Any group that takes on a fundraising project has a big job ahead of them. The good thing about Utah and Idaho park and playground fundraising is our sense of community. We live in an area where people have a very high care factor for their fellows.
LuckyDog 13 Guide for Utah and Idaho Park and Playground Fundraising
1. Follow the fundraising tips Lisa gives in the above New Harmony Park video.
Seriously put some thought and effort into this, the pay off can be huge! It takes someone who is really willing to get in and learn every thing there is about the application process and how to appeal to the crowd. Remember to include professional pictures.
One more thing, since there are so many crowd funding resources, take the time to research which one will work best for you. Choose one that has little competition in your niche or fund different parts of your project at different sites. Always include the crowd funding link in everything you do.
Get your community involved…more on how to do exactly that in this article.
2. Purpose – Have a Clearly State Purpose for Your Fundraising Project.
To provide playground equipment for “Name of Park” which sits in a growing family neighborhood with 300 children and very little open space. The closest park or playground is over is 30 miles away. The city has set aside an area for “Name of Park” but has not been able to fund the park equipment.
To create a safe place to play by updating the old park with playground equipment that meets all safety standards and ADA requirements. The current equipment is over 35 years old and does not pass safety codes and does not provide any play areas for the disabled.
To provide play equipment with easy access for people with special needs and the disabled. The current park does not provide stimulating activities that are conducive to self play and sensory stimulation for the severely disabled. (The New Harmony Instruments definitely fits this criteria.)
3. Park and Playground Fundraising Tools You Will Need
Use these tools to be sure you have all of your ducks in a row before your go before the public. In other words shoot through the starting gate ready to win the race.
a. A team of willing workers.
Find the most willing group of people for your team. These will be people who really have the purpose to get the project done.
Everyone has a different talent they can contribute. Some will stick through the whole program, some will drop off. The more you utilize their talents the longer more they will give. Push the purpose and give them lots of recognition for a job well done. Be sure to handout plenty of “thank yous”.
b. Create a Facebook Group
I could write a whole dissertation on this but it has already been covered here.
c. Create a Professional Website
Your website will serve several purposes:
- Use it as the hub for everything you do.
- It is where you can send people to make online donations. Until Facebook has their donation app ready you will need a website with all you basic information and an easy way to make a donation.
- Big Sponsors will see that you are serious. Also you can give sponsors kudos and link back to their website.
- You can easily post to Facebook from your website.
- This is where you can provide links for web banners that can be used on individual websites and business websites.
d. Create an Instagram Account
Don’t under estimate the power of Instagram, especially when you use a group hashtags and add a location to all of you pictures. Plus Instagram is owned by Facebook so you can post directly to your Facebook account. People love to see what is happening. Pictures make your project more real.
e. Put Together a Strong Media Package
You will find more on this below.
4. The Team
This team organization puts a leader over every major area. You can scale this according to the size of your project.
Break up team jobs into different sectors and write a description of each job. Each person will be more able if the know exactly what they will be doing.
- The Team Leader, should be someone that knows how to oversee every aspect of your project and inspire people to do their jobs. This person should not have to get into the trenches, but needs to be a strong leader. This could be the school principal, a local church leader or a county commissioner.
- Crowd Funding In-charge will look for the best resources and handle the application.
- Major Sponsors In-charge will find and ask for donations.
- Local Media In-charge for radio, news papers and TV.
- Social Media In-charge for website, Instagram and your Facebook Group.
- Print Media In-charge for posters, flyers, donation cards and envelopes and media packages.
- Fundraising Events In-charge, to over see planning and co-ordination of events.
As you can see the leaders will be interdependent on each other to get all projects completed.
5. The Goal
Start by having an exact financial goal in mind. We can help you put this together, whether you are planning an entire park or ordering companion pieces like benches or some fun new Harmony Park Outdoor Instruments.
Break this goal up in to 3 parts.
1. Decide on a base amount you need to get the ball rolling. Spark donation interest by garnering financial aid from major sponsors. One fourth of what your need is a nice foundation to work from.
2. At the half way mark you can assess how it is going. Look at what worked, rinse and repeat. Then look at what still could be done to get you to the final goal. Now that you have some experience under your belt new ideas will pop up.
3. The home stretch, we have found, usually takes a big push over the last hurdle. The final goal is so close and yet seems so far away. Give tons of thanks to those who have contributed. Tap in to your media sources again. Also go back to your major sponsors again. You will be surprised at how many will donate again when you show what you have accomplished.
6. Getting Sponsors – Think out side of the box.
In small communities the large grocery chains or big restaurants are an obvious choice for big sponsorship. Go for some of the unusual prospects.
Local Political Candidates – These guys could use your good cause to be a campaign issue that everyone can rally around. Pick a candidate that is willing to mention your project every chance they can.
Real Estate Companies or Individual Realtors – Imagine them promoting you in every ad or on their social media. Impress them with your media package.
Hair Salons – These ladies will love to show off their sponsorship and ask their clients to donate. (This is where your media pack comes in handy…include donation cards and envelopes.)
Construction Companies – Small construction companies are rarely asked to be a sponsor. A sponsorship is a great way they can get their name out to potential customers.
Print Shop – Have them be a sponsor in exchange for printed materials. Give them lots of kudos in all of your advertising, this is one business you want on as part of your group.
Car Wash – Think about it. The guy that owns the car wash probably has never been asked to he a sponsor. He can place banners on his building and sponsor car wash fundraisers.
Landscaping companies, mowing companies, local dairies, the tractor supply, gravel pits, horse trainers, builders, painters, greenhouses…I am sure once you start making your list you can come up with a whole lot more.
Large Communities – Think outside the box too!
You will be amazed at how well this works. Once you have the “unusual” sponsors you will be surprised at how many of the more usual sponsors will jump on board.
7. Go For The Big Guns
Most major corporations have funds set aside for donations. You are most likely to win these if you have a non-profit status because they use donations as a tax write off.
Start with an announcement. Mail them a card that simply states what you are doing and why. Give them a link to your website and Facebook Group.
Next, mail a list of Sponsorship Levels and simply ask if they would consider being a sponsor.
Now meet with the person who can make the decision one on one. Even if they have donated in the previous step, do this! Deliver your full media package so they can participate. I know it may be tough, but this is a good time to ask them to consider increasing their donation.
It never hurts to ask some you know who is in good communication with any major company to help you get in and see the right person.
8. Your Strong Media Package
Again a good media package goes a long way to getting support whether it is with an individual, a small group or a large corporation.
- Have a clear statement of your purpose.
- Include who is involved and why.
- Also include photographs so they will have more reality on what you are doing.
- Clearly state your goal and the date you have set to meet that goal.
- Let them know exactly what their donation will fund, will it pay for media and promoting or go directly
toward play equipment.
- List all sponsorship levels and how they will be recognized.
- Don’t be afraid to include a list of those who have already come on board as sponsors, especially local businesses, individuals and small groups.
- Include donation cards and envelopes.
- Give ideas on how they can get their staff to make individual contributions: a donation board, competitions, pitting one department against another, guessing contests.
- Be sure your logo, website, Instagram Info and Facebook Group info are on everything.
- Show how they can include you in their ads and social media. Provide banners on your website for their ads and social media.
8. Say Thank You – Again and Again
- Give lots and lots of acknowledgement at events, on your website, Facebook and in Instagram.
- Provide each and very donator with a window cling for their car or business. Choose a cling size according to the size of donations. Let major sponsor show off big.
- Create a thank you video from the group and those who will benefit from your project.
- Provide buttons, they can wear to events and about town. Justbuttons.org
- Mail special invitations to major sponsors for all events. No they may not show up but this keeps them in the loop.
- Keep them updated with letters, with photos and videos. You will find that most major sponsors donate again when you are in the home stretch stage of your goal.
Order Thank You Gifts Locally
Order your thank you gifts locally when ever possible. And no matter where you order your thank you gifts ask for a discount because you are fundraising.
10. Use Your Community
Local Businesses – Ask local business to list your fundraiser on their website and in all of their social media. Have them mention your fundraiser in their ads. Make it easy for them by providing them with a packet of all the information they need, include all of your goals and your a list of your major sponsors. Provide them with a link to banners they can use online.
Ask them to join your Facebook Group and Instagram. Then keep them updated on your upcoming events and your progress.
Scout Leaders – Contact you local scout leaders and tell them how they can help. Fundraising or participation in building part of your park would be perfect for and Eagle Scout project.
Civic Groups – In the video Lisa mentions contacting your local civic groups like the Kiwanis Club or Rotary. The Eagles Clubs are also big on helping.
Clubs – In our area the local riding club is so willing to help. They have put on shows, carried banners in the parade and gave horse rides during fair days. Put your thinking cap on and find your local clubs, these groups are already organized and willing to contribute.
Parade – Use the local parade and celebration to promote your cause. Build a float or get the local riding club to carry your banner. Remember to advertise your Instagram, Facebook Group and website.
Radio – You might be surprised to find that your local station would be glad to interview someone in your group about your project.
TV – Local TV stations are always looking for interesting good news stories…be their good news. Every station has a contact person for this exact purpose, get them to be on board with your cause. You can find them online at their website.
Newspaper – Write press releases for every event and send them to the local paper, always include good pictures. Every newspaper has a contact person you can stay in touch with. Again you can find them online. I can’t tell you how well this has worked for events.
11. Handling a “No”
If someone says no to donating money ask them to donate items or a service: Hair cuts, manicures, free car washes, printed materials, free oil changes, gift baskets, plants, flowers, to name just a few. These can be used as thank you gifts or for an auction.
Sometimes it is best just to take the no graciously.
12. Community Donation Day
Get everyone involved by having a day where every business in town donates proceeds from a particular services or item. For example all the funds from certain pies or cookies, all of the funds from tire repairs. This is a good event to hold once you are on the home stretch and have had lots of community involvement.
13. Photos and Video
No matter what you do, take lots of photos and video for Facebook, Instagram, media packs and for keeping your sponsors up to date.
Happy park and playground fundraising! We look forward to working with you.
Nicole Stoddard – LuckyDog, Utah and Idaho Park and Playground Equipment
P.S. Scratch cards are easy and successful fundraisers that support local businesses. This easy fundraiser is perfect for getting little kids involved in helping build their new playground.