10 Ways for Childcare Providers to Fundraise During COVID-19

From many children staying at home to reduced teacher/child ratios and increased health & safety procedures, the COVID-19 crisis has placed a significant financial burden on childcare providers everywhere. Government grants and loans have helped to soften the blow, but centers are still needing to find creative ways to generate income so they can weather the storm until their classrooms can return to normal.

In this guide, we’ll showcase some of the ways we’ve seen childcare providers utilize fundraising to get much-needed financial relief from their communities. Without their full tuition fees coming in, centers have had to get very creative to get all of the assistance they can get. Take a look at the list and see if any of the options will work for you!

Keepsakes with Child’s Artwork or Photos

What better way to get the kids involved than by selling shirts, mugs, trivets and other keepsakes with their very own artwork or photos on it? 

Original Works is an art-based fundraising platform that makes it easy to raise money while handling many of the logistics for you. First, collect the items you’d like to be featured; this could be by picking up artwork from your students’ homes or using anything that you have lying around your center from before the crisis started. Then, mail these into Original Works to be digitally scanned.

Alternatively, you can send in digital files to be added to your gallery, such as photos that you’ve taken of the children before quarantining began.

You’ll then receive a link to an online gallery where parents can view their child’s art or photos on a variety of items that they can purchase. After a purchase is made, you’ll then receive a percentage of the sale that can go straight to your center.

Busy Bags

Keeping children interested, having fun and learning all day can be very challenging for parents who typically rely on childcare for that during the week and are now unexpectedly in this situation all day every day.

One way that your center is uniquely able to help is by providing guidance on what parents can do with their child to support their learning and delivering all of the supplies they’ll need. These can be packaged as Busy Bags that you sell once a week or whatever other frequency you think will work best.

If you’re looking for ideas of what to include, check out our activities database with 100+ developmentally-appropriate activities with printable step-by-step instructions that you can include in the bag along with the supplies!

Online Registry

With all of the extra cleaning, sanitizing and social distancing measures your center needs to take, there are a lot of new supplies your business requires. One way to allow people to contribute and know exactly what their money is going towards is by allowing them to purchase items directly. Create a registry on Amazon (or another online store of your choice that has a registry option) and send a link to your community. This is also a great way to communicate all of the precautions that you are taking by showing exactly what you are stocking up on.

Crowdfunding Campaign

Now more than ever parents understand the value that you provide and may be willing to pitch in to help bridge the gap until things get back to normal. Consider creating an online crowdfunding campaign using GoFundMe so people have an easy way to send you a donation. By creating a compelling page and setting a goal to reach, a lot of people have had success during trying times by collecting online donations.


One way to rally your community together is by selling a custom-designed t-shirt to support your center! A great service to check out is Bonfire, which makes it easy to design a unique shirt for people to buy and they’ll take care of all the payments, printing and mailing. The shirt could be something simple like your center’s logo or have a unique message for COVID-19 like “I support #essentialworkers.”

Coupon Book

There is a big movement now to support local businesses so that everyone can survive the crisis and this idea is another way for everyone to come together. Contact other local businesses and ask if they would like to contribute a discount to include in a coupon book, which you can then sell to your network of families. This is a great way for businesses to reach new customers and families will enjoy supporting your business while getting exclusive discounts.

Fundraising Letter

This is definitely the most classic and straightforward option in this list but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked! With so much of our day involving screens, there’s something about getting a letter in the mail that conveys a sense of importance that can be missing in an email. Consider sending a heartfelt letter explaining your center’s situation and why a donation will be helpful to ensure that you will be there better than ever for when children are able to return.

Sell Gourmet Treats

With families watching more movies and shows than ever while stuck at home, why not sell them something to snack on? Double Good is a fundraising platform where you can sell gourmet popcorn and keep 50% of the profit. When parents make a purchase, the popcorn will be delivered straight to their house without you needing to do anything!

Baking Kits

How many times have you heard the term “sourdough starter” today? It seems like everyone has caught the baking bug so why not make it a bit easier by selling baking kits? This fundraising technique involves pre-portioning all of the ingredients for a delicious baked good and packaging them along with the instructions. Try to choose recipes that are easy to make and the children can help make!

“Yard” Sale

Everyone has at least one thing collecting dust in their basement or closet that they’ve been meaning to get rid of. Organize an online yard sale by picking up unwanted items that families would like to donate. Then, take pictures of all of the items and post them online, where parents can browse what’s available and purchase them. This can also work well with toys that children have outgrown or are no longer interested in that other families at your center would love to have — just make sure to thoroughly wash them first!

Know any other fundraising techniques that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Michael Keshen

Michael writes for HiMama's early childhood education blog and ECE Weekly newsletter. When not developing content for early childhood professionals, he can usually be found out and about with his wife and daughter exploring all that Toronto has to offer, or playing music with his karaoke band.

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