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Have You Considered Crowdfunding?

Have you ever considered crowdfunding for your ideal playground facilities?

Things are always better when we’re together! If you’re looking for new ways to raise funds for your school playground project, Crowdfunding could be the perfect solution.

a birdseye view of the play scheme including surfacing and natural play equipment such as a self selecting store and planter benches

Schools across the UK are increasingly turning to Crowdfunding as a hugely successful way to inject new life into their outdoor learning and play spaces.

At a time when budgets are tight and grant funding is often limited, more and more schools are finding that Crowdfunding is not only a brilliant way to achieve the level of funding needed for their project, but also a welcome way to engage the wider community and gain their support in the long term.

Nursery age children, not in school uniform, sit on the little timber climber looking at the camera and smiling

Of course Crowdfunding is not a completely new phenomenon - it’s a popular fundraising approach across the board and it’s relatively simple to do.

But the idea of using crowdfunding for improving play spaces in recent times has really caught people’s attention - and has become much closer to our hearts - as the importance of getting children back outside, playing and learning with their peers following the pandemic, has become increasingly clear. 

children cross the get set, go blocks carefully  Since lockdown, people have used parks and local spaces to get out and get active, both for their physical and mental wellbeing, more than ever.

And earlier this year, the Guardian newspaper reported on how parents and play experts have been turning to crowdfunding to rebuild and maintain parks and playgrounds, as cash-strapped local authorities cut their budgets across England.

a teacher helps two nursery aged pupils cross the timber balance beam whilst they both wear blue waterproof coats

This idea of gathering wider, local support to share the financial load - where people really want to see change happen and they know there’s not much in the pot - is something that can work really well for schools.

They have a ready-made network of people in their community - school families, the PTA and governors, and local businesses too - who all have a genuine vested interest in their success.

children play with the water wall, pouring water and different objects down the tubes

How Does Crowdfunding Work?

Crowdfunding is essentially about asking a wide crowd of donors to each make a small donation, via the internet, to your school’s project.

It’s a simple idea - with many benefits - to raise capital for a project at no great cost to one individual or institution.

two children stand and play with the water wall

By sharing your vision for something specific such as redeveloping your school’s outdoor learning and play provision - the educational, social and developmental needs that will be met and the lives that will be impacted by this - you expand your reach and allow more people to understand the real importance of what you’re trying to achieve.

People can see exactly where their donations will be going, and feel encouraged to support a worthwhile project.

a project complete with surfacing, green artificial grass and blue and black wetpour and timber play items

Crowdfunding campaigns can also help to raise general awareness and create connections between your school and the local community - to foster new friendships and affiliations that can be of future benefit to both.

You can run a Crowdfunding campaign in conjunction with other fundraising activities such as a Fun Run, or anything else that the children might like to get involved with.

children run around a track and compete to see who will win the race

This can be a hugely empowering and memorable learning experience for them - they will enjoy being able to play their part, and taking ownership of helping to make their new playground happen.

There are plenty of good Crowdfunding websites out there to provide your platform - a simple internet search will reveal the right one for you and it’s very easy to set up your page and get sharing!

children in purple, white and black uniform climb on the timber climber with beige and blue wetpour beneath

How Can My School Crowdfund Successfully?

Here are a few things to consider to make sure that your Crowdfunding campaign runs really well:

Spend time carefully planning and choosing the right wording for your Crowdfunding page before you share it. It might sound obvious, but the time investment at the very start will pay dividends.

an entire play scheme with surfacing and timber play products such as a clatter bridge being played on by children in blue school uniform

Share your vision, and share your passion. Be absolutely clear about what it is you’re raising funds for, and why. Tell people why this project is needed, and how their donations are going to help to make it happen.

You know exactly why the project is so important for your school, and all the educational, physical and social benefits that it will bring to the children who get to use the new space, but it won’t always be immediately obvious to everyone else.

a play scheme with a trellis, surfacing and other additions

Tell the story - make it interesting and compelling. Help them to understand where you’re coming from, and let them see what a difference their money will make. Crowdfunding is all about people power after all!

Be clear with your communications and include as much relevant detail as and when you can about the scope of the project - what it’s going to involve, who’s delivering it, timeframes and costs.

Children run around on the safety playground surfacing

It needs to be specific so that donors know where their money is going and that it’s being used well. Gather all associated costs together to set a realistic Crowdfunding target to aim for.

Use drawings, photographs and videos to their full effect - what the outdoor space looks like now and what it could look like, or what the children would like to be able to do with their outdoor space.

children stand under the playhouse that is decorated with flags and bunting as children draw on the chalkboard

Get the children involved with this too - they’ll enjoy and learn from being a part of the planning process, and they’re usually more than capable of inspiring potential donors to help out! You can have some fun together with this!

The more people can visualise, the more they will engage and feel encouraged to donate.

children in blue, black and white school uniform run around on the get set, go blocks on artificial grass surfacing

Make the most of social media! It’s by far the quickest way to spread the word. Provide a link to your Crowdfunding page and ask everyone in your community to share it - parents, staff, local businesses etc.

Whether you use Facebook or Twitter, or harness the power of the class WhatsApp group, this is the way to get your project out there.

children climb on the timber climbing frame and pose for a picture with artificial grass surfacing beneath

Contact your local press and ask if they can support you by running a story about your project plans - they’re usually very good at supporting local causes with publicity.

Most importantly - keep in touch along the way. Use your school website and newsletters along with social media to show your playground project in action, with updates, and to thank everyone who has donated or been involved

children in green school uniform sit in the large sand box and play with the sand and the tools to move the sand such as diggers and spades

Everyone is busy so it never hurts to have the occasional reminder that you’re working towards a target.

Host an ‘official opening’ of your new playground if you can. This can be something really simple with a ribbon-cutting and an opportunity for parents and children to explore their new spaces together for the first time. Invite people who have helped with fundraising along and thank them in public.

children in white, light blue and black school uniform stand and play with the mud kitchen and the rope and pulley mover and the sand box

They will enjoy being a part of this as much as you, and your school will stay in their memory as an integral part of the community that’s always worthy of their support.

As the UK’s Number 1 School Playground Specialist, here at Pentagon we have plenty of experience in helping schools and nurseries to find the right funding for improving their outdoor spaces.

four nursry age childrn sit on the grass topped seats and look at their teacher who is out of shot reading them a story

Whether you’re considering a full playground design and installation, or you’re looking to expand your existing provision, we have everything you need to help you create outdoor learning environments that engage and inspire every day. You can view our full range of fabulous outdoor learning and play products now.

children run around on the get set, go blocks with the giant playhouse in the background

Please do Contact Us to find out more about what we do, and to book a consultation with one of our playground experts.

NEW! Now you can visit our New Online Shop, where you can purchase a selection of our products that don’t require a professional on-site installation, to be delivered directly to your school!

children stand around on the green artificial grass playturf that has a timber climbing frame on it and there is people gathered all around