Part of the community-build philosophy is the belief that every community has within it the resources, the skills and the materials to create positive change. By tapping those local resources, you're not just building a playspace, you're building community capacity!
Children's activities need supplies: popsicle sticks, balloons, markers, drawing paper, cookie dough, face paint, and so on. Set yourself a goal of getting every necessary item donated or loaned to the project. You'll also need dedicated volunteers and supporters who will lead activities, pick up supplies, babysit, come to meetings, etc. Where in your community can you find help? Write down every resource you can think of. Read a detailed guide on identifying community resources in the Community Involvement section of the Toolkit.
When people are linked together as a group, they represent another level of community skills and resources. Some organizations may be willing to give you the supplies you need, or co-sponsor a donation program. They also have large membership networks...take advantage of their people power!
Local Businesses to Consider:
Your plans are only as good as the people who will implement them, so look for people you trust! Your Children's Team members will help you solicit supplies, arrange for babysitting, coordinate children's fundraisers and activities, and lead childcare activities during the build. They should be positive and energetic, and they should have a strong belief in the project. Does anyone come to mind? Go recruit them! Aim for three to five regular team members, and reach out to diverse segments of the community. While you're recruiting, keep a list of people who are interested in the project but too busy to assist in planning; they may come in handy when you need volunteers for your activities.
What's the key to successful solicitation? Know your audience and tailor your approach. Before you make "the ask," consider why each person, business, or organization might want to contribute to your project. Do they simply love kids? Have they been involved with children, recreation, or community projects in the past? Are they related to someone who will use the playspace? Will they receive public recognition on posters and banners? Talk to your co-chair(s) and Fundraising Captain about crafting a pitch and setting up "sponsorship packages" for businesses. Below is a brief summary of the ways that people can contribute:
Retailers may be willing to extend a certain amount of store credit so that you can "buy" what you need for free. This is ideal for materials like paper, glue or anything else that will be used up by the children.
Donation of supplies:
If a sporting goods, party supply or toy store is trying to promote a new product, they may be willing to donate a few as an advertising stunt. Emphasize how many children and parents will be involved — plus media representatives and community leaders!
Organizations and businesses may be willing to loan you helium machines, an inflatable "moon walk," popcorn poppers or other fun items. You can also approach local hang-outs – skating rinks, bowling alleys, etc. – about borrowing their facility for a few hours, and charging admission to benefit the playspace.
Donation of labor:
Mention to potential donors that you're looking for volunteers to facilitate children's activities during the build; they can spread word to their employees and/or offer incentives for volunteering.
Keep track of your supporters with a spreadsheet.