Behind my back (actually in my face), while I am being traditional, organized, and old school, a revolution in fund raising is taking place. Companies are taking the lead and using their social media exposure to provide grants for non-profits. So get ready, does your school have a Facebook page?
The question for this blog is, are these real grants and do they require your hard won grant writing skills? Yes and no. The grants are real, the money is worth fighting for, but because of the nature of social media, it won’t require weeks of study, narrative development and relationship building to score an award. For the most part, these are highly competitive mini-grants, but don’t sneer at that, mini-grants have an important role to play in your overall fund raising plan. How many times have you had a project that went over budget? In those cases, you would probably tap into your city budget to fill the gaps. Don’t ignore the power of social media to help you dig for gold in the corporate grant environment, and these opportunities are proliferating all over the web.
The other issue that may stay your hand, at least for now, is your school’s position as a government agency. Many social media driven funding raising opportunities are geared for non-profits with 503(C)3 tax status. I’ve covered this in other blogs, but it lends ammunition to the argument that your school should form its own non-profit wing, “Friends of Sunnybrook School” for instance. The new wing can tap into many new opportunities for funding, but be prepared to work hard, This may be a job for your PTA or PTO, and be prepared to consult with a good lawyer to help set it up.
As you clear your desk of those impediments, you will find that setting up a Facebook or Twitter page is worth doing anyway, if only from a networking point of view. The four top social media outlets as of this writing are:
You cannot go through a day without someone talking about one or all of these websites. People are signing up and creating their own pages in the millions. It’s a great opportunity to create a web presence for your school. It’s free, and you are instantly launched into a world of communication opportunities.
As for companies that are providing fund raising opportunities through these sites, the list is growing. This is all in its infancy but expect it to grow. You may want to select one tech savvy teacher to manage the social media world in your school. You may already have one, check with your Library Media Specialist or Technology Coordinator.
A few companies that are moving their corporate giving divisions to social media outlets are:
To get started, make sure you have permission from your Principal, in fact, make sure your district Superintendent and Technology Director are aware of your plan and set up a Facebook page for your school. You’ll find it’s a great way to network with other schools and a fun project for kids to learn about using the Internet. Next, be sure to “like” the online projects of companies you find that are using Facebook as an outlet for their fund raising campaigns.
I’ve gone out on a limb and strayed a bit from my usual stodgy old grant writing blog, but hey, we’ve got to get with the program. I’ll keep you posted as I find new social opportunities for your school.
Resources for why and how to establish a social media presence for fund raising:
- Overview article
- Slideshare presentation
- Integrate social media with your fund raising program
- How to find resources
You may be way ahead of me with a Facebook presence of your own. Let me know how you’re doing, I’d love to feature your school in one of my blogs. How are you using social media in your school?