A lot of organizations, businesses, and even individuals participate in projects for the benefit of children in different communities. Some of them donate playground equipment for public parks, however, others just give money to procure said equipment.
In this article I’ll show you several different ways to get playground equipment donated or raise money to buy the equipment. Whether it’s for your organization or your family, you will have success if you follow this guide.
There are several options to explore for funding your playground project. You can apply for grants, approach corporate enterprises, solicit donations, start a GoFundMe campaign, sponsor fundraiser events, or a combination of some or all of these options.
Do your research on each of these so that you can choose the best options to obtain the funding for acquiring your playground equipment.
Applying for a Grant
The government (federal, state and local) is your primary source for grants specifically for parks, playgrounds, and related community projects. The federal government offers appropriate grants to get playground equipment.
But the greater part of these grants is extended at the state and local levels. You can search in grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html (national database) for pertinent federal grants for public parks and playgrounds.
Bear in mind that play areas, as well as equipment, may be under the qualification criteria for kids’ recreation and physical fitness.
Do research on local government offices and get in touch with your local parks department for more resources. These agencies may refer you to government bureaus or charitable organizations that offer grants for community associations.
Private companies make grants available for community initiatives as part of their corporate social responsibility or CSR programs. These business firms would like to give back, gain goodwill and media hype, and obtain tax breaks. Some corporations may donate funds for lower-income communities and schools.
In researching for grants, remember the following pointers:
- Make sure you have a legitimate resource before proceeding
- Conduct additional research and ask questions to get clarifications to avoid scams and wasting time on inappropriate grants.
- Be aware of potential issues that include grants that ask for application or processing fees.
- Scrutinize the criteria for qualifications before working on your grant proposal. Grant funds usually have rigorous preconditions. For instance, certain grants for playground equipment are allotted only to daycare centers and rural schools.
- Consider all compliance policies imposed by the organization along with safety guidelines to make sure that your proposal conforms to relevant safety parameters.
Many charitable foundations also dedicate their time and efforts on the physical fitness of children and apportion funds to equipment for physical play and outdoor amusement areas. Nonprofits also engage in community development so you may approach them for possible playground equipment grounds.
Who Can Receive a Grant to get Playground Equipment?
None of the government grants are offered for personal financial assistance. Under Grants.gov, few are available to private individuals.
Some organizations like KaBOOM administer grants to individuals. Schools, daycare facilities, organizations or associations including churches can also apply for said grants.
Under Section 501(C)(3) of the US Internal Revenue Code, many organizations, charities, corporations, and associations such as schools, churches, humanitarian programs, and nursing homes are exempt from paying federal taxes. If your organization, group or association has 501(C)(3) status, you should be qualified to apply for any available grant to receive playground equipment.
For information on how an individual family can get funding or donations for playground equipment please keep reading.
Available Grants for Playground Equipment
Kaboom is not a grant-giving organization but occasionally gives out challenge grants to nonprofit groups as well as individuals to raise money for playgrounds.
Challenge grants are provided by funding partners. They offer funds for every dollar earned from local fundraisers to construct playgrounds. You can check their website at kaboom.org/grants for updates.
Play and Park Structures playandpark.com/funding/grant-opportunities/P60 provides a list of available grants. On the other hand, korkat.com/playground-grants has a long list of available grant resources for churches, schools, nonprofits, and daycare centers.
Tips on Applying for a Grant for Playground Equipment
Here are some tips for organizations applying for a grant for playground equipment:
- Come up with a line-item budget (individual items are clustered according to the cost center) which includes the cost of equipment, shipping charges, installation, and insurance.
- Create a list of playground equipment beneficiaries. Organizations that provide grants will surely ask for demographic information. Indicate a total number of schoolchildren, physically-handicapped kids, and low-income residents.
- Make a list of grant-giving organizations using a genuine source like Grants.gov
- Contact the likely grant givers based on their proposal package or website
- Write a brief and unique proposal with well-written synopsis, budget, timeline, and demographic information
- Make sure the grant hasn’t expired. Some grants are only available in a certain time frame
Corporations that Donate Playground Equipment
Large corporations like Walmart, Lowe’s and Home Depot offer grants to nonprofits, churches, recognized government entities, schools, and projects that benefit communities-at-large.
The organization must hold a current tax-exempt status under IRS Section 501(C)(3).
The Walmart Foundation has a variety of grants available.
The Walmart website says it has more than two million associates consisting of residents,
friends, neighbors, and families worldwide. It seeks to empower these communities by way of retail enterprise and community giving.
The Foundation supports and invests in communities using local giving projects, encouraging volunteerism and programs that foster community unity.
For more information and eligibility requirements visit Walmart.org
Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation channels grants on community development
projects and K-12 public and charter projects. The high-need projects include building renovations, improvements of grounds and safety enhancement.
For more information please visit newsroom.lowes.com/lowes-foundation.
Update – As of September 2019, Lowe’s has stated that they no longer have an open application process. Please visit the link above for more information.
The Home Depot awards up to $5000 to non-profit organizations through their community impact grants.
You can submit your application through an e-mail and will receive a decision within 4-6 weeks after submitting your application.
For more information and eligibility requirements visit corporate.homedepot.com/grants/community-impact-grants
Ways for Individuals to get Playground Equipment Donated and Raise Money
If you are not a non-profit organization or other such entity who is interested in ways to get playground equipment donated to you, here are some legitimate ways you can make this happen for you and your family.
- Start a Go-fund-me campaign
- Donations from churches and schools
- Community fundraiser
- Use social media
How to Start a Successful Go-Fund-Me for Playground Equipment
Go-Fund-Me is a for-profit crowdfunding platform that helps people to raise money for life events and activities. It is described as the most trusted platform for online fundraising.
Go-Fund-Me has raised over $4 billion from 40 million donors since it started in 2010. It collects and distributes donations through electronic means. Users create their campaigns to address needs, setting up goals, the amount they hope to get and describe the need for funds through images and stories.
Campaigns usually begin by sharing links among peers using social networking websites and email. Donations are sent using Go-Fund-Me payment processors. visit gofundme.com to set up a campaign, but first, check out these helpful tips to better your chances of success.
Here are some tips to initiate a successful Go-Fund-Me campaign for playground equipment:
- Share your fundraising campaign with friends, co-workers and relatives in your Facebook
network to increase possible donations.
- Add a personalized message when you post on social media.
- Use attractive and bright images.
- Produce a convincing video.
- Produce an eye-catching fundraiser title.
- Share your link with four to five colleagues or next of kin through SMS, FB, email, and other social media platforms
- Post regular updates about your campaign, like the use of donations and beneficiaries.
Donated Playground Equipment from Churches and Schools
Even churches, preschools, and child daycare businesses may be willing to donate their old playground equipment after they successfully obtain grants or funding for new equipment sets.
Administrators or owners of these facilities and institutions can advertise their decision to donate so readers and projected beneficiaries can call and ask about the steps as well as requirements for qualifications.
Also, keep your eyes peeled, if you see unused playground equipment, simply ask the owner if they would be willing to donate it.
Old play equipment can be fixed up and restored to look new again. Check out our articles titled “How to Clean Plastic Playground Equipment – Make New Again“, and “How to Paint Plastic Playground Equipment – Fully Restore” for helpful guides.
Start a Community Fundraiser to get Playground Equipment
To organize a community fundraiser for your family, organization, church, school or nonprofit, you can learn from the following pointers:
- Set your overall objective and modest targets
- Choose efficient and trusted persons who can help you with the campaign
- Promote your campaign on social media, community event calendars, or press releases in
- Get the children involved
- Go door to door for donations and create
- Create signs or posters promoting your fundraiser
- Express your gratitude to all donors and those who helped in making the campaign
Use Social Media
The use of social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and other networks have proven to be successful in finding organizations and individuals willing to donate new or old playground Equipment.
Here is some advice:
- Prepare your fundraising campaign plan
- Choose the appropriate platforms. Younger audiences prefer Instagram and SnapChat. Facebook and YouTube are liked by almost all age groups.
- Get help from influencers who are respected persons in their respective industries with a huge social media following.
- Customize your message according to the platform.
- Prove to donors that their contributions can spell a big difference through storytelling and videos.
Other Ways to Raise Money for Playground Equipment
There are some other ways to raise money for purchasing playground equipment. Some of these include bake sales, children doing yard work and cutting grass, and car washes.
These are tasks that kids can perform so they will learn about the importance of working to achieve goals– which will benefit them. Of course, the children will need assistance from their parents and those involved in the fundraising project.
Go door-to-door and make it known what the money is being raised for through colorful signs and posters. Most often people will not only purchase what you are selling to raise the money but will also give a donation.
These methods can go hand-in-hand with a fundraiser.
Get as many people involved as you possibly can and promote it on social media. Create a snowball effect. People are more likely to give when they see others giving.
Final Thoughts and Considerations
New playground equipment can be very expensive. There are numerous grants available to non-profit and other organizations who are 501(c)(3), or exempt from federal taxes.
An older gentleman whom I used to be employed by was very successful in being awarded grants. He said the trick was to Hand Write the grant application/proposal (if you can) in clear and legible writing.
It makes your application stand out and people, no matter how unbiased, can’t help but be impressed.
For families who are looking to raise the money, combine a Go-Fund-Me campaign with social media and other fundraising techniques and you will have success.
I wish you success! Remember to stay safe and have fun!
Mother, Grandmother, Gardener, Tree Hugger. Child Safety Advocate. BSBA from the University of South Alabama. Retired Accountant.