Many centers are financed by other sources of funding in addition to parent fees. These sources may include:
- Public funding to subsidize low-income families
- Reimbursement from state-sponsored food programs
- Private fundraising efforts, such as events or grants
The types of funding for which your center is eligible will depend in part upon its legal structure. Some examples are a non-profit program, for-profit program or a sole proprietorship. Grant making foundations and corporations often fund only nonprofit organizations. Public funding is usually available for all types of programs offering services to income eligible families.
Public funding may be available from federal, state, and local governments. Public funding often depends on the political and economic climate of the county, state and the country. However, public funding can help programs deliver nutritious food programs, subsidized child care, and other valuable services to the children in their care.
Some types of public funding include:
- Contracted slots for income eligible children
- Subsidized slots for children of teen parents
- Subsidized slots for children with special needs
- Federal and state tax subsidies
- Municipal programs
- Food and nutrition programs
Private funding is often less reliable and should not be counted on for more than occasional sources of income for special projects. Many grant making agencies restrict their grants to no more than three years for a particular recipient. Private funding refers to any non-governmental source of funds, such as:
- Fundraising events
- Private or corporate grants
- Funding from nonprofit foundations
Foundations and Grants from community agencies usually require the receipt of applications by certain deadlines. Contact the foundation or agency to find out their specific guidelines.
Fundraising Events include concerts, charity auctions, fashion shows, carwashes, etc. Before beginning a fundraising event, be sure you have the people power lined up to organize and staff the event. If it will take money to stage the event, be sure you will be able to recover all costs. Check to be sure you have adequate liability insurance, and that your event is in compliance with state and local laws. Also, events should be appropriate for a program caring for children. Be sure to start publicity efforts early and ask your parents to help spread the word. Finally, remember that profits may need to be reported as taxable income.
Corporate Donations are usually directed at non-profit programs that offer child care to their employees. This could mean giving that company's employees priority for enrollment, or serving a certain number of employee families. Talk to the parents in your program; they may be able to find out about such grant programs from their corporate workplace. Additional sources of information include the public library and local alliances of child care professionals or programs.
Raffles and Sales help many programs raise extra funds. Successful sales usually have a specific purpose, such as "Help the Center Buy a Climbing Structure!" Be creative in asking for donations for prizes from local businesses. Haircuts, manicures and pizzas all make good raffle gifts. Parents can donate children’s clothing, household goods, or white elephant items from the attic to stock a yard sale. Written thank-yous and mentions of your sponsors in any written publicity are the most likely way to ensure future donations. Bake sales, candy sales, wrapping paper sales, etc., are limited only by your imagination and your center volunteers' time and energy.
Loans from a bank or private investor are another source of private funding. The Small Business Administration, a federal agency, can provide valuable advice on obtaining business loans. The SBA can be reached at :(800) 827-5722.