Playgrounds offer a fun and safe environment for kids to engage in all kinds of play, invariably facilitating their social, physical, intellectual, and emotional development. It is no surprise, therefore, that numerous organizations and businesses continually make moves to construct a playground for kids. However, building a standard playground and equipping it with high-quality outdoor playground equipment is cost-intensive. Current estimates reveal that a complete playground build could cost between $40,000 and $80,000.
Often organizations have to embark on a fundraising campaign in order to raise the money needed to build and playground and purchase play-area gear. If you are looking to run one of such campaigns, you should know there are certain things you have to put in place if you are to stand a chance of achieving your set goals. Here are the important things you need to do before you even start exploring your playground funding options:
Have a feasible plan and design
You cannot start sourcing for funds if all you have is an idea of what you want the playground to look like. If you want potential donors to take your request seriously, you should have a concrete plan in place. For starters, you’d need a complete layout and design, estimated capacity and the kinds of play systems you plan to install on the playground.
Even if you cannot afford to work with an architect or other planning professionals, you should at least have a simple drawing of what the completed playground would look like. You should be able to explain the different sections of the playground and the kinds of outdoor playground equipment you plan to install in the play areas. Asides using the plan as a tool to attract potential donors, it would also help with the accurate estimation of the amount needed for the project.
Once you estimate the amount you need to build a playground and purchase playground equipment, you may then proceed to think about the possible funding sources. Needless to say, you’ll need to set an ‘achievable’ if you do not wish to set up your campaign to fail.
Gather a team
Raising funds to set up a playground and procure the tools is never an easy task. Even if you’re used to working alone, you might struggle if you employ the ‘lone ranger’ approach with this fundraising project. Working with a team gives you the room to designate tasks and also allows you to extend your tentacles as much as you can.
If the playground construction and playground equipment purchase is a public project, your team might consist of volunteers who are willing to spare a few hours every week for the cause. Volunteering is particularly good for community projects because it fosters a sense of collective ownership. It’ll also help promote patronage and maintenance when the dream is finally achieved.
The more diverse your team is, the better. Typically, you’d need to put people in charge of writing grant applications, contacting prospective donors, monitoring donations and updating all the parties concerned about the status of the project. Thankfully, most of these tasks can be learned on the job.
Set up an account and an accounting system
To promote transparency and efficiency, all incoming donations should be kept in a single account. This creates a need to set up a dedicated account for the construction plans and materials purchase.
Depending on the scale of the project and other considerations, you may consider opening a savings account for the project. The interest that’ll accrue may just be enough to cover running costs and miscellaneous. If a savings account won’t suit your needs, you might consider placing the donations into an escrow or checking account. Whatever you do, you should never use a personal account for this kind of fundraising campaign. It creates an instant distrust between you and the potential donors.
Asides a bank account, you’ll also need an accounting system to monitor donations and expenses. With a proper accounting system, you would know your exact financial status at any point in time. You’d also be able to keep proper track of all donors and properly acknowledge the receipt of the funds.
Have a plan for keeping people motivated
Raising funds for any project is never an easy task. You might get to a point where you fall short of all your projections and it’ll seem like you are chasing a lost cause. During these periods, it’s important to ensure you and your team stay motivated and committed to achieving the goal. Below are a few things you can do to keep everyone motivated:
- Send out a monthly newsletter that provides a detailed account of the progress thus far.
- Set up a display at a strategic point to show donors how far you’ve come and how much work still needs to be done.
- Set up periodic rallies or online awareness campaigns that would help remind people the project is still very much active.
- Start your outdoor playground equipment project as soon as you realize a substantial amount of money. A tangible sign of progress could just be what you need to spur people to donate.
Although it may take many months or even years, you should keep in mind that giving up is not an option. As long as you can find a way to keep the dream alive, you’ll definitely realize it someday. When the challenges appear insurmountable, the best thing to do is to revisit your original plan and restrategize. Identify where you made mistakes with your earlier projections and know where to change tactics or intensify your efforts.
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