Looking at the financial hurdle you must overcome to create a community or school playground can be daunting, but fundraising doesn’t have to be a chore – it can be fun! Playground fundraisers not only raise money to turn playground dreams into reality, they bring people together for a shared purpose of improving the lives of children in their community.
Fundraising is a part of nearly all playground projects and we will show you the most profitable ways to meet your goals.
How to Begin Raising Money for Playgrounds
Before raising a single dollar, it’s important to start with a detailed playground project plan. There is no one size fits all template for raising money and the more diverse you are in your approach, the better success you will have. Having a solid plan, and following it, will help you stay on the most direct path to reaching your fundraising goal. Start by considering:
- How much money do we need to raise?
- Which fundraisers stand the best chance of engaging our community and raising the most money?
- How many fundraisers should be conducted?
- How much does each fundraiser need to raise to achieve our goal?
- Which local businesses should we approach for donations?
- Which businesses have given to like causes in the past?
You will also need to form a playground fundraising committee. There could be one main committee and other sub-committees for each fundraiser but there needs to be a core group of volunteers with a variety of different backgrounds. Committee members don’t have to be expert fundraisers, just people with a passion for play and willingness to help. Try to build a team with a variety of skill sets so tasks can be delegated based on everyone’s strength. For example, if someone is a strong writer perhaps they oversee drafting the communication surrounding the playground fundraising project and various fundraisers.
Playground Fundraising: Budgets and Timelines
One of the first tasks of your fundraising committee will be to outline a playground budget. A detailed budget will make the fundraising task more manageable and keep everything on track as expenses pop up. A timeline will also keep things moving and everyone working towards your playground fundraising goal. Start with your build date and work backwards being sure to include different milestones that need to be accomplished by a certain date. Put everything on the timeline from grant deadlines to fundraising events to holidays and school breaks. Anything that needs your attention or could impact support should be included on the timeline.
Playground Fundraising Ideas
There are many ways to raise money for playgrounds and the most successful fundraising programs don’t rely on any one approach. Instead, they will use a combination of individual donors, special events, local business support, project mementos and in-kind donations to reach their fundraising goals. Below are some playground fundraising ideas to get you thinking about all the ways to fund your playground project.
There are many playground projects that have reached their fundraising goal $10, $15 and $20 at a time. Many times, people are more likely to donate money if you give them something in return such as their name on a sign, plaque or brick at the new playground. You could also ask for money to purchase a specific playground item such as a swing, park bench or an activity panel. Experiment by going door-to-door, calling individuals or initiating a letter-writing campaign.
Special Events and Campaigns
Some of the more traditional, and popular, fundraising efforts include: bake sale, chili cook-off, bingo night, used book sale, walk-a-thon, car wash, sports tournament, and silent or live auction. No matter which fundraiser(s) you choose, make sure your prices are high enough to guarantee a profit. Some events (galas, auctions, etc.) can be a lot of work and you want to make sure it is worth your efforts.
Some partners we work with to enhance your playground fundraising efforts include:
- FundMonkey can turn any 5k, read-a-thon or battle of the bands event into a successful fundraiser through technology and marketing materials. FundMonkey is a web-based, campaign management software designed to accept online donations, communicate with participants, improve participation and increase overall donations. Request a free sample kit.
- Scratchcards focus on personalization to attract support. The scratchcard will include a photo and/or name of your playground project on the cover and supporters scratch one or more dots and donate the amount uncovered. In return, you give them a coupon sheet for deals on restaurants, movies and more! Each card can earn up to $100.
Local Business Support
Many local or regional businesses are willing to contribute to the efforts that improve the communities in which they belong. This could be in the form of donating profits for a single night, a large monetary gift or smaller in-kind donations that can be used for an auction or raffle. You’ll have the most success if you offer some type of recognition or publicity in connection with their support. Playground projects can be great advertising opportunities for companies and you should position it as such.
Some fundraising programs have found success selling t-shirts or calendars to commemorate the playground project. You could also look to sell other locally-made products like cookbooks, art, candles, etc.
The Power of a Thank You
A thank you is not simply a nice touch, it should be considered an essential part of your playground fundraising efforts. Make sure it’s communicated clearly who will be in charge of coordinating the thank yous and what the thank yous will look like. Some playground fundraising projects have chosen to do custom note cards, handmade cards by children or a personal phone call.
Learn more about how to raise money for your upcoming playground project by contacting your local Landscape Structures playground consultant.