to sell salve to win a pony.
- The Brady Bunch: Bobby gets several cases of hair tonic to sell; Greg buys one bottle out of pity and it turns his hair orange.
- Another time, Marcia joined the Greg's Frontier Scout troop to prove that a girl could do anything a boy could do; Greg then forced Peter to join Marcia's Sunflower Girls (Greg was too old) and sell cookies to prove the other way around. Naturally she succeeds and he fails. As Pete goes from door to door he's required to say the Sunflower Oath:
I am a little sunflower / Sunny, brave, and true. / From tiny bud to blossom, / I do good deeds for you.
- Coconut Nut Clusters from Reno 911!. Jones and Kimball end up pretty badly mangled. Everybody else has a pizza party without them.
- One sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus centered around an encyclopedia salesman who managed to get himself invited into people's homes by claiming to be a burglar.
- Spoofed in The Boondocks episode "The Fundraiser", in which Riley exploits his school's chocolate fundraiser by turning it into a for-profit business in the style of illegal drug trafficking. This scheme actually proves to be very successful, and things go very well for Riley and his business partners — well, at least until they start getting harassed and threatened by British thugs who were hired by the corporation which produced the chocolate bars in the first place.
- Invader Zim: Zim uses special visors to show people the horrible world which will be if they don't buy his candy. He ends up selling 1.2 million bars but the secret top prize turns out to be nonexistent: it was just made up to make kids work harder. His consolation prize is a can of tuna.
- The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius: Jimmy builds a robot to sell candy, which succeeds until the robot begins selling all of Jimmy's inventions. He ends up tying with Cindy and they have a horrible time sharing the reward. (a trip to Retroland)
- SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob and Patrick decide to become door-to-door chocolate salespeople. Hilarity Ensues. This is surprisingly the most often quoted episode, and regarded by some to be the best, or at least most memorable, episode in the series.
- Hey Arnold!: Arnold and Gerald collect the rent in the boarding house, as a way for Gerald (and us) to meet the inhabitants.
- In the episode "The Trial of Henry Blake", from Mash, one of the charges brought against Henry is that he let Radar try to sell shoes to everyone. When Henry returns from his trial, he's welcomed by the camp — with everyone wearing the wing-tipped shoes Radar was selling.
- Beavis And Butthead had several of these, especially the Trope Namer minus the "Episode" part in the title in which the protagonists go around houses for charity. Hilarity Ensues, even more than Spongebob Squarepants.
- In an episode of Doug, Doug and the rest of his scout troop have to sell chocolate bars door-to-door. No one buys them, until they realize it was because cement got mixed up with the ingredients where the bars were made. The episode is actually called "Doug Door-to-Door".
- An early Daria episode involves characters going door to door selling various things (candy bars, phone services, etc.). Unlike most examples, however, it only serves as 1/3 of the episode's plot.
- These kinds of fundraisers, as well as regular door-to-door sales, are not unusual. However, these have become discouraged in recent years.