There’s usually one big question on every playground planner’s mind: How am I going to raise all that money? That’s a lot of bake sales!
We know it’s intimidating. First, take a deep breath and remember the first rule of fundraising: You can do this. No matter what your budget, no matter how big your playground dreams, a community just like yours has already pulled it off with a lot of energy and a lot of perseverance. KaBOOM! knows – we’ve been there!
You'll need to sell your project in a lot of different ways to potential funders. Some of the ideas below are points you can use to sell the project to a variety of individuals, businesses, and foundations.
Playgrounds are a critical component in a child’s physical, intellectual, creative, and social development. Did you know that 90 percent of a child’s mental character is developed by the age of five? Through active play, children gain first-hand information about themselves, their bodies, their peers, and their environment. Without it, they’re too often stuck indoors with mind-numbing video games and television.
Play also develops increasingly complex behaviors as children grow and socialize, preparing them to function as healthy, confident adults.
Finally, a community playspace provides a meeting area where parents and other adults can gather to support each other’s parenting needs and discuss family issues. This strengthens the adult relationships that parents need to be successful.
Community-built playspace projects require an intense degree of community involvement because people must come together to plan, design, and build the playspace. And the end result makes your community a better, more attractive, more livable place that will bring in young families!
Your playspace committee itself is another selling point. Consider ways of using the foundation’s resources to make your group a permanent source of positive change in the community. After all, the KaBOOM! process of identifying and utilizing social networks will create a solid base for future community initiatives. We like to say that the "achievable win" of a playspace build gives neighborhoods the hope, confidence, and inspiration they need to take control of their public spaces and institutions.
You may stress that you’re using an asset-based approach that strengthens existing resources in the community. That shows foundations that this is a profound, sustainable change in civic capacity, rather than a one-time handout.
If you’re affiliated with a school, child-care center, after-school club, community center, or other service provider, play it up here. Maybe yours will be the only safe playspace for miles around...what are all those children doing now? Are they getting into trouble, sitting around being sedentary, playing in unsafe areas? You have a solution to those problems!
And again, stress the importance of play in children’s lives and development. Don’t be afraid to bring up the epidemic of child obesity! At a time when recess and gym classes are being cut and public parks are deteriorating, new playgrounds are at the center of a movement to bring back healthy and fun childhoods. If that’s not child service, what is?
This one is pretty obvious, but remember to think big: a community-built playspace can be much more than a group of slides and swings. Based on interest and space available, you might include a flower or vegetable garden, benches, a sandbox, gazebos, murals, an amphitheater, or an adult fitness trail. Make your park welcoming to people of all ages, and you’ll have a truly community-oriented space.
And finally, remember to stress sustainability. With the initial investment from the foundation and a strong community commitment, you’ll be able to keep this park maintained in a safe, beautiful manner for many years to come. It will be a constant source of community pride!
Get the idea? The best part about working with foundations is that it will expand your horizons and really get you thinking about the possibilities lying within a playspace project. The sky’s the limit! Sail into our community Forum to discuss your flights of fancy, or those days when you just can’t seem to get aloft.