Our Best Tips to Increase Fundraising

by SPARK


Happly Teacher Standing in Corridor

As a physical education teacher or administrator, you know that the resources you need to implement new lesson plans and update your curriculum may come with a big price tag.

If you have more students than you planned for or want to incorporate additional equipment and activities that require funding, it’s not too late to raise money for the school year. In fact, now that school is in full swing, you may have more success with your fundraising efforts.

Between innovative solicitations for private donations and grant applications, there are many ways to put some more cash in your coffers. Here are some tips for increasing your fundraising in the new school year.

Making the Most of Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing through websites like GoFundMe, Fund My PE, ACTIVE Schools Fundraising, and Adopt a Classroom is becoming an increasingly popular – and effective – way to raise money for your school. As a physical educator, these websites present an opportunity for you to reach a wide audience of people who are interested in physical fitness. Donations using these types of platforms are becoming more popular, and individual donors appreciate the sense of personal connection they feel to the cause.

Recommendations for creating a successful crowdsourcing page that will inspire donations include:

  • Fill out the page completely. If your page doesn’t have a lot of information on it, potential donors may not be sure if it’s legitimate.
  • Add photos of your gym and/or students (if you can). Putting a personal spin on the page may solicit more donations.
  • Be specific about how you will use the funds. Being transparent about your budget will give people more confidence to donate. You may even offer to follow up with photos of what you buy with the funds.
  • Share the crowdsourcing link on social media, and encourage parents of your students to do the same.

Holding Successful Fundraising Events

Traditional fundraising events are another great way to garner some funds for your PE program. These events offer more face time, so donors can see the teachers and administrators who will benefit – or even the kids themselves.

Once you set a goal for your fundraising and get enough staff and parents committed to helping, you’re ready to brainstorm your efforts. Here are some ideas for creative fundraisers that will draw attention and earn money for your PE classroom:

  • Arrange a parents vs. teachers basketball game or soccer match, and sell tickets.
  • Get a local greenhouse to donate some plants and hold a garden sale.
  • Organize a 5K and ask people to pledge money for every mile students and teachers walk.
  • Partner with a local restaurant that is willing to donate a certain percentage of sales on a particular night to your classroom.

When planning fundraisers, try to keep in mind your goal — to improve the health of your students.  Because of this, you may want to consider not gearing your fundraisers around junk food, like candy bar and cookie dough drives. There are many other options to raise funds for your program that won’t give a conflicting message to your students.

Applying for Education Grants

Government and private grants offer another way to boost your budget for specific equipment or program goals. For PE teachers, the Physical Education Program (PEP) grant is a good option. To improve your chances of success with your application:

  • Start researching the program requirements as soon as possible and put together a needs assessment for your school (one example is the CDC’s School Health Index).
  • Craft a detailed budget and name your grant project.
  • Gather data about your school that establishes the need for funds.
  • Incorporate state standards in your proposal, and show how the grant funds will help you reach them.

The grant writing process can be nuanced, so consider taking a grant writing class or consulting with someone who has experience with PEP grants.

The Bottom Line: It’s All About the Kids

With school already in session, it’s easier to keep student programs top of mind for parents and the surrounding community. Parents want to ensure their kids have access to top notch education, so remind them of how important PE is to a child’s long term wellbeing. Emphasize what you plan to do with the funds raised, and how it will benefit your students. You may be surprised to find how many people are willing to chip in to help.

With the above tips and some perseverance, you can add a chunk of change your school’s PE piggy bank. Don’t despair if your efforts don’t raise quite as much as you hoped — get creative to make the most of the funds you do have. A little extra budget can go a long way, enabling you to add brand new equipment or activities to support your students’ health and wellness this school year.

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