Maximize Your Equipment Budget with These 6 Tips


Gym class sports equipment

Having the right equipment in your PE classroom is essential. When your budget for equipment is limited, it’s difficult to successfully offer the full extent of activities and learning opportunities you want to give your students. While you can advocate for a budget increase, those conversations take time, and your school won’t always be able to fully grant your request.

One of the challenges of being a physical educator is learning how to make the most of the budget you do have at your disposal. Even if your budget has left you wanting, you can still optimize the use of your existing assets and find innovative ways to raise more funds.

Here are six tips for maximizing your equipment budget, so you can set your students up for success and physical fitness:

1. Apply for Grants

Writing grants used to require career expertise, but the process has become more user-friendly over the years. While it doesn’t hurt to have someone on your side with experience in organizing and submitting grant applications, you shouldn’t be intimidated to attempt it yourself as a PE teacher or administrator. SPARK offers resources to help physical educators find relevant grants and submit proposals. With a specified grant, you may be able to add new equipment to your program sooner than you thought.

2. Share Your Facilities

If you have on-site facilities — such as a swimming pool or football field — that could be used by other organizations, consider renting them out on the weekends, or on the nights that your school’s team plays away games. Additional funds from facilities rentals can supplement your budget and help you achieve that higher quality equipment on your PE department’s wish list.

3. Increase Your Athletic Marketing Efforts

Some of your equipment budget likely comes from ticket sales to school games and events. Take advantage of this source of budget by getting more people in the seats at your school’s football, softball, and basketball games. Use social media to promote upcoming games. Reach out to a local radio station to advertise the upcoming events. Make use of flyers, the school website, and in-school announcements to encourage ticket sales. If your school sends out a regular newsletter to parents, ask to have upcoming games and events featured prominently in each newsletter.

4. Focus on Equipment Maintenance

Some pieces of equipment are more essential than others, and that means when something crucial breaks or wears down, replacing it may shoot to the top of the priority list — squeezing out other goals that were next in line. The fewer items you absolutely need to buy, the more you can spend on new items and activities you want to add to your PE classes. Putting a focus on maintenance of your current equipment can help it live longer, putting off the need to spend budget funds replacing it. Encourage students and staff to properly store all equipment at night to keep it protected from the elements and theft. Even minor efforts for proper maintenance will make a difference.

5. Find a Trusted Vendor — and Build a Relationship

You already know that when it comes to price and quality, not all equipment vendors are the same. Having a good relationship with a high quality vendor can help you get the most bang for your buck and make an impact on your annual spending. Shopping around until you find the right place to buy PE equipment can take time. Start your search for new vendors well in advance, so you can compare product prices and shipping costs. Consider working with a partner who specializes in school equipment — you may be able to get your hands on equipment at a discount.

6. Buy in Bulk

Vendors who specialize in PE equipment make it easy for you to buy in bulk. As with paper products and other school supplies, buying more at once is often cheaper than buying each piece of equipment one at a time. Buying in bulk can also save you on shipping costs. You can get everything from playground balls to hockey sticks in multiples to save some cash.

Through creative fundraising and savvy buying, you can explore every avenue to make the most of your funds, and create the best experience for your students with the budget given to you.

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