So, you’re wondering how to donate to teachers? Donating does more than funding a classroom, donating inspires the spark in education. Teachers play a critical role in modeling the next generation.
But what happens when they do not have enough resources to execute their work? Donations ensure that teachers have access to supplemental resources they need to facilitate their work.
Why teachers need donations
According to a SheerID and Agile Education Marketing survey, teachers spent an average of $650 off their pockets on classroom supplies in 2018. This was 39% higher than what they spent in 2017. The amount individual teachers spend off their pockets, of course, does vary.
This trend is going to continue as long as school districts do not provide the materials needed by teachers for their work. This is where donations come in. Through donations, teachers can get the extra cash they need to fund the various learning-related activities during the school year.
How donations helps teachers
Before we jump into the different ways you can donate to teachers, let’s understand how donations help!
To the individual teachers
Teachers across the United States use platforms to donate to teachers to raise funds for individual projects that are not sponsored by their schools. These can include funding classroom basics like notebooks and paper, technology upgrades, and other creative ideas.
To the local school district
Most school districts across the U.S have foundations set up to fund things like teachers’ professional development, classroom supplies, and other school-specific needs.
To individual students
Schools have differing approaches to handling issues like lunch debts for their students. Some schools may go ahead and provide meals to students with debts, others may reduce the portion, while others will simply withdraw meals from students with lunch debts until the debt is settled. Donations go a long way in settling these debts.
5 Ways to donate to teachers
1. Annual funds
Nearly every school has an annual fund, just as the name indicates. This is the amount of money donated to the school by its constituents (faculty, alumni, parents, trustees, and friends). These funds can be used to support the school’s operational expenses. They usually come in the form of gifts that the public donates to the school, and are used to fill the “financial gap” that most schools experience.
2. Capital campaigns
These are time-limited targeted fundraising campaigns. They can last for months or even years depending on the financial goal.
However, they have specified end dates as well as fundraising goals. Funds raised from capital campaigns are usually earmarked for specific projects, like renovating existing classrooms, constructing new buildings, or increasing the school’s financial aid budget so more students can be enrolled in the school.
3. Endowments funds
This is an investment fund set up by the school to be able to draw upon the invested funds. The idea is to grow funds over time by investing and not touching it. Most schools will draw about 5% of their endowment per annum so it can continue growing over time. A strong endowment guarantees the school’s longevity.
These funds are designed to help the school accomplish specific projects that are not factored in the school’s annual budget. It is important to note that endowment funds are often restricted to specific uses like facility enrichment and scholarships.
4. Gifts in kind
Most schools offer what is referred to as a Gift in Kind. These are gifts in the form of actual goods or services rather than monetary gifts. For instance, a donor can opt to upgrade the school theater’s lighting system. If the donor decides to purchase the lighting system rather give the school money towards the same, this is termed as a gift in kind.
Different schools have regulations when it comes to these kinds of gifts, and if and how they accept them, so it is important that a potential donor enquirers before making a donation. It is always advisable that such gifts are arranged in advance.
5. Planned giving
Sometimes, the school may work with its donors to make larger gifts than their annual income would usually allow. Planned giving can be made while the donor is alive or after passing on as part of their will.
Planned giving can take the form of cash, real estate, securities and stocks, insurance plans, artwork, or retirement funds.
How to find a donor for your school
Both local and multinational corporations receive solicitations to fund different kinds of causes. This makes the donation process quite competitive, which is why it is important that you figure out how to make your school stand out. It is important that you clearly define your needs and have a plan before approaching potential donors for your school.
Here are a few tips to consider:
The local business advantage
Most local businesses have vested interest in the communities they operate in, and they appreciate that goodwill goes a long way for positive word-of-mouth. Approach these local businesses with specific funding needs and let them chip in.
It is not unusual for the school’s fundraiser to feel intimidated by big corporations. Fortunately, these multinationals too are increasingly vested in local communities and have standard donation solicitation programs. Give those big fish operating in your community a shot – you will be surprised by what you will catch.
Make it a win-win situation
Regardless of the course for which you are seeking funding, turning your solicitation into a win-win can make all the difference.
Include information on how the donor will benefit in your donation letter. For instance, you can tell the business how you will promote their name with promotional materials or at an upcoming meeting.
At the start of each school year, students from across the nation bring supplies to their respective schools. But it is never enough.
Parents could purchase everything on a teacher’s wish list and it would never last a year. Besides, those lists never come with everything the teacher needs either. And at some point during the school term or year, the underpaid teacher will have to spend their own money to replace essential supplies like pens and books for their students.