How Can I Crowdfund?

Powering your playground crowdfunding campaign with “perks”

When embarking on a crowdfunding campaign, it’s important to create and maintain momentum. Getting people involved and keeping them interested is just as important as the money being raised.

When determining your crowdfunding goal, be sure to consider costs beyond equipment such as shipping, installation, site preparation, and surfacing. Your fundraising goal should account for these additional costs.

We believe crowdfunding is about more than dollar signs, as it offers many additional benefits, including:

  • Creating interest in and awareness of the developmental benefits of playgrounds
  • Allowing interested families to learn about the playground, meaning you may have more kids interested in trying out the new space once it’s built
  • Events can foster a sense of community and get everyone involved and committed to the new play space

There is often money available right in your community — resources to help you make your playground a reality. Around the world, 1.4 billion people donated money in 2014 alone. And the majority of giving — 72 percent of all charitable contributions — comes from individuals.

Tips for Successful Playground Crowdfunding

There are dozens of school playground fundraising ideas to get money flowing into your coffers, but while stand-by options like bake sales and car washes might work, your playground campaign could benefit from a more unique approach. Creative ideas typically gain increased traction and garner more attention. When you take the time to think outside of the typical fundraising box, it may be easier to attract people, ultimately leading to better results.

Fundraising Perks for Playground Equipment

Consider motivating people to donate to your campaign by:

1) Building a Fence

Your playground may have a fence around the perimeter, and you can literally provide space on the fence to donors. Donors can have their names printed on the plats of the fence if you have a picket fence. You can also sell bricks or other parts of the playground. Each level donated can correspond to a different size of the piece of fence or brick. For example, a $20 donation may get a donor one plat of the fence with their name or message while a $50 donation may get a donor an entire section of the fence to personalize with their name and/or message.

You’ll need to make it clear which donations yield which gift and keep track of what each donor wants printed. To keep donors interested while the playground is being built, consider setting up a blog, social channel page, and/or a regular newsletter to keep donors aware of when “their” fence is being built. You will need to hire a professional to engrave the names and messages on the fence or bricks, so when determining how much to charge per fence piece, you’ll need to factor in this cost.

2) Holding Special Events

Host a fair for the community. The advantage of a fair is that it offers the ability to host additional events within the main event, such as:

  • A bake sale
  • A rummage sale (kids and families can donate items)
  • Races
  • Talent shows
  • Games of skill
  • Board game tournaments
  • Silent auctions
  • Refreshment stands
  • Face-painting booths

If possible, host your event near or in the space where your playground will be, to create more interest in the project. Distribute pamphlets about your fundraising efforts to people who show up and have a rain date in place.

3) Offering levels of prizes

Offer various prizes that correspond with each donation amount. For lower donation amounts you can offer social media shout outs, stickers, t-shirts etc. For larger donation amounts you can offer larger incentive prizes such as museum passes, local activity tickets or even the right to name a certain aspect of the park. You can purchase prizes or ask business to donate certain prizes such as tickets, coupons etc. to reward donors for higher donations. Setting up a system with carious levels of rewards will help incentive donors beyond contributing to the playground project.

4) Approaching Businesses

Sell advertising space on the playground to local and national businesses. In exchange for a donation, companies could buy a custom sign or plaque on the playground, for example. Asking for advertising space can ensure you receive funds — potentially even a considerable amount if your playground is in a higher-traffic area that offers prime advertising space.

Some communities have bylaws about advertising. Before asking businesses, make sure to check with a legal professional to find out whether you can sell ad space in the playground. You might also want to hold a community meeting to air out any opposition to the plan.

If advertising space seems like a feasible idea, contact businesses directly with professional letters and emails. Companies selling to children and parents will usually be the ones most interested in these types of projects.

5) Designing a Playground Map

Create a printed map of the future playground area and divide the play area into squares. Let people “buy” a square for a set donation price. At the end, one square wins a cash or donated prize. The winning square can be chosen by random or by having someone toss a ball into the playground area — wherever the ball lands, that’s the winning “spot.”

Before the event, make sure to print out a map of the playground and ask the community to come out to play. At the event, consider selling refreshments or other items to make even more money.

6) Offering a Mystery Box

Obtain donations from businesses or individuals to make surprise gift boxes (or one really big surprise box). Choose donation amounts that would provide donors with this prize. For example, a $100 donation could ensure a donor receives a gift box.

You can create even more interest in your mystery box event by wrapping up the prizes elaborately and displaying photos of them. If you have one big prize, wrap it up with a huge bow on top.

Many fundraising ideas can work, but to really maximize your fun and rewards, you may consider:

  • Utilizing social media so people can share updates with their friends. Social media is a powerful resource for funding. About 55 percent of people who use social media to contact non-profit groups take further action
  • Sending regular updates, especially to donors, to keep people motivated and give them the opportunity to see where their money is going
  • Creating a web page, blog or Facebook page for the playground and your fundraising efforts
  • Contacting local media to let them know about your fundraising and playground efforts. Reporters often like these types of “feel good” stories and you might see more donations if you’re featured in the news
  • Looking into leasing or phasing to take care of any amounts you aren’t able to raise yourself

If you’d like more information about playground fundraising, playground equipment leasing, grants and playground equipment, contact your local Playworld representative who will guide you through the whole process of funding, designing and building your playground.