Look, we get it. The ASLdeafined workforce is full of educators, so we know what a struggle it can be to get funding for what you wish you could provide to your students. We feel the same way. In a perfect world we would be able to bridge the gap between the Deaf and the hearing and provide our product for free to anyone smart enough to want to teach or learn American Sign Language 😊 Since we have yet to reach that perfect world, we can certainly do our best to provide you some support in the meantime.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
If you follow us on social media, take the time to click on our AT YOUR FINGERTIPS newsletter, read emails from us, or engage with us in other ways. You will notice that we often have deals running on everything from subscriptions to our dictionary or gift cards, etc. Please continue to consume our communications because you never know what opportunities for saving may be inside.
One day we hope to launch ASLdeafined CARES, a non-profit arm of ASLdeafined that we are currently in the process of creating. Until then, many of you may have benefited from discounts that we provided at different times for a variety of reasons, whether due to the challenging circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, or in response to needs like the number of free and reduced-priced lunches your building or district provides. We are currently working on parameters to streamline this process so that you can be alerted to options before we are hopefully able to provide more systematic assistance through ASLdeafined CARES for sign language educators and learners.
WHAT ABOUT NOW?
Certainly, if you’ve been teaching for any length of time, or follow the news, you are aware of creative ways that schools are dealing with funding shortages and may have been involved in such things yourself. If you have, we want to hear from you! Please contact our Director of Communications, Holly, at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas and she will arrange to have them added to the list below, crediting you. Hopefully, you will see some familiar suggestions that you may have forgotten about, but also find something new!
PLATFORMS FOR FUNDRAISING
Many of you may already be familiar with the options below, but in case you are not or need an extra boost to finally go for it, we wanted to be sure to include some here. It might seem daunting to get started or perhaps you feel you’ll just be one of many in a sea of people seeking money. Even if that is the case, there are a lot of people out there that want to help others, and in a world that is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of inclusion, you might be surprised by the response you get to a pitch for supporting your American Sign Language teaching and learning goals.
A visually pleasant interface for teachers to create a simple page with some basic background information to explain fundraising goals. Can be used by public, private or charter school K-12 educators. Flexible and easy to use with more than one suggested option to acquire desired funds. Although please note that, “A 10% fee is deducted from the total of each donation made to a school, before it is deposited into the school’s AdoptAClassroom.org account.”
Like other crowdfunding websites in terms of design and use (create a page, tell your story, begin receiving funds), one bonus to this option is that “At PledgeCents, we believe every cent counts, so we do not charge a platform fee on any of our fundraisers.”
Have something to share? Why not help other educators and make a few dollars in the meantime. Although this may not be a practical option for larger or immediate funding needs, once you set up an account you may find this is a wonderful way to connect with other teachers and have some extra cash to fill in the blanks. As with many of these sites there are some built-in fees, but you may find the outcome is worth the investment once you become a part of this sharing community of educators.
GoFundMe (charges 30 cents per donation)
Kickstarter (5% platform fee, 3% + 20 cents payment processor fee)
Indiegogo (5% platform fee, 3% + 30 cents payment processor fee)
The above are all popular crowdfunding websites for individuals from all walks of life to seek donations from the public to accomplish a wide variety of things. Take a moment to peek around which one might be best for your needs and be sure to look at the fine print beyond the fees mentioned above. Don’t be shy though, you would be amazed at how small donations can add up to get you where you want to be (or at least close).
IDEAS FOR FUNDRAISING
As with anything, there is certainly a lot of information out there! Our guess is that part of the problem you’re experiencing if you are looking to raise funds for your classroom is simply finding the time to look and learn about options, let alone execute them. Still, we felt we should mention a few tried-n-true ways to earn quick cash to support programs and include links with more information from others who have posted on this topic. This is just a small sampling to hopefully kickstart your creativity.
Nothing beats a good old-fashioned bake sale. It may seem overly simply or silly but trust us when we say that this requires little effort and often results in significant reward. If you only have a small number of people willing to bake a handful of items and either have a one-time event for a few days or a standing bake sale day once a week, we are confident you’ll find that there is always a market for homemade goodies. Bake sale profits can add up quickly when you consider the food donations are free.
Like a bake sale, it doesn’t take much to toss together a cute little candy packet, attach a 3×5 card and charge a few dollars for students to buy one for delivery to a friend in a homeroom or at the end of the school day, etc. – whatever is easiest to arrange. Just get a few student volunteers (perhaps student council) to put in some time assembling the packets and pitching it to friends with flyers, PA announcements or however else you want to advertise it. Then, pick a date by which they need to be purchased. Maybe tie in the delivery date with an event like homecoming or just for a morale boost. Then have your student volunteers sort and deliver them when the time arrives. You may be surprised how such a little thing can not only raise funds but brighten someone’s day. This could certainly be done with flowers like carnations as well, but that would require a bit more planning and potentially increased cost.
A unique option for funds is planning an event that is not particularly elaborate but may attract some attention. An example might be teaming with the school library staff or finding a cozy classroom to set up a “coffee house” some morning. In this example, students will be provided coffee, tea, hot chocolate, light refreshment, and entertainment. Find a few kids studying music or in a band that want to play, bring in a few lamps and comfy chairs to create a café atmosphere, and you’re all set! Sounds almost too simple, but if advertised properly you may find students are just happy to “pay cover” for a good cause and have a less industrial feeling environment to visit before class begins.
Things like a pie-in-the-face may sound too juvenile for the levels who generally use our program, but that doesn’t mean higher grade levels can’t find fun ways to include staff in creating a challenge where, for instance, a teacher performs a feat, is subject to a gag, wears a rival team’s colors, etc. once a certain fundraising goal is reached. We’ll let your creative juices and talented colleagues guide you toward what might generate the most interest, but this requires little cost or planning but can be a neat way to promote school spirit to boot.
WHY REINVENT THE WHEEL?
Our thanks to the wonders of the Internet and the people who took the time to collect their thoughts for others via the links below. There may be some repeats of what we have already mentioned, but there is plenty of additional information here.