While plenty of Green Apple Day of Service projects can be low- or no-cost endeavors, some of your ideas may take a little more than elbow grease to accomplish. Inspired by Brady Barkdull from the USGBC Wyoming Chapter, who is using a crowdfunding campaign to support his 2015 Green Apple Day of Service project (check out his campaign for a recycling program at Victor Elementary School in Victor, Idaho), we’ve gathered several creative project financing ideas so that you too can make your project dreams a reality. Here are just a few ways you can find the financial support you are looking for:
- Crowdfunding – By accessing a large number of people online, even very small individual donations add up quickly. Find more information here about the different crowdfunding sites that exist.
- Large donation of in-kind materials – Talk with local hardware stores about Green Apple Day of Service and the project you are trying to do to help your local school. Find a time when you can visit to share more information about the specific materials (have all of this information ready!) that would help make your project a success.
- Crowdfunded donations of in-kind materials – Create a detailed list of materials and tools that you will need in order to get your project done and see if you can get each person in your network to lend you a tool or give a supply item. Follow up with emails to everyone as your list gets shorter!
- Set up a revolving fund with your school – If your project has a return period, see if your school can pledge a small amount of money up front knowing that it will pay for itself over time. Come up with plans for future projects to continue paying for themselves and you may be able to work with more money each successive year.
- Your city or town officials – Talk to local officials as early as you can about the idea you have and what you need to get it done. There may be some discretionary funding in their budget to support at least part of the effort – plus, public schools are public facilities that need to be maintained. Who knows, maybe they will show up and pour in a few volunteer hours of their own!
- Make your efforts visible to the community – If your local stores are unable to donate any materials directly, ask for time and space outside of a store’s entrance for students to talk to incoming shoppers about the project. Draft a pitch for the students to effectively talk about the goal of the project and what materials, specifically, are needed. You may find that people will decide to buy an extra item for your project while they do the rest of their shopping and donate it on the way out. Be sure to invite also invite the store managers to come volunteer at your final event.
- Combine multiple strategies! – Most of these strategies do not need to be used in isolation. Determine which could help and find other volunteers to activate as many of these strategies as you can to make sure you have everything you need for a wildly successful Green Apple Day of Service event!
Remember to spread the word wide and far. The more people that know about your project and what you need, the better your chances of finding someone who wants to get involved. Ask your own network (especially the other volunteers and supporters) to reach out to their networks. Soon, the whole community will know and you will succeed.
Finally, follow-up is extremely important. Don’t forget to return the stuff that was only meant to be on loan, thank everyone sincerely and often, and keep them engaged in the effort by sharing before and after photos.
What are you doing for Green Apple Day of Service? Let us know your plans, and other creative fundraising ideas, in the comments!