Crowdfunding for Schools and Education
Learn how to raise funds for your school, PTA, or student organization in an easy and fun way!
Are you a parent, teacher, or student looking for new fundraising ideas for your school? Are you tired of bake sales, Krispy Kreme fundraisers, and car washes? See examples of how students in all 50 states have used crowdfunding to make money for their schools!
Piggybackr.com is a crowdfunding website for teams of all ages and experience levels. We’re the only fundraising tool that is instructional and safe for users of all ages. Set up an online fundraiser, raise money for your cause, and collect donations all in less than 5 minutes. Sign up for free.
At the end of this article, you’ll have everything you need to know to start crowdfunding for your school! Here are some tips to get you started.
I. What are schools fundraising for online?
Just like traditional fundraisers, crowdfunding can be used to get money for all the things your school might need:
- Field Trips (for example: science camp, summer enrichment, transportation)
- Student Clubs (for example: robotics, debate, journalism, competitions)
- Sports Teams Boosters
- Service Learning
- School Supplies
- STEM Initiatives
- Prom and Student Activities
- Community Service & Philanthropy
- School Supplies
- Student Entrepreneurship
II. Example successful education crowdfunding projects
Here are some projects who successfully croudsourced their fundraising and raised money effectively online
Let’s Send the 8th Grade to DC!, Northern Light School’s Class of 2015
Organized by 8th Grade Fundraising
Northern Light School has been “Educating the Whole Child” for 25 years. The focus is on excellence in teaching basic academics as well as non-violence, acceptance of differences, respect for the environment, and the moral advancement of humanity - so that the children develop an understanding that they have a responsibility to make a difference in the lives of others.
Help PS 2 Get School Supplies!, the students at PS 2
Organized by Joanna Cohen
“PS 2 is the place where the American Dream begins.” So reads the description of our school on insideschools.org, a popular site for New York City school reviews. And it couldn’t be more accurate. Most of our students and their parents are recent immigrants from China. Many of our students start school knowing very little English and having had limited formal education prior to coming to New York City. We are a public school of more than 800 students, ranging from pre-K through grade 5. More than 96% of our students are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.
New York, NY
Del Lago Academy - Run for STEAM, Del Lago Academy Foundation
Organized by Liz LaBlond
Del Lago Academy Foundation supports Del Lago Academy, Campus of Applied Science. Opened in August 2013 this school blends project based learning with traditional learning. Our Scholars have smaller class sizes and a core set of teacher (3) for major subjects. Internships with our partners in the community ensure all scholar will have real world experience before they graduate and go on to college.
Help Us Compete at Global Finals, our team to compete at the Global Finals
Organized by Derren Slinde
The DI ACES are a Destination Imagination team based in Middleton, WI. We are comprised of seven 5th grade students from Sunset Ridge Elementary: Alex Button, Arber Jonuzi, Calvin Slinde, Edwin Zhang, Julia Zhang, Poojha Prabaharasundar, and Sam Svendsen. Derren Slinde is team manager. Out of 23 elementary teams competing in the Scientific ‘Going to Extremes’ Team Challenge at the State Tournament, the DI ACES placed 1st overall. The team was also given the Renaissance Award, which recognizes teams that demonstrate extraordinary amounts of effort and preparation in their solutions as well as outstanding skill in engineering, design or performance.
An Interactive Digital Museum, HTe 4th grade
Organized by Kim Cawkwell
High Tech Elementary (HTe) is a small project-based learning school where we learn authentic, rigorous content, in a meaningful and engaging way. Students apply their learning of 21st century skills through group work, reflection, and investigating real-world dilemmas. Their project work is curated and exhibited to a public audience to inform and to inspire others..
San Marcos, CA
Week Without Walls!, Experiential Learning Through Travel
Organized by Gambold Prep
Gambold Prep is a Public High School located on the west side of Indianapolis offering the International Baccalaureate curriculum. Currently, 110 ethnically diverse freshman and sophomores attend. Approximately 78% of the scholars are on free and reduced lunch and the remainder are from moderate income homes. Family support and involvement levels are high as well as test scores and GPAs. All students are College Bound and involved in extra-curricular activities including sports, clubs and community service.
III. How to use crowdfunding to raise money for your school - 4 tips
- Appoint one point person to head your online fundraiser. Though crowdfunding is a team effort, having one team leader - whether it’s a teacher, PTA parent, principal, or student leader - is critical. This person not only sets up the crowdfunding campaign, but plans the general timeline and communicates with everyone during the course of the fundraiser.
- Get the proper approvals first! Every organization is different. Make sure you get the green light from administrators or even the district when you try to run a school crowdfunding project for the first time.
- Offer a prize to the top fundraisers and top effort point earners! We know you can’t require everyone to participate but surely a pizza party, ice cream party, or special mention in the school assembly might motivate people - get creative!
- Ask for Parental Support! Send a note home with students asking for their parents to help their children out and spread the word!
IV. How does it work exactly?
Your team leader or fundraising chair sets up an team donation page in less than 5 minutes. The page can be customized with your story, funding goal, team picture, and fun sponsorship perks for each level of giving. Since you’re not selling anything, this lets your team keep over 90% of the money you raise.
Your team also gets an unlimited number of personal donation pages for every teacher, student, and parent participating. We help you learn how to fundraise by using our tools - sample donation letters, sample donation thank you letters, and motivational tips all timed to perfection.
V. What makes Piggybackr the best crowdfunding website for students and school fundraising?
On Piggybackr, students get donations (an average of $86 each), all while learning 21st century skills! It’s easy, fun, and safe even for kids under 13 (we’re COPPA compliant).
Piggybackr is safe for students of all ages
Piggybackr is the ONLY fundraising website certified safe for kids under 13. Most existing online fundraising websites don’t allow users under 18, let alone under 13. Piggybackr has truly been designed from the ground up to engage, empower, and motivate fundraisers of all ages and experience levels. It works so well that some of our users and the press have called piggybackr a “Kickstarter for schools.”
Users learn how to fundraise in a fun and easy way
Piggybackr is one of the best ways to raise money for school because it’s the only crowdfunding website that teaches kids how to fundraise.
We get that you’re a busy teacher, parent or student and that you’re NOT a professional fundraiser. Our site does the work for you. We’ve spent years on the ground, teaching beginners how to raise funds, and have built all of our learnings and fundraising best practices right into our product. From dynamic task lists, points and badges, to motivational emails - we’ve got you covered!
We recognize effort and learning
Raising money is great, but we also understand the importance of effort and learning. Piggybackr helps students and administrators tracks all sorts of things beyond dollars raised - including effort, number of emails sent, and even badge level. Fundraising is an important life skill. It teaches many important lessons in digital literacy, financial literacy, and other 21st century skills!
You don’t have to sell anything, and you can still raise an average of $86 per donation!
On Piggybackr, students are not selling nor begging. Selling a physical object often turns the act of giving into a purely monetary transaction. Someone buying candy bars is probably only going to buy a few (one person can only eat so much candy), but someone donating for a good cause will give a lot more. Some students are uncomfortable asking for money because it feels like “begging” for help.
We empower students and teams to learn the art of fundraising by proudly asking for support and offering unique incentives to donors in return. From running laps, volunteering for a day, to recognizing a donor’s name on social media - these are low cost, high value ideas for everyone involved. It works so well that the average donation through Piggybackr is $86!
VI. What kinds of schools can use Piggybackr?
While sites like Donorschoose focus exclusively on public schools, we allow students, teachers, parents from all K-12 schools and universities to fundraise on our website! Whether you’re a public school suffering from budget cuts, a private school with rising costs for new technology, or a charter school just looking for an interesting interactive activity for your students, Piggybackr can help.
Many of our users are high school students led by educators, but since we’re COPPA compliant (safe for those under 13), we also have entire elementary schools and middle schools come on board and fundraise effectively!
Check out this partial list of of a few schools that have raised money successfully on Piggybackr:
- Akiva School K-6 Jewish Day School (Nashville, TN)
- Berkeley High School (Berkeley, CA)
- Canandaigua Academy (Canandaigua, NY)
- Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Charles Borromeo Catholic School (Oklahoma City, OK)
- Dynamy Youth Academy (Worcester, MA)
- Escuela Bilingüe Internacional Elementary (Emeryville, CA)
- Franklin High School (Portland, OR)
- Gambold Preparatory Magnet High School (Indianapolis, IN)
- Granite Bay High School (Granite Bay, CA)
- James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA)
- Hendrick Hudson High School (Cortlandt, NY)
- High Tech High School (San Diego, CA)
- Melbourne High School (Melbourne, FL)
- McNair Elementary School (Greensboro, NC)
- Milpitas High School (Milpitas, CA)
- MS224 Carroll Gardens School for Innovation (Manhattan, NY)
- New Heights Academy Charter School (Bronx, NY)
- Robert Burns Elementary and Middle School (Royal Oak, MI)
- Silver Oak Elementary (San Jose, CA)
- Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY)
- South Grand Prairie High (Grand Prairie, TX)
- Summit Preparatory Charter High School (Redwood City, CA)
- The Athenian High School (Danville, CA)
- University of California (Berkeley, Los Angeles, CA)
- University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM)
- Westchester Square Academy (Bronx, NY)
VII. Do you have any case studies of successful school fundraising projects?
Service Learning at Silver Oak Elementary
Mr. Laraway incorporated PiggyBackr into a service-learning project for his 5th grade students. Students in his class researched a nonprofit, Canine Companions for Independence - an organization which provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities. They presented their learnings at a school assembly and set up a school-wide fundraiser, on and offline, to help their new favorite charity. Classrooms competed against each other and raised over $6,500. Not only did they learn the importance of giving back, but they were able to adopt a furry canine companion friend for someone in need. [
Uniforms for MS442’s Basketball Team
Last year, MS 442’s basketball team was the only one showing up to games without uniforms. Unfortunately, they just didn’t have the budget to buy team uniforms. The PTA was able to offer $500 toward the uniforms, but they needed $500 more.
The team turned to Piggybackr and got a parent to volunteer to be the kids “team leader” who helped them set up a fundraising page. Everyone worked together to email the page to our personal contacts and in 12 hours they exceeded their goal by 128% and raised $640. Through their team fundraising efforts, they made enough money to buy uniforms for all 20 kids on the team with enough left over to set aside money for future teams.
UC Berkeley students - $67,167 Raised from 993 donors
UC Berkeley students have used Piggybackr to raise money to participate in a variety of campus activities ranging from student government, sports, professional development, volunteer trips, to community service. The Cal Corps Public Service Center and CAL NERDS program have introduced their students to using Piggybackr for all their funding needs.
Danielle Ngo, a college junior, led her Alternative Breaks team to raise over $14,000 on Piggybackr. What was important to her was “being able to raise money via social media, a method that is second nature to students is important” because donors “mentally check out if you approach them with magazine subscriptions, cookie dough, or candy bar fundraisers but that students are excited to use the Internet.”
VIII. What are educators saying about school fundraising on Piggybackr?
I absolutely love this website. Out of all the ones that I know of, it is the most student-friendly. The students are excited to share it with friends and family members! Melania Valverde
Piggybackr is an online giving system that takes the concept a step further and teaches kids how to raise money – it covers everything from how to write a donation letter to choosing giving incentives that contributors will actually want. Alex Wegman
We raised more money with this year’s Piggybackr site than we did in our past two years of student-led fundraising. David Brinza