As schools have worked diligently to safely reopen classrooms for the 2020-2021 school year, the decision to start virtually, in person, or in a hybrid model has required considerations beyond health and safety concerns. New needs for technology, materials to accommodate social distancing in classrooms, or specific items needed for students to distance learn are all considerations for school administrators this year.
Crowdfunding for classrooms has been an extremely popular way for teachers to help provide all the back-to-school items they need in a normal school year, from graph paper to books for class libraries. But does crowdfunding work when you need more than basic school supplies? For example, a keyboard for every student in your class?
If you ask Dr. Geoffrey Kiorpes, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the New York City Charter School of the Arts, the answer is yes.
Geoffrey called Blackbaud in June asking if we could assist him with a crowdfunding project. His school had made the decision to hold virtual classes this fall and he was struggling with how he could teach piano virtually to his incoming sixth graders, and to his seventh and eighth graders who wanted to continue piano classes. His goal was simple: raise enough money to purchase a keyboard for every incoming sixth-grader taking his core piano class, as well as any older students who were looking to continue their piano studies. The cost for this project was $30,000—no small task.
To help NYC Charter School of the Arts with this endeavor, we looked to our easy-to-use crowdfunding platform, Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising® powered by JustGiving®. With the platform having no upfront cost to use and a secure payment processing system that provides daily disbursements of the money raised, JustGiving was an easy choice for Geoff and his team.
Keyboards for Kids has been consistently raising money since July. When asked what has been the best part of launching this campaign, Geoffrey states, “When close friends and family found out about it they were obviously excited, but to watch how it spread and to hear positive comments about how amazing our program sounds from so many different people was heartwarming. I heard from students I had not heard from in years, and families of kids I start teaching this fall.”
Still, for some schools crowdfunding sounds difficult to get started with or manage. Geoffrey says to go for it. “Just jump in and give crowdfunding a try. I would pick a campaign that is very unique to your situation, that would thrive through more funding.”
If your school could benefit from crowdfunding this year, consider using Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising. For current customers, integrations with eTapestry® and Raiser’s Edge NXT® make using BBP2P a perfect solution for ensuring you cultivate new donors for future projects. For new customers, BBP2P has no upfront costs and the ability to have unlimited fundraising campaigns. Get your school the equipment, the instruments, and the supplies it needs to serve students and their families in an unprecedented school year. You can learn more by watching our online product tour.
Many thanks to Geoff and the team at New York City Charter School of the Arts. Your commitment and dedication to your students is truly inspiring.