Although many parents would love to stay home with their children, it’s not always an option, so thank goodness for daycares and the staff that run them! They perform an essential service and excellent child care, but unfortunately, they’re often underfunded. Most daycares do operate on a for-profit level, but they may charge lower prices to attract busy working parents, and then have to make up the difference somehow.
However, daycares still have to pay for their facility, their supplies, food and toys for the children and wages for their employees. That can be tough when they stand to lose customers if their prices get too high, or take a loss because they can’t take as many children.
Many daycares choose to supplement their income by fundraising, which does help them out. Parents are often willing to help out with this, but the facility can have a problem attracting the notice of the broader community.
Unfortunately, when people don’t have children, they’re not always concerned with helping out their local daycare, and many don’t see the point of donating to something that they won’t use. However, that doesn’t mean that daycares can’t raise money in their community – they certainly can, and they may even get a little publicity, too.
Daycare fundraising ideas
One of the best ways to raise money for daycares is to sell product with a fundraising company. You can choose anything you want, from candy, greeting cards, candles, or magazines most people in the community won’t turn down an opportunity to buy from you if you’re offering them something that they want.
However, this type of fundraiser can eat into your profits, especially if you host an on-hand sale, which means that you would buy the product upfront and then sell it at craft shows and sporting events in your community.
A daycare looking to fundraise this way needs a lot of money and volunteers upfront, and many don’t have it. There are other ways to fundraise that don’t require a lot of time, shipping and money.
First and foremost, daycares operate in the daytime, and have an empty facility in the evenings and even on the weekends. If your daycare owns the building, you can choose to rent out the space in the evenings to churches, children’s groups like Girl Scouts, and activist groups.
If you rent the space, check with your landlord to see if you can sublet it out at these times. It’s a great way to raise money and help pay for your facility. Just make sure that the groups you rent it to will look after the space the way you would.
You can also transform it, when the children aren’t there, into a teen recreation center. Tack up pictures of teen idols and find a deejay willing to play tunes for an impromptu dance, and you’ll be helping more than just your organization.
You’ll need volunteers to help you do this, but by providing a safe place for teens to go on the weekends (and a fun place to dance and sell refreshments), you can make a bundle, if you’ve got the time.
Another fundraising idea is to offer parents another way to support your organization. Some daycares will transform a part of their facility into a used toy and clothes drop-off center and store. Most infant and toddler clothes are very gently used, since children grow very fast.
You can ask parents to donate their toys, clothes and car seats and then re-sell them to new parents looking for a deal. Make sure to carefully check the toys and car seats to ensure that they meet the latest safety laws for children.
Some daycares will implement ideas like making their own safe, organic play dough to sell to parents and around the community. This works best by involving parents who don’t mind gathering some flour, water, and salt to make up a batch. Another idea is to involve the children by organizing a bike-a-thon. This will take some volunteers and you’ll also need a safe facility to run this in (not near any streets or traffic).
Award prizes for the best decorated bike and have parents pledge to see how long their child can ride around before he/she gets tired. On ECE WebGuide, one daycare reported a profit of $700 with just 30 children!
Every parent loves to have photos of their children, but with their busy lives, they often can’t find the time to take them. You can stage a fundraiser in which one of the daycare teachers takes pictures of the children doing activities and having fun at preschool. Post them on a bulletin board and let parents choose the one they like the best to get copied.
Check with your local retailer to see how much it will cost to get prints – if it costs $0.50, then charge parents $1.00. Grandparents and friends of the children may want pictures, too, so it’s a good way to drum up interest and money.
You can try to raise money using a yard or bake sale fundraiser. These are often fun because the kids will love to get involved with the baking or sorting of toys (just be careful that they don’t decide to take them home!).
If you advertise well, you may get all sorts of people pulling up to see if they can get a deal. This is a great profit-maker and what you don’t sell can be donated to benefit a charity.
What not to do
It can be tempting to ask for donations directly, in the form of a letter or phone call to members of the community, but this rarely works for an organization like a daycare.
Most people who aren’t directly connected to the daycare won’t see the point in supporting you if you simply ask for money. Asking paying parents for extra money will be met with poor results, especially since they’re already paying for your services.
Whatever you decide to do, any extra money you earn means less work for you and less work for the parents. When you get the kids involved, what can seem like a chore turns into a fun activity that benefits everyone.