Play areas do come with their upfront costs, but you shouldn’t let this expense keep your community from enjoying all the benefits a playground can provide. With budgeting and fundraising, you can make this project a reality and allow families in your community or students at your school to enjoy a space where they can learn, exercise and have fun.
Budgeting for a Playground
Your project’s cost will depend on the scope and the equipment you plan to purchase. Generally, your budget should account for:
- Site preparations: If you’re replacing an old playground with new equipment, this may be a more affordable project than creating a playground from scratch. For a new playground installation, you may need to start with site preparations, such as leveling the terrain or adding surfacing. If you’re replacing old play space, you’ll need to budget for taking down old equipment.
- Equipment: The playground equipment itself is one of the major costs and is often what you’ll want to focus on in your fundraising efforts. Plan to purchase quality equipment that is durable, safe and designed with inclusivity in mind.
- Amenities: In addition to playground equipment, you’ll also want to consider site amenities for your playground, like benches, basketball hoops, litter receptacles, signs, picnic tables and other features.
- Installation: Installing the equipment and amenities at your playground can carry an additional cost. Professional installation is generally a smart move since it ensures your playground equipment is safely and expertly positioned and anchored.
- Maintenance: After your playground is installed, you’ll have ongoing costs to keep the playground well maintained. To save on costs, you may be able to get volunteers to help keep the playground clean and safe.
How to Raise Money for a School Playground
Schools have some special considerations when it comes to playground funding. On the upside, schools may be able to evaluate their budgets to see whether there are funds they can allocate to a playground project. In many cases, this may be a good place to start, but your school may need to raise additional funds to fully cover the costs of the project.
When planning fundraising efforts, get your Parent Teacher Association (PTA) involved. An active PTA can get excited about the benefits students will experience from a new playground and organize efforts to fund this project. The more buy-in you can get among stakeholders across the school community, the higher chance of success your project has.
Playground Fundraising Ideas
Whether you’re planning to install a playground at your school, public park or private community, there are several ways you can help fund this project. Consider the following fundraising ideas for playground equipment and other costs so you can make this dream a reality for your community.
1. Approach Local Businesses
Local businesses can be a great resource for funding. While businesses of any size often donate a portion of their profits, small local businesses give 250% more to nonprofits and causes in their community compared to larger businesses.
See if any local businesses want to sponsor your playground project, and offer a way to recognize their donation. This can be a win-win since it provides a potential boost in brand awareness and reputation for the business. For example, you might include donors’ names on signs at the playground or plaques placed on benches or playground equipment.
2. Apply for Grants
Grants can be another avenue to explore. Charitable organizations may request grant applications to request funding. Another common source of grant funding is the government. Explore federal, state and local government funding opportunities and follow the guidelines provided as well as online resources to help you craft your grant application.
Generally, you want your grant application to lay out the “why” behind your project, highlighting the benefits that the community will experience. You should also show a level of detail and transparency that demonstrates your commitment to careful planning at every stage of this project.
3. Host a Ticketed Event
Hosting fundraising events is another great strategy and can be an excellent way to get your local community involved. By hosting a ticketed event with a cover charge, you can be sure to bring in money for each attendee. You may be able to raise additional funds at the event through optional activities, sales or donations.
Examples of ticketed fundraising events include a:
- Talent show
- Fun run
You may want to host multiple events appealing to different demographics in your community so you can increase community involvement and donations. For example, a 5K may appeal greatly to fitness enthusiasts, while a formal gala may be more attractive to some local philanthropists.
4. Hold a Sale or Auction
The good old-fashioned bake sale still earns its spot as a popular fundraising activity. You can get the whole community involved by asking people to donate baked goods to be sold or auctioned off for your playground fund.
There are plenty of other types of sales you can host, too. Consider making one of your events an auction and asking local businesses and artists to donate items for the auction. People will enjoy the fact that they can give to a positive cause while purchasing an item to keep for themselves.
5. Sell Items Door-to-Door
You can also sell items door-to-door rather than through an event. This can be an effective way to widen your impact. Some popular items people in your community may want to buy include:
- Coupon books for local businesses
- Candy bars
- Tote bags
- Cookie dough
A simple option is to presell products and take down donors’ information so you can deliver their products or have them shipped to them at a later date. Or, in the case of small items like coupon cards or books, you can hand off the item at the moment of the transaction.
There are nearly endless ways you can sell items for fundraising purposes. Many companies offer information and catalogs for charitable organizations on fundraising opportunities. You may also be able to partner with local businesses to sell items or gift cards that they donate.
Learn More About Playground FunRaising With Miracle® Recreation
At Miracle Recreation, we want to make high-quality playground equipment accessible for all communities, even when budgets are tight. That’s why we offer a funding resource center to help educate organizations and schools on the best ways to fund playground projects.
That’s also why we offer our FunRaising program to help communities like yours fund a playground installation project. We’ll help you create a plan that ensures you make sufficient profit through your fundraising efforts. We’ll also help you create materials like brochures, letters and fundraising packets. A FunRaising representative will help you out at every step of the way to make your fundraising efforts a success.
Get started today so you can make your playground project a reality and allow families to benefit from this asset to your community.