Fundraising at School
School is in session again which means it’s a perfect time for Assistance Dog for the Classroom clients to fundraise for NEADS. As Assistance Dog clients you’re in a unique position because your dog is meant to help many different people. This makes it easier to fundraise, as long as you can effectively communicate the value that your NEADS Assistance Dog brings to your community.
Hybrid events – some of the most successful school fundraisers have traditionally been walk-a-thons, coin drives, and other in-person events. Over the past couple years, due to Covid, many of these in-person events couldn’t be held so fundraisers found creative ways to make them virtual. Having a virtual option allowed people to participate that may not have otherwise, and this still holds true now. In-person fundraising events are doable again, but if you really want to run a successful fundraiser then consider offering both an in-person option and a virtual option. This hybrid method of fundraising works very well!
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. NEADS clients have often utilized craft and holidays fairs to raise money too.
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 or news station (reach out to me 1st) to see if they’ll run a story like this one about Assistance Dog J.D. 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 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 great 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. Check out this page that NEADS Assistance Dog Bentley shares with a fellow working dog in Mansfield, MA.
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. Despite any difficulties, clients continue to reach their fundraising goals so keep moving forward, be creative, and you’ll get there too.