You didn’t become a teacher to fundraise.
Then what happened when you started your first teaching job? You found that in order to have access to the tools you need, fundraising absolutely became part of the job.
The good news is that you aren’t alone. Teachers spend an average of $600 each year on their classrooms, with many spending over $1000. These funds shouldn’t have to come out of your pocket.
At AdoptAClassroom.org, fundraising is one of our favorite subjects. It’s our job to tell engaging stories, interact with potential donors, and make them stick. So we have an idea.
How about we teach you some of our tips, and you get back to teaching our students?
The six chapters of our teacher backpack give advice on every step of crowdfunding your classroom. Check out our Teacher Fundraising 101 page to get started, or browse some of the blog posts below to get started.
Chapter 1: The Calculator —Setting Realistic and Exciting Goals
First thing first: you need to figure out what you need. Every teacher’s list is different.
Maybe you’re in a school where children bring nothing from home, and you need food, clothes, and basic supplies to keep your classroom running. Maybe you have the basics covered, but want to bring innovative tools into your lessons. Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle.
Wherever you fall, it’s important to know your specific need before you start advertising that need to the world. Donors want to feel the impact of their donations, and are motivated by clearly defined goals.
Chapter 2: The Composition Book—Crafting Your Story
We know that people should care about the classroom where you’re working everyday to educate the next generation. But unfortunately it’s not that easy. Just because you’re doing great work doesn’t mean you’ll be noticed.
This is the most important and challenging part of your quest to crowdfund your classroom. We know you don’t have a lot of extra time, but give as much of it as you can to this aspect of your page for maximum impact. Ideally, you will find that the time you spend writing is reflective and useful in maintaining your own motivation to keep doing what you do.
Chapter 3: The Folder—Organizing Champions for your Classroom
How do you get donations for your classroom? You ask. And we know it can be daunting, but it works: When an individual asks for a donation, 1:4 people will give.
However, we also know that there are only so many people you can ask to donate. For many teachers in low-income districts, asking parents is out of the question.
What if there were other people out there making the ask for you, and all of you were getting a “yes” 25% of the time? We call these people Classroom Champions, and enlisting one (or four) can make a big difference for your students.
After receiving a few donations from friends and Classroom Champions, you can begin reaching out to the larger community. Learn how to approach community organizations and what to say in this post. We also work with organizations to support employee donations for AdoptAClassroom.org. Learn more about how to make employee giving work for you.
Chapter 4: The Art Supplies— Spreading the Word with Social Media
If you think social media is just for kids, think again. Traditional fundraising techniques aren’t dead, but they won’t do the job alone.
According to Blackbaud, using social media increased fundraising results by 40%.
Online, your posts can spread beyond your network. Of course it’s exciting to get a donation from a friend, but wouldn’t it be way more exciting to be supported by a stranger who believes in what you’re doing?
We want to teach you the basics behind using social media to promote your fundraising page. The good news is that the hard work is already done. All of your communications work together, so the story crafting you did in section two will translate into your social media assets.
This doesn’t mean that you just throw the link to your page onto Facebook and call it a day. We know there’s a “share” button, but we’re asking you not to use it. We want to teach you how to share your page in creative and engaging ways, and we think it will pay off.
Chapter 5: The Lab Goggles–Experimenting to See What Works
If you’ve made it this far, you have your goals mapped out, a well- written story, and your media plan in place (with extra champions secured to increase your impact). You’re already ahead of the game.
Time to sit back, relax, and watch the money roll in. Not quite. It’s great to feel confident about the basics, but we know there are a lot of creative teachers out there who could make a real splash for their classrooms.
Big, silly ideas can boost your donations. We can give you some examples, but these leaps of faith are best when they come straight out of you—full of personality and energy. You never know for sure what’s going to work, but that’s half the fun. You could help your students in a totally creative, awesome way.
Treat this section like a Pinterest board full of campaign goals that you could shape into something totally you. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.
Chapter 6: The Glue–Getting Your Donors to Stick
You received a donation for your classroom! All your hard work is over…almost. Obviously, you’re grateful for your donation and want to express that in the biggest way possible. As an added bonus, you learned in Chapter One that regular contributors are more likely to keep giving if they are made aware of their impact.
Your donors want to see what their money means to your classroom. The more valuable you can make donors feel, the more likely they are to give again. This is called donor retention. It turns out that making a donor feel appreciated and important is pretty simple. You just need to reach out.
95% of donors said they would appreciate a thank-you call, and 85% said it would influence them to give again.
Saying thank you may seem like common sense, but it’s easy to forget about this last step when you’re swept up in teaching and everything else that keeps you busy. Treat this last section as a reminder of the manners you teach your kids everyday: always say please and thank you.
Ready to dig deeper? Read our Teacher Fundraising 101 page here.
Ready to start raising fund for your classroom? Register today.