You’ve planned a new playground and rallied the support of your neighbors to get it built. Congratulations! The next question on your mind is probably, "How can I raise money to build a playground?" Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as shouting your heart out to a special donor on the phone - that sort of thing only happens in the movies.
Playground Funding is All About Relationships
Funding comes from creating relationships with people! Take a strategic approach to who you ask and how you ask for money. This will increase your chances of reaching your funding goals. Follow these steps to inform and inspire people to join your cause.
1. Create Your List
Make a list of potential funders. Prioritize your list with the most significant potential and working your way down. Include your own personal and professional networks, and consider joining other groups like the area Chamber of Commerce to meet people.
Here is a list of questions that will help you create your list:
- Who in the community would support a new playground project?
- Are there large organizations or businesses willing to donate money?
- Who in the community will understand the benefits of a new playground?
- How do we contact potential funders?
- What kinds of fundraisers should we hold?
- Are there fundraising restrictions/requirements?
- How do we handle tax-deductible contributions?
- Should we enlist the help of a professional grant writer?
2. Tell Your Story
One of the most effective ways to raise funding for your playground is to encourage people to share in your cause. To do that, you need a good story that is meaningful, easy to understand, and simple for people to act on.
When creating your narrative, think about the WHY.
- Why now?
- Why at all?
- Why your potential funders will benefit?
3. Ask for Funding
There's no getting around it. At some point, you'll have to ask for money. For some people, asking for money feels uncomfortable, but it's an essential step to ensure the playground is built.
Here are some tips to making the ask:
- Be direct.
- Ask for a specific amount.
- Inform the donor what they can expect in return for their donation (i.e., a nameplate on a bench or their company logo on a sponsorship sign).
- Offer levels of giving, so everyone has an opportunity to give.
4. Publicity and Advertising
Let the world know about your project. The more people who know about the need for a playground, the more likely you'll find donors. Here are some ideas to create eye-catching and informative messages to showcase your cause.
- Gather friends and family for a letter-writing campaign to potential donors, community leaders, and local media
- Email - make direct appeals to your contacts and local organizations that might be willing to donate
- Post flyers in local businesses, physician offices, youth centers, faith organizations, etc.
- Digital fundraising - consider online tools like GoFundMe
- Websites - set up a webpage, Facebook group, or other online resources for people to learn about the project and make donations
- Personal meetings and presentations - contact your local Chamber of Commerce and request opportunities to speak at chapter meetings
- Promote sponsorships - allow others to fund the project through golf tournaments, 5k races, and other sponsored events
We're Here to Help
GameTime publishes a comprehensive playground funding guide. It provides national, regional, and local organizations that fund play and recreation projects. Request your free copy and get closer to your funding goals.
Our local play experts can also help you with ideas for reaching out to the community, hosting online and in-person community meetings and educational workshops to help people understand the need. To learn more, contact the local GameTime expert in your community.