As federal funding for public schools diminishes and as funded extracurricular activities become a luxury instead of the norm, many teachers and students are turning to crowdfunding techniques to raise the money they need.
Crowdfunding tool Edco is celebrating its one-year anniversary of helping schools in 50 states raise school funding by releasing a suite of tools that include a step-by-step fundraising guide. Since it was launched one year ago, Edco has helped schools across the country raise over $200,000 for their funding needs.
"The most successful club, the King High School Speech and Debate Team in Tampa, Florida, has raised $10,000, about four times what the average school fundraiser generates," the company said in a statement.
One of the most well-known and used crowdfunding sites for teachers-in-need is DonorsChoose.org. Donors Choose allows teachers to raise money for projects, supplies and equipment by turning to a national, interested community for support.
What distinguishes Edco from Donors Choose is that Edco primarily focuses on raising funding for school clubs, meaning that both teachers and students can navigate the funding process.
Whereas Donors Choose is specifically designed for teachers who need supplies but whose wallets are tapped out (the average teacher spend $500 a year on supplies for the classroom), Edco is designed for both teachers and students who wish to skip the bake sale and raise funding for clubs that can't be financially supported by the school.
Examples of clubs that have used Edco to raise funds include speech and debate clubs, school-wide jog-a-thons and robotics clubs.
One of the great things that Edco offers students and teachers who use its site is personalized help setting realistic and obtainable goals.
"Our Community Success Advisors are available to answer questions and help you develop a customized fundraising plan. They’ll even set up a Google Hangout seminar for your entire team," its site says. Access to advisors is as simple as an initial call or e-mail.
Asking for donations can be an awkward task for some, and going about it the right way is imperative to garnering support. To make this process easier, Edco provides a list of tips on the right ways to go about gaining financial support.
Edco's tools provide interested teams with help spreading the word through providing lists of best practices for e-mails, social media, and pitching local businesses.
Each list includes extensive and smart tips that will help teams successfully spread the word about their fundraising needs. No time wasted here.
For social media use for example, Edco experts recommend teams post often, unleash enthusiasm and be persistent about tagging people and places, among other tips.
For e-mails, Edco has several suggestions that include warning against sending mass e-mails but encouraging staying in touch with connections.
When it comes to help spreading the word, Edco has its teams covered.
To learn more about Edco, check it out here.
Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor