This is just SOME of the FREE supplies we have received for our school already! (psst – see the library in the background? Part of that was also donated free as well!)
There is NO easy method where you can wave your magic wand and get FREE school supplies for your school!! But let me tell you – if you put in a little effort you CAN find free supplies everywhere! Here are my best tips on finding free school supplies both for your school and for your classrooms:
Ask local businesses!:
This is my absolutely favorite method but it does require some work! It’s nothing more complicated than literally walking inside a business, asking for the manager or store owner, and seeing if they would be willing to partner with your classroom or school! I have found the most success with very specific requests such as supplying water bottles for field day, e-readers for your book corner, etc. Don’t discount ANY business when looking for requests! We’ve had grocery stores, national chains, local mom and pop shops, dessert places, doctors offices, etc. provide us with help when we’ve asked! It’s a great way to get local businesses involved and build a new network of partnerships!
Write a grant!:
You may not know much about grant writing but that’s ok – I bet you can still land some smaller grants for your classroom or school! My husband and I sat down one year and with NO experience earned over $30,000 of grants for our school. We built a hydroponic greenhouse, supplied the entire school student population with e-readers and e-books, remodeled the library with new carpet and books, etc. Look at local companies that sponsor grants, community foundations, and yes, even national brands like Walmart, Target, Toshiba, IBM etc. TIP – NEVER pay for a “dashboard” of grant opportunities – you can absolutely find grants for free without wasting your money! Every grant is different but typically there is some sort of application process, and of course if you receive the grant a process to prove you’ve purchased what you requested. Keep in mind every grant is different in requirements – some cover agriculture or tech, some must be for Title 1 schools, etc.
Educational Brand Giveaways & Contests:
Follow social media channels for as many educational brands and companies as you can! We once won a contest through the Discovery channel for schools! There are a lot of opportunities out there – you just need to position yourself to find them! I constantly see contests for classroom makeovers, book set giveaways, school supplies, etc. Look for book publishers, school supply brands, educational TV shows, educational games, etc.
If all else fails, good ole’ fundraisers do the trick! In my experience, I stay away from those overpriced magazines that sell you $20 wrapping paper (although it’s easy to run and works for some!). I prefer to design my own fundraiser, put in the time and effort, because I get a much bigger reward out of it usually. We’ve created our own business discount cards that we’ve sold to businesses and students, we’ve sold seedling plants and vegetables, etc. Walk-a-thons are for some reason very popular. And anything that gets the principal or teacher involved in silly stunts like reading books on the roof or throwing pies in your face – those are all big hits!