Educators who have been able to arrange an author visit for their school will tell you that they are “worth every penny.” But with school budgets tighter than ever, how can you bring an author to your school?
While some districts provide funding for author visits, many schools turn to their PTA or to Title I funds. But there are lots of other ways to fund an author visit as well. Here are some ideas to help you make an author visit a reality for your school.
- PTA/PTO – Parent/Teacher organizations are often happy to provide funding for author visit programs.
- Title I – If your school qualifies for Title I funds, you may be able to apply some of your funding toward special literacy programs such as author visits.
- Grants – There are many arts and literacy grants you can apply for, including some specifically for author and illustrator visits. I have listed a number of these below.
- Crowdfunding – This new method of fundraising is becoming increasingly popular with schools. I list some of the best education-oriented crowdfunding sites below.
- Read-a-Thon / Pledge drive – To encourage literacy and get students excited about bringing an author to school, consider having a read-a-thon day where students get pledges from family members based on the number of minutes they read.
- Local business sponsorship – Local businesses, banks, and credit unions often set aside funds to support community events. Check with your local businesses to see if they might help support an author visit to your school.
- Share the day – If your school can’t raise enough money to pay for a full-day author visit, consider sharing a day with another nearby school.
Grants You Can Apply For
If you decide to apply for a grant to fund your author visit, I recommend you check with your district to see if a professional grant writer is available to guide you through the application process. Whether you write the grant application on your own, or with the help of a grant writer, here are some educational grants you can apply for.
- Amber Brown Grant
- Dollar General Literacy Foundation
- Target Store Grants
- Wells Fargo Community Giving
- NEA Foundation Grants to Educators
- State Arts Councils
- US Department of Education – Grants and Contracts
- BOCES Arts in Education Programs (New York State)
- Tips and Resources for Successful Grant Writing
- So You Want to Write a Grant (Grant Writing for Educators)
Crowdfunding for Author Visits
If you would like to try crowdfunding your author visit, there are many crowdfunding platforms you could use, but here are a few that have programs specifically geared to the needs of schools.
I also recommend you read this “best practices” article from EducationWorld entitled Raise Money With Crowdfunding: Top 9 Tips for Schools.
When I visit schools, I never “plug” my books or otherwise encourage students to buy them. But students are often eager to purchase books when they discover how much fun they are.
If you choose to purchase books directly from me, I offer a 20% discount and free shipping, making it possible to defray part of the cost of my visit through student book purchases. This means that, for every book sold as part of my visit, your school will earn between $2.00-$4.00. Depending on the size of your school and the socioeconomic background of your families, you can expect to sell between 25 and 300 books. An average school will typically sell about 75 books, earning roughly $250 to put toward the cost of the author visit.
I provide the order forms, and even pay for shipping, making book ordering as simple as possible. And, if you make time in the schedule, I will autograph and personalize all books purchased, making them a treasured keepsake.
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