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Fundraising: Can I get a Grant for travel?

Dear List,
Thanks for the Fund Raising Ideas. Additional ideas will be appreciated. Here's
the compilation.

Original Question:
Are there "travel grants" available anywhere? What are your top "low overhead"
fundraising suggestions? I don't want to turn my 4th and 5th grade kids into

The Responses:
Dear Tony,
We found that it was very hard to get anyone to give money for
travel--definitely difficult to find any grant money for that. Here are
several suggestions that have been used at different times:

1. Students write a letter to send to friends, relatives, businesses asking
for a donation. The letter should state the honor it is to go, the benefit
it will have for the student--musical and otherwise. It should also state
the total amount the student has to raise for the trip.

2. We used to do a "Sing-a-thon" (but this was a community children's
chorus, not a school group). Besides learning our regular repertoire, I
taught the groups standard folk songs, some of which they knew, some of
which were new to them. I mostly used them for warm-ups in rehearsal. I
decided how many songs we could get out in an hour or so, and then the kids
got pledges as they would for a walk-a-thon or such event. (Per song or
flat rate). Then we held a luncheon or dinner "Sing-a-long at the

Sing-a-thon". The choir sang a few of its own concert songs as part of the
total number. All the possible folk song selections were printed in the
program. I put all the words on transparencies and projected them for the
audience and the kids--the kids didn't have to memorize any of them, and
the audience had a great time singing along. We also promoted
"dedications." For a certain fee and a filled-out form, any of the songs
could be dedicated to someone, present or not, at the time that particular
song was sung. The parents did a simple dinner--usually Stouffer's
Lasagne, Costco salad and deserts, and we charged an amount for the meal
that was not exhorbitant, but that also gave us a profit. The kids sat in
chairs facing the screen while the parents sat at the dinner tables. When
the chorus sang its own songs, they sang from the risers. (Hope that is
clear enough.)

3. Rummage sales sometimes make good money (that is something the parents
can do for the group.)

4. Candy sales are always pretty good, if you like that sort of thing.
The best one I ever did was at my middle school, using 50(?) flavors of
lollipops. They sold for $.50, and I think it was about a 50% profit. The
kids bought them like crazy, but it drove the teachers crazy trying to keep
them out of the classroom. I can't think of the name of the company right
now, but could probably find it, if you'd like it.

5. Some schools do singing candy-grams at Valentines, or for birthdays,
etc. Can be a school event.

6. If you do a printed concert program, develop advertisers.

7. Some companies will give money for tour items, such as jackets, hats,
backpacks, etc,, if they print their name on the item--advertising for them.

8. One of my elementary schools did a pizza fund-raiser

Good luck!

Eloise Porter
Encore Children's Chorus

Tony, I've done that trip twice with my high schoolers. (are you doing Mid-
America?) We did LOTS of group fundraising with car washes, bagging groceries
for tips, silent auction with a dessert/concert after, spaghetti dinner,
singing for anyone who would listen and pass the hat. (these get the group
working together, and the parents involved, as well) We also managed to get
quite a few businesses to contribute. I sent letters to many using a city
directory, and the response was excellent. If you can get lots of local
publicity on your venture, and make it known in the articles that the kids need
help, you will get donations from people you don't even know. Your local
Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Clubs may be helpful also, especially if you offer to
sing at one of their meetings. Good luck! Cheryl Licary Beloit WI

Tony, One idea would be to add a free space or two onto your trip. Divide the
cost of this space amongst your participants. Then, allow them to sell raffle
tickets for this free trip to NYC! Whatever money they raise comes off of their
trip price. Many towns would support this type of effort. My best, Jerry Myers

Dear Tony, Allegedly Uncle Sam gives grants for everything.. Other groups make
CD's and sell them, if you do not wish to go the orange-grapefruit or chocolate
route. Pat Maimone

We are currently doing the same sort of thing, and I discovered that many
large corporations in the community offer matching grant opportunities for
any employees who donate to local schools. For example, Mrs. Johnson works
for Hewlett Packard, and her son needs money for the trip. So she writes a
$100 check and HP also writes a $100 check to pay the expenses.

Maybe the parents would be willing to run an auction of goods and >>services to
raise money for the trip. You could have a live auction and a silent auction.
Have your kids sing and serve refreshments. There's your event

Hi Tony,

My circumstances are very different from yours (just returned from a trip to
Sarajevo and Dubrovnik with an adult group), but I think the first thing you
should do is to try to rally community support. See if a local bank will
commit to some part of the trip (hotel rooms or something) and some other
very visible industry. Nobody has any money these days, but it is really
great PR for a company to have their picture on the local news handing you a
big check with little kids singing in the background! Make a BIG deal about
your being invited to Carnegie Hall and needing the community's help to get
there, and see what you can get in response to that.

I too hate to sell grapefruit and I've seen the VERY last "World's Greatest
Chocolate" bar I ever hope to see. We were very fortunate this time to have
the help of the US Embassy in Sarajevo (former singer is right under the
Ambassador there), but there's no Georgian Embassy in NYC that I know of, and

gov't money is almost non-existent, so you're going to have to use the
personal touch. Maybe the tour company would have some suggestions too.
Good luck,

Kerry Krebill

We've sold Langdon-Barber Groves citrus (in Ft. Pierce, FL) for the past 14
years and make 45% profit per carton/box --roughly estimated. Great people to
deal with. Fruit is wonderful--guaranteed. We take orders for about six weeks
before Thanksgiving and then I send in the order the Tuesday after the
Thanksgiving break. The fruit is delivered around December 15 or 16 in time for
people to give Christmas gifts (large boxes, small boxes, various groupings of
two or three of their fresh citrus). They provide a software program free on
which you enter orders. That has to be done carefully, but after that, you'll
get print-outs of customers and salespeople, etc. I'm a walking ad for them
because it's such a good deal. Florida grapefruit, oranges (navel and juice),
pineapple, pears, apples, etc. We've built up a customer data base because
people want the fruit year after year. It's healthy and people are happy to
support our choir's fund raising efforts (we travel--this year to England,
Scotland, and France--May 26-June 26. If you are interested, you can call them
at 800-766-7633. Jeff is president of the company. Terry

I use Cherrydale Farms Christmas and Easter Catalog fundraiser also I sell
local candy fundraisers and see's Candies. Their id four fundraisers that will
go throughout the year. Also, type up a sponsor letter for your students to
send to relatives, Parents work, etc.. that is easy money. Make sure the check
is written to the school along with choir in the title. Start a school choir
account. Everytime a student turns in money that should sign a three fold
receipt. White copy goes home, yellow in their choir account and white for the
teacher. Heather Tweed Hargett Mount Miguel High School hhargett(a)

Think "development" and "marketing."

Who has the largest stake in your chorus?
Possible answers . . .
-School administrators
-The community of Marietta

I suggest that you go to the Chorus America website and order their handbook
on nonprofit administration for choruses. There is information their devoted
to fund raising.

Look for corporate and foundation grants in your community. There are
organizations in every state--and probably even in Marietta--whose business
it is to give away money to worthy causes. Go to your local library, or a
college library, and find the Foundation Directory. You might find something
listed there in your community. It's categorized by state, then
alphabetically by the name of the foundations.

There is probably a directory of just Georgia-based foundations as well in
your library. In any case, you'll need to have a well written proposal that

indicates everything you want to accomplish with the grant you're seeking.

Also, check out the website at University of Indiana School of Philanthropy.
It's the largest fund raising training program in the country.

Your kids should show their personal commitment to the Carnegie Hall goal,
but not through selling junk that nobody wants. (It's tantamount to child
labor for merchandising companies.) Rather, have them "sing for their supper"
throughout the community, i.e., the Rotary Club, corporate board meetings,
etc.--in exchange for large donations.

Good luck,

Douglas Cox

Tony Bernard
Music Ministries Director
St. Andrew United Methodist Church
3455 Canton Rd.
Marietta, Ga 30066