Playgrounds play a significant role in childhood development. Outdoor activities help children develop physically, mentally and socially, so it’s important for every community to have access to playgrounds, whether at schools, churches, or neighborhood parks. If you’re looking to build a new playground or upgrade your equipment, costs will of course be involved — costs that may or may not be in your budget. If you need a little extra help pulling those dollars together, here are a few fundraising ideas for you:

1. Host a fundraising event

You can hold a special event to raise funds for your playground. Think beyond the usual bake sales and car washes, and create unique experiences that help people understand and appreciate the importance of a playground. These can include sports tournaments, walkathons and marathons, family festivals, and dance contests. You can even create a Facebook page to reach a wider audience who will support your cause. Whatever you do, make sure to keep costs as low as possible to maximize your net funds raised.

2. Apply for playground grants

Many government institutions have programs to provide financial assistance to communities for amenities they require, and some private companies also offer playground grant programs. Go online to find out which programs are offered in your area and what is required to apply.

3. Hold an auction

You can ask your community to donate items and auction them to raise playground funds. You may decide to do a live auction, or you can do it online. The big benefit of auctions is that they help you get more money from an item than you would have received by simply selling it. During a live auction, you can bring in more funds by selling other items like refreshments.

4. Offer advertising space

If your playground is in a high-traffic area, you may be able to offer advertising space on the grounds. Before approaching local businesses, check with your attorney to make sure it’s legal for you to sell ad space.

5. Utilize Little Tikes Commercial DoughBuilders Program

This program offers a wide variety of programs for your consideration including Cookie Dough programs, Bakery items including Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Cakes, Pies, Braided Bread, Pumpkin Rolls and much more, Custom Tumblers featuring your logo, Collegiate Tumblers, Candles, Gift Brochures featuring over 100 different gift items, Tote Bags, Gift Cards, Snack Foods, Boxed Chocolates, Spirit Lites featuring NFL, NBA and MLB teams, and Jewelry. You can learn more about the Little Tikes Commercial DoughBuilders Program here: http://littletikescommercial.com/financing/fundraising/

No matter which fundraising option you choose, remember to involve the whole community and help them understand the importance of having a playground. Have blueprints available to show everyone how the new space will look. Make use of social media and local news media to spread the word far and wide. And remember to contact your local government institutions to guide you on the funding process as well as ensuring that your new playground complies with local regulations.