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Candra McKenzie

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Fundraising For Education

If you’re a teacher or parent wondering how to make the local school environment better for the children in your community, read on. Fundraising for education can be accomplished through several different avenues. Many campaigns have succeeded on platforms like GoFundMe, Indiegogo, and DonorsChoose, all great options for a classroom that needs a boost. 

Fundraising doesn’t have to be a chore, and fundraising campaigns don’t have to be boring. They can be creative, fun, and exciting for everyone involved. Unique fundraising ideas can also incentivize more people to help out and donate. 

This article will go over some enjoyable and effective fundraising ideas that will inspire students, school staff, and community members to contribute so your campaign can get the support it needs to succeed. You will also find some good ideas for the current COVID situation—fundraising for education in a pandemic is possible!

So buckle up, and dive into the following guide that will show you intriguing and outside-the-box fundraising ideas for all levels of education.

Education Fundraising Ideas

If you’re a teacher that has Googled “how to get donations for my classroom,” you’re not alone. Teachers who are looking for innovative ways to present information to their students want to work in a classroom that enables that to happen. 

However, most public schools don’t get enough funding to make all of their classrooms highly technologically advanced. This leaves many teachers and students on their own as they try to create education fundraising ideas to upgrade technology and school materials.

Calling all teachers that use their off-hours searching online for “elementary school fundraising ideas that work” and similar queries: you’ve come to the right place. Allow us to introduce you to some unique school fundraisers that can help contribute to (or replace) the funds you get from education crowdfunding sites:

  • Pajama day: Each student can wear PJs to school all day if they contribute a minimal amount of money to the campaign (around $1 or $2).
  • Movie screening at school: Kids gather to watch a movie during school hours. They pay a small amount for a ticket and inexpensive concessions such as popcorn and hot cocoa.
  • Boardgame tournament: Host a tournament with popular board games that the kids can choose from. Each entry will get charged as a donation, and the students can compete to become the school champion (and for a small portion of the pooled donations). You can invite parents to join and contribute as well.
  • T-shirt sale: Have students design their own t-shirts on a website like Uberprints and allow them to purchase them for a certain price (more than what it costs to make them). Bringing out creativity is an excellent way of engaging students and encouraging parents to contribute to your cause.
  • Face mask fundraiser: Many schools now require all teachers and students to wear masks at all times, which means that a face mask fundraiser could be fitting. You can host a workshop and allow students to use non-toxic tie-dye, stickers, and fabrics to create fun, colorful masks that make the situation a little bit more cheerful. Parents can contribute to cover the cost of materials and increase the donation pool.

Online Fundraising Ideas For Schools

Since some community members may be hesitant to participate in face-to-face campaigns due to the pandemic, it’s important to highlight some online fundraising ideas for schools as well. 

One way to create an online fundraiser is by starting a peer-to-peer and community campaign where members of your community can go to the online school fundraising website of your choice and make a donation. Additionally, you can encourage students, parents, and staff to promote the campaign to their own networks—at their school clubs, at work, on social media, etc. This will help the online campaign get more attention.

If you want to go outside the box, try hosting a trivia night for kids and parents. It can be done entirely online, and it costs almost nothing to host. You just need to pick a streaming platform to use and prepare interesting and fun questions. You can encourage participation with a prize incentive. 

Six in Schools is another unique and fun class fundraising project that revolves around education and nurturing creativity. This framework helps teachers inspire their students to write and supplies a creative way to publish their writing. It just so happens that this is also a great fundraising opportunity, as participating teachers can receive ten percent of the purchase price of each book that is bought. Even online, this fun addition to the curriculum can be added to the lesson plan in several different ways to help students learn more writing strategies and grow more confident in themselves and their skills.

As a faculty member, you can also look up some popular teacher donation sites (such as GoFundMe Education) and set up your own funding page where you request donations from all across the country. 

Most of these websites give you the opportunity to ask for and receive things like materials, classroom supplies, books, and more, which can make it that much easier for you to provide children with a quality education. These platforms are also great for networking with other teachers across the globe and enable you to share advice and stories with people of different experience levels.

Go Fund Me Education Examples

GoFundMe is an excellent platform for starting fundraisers that allows people from all over the world to donate to a cause they want to support or that they believe in. Thankfully there are many different GoFundMe categories, and education is one of them, with over 100,000+ fundraisers getting started every year. 

On the website, you can find a lot of fundraisers dedicated to educational causes—from financing someone’s university degree to gathering money to make a particular school more COVID safe. 

Some incredible GoFundMe examples include: 

Fundraising For Higher Education

In this case, higher education refers to universities and community colleges. Though the students’ tuition pays for many aspects of higher education, fundraising is often still needed. So what does fundraising for higher education look like?

Many people attempt to do crowdfunding for higher education on platforms like GoFundMe. Some campaigns are individuals’ personal fundraisers as they try to gather enough money to pay for college. Other campaigns are started by professors who want extra funds to improve a class or clubs trying to get funding to stay active within the college’s community. 

No matter what kind of fundraising campaign you’re trying to run within the higher education environment, it’s important to consider the things that make campaigns a success: sharing unique and relatable stories, adding videos and images, and regularly updating and staying present on the platform.

Outside of crowdfunding websites, there are endless possibilities to raise money at a higher education institution. For example, you can set up tables in lecture halls and hand out pamphlets or small gifts such as pins or candy to people that donate to your cause. Check your university’s rules and guidelines before doing this.

How To Raise Money For Schools During Covid

In addition to the online fundraising ideas above, there is a multitude of possibilities for raising money during COVID. Keep reading to get even more recommendations on how to raise money for schools during COVID and to learn about some of the different options you have for different age ranges. You will find these ideas divided into two categories based on age group: one for younger students and one for older students.

Elementary school fundraising ideas during COVID: 

  • Virtual baking class: Check if a local bakery sells kits with all the needed ingredients to make cookies and then do a live cooking class on Zoom with the kids and their parents. The way to get donations here is through a participation fee. 
  • Make a mascot kit: Look for a stuffed animal company that makes kits that allow children to customize a stuffed animal. Then challenge your class to create their own mascot and share it with everyone over Zoom or Google Classroom. Again, donations come from parents that fund the project and pay for their child’s participation.

High School fundraisers during COVID: 

  • Virtual 5k run: You can charge all participants a small fee and then challenge them to be the fastest runner in the school. Results can be tracked with a smartphone or smartwatch app. 
  • Age-appropriate trivia night: Trivia nights are easy and fun, and you can set a theme for each night. For example, you can have Harry Potter trivia night, The Office trivia night, and so on. This will make the competition more attractive to students. Their participation fee will go towards your fundraising campaign, and a small portion can be used as a prize.

Last but not least, Six in Schools can also be a great fundraising opportunity for students and teachers of all grade levels who are still feeling the effect of COVID on their communities. Using the templates, lessons, and writing prompts that come with the Six in Schools framework can help students improve their writing skills while letting out their creativity. 

This can be especially impactful during COVID, as the students can learn and write remotely and then receive a curated book of their class’s writings. Receiving a physical copy of a book they contributed to and seeing the fruits of their labor can be encouraging in this time of online learning.

Coming up with school fundraising ideas during COVID can be challenging, but it’s doable with some extra creativity and organization. You’ve got this!

Real Classroom Success

“I’ve used Six-Word Memoirs in my class for many years and the limitation of six words forces students to break big ideas down to smaller bites, think deeper about their stories, and unlock personal expression. In my classroom, I’ve seen kids work through writer's block; in just thirty minutes they feel like they have accomplished something.”

TERRY ASHKINOS, 7TH & 8TH GRADE TEAM LEAD
CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL
SAN FRANCISCO, CA

“The six-word approach was a way for my students to express themselves without writing a long narrative, one that may not speak to the reader as strongly as their Six-Word Memoir. Above all, they thought hard about their word choice, punctuation, and how they could illustrate the emotion/tone they wanted to express.”

Ginger Giessler, M.Ed & teacher
New Tech Academy
Fort Wayne, IN 

"I’ve long been enamored with the Six-Word Memoir project. I’ve read all the books, written a pile of my own Six-Word Memoirs, and sometimes do my best reflecting in six-word increments. Six-Word Memoirs are a masterful way to tell a story and was the perfect way to have our students be part of an all-school writing project. As a staff, we believed a single writing project was a wonderful way to capture the voices, stories, and reflections of all our students. When we compiled all the student writing, we had 700 student stories told — in just 4,200 words — and every child could quickly and easily read the stories of their friends and peers. I'm not sure how we could have accomplished such an admirable feat without the gift of Six-Word Memoirs."

Jennifer Schwanke
AUTHOR OF "YOU'RE THE PRINCIPAL! NOW WHAT?"
Deputy Superintendent, Dublin City Schools

The day I used Six-Word Memoirs was the day my students came alive. Finally, being free to not only write long narratives helped them to discover the essence of themselves and the heart of their writing.”

CANDRA McKenzie, HallPassBreak PODCAST Host & HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER
NEW YORK CITY, NY

Six-Word Memoirs bring out the best in my students. They are able to showcase their creativity and personal experience in a humorous, fun-loving way, but may also choose to display deeper, more complex emotions if they so choose.”

Sarah Nguyen, 6th grade English teacher
High Point Academy
Pasadena, Ca

“We often think of creativity as being open, free of rules with room to explore. But one thing that struck me when writing Six-Word Memoirs is that having strict parameters can sometimes lead to even more creative thinking!”

Paul Ackers, English teacher
Year 3 Brookes Moscow International School
Moscow, Russia

“Six-Word Memoirs is the perfect site to be ‘published’ while being creative.”

Hannia Dergongan Marohombsar, Year 8 and Year 10 First Language English teacher
National High Jakarta School of Piaget Academy
Jakarta, Indonesia

"The Six-Word Memoir is the perfect instrument for students to exercise their self-awareness in meaningful ways. Having this type of personal success on the first assignment of the school year sets the tone of the year on a positive and productive path."

Elizabeth Kennedy, 7th grade Academic Enrichment instructor
Riverwatch Middle School
Suwanee, GA

They feel liberated by having to only produce six words in a concise, poetic format. This is especially important to dyslexic students as they have experienced angst and ridicule surrounding written expression and quantity has been an encumbrance.”

Kat DeWees, teacher
Rawson Saunders School for Dyslexic Students
Austin, TX

“Six-Word Memoirs has just taught me that if you sit long enough with a kid and you ask the right questions and you challenge them in the right ways, you will hear a story that you probably never would have imagined."

Tabitha Cooper, Senior English teacher
Metamora High School
Metamora, IL

“Many students in our class shared deeply personal experiences in their Six-Word Memoirs, and sharing them helped to bring our class closer together and build a team spirit.”

Leah Ruediger, teacher
NYC’s P.S. 86
The Bronx, NY

“Six-Word Memoirs taught us a lot about our students and also taught the kids that efficiency of language can be a powerful way to make a point or share something poignant about themselves.”

JENNY PLATOW, TEACHER
ESSEX STREET ACADEMY
NEW YORK CITY, NY