Community outreach initiatives are always noble, but there’s something extra special about rallying to support a school. Donors and volunteers realize this, and that’s why it’s easier to get people excited about school funding campaigns. All you need is a creative idea to encourage support. Here are eight out-of-the-box ways to fundraise for school, plus tips to make it happen.
Sell Unique Products
Kids’ crafts have come a long way from soap carvings. With all the tools at their disposal (not to mention technology older generations could only imagine), kids today can craft some pretty cool things. To get started, run a few of these ideas by your child. Do any of them make her light up?
- Plant starts. Many grownups in your community love houseplants but don’t enjoy the chore of starting the seeds. Have your youngsters nurture sprouts and harden them off to sell to adults who don’t have the time, patience, or coveted green thumb.
- Bird feeders. Help kids collect toilet paper rolls and cover them in peanut butter and birdseed to make bird feeders. Use twine to string them up in donors’ backyards.
- Practical bookmarks. Kids can craft simple, useful bookmarks by tying colorful, four-inch ribbon to paper clips. Customize the bookmark with patterned ribbon that reflects your recipient’s interests.
- Inspirational coasters. Gather mismatched, leftover tiles from a building salvage store. Clip inspiring quotes from magazines, and paste them to your tiles to create interesting decoupage coasters.
- Slide shows and short movies. Many older folks don’t have the skills to navigate today’s technology, but that shouldn’t keep them from reaping its benefits. This is where kids come in. Take your kids to visit rest homes, and offer to make a quick slide show or short motion picture for residents to share with family and friends through social media or email. Adding music can transform static images into nostalgic memories for the recipients. A small donation can go a long way to help the community, and donors will feel like they got much more than their money’s worth.
Sell Unique Services
Serve, inspire, and entertain your neighbors, and they’ll happily contribute to your community fundraising. Here are a few ideas for services your kids can offer.
- Grocery delivery. A few smart grocery stores have started delivery service, but many people are still loyal to stores that don’t offer this yet. Reach out to older adults and new moms who have trouble getting out of the house, and offer to shuttle your kids to stores and homes to provide this service, in exchange for a small donation.
- Communal recycling with TerraCycle. One of the best ways to fundraise for school is to join a bigger initiative that already has momentum, like the Tom’s of Maine partnership with a packaging-recycling program called TerraCycle. Schools can earn points by becoming a collection location for recycling waste. They can then redeem those points for a cash donation. While not every family has money to donate, every family does produce recycling waste. Programs like this are the perfect way to empower families to get involved, no matter their disposable income.
- Show some talent. Encourage kids to turn their quirks and interests into show-stopping talents. Think monologues, knock-knock jokes, dance routines, and even balloon animals. Any hobby can be turned into a performance piece if practiced! Once your kids and their friends have sharpened their skills, put together a talent show for locals. Community centers often rent or donate stage space for benefit events, and tickets sell like hotcakes. Ask volunteers to make popcorn and pour water as an extra perk to donors, and be sure one of the talents in your show is an elaborate “thank you” message.
Henry A. Rosso, the founder and director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, famously said, “Fundraising is the gentle art of teaching the joy of giving.” When you fundraise for schools, you collect from the community in order to give back to it. That makes a difference today and for years to come.
What creative ways are you fundraising for your school and community? Let us know @TomsofMaine!
Image source: Bethany Johnson
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.