Back to School Fundraising – Assistance Dogs

It’s that time of year again…sort of.  As we’ve already seen, returning to school is very different this fall and most districts are still trying to work out the kinks. This means that fundraising will have to be done differently, as well. So put on your thinking caps because it’s time to get creative!

Virtual events: some of the most successful school fundraisers have been walk-a-thons and other in-person events. These are still options as long as you can shift that event a bit. Take note of how the Falmouth Road Race and the Flutie 5k have altered their events to work within the limitations of 2020. A number of schools have held similar virtual events where students, parents and teachers can participate from their own homes and neighborhoods.

Get crafty:   Do you like to knit, paint, draw, or are you otherwise creative? If not, do you know people who enjoy these things? If so, ask these people if they’d be willing to help you with your fundraising campaign. Many clients have offered handmade, one of a kind, thank you gifts as a way to inspire donations. Some have even set up Etsy stores or posted items on Facebook Marketplace. Instead of asking people to purchase an item, you can have them make a donation to NEADS and then send them the item as a thank you.

Communication: this is key!  The most important thing that you can do is to talk about NEADS. An Assistance Dog from NEADS is going to benefit everyone in your school. Make sure to explain this to your colleagues and (if the school allows) get the word out to parents and people in the community, as well. Contact your local paper to see if they’ll run a story like this one about Assistance Dog Bentley. There are always more resources available than you realize but to tap into them you need to let people know what you’re doing and make connections in your local area.

Social media:

Using your social media – do your friends and family know about the work that you do?  Do they know that you’ve applied for an Assistance Dog from NEADS to help you in that work? If not, this is the time to educate them.  Use your personal social media accounts to post about NEADS and link your fundraising page to those posts. If you are using Facebook you can opt to make your posts public so anyone can see them, or if you’re more comfortable with a private audience you can make sure the posts are only visible to your Facebook friends. Either way, you are spreading the word about NEADS and that will always help with your fundraising efforts.

Using the school’s social media – does the school have its own social media pages?  Some do!  If allowed, post photos of your Assistance Dog, the students, fundraising events, etc. Post short quotes from students about how the dog has impacted them, or post quotes from other staff members. This also works if you haven’t been matched yet. You can always post about how a future Assistance Dog will help in your school and talk about our many other NEADS dogs and the work that they do.

Using the dog’s social media – If you’ve already been matched with an Assistance Dog then you can work on creating a social media presence for your dog. This is not only a good way to talk about your fundraising but it’s also perfect for keeping in touch with students and highlighting the incredible work that your Assistance Dog is doing. A great number of our clients have set up Facebook pages for their Assistance Dogs.

Most importantly…stay calm and keep plugging away at your fundraising.  You don’t have to hit your goal overnight.  NEADS gives clients a full two years from acceptance to reach their fundraising goals because life is unpredictable and sometimes fundraising comes with unexpected challenges – what hasn’t been challenging this year, right?

We’ve all encountered more than our fair share of curveballs in 2020 and while this has created many difficulties, it has also forced some pretty amazing outside-the-box thinking. Despite the difficulties, clients are reaching their fundraising goals all the time – so keep moving forward, be creative, and you’ll get there, too.