There are several different ways to raise money for a playground. We recommend using different funding options to secure enough funding in a relatively short amount of time. Every community is unique and each of us has many different connections. It is hard to know which options will work best until you attempt a couple of them.
Here is a list of several different ideas, in no specific order, to point you in the right direction! Please don’t hesitate to contact the KIDS Development Office at 815.229.8731 if you have questions or need help getting started.
Individual Donors Did you know the average charity receives between 75-80% of their donations from individuals? Pretty high percentage to think about, but it is true. It is very important that your family, friends and co-workers all know the purpose of your fundraiser. Even though there is a time factor involved, conveying this message is most effective in person.
Be straightforward with your presentation whether it is a conversation, letter or an e-mail. We have various brochures that summarize what KIDS is about. In addition you will want to explain the following items:
- What is your intention?
- Where you would like to build a playground.
- Why this part of the world is close to your heart.
- Give a short story if you have been there.
- What it will take financially and logistically to get a playground there.
- Finally, the “ask to get involved.”
The entire letter should not be more than two pages long. Pictures are great to add and they help tell a story. Also, remind them Kids Around the World is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations that you receive will be tax deductible.
Remember individual donors are also important in the areas of materials, talent and services for your mission project.
Special Events There are many different options for your classic community fundraisers. What you choose may depend on your preference and schedule. We recommend the most popular ones which include the following:
- Lunch / Dinner – Set up a day where you can get as many people as possible together in order to share with them your mission. Have it at a church, house, park or wherever you feel comfortable. This is a great way to interact with people and to provide investment opportunities to a large number of people. If you hold your event at a restaurant, try to get the meals or at least a portion of the meals donated. This will decrease your expenses and more of the donations received that night will go to your project.
- Auction – This could be combined with a lunch/dinner or it could be stand alone. People typically love going to live or silent auctions if their gifts are being used for a greater cause. Talk to local businesses, friends with vacation homes and people who offer various services in your community for some ideas. At our annual silent auction we have found that trips, sports memorabilia and unique artwork tend to raise the most funds.
- Other fundraisers include car washes, craft sales and sports tournaments.
Remember every fundraiser is unique. Some fundraisers can be very labor intensive and be a poor return on your investment if they are not planned carefully. Think about who you are trying to reach. A dinner or silent auction definitely has the most potential for raising funds, but also requires the most work.
Business Support Local, regional and national businesses that operate in your area may be willing to donate money, materials and/or services to the project. Typically, businesses have many resources available. They are sending a strong positive message to the community by supporting causes such as a playground for children. It is best to first determine which companies in your area are active in their giving. Maybe even link a group that could have potential ties in the country you are looking to build a playground in. Once you have the potential partners, find out who is in charge of these decisions and how the process works. It is important to tailor your approach to each of these businesses and to establish a personal connection as soon as possible.
Larger corporations may also require a grant application for funding (covered in the next section). Businesses of all sizes often request a certain level of recognition in return for their support. This could be great advertising for them as they could become one of the sponsors for the build.
Foundation Grants Research is definitely the key to finding the right foundations. You can find information on local or global grants at your library, Mayor’s Office or via the internet. It is very important to focus your efforts on organizations/foundations that are a good fit with Kids Around the World and where the playground will be located. Some things to look for could include: child welfare, public health, community development, recreation, global, ____________ (insert country or city name). Many groups also target projects of a certain size or budget so be sure to assemble all of your information before applying. Remember many foundations only look at requests 2-3 times a year. Be patient when applying for a grant.
Kids Around the World as an organization is applying for grants on a regular basis. Please consult with us before submitting any proposals. We are also willing and able to assist in making sure proper guidelines are followed.
Local Community Organizations and Churches Contact your local organizations such as Kiwanis, Rotary or Lions Club. Let them know why you are raising money. Most of these groups are heavily involved around community services and have all been involved with us at one point or another. They might even have a contact in the area you are raising funds for. Approach your local church. They might also have contacts in your fundraising area that might have additional funding.
Souvenirs This can include the selling of any type of knick-knack items such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, calendars, cookbooks, craft items, etc. Be creative!
Personal Testimony Here is a little advice from one of our key fundraising volunteers to keep you from feeling overwhelmed. She helped us to raise $70,000 on one occasion and then $65,000 on another. Both of these projects were done in New Orleans after the devastating Hurricane Katrina.
- Be open to everything and try anything! We (her family) have had bake sales, silent auctions and lemonade stands. We even received donated sweatshirts, then sold them as a fundraiser.
- Remember it is like a savings account you are constantly depositing money into. It will not happen overnight. You just have to be persistent.
- Make sure to heavily research the area you are to raise money on behalf of. This is good to know when approaching people to help the cause. It also helps in finding potential grants or government money.
- Sometimes the shortest and most basic ask can go a long way. I sent a two sentence email to a Louisiana State Senator and he replied back with a gift of over $12,000! You just never know who will bless your efforts.
- Look for partnerships. This could be a church or business. This is also a great resource for getting volunteers to help with the build.
- It is really a process of becoming friends with a lot of people. Those who help support, those you are raising the funds for and a lot of people along the way.
Bottom line is having fun! You are not going to raise all the funds overnight. All of us at Kids Around the World are behind you and willing to help out as much as we can. Please do not hesitate to call anytime at 815.229.8731 and ask for the Development Office.