5 Tips to Get Funding For Teaching Supplies

Good teachers understand the importance of funding and resourcing. Unfortunately school budgets are often very tight and many teachers find that they are forced to purchase their own supplies throughout the school year.

Raising extra money for educational supplies, resources, excursions or materials can be an important step towards enriching students learning experiences and enhancing the effectiveness of your own teaching methods and strategies.

Here are five tips to help your school increase the funding available for you and your school.

1. Student Centered Fundraising

Student centered learning approaches encourage higher order thinking and engage the learner in the learning task. Involving students in fundraising activities provides excellent opportunities to encourage the learner to develop a wide range of skills and experiences.

Understanding the value of money, working as a team to achieve a common goal and participating in the wider community are invaluable experiences for students, and all of these skills can be fostered through the fundraising process. Some fundraising ideas that have worked well include:

- Selling sweets, chocolate drives

- Making t-shirts

- Baking and selling cookies

- Creating and selling artwork or posters

- Selling or requesting donations door to door

- Approaching local businesses

Always gain parental permission prior to involving students in the fundraising process; most parents are delighted to help the school improve resourcing. Students should always be accompanied when collecting door to door

2. Fundraising through Local Business

Many local businesses and retail chains offer special programs for teachers to increase funding for supplies. For example, offering free advertising in the school newsletter for the local stationary store may lead to a discount for teaching staff, or even free stationary and supplies.

Some businesses will issue vouchers to schools, and if they are sold to students and parents, the teacher and the school may receive a percentage of the sale price.

Cold calling businesses and asking for donations to the school can also be an effective way of increasing funding levels at school.

3. Student run school enterprises

Selling snacks, 'renting out' computer game time in the lunch breaks, selling toys and treats at school can increase funding levels. Older students can become involved in running the store and learning how to monitor, track and record transactions. The enterprise can be linked to thematic units of work in order to enrich students' learning experiences. For example, students may learn how to attract and maintain customers by studying a unit on Advertising. Students may enhance mathematical concepts by learning about percentages and percentage off sales. The possibilities are endless.

4. Saving the environment - raising money through recycling

Some businesses will buy school items such as old computers and printer cartridges and exchange them for cash in order to support the educational system.

Dedicating one day per month to recycling and asking parents to donate recyclable items to be resold can be an effective way to make a profit for the school supplies fund. For example, glass bottles can be sold to recycle plants. Used clothing can be sold on eBay or at school jumble sales.

Used books donated by parents can be sold or exchanged to raise funds for new books for students' classrooms or the library.

By placing a regular request for such items in the school newsletter, schools can actively promote recycling and raise money.

5. Tax Savings

Teachers can often claim back the cost of school supplies through the taxation system. Any items relating to work are usually taxing deductible. Often teachers are unaware that they can claim for particular items.

Here is a list of items you may be able to claim, however, always seek advice from a professional certified accountant and remember the list is not exhaustive.

- Books, magazines, textbooks, educational journals

- Pens, paper, diaries, art supplies, stationary

- Home office expenses such as a percentage of electricity bill, rent or mortgage, cable internet bill, cable bill, telephone bill and office furniture

- Computer, printer, laptop, cartridges, USB connections

- Digital cameras

- Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen

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