Fundraising can be a valuable tool to significantly increase your playground budget. While we don't pretend to be fundraising experts, we have seen our clients use many different methods to raise funds for their playground projects. We offer just a few highlights here.
Create a website. Some of the most successful have been well organized and well planned. Some of our clients have created websites where donations can be placed online (or mailed in). A website is an easy way to keep the community informed of the project and fundraising progress. Having 3D renderings of the playground design and photos of the current space will really help the community understand the scope of the project. Listing the donors on the website (in general levels of commitment) can entice others to participate. Nobody wants to see their neighbors name on the list on a website for the entire community to see if they are on the fence about participating. The website can be linked to social media further extending your reach.
Easy options for creating a website and collecting funds online. If you are not able to create a basic website, you might try setting up a free website at www.weebly.com or at www.wix.com. Another great alternative for a website for a fundraising organization is www.plumfund.com. A website is simple and easy to create on these services, even if you have no experience. Setting up a method to collect funds online is a little more complicated. At a minimum you could set up an account at www.GoFundMe.com orhttps://fundly.com or www.payitsquare.com so that your organization may collect donations online. These services will charge a small portion of each donation as a fee for the service.
Inform the community. Create a letter simply explaining your playground project plans and goals (perhaps with a rendering of the proposed playground plan) and giving suggested levels or options of participation or donations. Sending that letter to every household in the community can be a very powerful tool. If you have created a website, be sure to include the web address in the letter. Create a fun letterhead and playground project name that people in the community will recognize as they see it repeatedly during the fundraising process. You can often get a listing of household addresses from your school district or municipality. If you have a large group spearheading the effort, you may want to consider hand writing a personal note on as many of the letters as possible. This very effective fundraising method. The note could say something as simple as:
"Hi Joe, I hope you can support this important project! Thanks, -Betty Smith"
Split the letters up and pull out the individuals and families which your committee members know to have the personal notes written on them before they are sent. Getting this done early as a fantastic way to inform the community about the project as well as create some early returns on the fundraising effort. Don't forget to include a way for people to sign-up to participate in the community build, join the committee, volunteer there time in another way, or provide in-kind services.
Show your progress. You may consider placing a poster or sign showing a fundraising thermometer at the school, town hall or playground location so that everyone can see what progress been made.
Gather a list. Maintaining an email list and mailing list of all that have responded in anyway is imperative. Email is the quickest and least expensive way to inform everyone interested in what fundraising activities with be occurring, specifics of the build schedule, needs for the project, link to a website, how they can donate or volunteer, and simply to send updates about the project and fundraising progress.
Other fundraising ideas. Of course there are many commonly known fundraisers to consider. Here are just a few:
Bake Sales Scratch Off Tickets Lottery Calendar Sales Gift Wrapping Paper Sales Golf Tournaments Dinner and Entertainment Events Organized Walks, Runs and Biking Group Garage Sales Car Wash Coupon Sales for a Local Car Wash Spaghetti Dinners Entertainment Book Sales Silent Auctions Cookie Dough Sales Chinese Auctions Carnivals or Festivals Pancake Breakfasts Discount Coupon Sales for Discounts at Local Businesses and Restaurants Dances Candy Sales Food Booths at Community or School Events