Education budget cuts to states and counties have had a negative impact on music programs. Although research has proven the value of music training and it may be designated as part of core curriculums in many schools, extra funds for materials can be scarce. Budget cuts are typically heaviest in the arts, and teachers often spend their own money on supplemental lesson plans.
Yet, there are ways to overcome the lack created by budget cuts in your classroom. Ones that don’t involve shelling out your own hard-earned cash. You just need to know where to look. These five ideas can help increase the funds you have available for teaching resources so that you can offer your students the best possible education.
This is a crowd-funding site specifically dedicated to education. Teachers can create their free listing for any specific classroom project, whether it involves making instruments available for each student or buying a certain music book for the year-end recital. You simply make a list of resources of the materials (include printer ink and everything), then total the amount you need for your project. The site allows donors to contribute as much as they’d like, even as little as $1. The great thing about this type of crowd-funding is that the agency actually fills the order. People see a list of the items you’ve requested, and once the money’s in place, the materials are shipped directly to your school.
This volunteer funding gives your community a chance to get involved very quickly. Just send out the information in an email or through social media. Parents and other individuals aren’t limited to the amount of money they can donate. To start your public school class project, sign up here.
This is another source of funding that attracts many corporate and personal donors. The teacher registration page allows you to enroll your class and make requests for general funds. You can add classroom pictures, explain why donations will help your students, and make requests for specific items. Perhaps you have a gifted student who isn’t able to afford a quality instrument. You can make donation requests for any number of items.
Like other crowd-funding sites, you can spread the word about your need through social media, classroom flyers, or other community outreach methods.
Every year the U.S. Government provides over a billion dollars in free funds for almost everything. Teachers are encouraged to collaborate and write grants for a variety of educational funds. There are free grant writing tips on the site, and the government has improved the database, making it much easier to navigate than it was 10 years ago. Classroom and large school grants are a great way to receive extra funding, and many of them apply to the arts. You may also want to check with your parent base to see if any qualified volunteers would like to assist in the writing process, such as in a recommendation capacity.
In addition to large amounts, there are a number of companies that will pay $500-$1000 for classroom grants. Many of the applications are very short and can be completed online. Check the weekly updates on this page for available grants, or the various opportunities listed here.
Fund Raising Activities
In addition to the free sources, there are a number of school drive-type activities that you can arrange. Businesses like Krispy Kreme offer special discounts for fundraising and their website makes it easy to set up your campaign. You can also start fundraising campaigns that require no up-front costs, selling various products like candles, tea, or cookie dough. Although it does involve selling, which isn’t always popular with parents, you can arrange to set up a booth at a local grocery or department store, so that students are always supervised.
Another way to earn funds for your music class involves organizing a community concert. In addition to your classes, you can ask the Glee club or Madrigals to join in. Get the word out about your concert and try to arrange for a free venue where you can sell tickets. Explain to your audience what the funds will be used for and give yourself plenty of time to prepare. If every family can donate $10 for the ticket price and you can get local businesses involved, you’ll be able to garner quite a bit of classroom funds, even if you split the proceeds with the other classes who participate.
Overcoming the budget cuts you face each year can be a struggle. By using innovative ways to raise funds, you can not only provide your students with a better education, you help spread the word about classroom needs in your community.