Four Steps to Your Playground
Great news, you've successfully planned a new playground, and you have the support of friends and neighbors to have it built! Now, the next question may be, "How will I find the funding?". After all, money doesn’t just appear, no matter how noble the cause.
It's All About Relationships
To increase your chances of hitting those funding goals take a strategic approach to who and how you ask for money. We have four steps for you to help inspire people to join the crusade for the playground of your dreams.
Step 1: Make a List
Who doesn't like a good list? Lists make the world go 'round. Or at least keep it nice and organized.
Create a list of possible donors starting with those who have the most potential and work your way down. Remember to include both personal and professional networks. Consider branching out to join new groups in the area like the Chamber of Commerce. Meet new people!
How will you create a list? Start by asking yourself a few questions:
- Fundraisers, what kind?
- Are there any restrictions or requirements for fundraisers?
- Who in the community understands the benefits a new playground can offer?
- Are there any organizations that might be willing to donate money?
- Any businesses?
- Who would most likely support a new playground project in the community?
- What about tax-deductible contributions?
- What's the best way to contact possible funders?
- Should we contact a pro, such as a professional grant writer?
- Consider seeking out those with unique skill sets to join your fundraising team or donate their skills to the project (i.e., graphic designers, salesmen, website developers, local celebrities, marketers, copywriters).
Step 2: Be a Storyteller
A beautiful cause brings people together, be a team! Encourage people to share in your cause. Create a central theme or narrative that describes your story, make sure it's easy to understand and meaningful. Make it easy for people to act and join your cause.
Start with WHY.
- Why are you doing this?
- Why now?
- Why are you doing this at all?
- Why will others benefit?
- Why will donors’ benefit?
Step 3: Be Brave - ASK!
Eventually everyone will have to ask for funding. It may be uncomfortable for you, but it's a necessary step to building a playground.
Let us help you with these tips:
- It's tempting to side-step the ask, but don't. Just be direct.
- Have a specific amount you ask for.
- Let them know this is a mutually beneficial proposal and what they can expect in return (i.e., a sign, a name plate, bricks with their logo on them).
- Have levels of giving, no amount is too small (or too large).
Step 4: Ads & Publicity
In today's electronically connected society it's much easier to let everyone know about your project. And the more people who know, the more possible donors you find! Below we have some messages that will inform and catch the eye of possible donors:
- Letter-Writing Campaign: gather friends and family to join a letter-writing campaign to potential donors, community leaders, and others in local media.
- Email Campaign: why not start with a direct appeal to your existing contacts and local organizations that might join the cause.
- Create Flyers: post them in local doctors’ offices, grocery stores, youth centers, faith organizations, etc.
- Digital Funds: Start a GoFundMe account and share with the world!
- Website: start a home base of info, a website or social media page dedicated to the cause. Offer helpful information and education opportunities for those considering donating.
- Presentations & Personal Meetings: never underestimate the power of an in-person meeting or presentation. The Chamber of Commerce in your area may allow you to speak at chapter meetings.
- Explore Sponsorships: keep an open mind about others who may help fund the project through sponsored events such as sports tournaments, races, etc.
We Can Help!
As a representative of GameTime, Struthers Recreation can help in many ways. Check out the online playground funding guide that supplies national, regional, and local organizations that may donate to play and recreation projects. Request your free copy today. We can help you with ideas for hosting both online and in-person meetings for community leaders, as well as workshops, and other educational opportunities to better understand the needs of the community. LEARN MORE