Teacher Fundraising 101

The teacher’s guide to classroom fundraising.

We know teachers work hard.

You pour emotional, mental, and financial resources into your job every day.
Your dedication is incredible, and we want to support you through it all.

Teacher Fundraising 101 is designed to help you create a
smart fundraising plan so you can meet your goals
and get back to what matters most:
teaching.

Why Fundraise

Why Fundraise with AdoptAClassroom.org?

Everyone is fundraising these days, but not every platform is created equal.
Here’s how we can help you meet your fundraising goals.

  1. We’re free to use. 100% of classroom adoptions go to your account to spend in the AdoptAClassroom.org marketplace.
  2. We’re a nonprofit. All donations are tax-deductible.
  3. No risks. You can spend your donations anytime without having to meet a goal. Even if you have a self-determined goal, you can still spend your donations immediately.
  4. Flexible spending. Being a teacher is unpredictable. If your needs change after you fundraise, you can order what you need, no questions asked.
  5. Monthly giving for ongoing support. Your donors can give monthly automatically so you always have funds to count on.

Are you ready to take the first step?

Setting Goals

Setting Goals

How you communicate what you need is the key to driving donations.
Your goal should meet three criteria: specific, urgent, and realistic.

Example:
“Many of my students don’t have reliable access to meals. In order to ensure my students are full and ready to learn, I need to raise $600 before school starts August 15th to buy healthy snacks for the school year.”

Specific
This ask includes a dollar amount, what’s needed, and the impact. Explaining impact is crucial. You’re an expert on classroom needs, but a donor might not understand why you need to buy granola bars.

Urgent
Have you ever seen someone ask for donations and thought, “I’ll donate later”? Did you remember? Your AdoptAClassroom.org Classroom Page is always live, but you can create urgency with a deadline. Read more about deadlines and urgency in “Creating a Timeline.”

Realistic
To figure out what is realistic for you, consider the resources at your disposal: hours in a day, personal network, funding opportunities.

Storytelling

Storytelling

You probably talk about teaching all the time, but how do you distill everything into few paragraphs? A few simple writing guidelines will help you craft your story.

Introduction: Explain the goal you created in “Setting Goals.” Not everyone will read to the end, so make it clear that you’re asking for help right away.

Body: Use a short story to explain why it’s so important your students get what they need. The most compelling stories connect us to another person on an individual level. To make it personal, tell a story of “one” rather than many. Pick a student who reinforced why teaching is your passion, or draw on a direct experience from your own life. If it drives your love for teaching, it will drive your donors.

Conclusion: The end should be all about the donor’s impact and why they’re incredible for supporting your classroom! Wrap it up with a thank you and you’re done!

You can re-use the language in your story for posts, letters, and emails. Taking the time to write this will keep you from stressing about how to phrase a Facebook post down the road.

Example:
Many of my students don’t have reliable access to meals. In order to ensure my students are full and ready to learn, I need to raise $600 before school starts August 15th to buy healthy snacks for the year.

When I first started teaching, I didn’t know so many of the kids who walked through my door each morning hadn’t eaten dinner the night before. One student in particular was often distracted and exhausted. Thinking nothing of it, I offered her a granola bar, hoping a treat might perk her up. The next day, she quietly asked me if she could have another one. After that first year, my eyes were opened to the impact of hunger in my community. Now, I always make sure snacks are available. I’ve earned my students trust and their test scores skyrocketed.

Your gift, big or small, will make it possible for my students to feel safe and secure so they can do what matters most: learn. Thank you so much for your support.

Tip: Online content that contains pictures get 94% more views than content comprised of only text. But, taking photos of your students and protecting their privacy can be tricky. Here is a guide to taking photos.

Creating A Timeline

Creating a Timeline

Your timeline is a schedule designed to provide structure and keep you on task. We’ve found most teachers fall under two categories: “Fundraising Campaigns” and “Ongoing Fundraising.” On AdoptAClassroom.org, our platform is flexible to accommodate your timeline.

Fundraising Campaigns

  • Limited period of time (usually 2-3 days, but you can stretch it out if you need to)
  • Great for timely events like holidays, birthdays, or back-to-school season
  • Prepare in advance by writing all of your posts ahead of time
  • Coordinate with supporters who will help you reach your goal by spreading the word
  • Keep your classroom page updated so your progress is consistent

Tip: Leverage this technique to tackle big goals in manageable increments. A monthly campaign to meet mini-goals of $1,000 can build into $10,000 over time.

Ongoing Fundraising

  • Reliable for needs that come up regularly over time, like classroom consumables
  • Requires you to create urgency with milestone goals or end dates
    Example: I need $50 for January’s snacks.
  • Easy to re-use posts and tweak as needed over the year

Tip: AdoptAClassroom.org gives you the option of setting and changing your fundraising goals without missing out. Some fundraising platforms only fund you if you hit your goal. With us, you get every donation and can spend it immediately, no matter what.

Finding Donors

Finding Donors

Your Inner Circle
When we need support, our first instinct is to turn to family and friends. Making a list of your inner circle is the first step to knowing your supporters.

  • Family and friends
  • Social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • Clubs, groups, or organizations
  • Local businesses you’re connected to

Finding New Donors
After a while, you might hit a fundraising plateau. It’s time to expand your reach.

  1. Identify where you have room to grow. Brainstorm the connections of your inner circle. Pick a few people involved in communities where you have room to grow.
  2. Ask for help. Gather a few current supporters to connect you with new donors. Don’t be afraid to set clear expectations. If you have a time-limited campaign and want your supporters to post twice a day for a week, ask for it. It’ll make it less awkward down the road if some one can’t follow through.
  3. Build a “Toolkit” for your current supporters. Include what you think is relevant: pictures of your students (follow our photography tips), talking points, pre-written posts, statistics, or flyers.
  4. If possible, get their contact or social media information. It will give you a chance to say thank you and build new relationships. When you need support again, they’ll be a part of your circle.

Tip: You can also email your donors right from the Teacher Dashboard on AdoptAClassroom.org if you want to keep in touch.

Social Media

Social Media

Here are examples of
an “ask,” “update,” and “thank you” post for social media.

An Ask:

Many of my students don’t have reliable access to meals. Children who come to school hungry don’t feel safe or secure and they definitely can’t learn. I spend $600 on snacks a year so every child who walks through my door has a vital basic need met. When I first started doing this, test scores skyrocketed! But more importantly, my students grew to trust me as someone they could rely on.

I need to raise $600 before school starts August 15th to buy healthy snacks for the school year.

Thank you so much for your support, it means the world to me and my students. Click here to adopt my classroom.

An Update:

We’re almost there! I only need $200 to buy tablets for my STEAM lab. Pictured above is Max, who is really excited to learn how to control robots with a coding program. If four people gave $50 I’d hit my goal and get this amazing resource for my students. Many of my students don’t have access to tech and home, so it’s vital I have it in the classroom.

Thank you to everyone who has already made a gift, you’re incredible! I know everyone can’t give but I would love it fi you shared this post to get the word out. Click here to adopt my classroom.

A Thank You:

I am so amazed by the generosity of everyone who supported my students. Since I started my career as a music teacher, it has been my dream to provide new instruments to students who cannot afford them. Because of you, these two violinists can participate! We’re so excited for our concert this spring!

You can download free images to share with your posts in your Fundraiser Toolkit when you log in to your AdoptAClassroom.org account. Register now or log in to download.

Make sure you have parental consent to post photos of students. Take great photos while protecting students’ privacy by using these tips. Find more tips about using social media here.

We hope Teacher Fundraising 101 will help you take your next steps funding your classroom, whether you’re dipping your toe in the water for the first time or are ready to dive in.

Thank you for the incredible work you do.

If you have any questions, or just want to say hi,
please email us at [email protected]

You have everything you need for a great fundraising plan. Let’s get started.

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