09 Oct 3 Ways Local Communities Helped Districts Raised Money for School Technology
Resourceful fundraising can help districts increase community support to buy up-to-date technology for schools.
Fundraising is the default solution for school districts that need to find money outside of the budget. The downside is that fundraisers are happening somewhere at every given moment, so districts have to find clever ways to make their fundraising programs more attractive in an oversaturated environment. Here are three ways districts partnered with the community to pay for expensive improvements, ranging from Chromebook computers to faculty tech training.
1.Tech Search Party
Back in 2011, tech publicist Tim Smith, a father of two, wanted to help raise money to buy technology for local schools. Smith channeled his love for the tech industry to design a community-wide themed scavenger hunt in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. Unsurprisingly, Smith’s 2015 event earned $15,000, which was divided between three schools. While administrators have the tendency to think small and keep fundraisers contained, Smith aimed for the big bucks and used his know-how as a publicist to enlist the support of local businesses and corporate sponsors, including Google.
Tech Search Party has gained the title of “the world’s geekiest scavenger hunt,” but one of its main draws is the public obsession with technology. Once teams locate clues at neighborhood businesses, they use smartphones to snap pictures and email their answers to the event hosts. Depending on their size, teams pay $50 to $75 to enter, and this contemporary event attracts participants from well beyond the Noe Valley neighborhood.
- Bank Sponsorships
When Ashland Middle School in Ashland, MA, needed to raise $58,000 for Chromebook computers, the administrators contacted the Ashland Education Foundation for support. The foundation specializes in capital campaigns, which rely on intensive fundraising to gain money for clearly defined projects. Within six months, the foundation raised over $28,000 by tapping into one of the most valuable funding resources: banks.
Financial institutions often reserve funds for philanthropy projects in their corporate budgets, and donations helps them solidify their client base in local communities. Three major donations contributed $21,000 to the Ashland initiative: $10,000 from Middlesex Savings Bank, $7,500 from Liberty Mutual and $3,500 from Needham Bank. Ashland Middle School was able to purchase the first 120 Chromebooks from the first round of donations, and if the foundation continues at this pace, the school will likely meet the remaining $30,000 goal by spring 2016.
- Walk-a-Thon Fundraiser
West Elementary School in Sycamore, IL, needed funds for field trips and technology, so individuals classes competed to see how much money they could raise. Teachers and students tried everything from sending postcards to crowdfunding online, but the final event was a walk-a-thon that took place during a project demo.
The fundraiser helped the district’s Full STEAM Ahead program, which emphasizes a well-rounded education in science, technology, engineering, art and math. Students divided their time between walking for pledge donations and presenting live demos. The Discovery Center Museum provided materials for onsite science labs and students took part in activities such as painting and using foam marble to build roller coaster tracks.
Fundraising isn’t easy, but you schools are more effective at attracting donors when they give the community a way to feel involved and invested. A creative approach can make a fundraiser stand out and inspire influential companies to act as sponsors.
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