The Freshman Transition Network

Working together to transition freshmen & transform schools from the bottom up!

We are planning on implementing our transition program this year. We would like to recognize student achievements with rewards. Do any of you have letters that were sent to local businesses to solicit donations from them? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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Hi Julian,
It has been a long time since I've done this... but I actually found that building a personal relationship via telephone and visits were most effective with small businesses depending upon the type of business.

I agree with Ron that a personal visit is probably the best approach. However, many businesses would like a cover letter as well. I would recommend visiting businesses in person and having a letter on school letterhead to leave with them.

Visiting these businesses could be a job that a parent or parent committee might take on. Some people really have a knack for getting a donation from Target and then going to Walmart and saying, "Target gave this, what would you like to give?" While teachers could do this as well, it could be really exciting to have parents take some ownership and have some involvement.

Sorry, but I don't have a sample letter to share. I would highly recommend that it be brief, focus primarily on the goal of student recognition, thank the business for being involved with supporting the needs of the community, and have an administrator contact listed.

FInally, this probably goes without saying, but before contacting local businesses to support efforts in the school, it's usually a good idea to make sure that your central office/school board is ok with it.

Good luck. If you want some ideas for running a good end of the year assembly/student recognition ceremony, you might contact the following members of the network:
Ray Moore
Cat Mejia
Wes Lester
Jeff Bird

They have all been involved in doing this at Salem High School for quite a few years.
Hi Julian,
Scott added some excellent ideas. If I may add to his list, businesses are more likely (in my opinion) to give contributions if you can articulate what is in it for them rather than just asking for something for free. Thus I have 3 suggestions:
Suggestion #1: Go to see the business with a business proposal that demonstrates how the gift will be of benefit to the business. This doesn't need to be elaborate. A simple proposal would be New Highlands High School would like to give the The XYZ Bookstore award for a outstanding review of (a book) at our awards ceremony on June 18. When approaching another type of business such as a restaurant, you might propose the ABC Pizza House award for organizing the best events or the CFD sports store company award for scoring the most soccer goals (notice the relevancy of the gift to the business) .
Suggestion #2: You might wish to have a small token gift to leave with people you visit. A window decal saying I support excellence at South Bend High School might be appropriate for a small business in South Bend.
Suggestion #3: Invite the business to come to the ceremony to present the gift and give them a framed picture of the presentation to display in their business. (If you frame it they'll display it nicely, If you don't frame it they may file it....). Next year when you go back you can point to the picture.... You can also tell the business about the photo op when you make your presentation.
All of these might provide value to the businesses giving the gifts... so they may be more likely to give ... or to give more. Plus others may be persuaded to give gifts next year when they see how they are recognized.
I hope this helps.
Thank you both for the great suggestions and help.
Hi Julian,
What did you do? How did it work out?


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