Teacher to Teacher Talk Series: Raising Funds without Fundraisers
Fundraisers can be beneficial for students and families to lower the cost of their trip. However, often schools are saturated with continuous fundraising for various programs. In fact, sometimes students are restricted from school wide fundraising all together. The list below provides some creative options for helping students with the cost of educational travel.
One year I wrote a grant with Donors Choose. They offer many suggestions for placements of postings and resources, but I also posted it across various social media sites. It was a success! We raised enough money (mostly from anonymous donors) to offer multiple partial student scholarships. Students who received funding were required to send a thank you letter, which I submitted through on DonorsChoose. Note: There are rules to the organization, and they do take a small fee. Even so, it was extremely beneficial.
In the past, I’ve also written grants to our PTA and they’ve provided funding. The PTA within your school or larger district is dedicated toward helping programs that provide educational value.
3. Credit Union Savings Account
This is by far my favorite new idea! A neighboring school partnered with a local credit union who came to the school and helped students set up their own personal account. They have “savings days” (weekly or monthly) which teaches the students valuable lessons about saving their money. They start the process in 6th or 7th grade for funding on their 8th grade trip. Students bring money to school that they have earned from helping in the community, chores, allowance, babysitting, and so forth. The credit union accounts for all money and provides receipts as it’s applied to each individual account. Throughout the year, students watch small amounts of money become larger and larger. I’m excited to launch this idea with my own district and see the possibilities. Local credit unions often have a vested interest in the community, and this also provides a future client base for them.
Academic Expeditions can provide a social media link to post on parents’ Facebook or other social media platforms. I ask students to write why they want to attend this educational opportunity. Upon seeing the post, friends and family can contribute small donations. Every little bit is beneficial and 100% of the donations go directly to the students account! It’s good to send this out after students are registered, and again during the holiday season. Often friends and family are interested in providing the “Gift of Education” for student travel. One variation to this is to have students write letters and mail them to friends and family with the Academic Expeditions donation link.
Copy & Paste this AE Social Media Link! – https://academicexpeditions.com/donate
5. Go Corporate
Local businesses often have an interest in sponsoring student educational opportunities. To do this, compose a professional and personal grant that states the purpose of your interest and why you believe in helping students with educational travel. The next important aspect is to appeal to a variety of companies both large and small. It’s always an advantage to visit companies, which provides a more personal connection to your project. If funding is awarded, have students send thank you letters, pictures, or postcards of the trip!
I have not yet applied, but am very interested in trying this option for the future! Target has a commitment to education, and awards educators grants up to $700 for student field trips. Rather than providing this to one individual, I would provide partial scholarships to multiple students.
There are so many untapped resources to support educational travel. I hope these suggestions help you, and look forward to hearing your experiences, as well.
About the contributor: Angela has also been teaching tennis for the past 20 years along with delivering rigorous history curriculum to her 8th students in Rochester for the past 12 years. She has always had a passion for teaching, learning and travel and has been organizing student adventures to Washington DC for many years.