As part of Bee City USA’s visit to northern Georgia last month, we had the pleasure of meeting members of the Norcross Bee City Committee and touring some of their amazing pollinator habitat, which we will be featuring in a future blog post. We wanted to share their great fundraising efforts for inspiration.
UGA Master Gardener, Gwinnett County Public School Long-term Substitute, Sustainable Norcross Commission (SNC) Member
Gwinnett County Public School STEM Teacher
Location: Norcross Elementary School, Norcross, GA
USDA Plant Zone: 7b
Our top 5 Native pollinator plants:
1. Black Eyed Susan
2. Brown Eyed Susan
3. Purple coneflowers (including pink and red varieties)
What have you learned about fundraising?:
When you ask for donations in person most people will not tell you no and its easier for them to buy in when they see your enthusiasm.
We have been very creative in fundraising and requesting donations for our school garden in the Norcross cluster. We were raising money and donations to complete an outdoor classroom and vertical gardens using sustainable materials. We researched many items we wanted in the garden to make it a very enjoyable place for the students and teachers to use. We had over 30 volunteers from our church donate their Saturday afternoon to come and work in the Norcross Elementary School (NES) garden.
Once we determined we would like to complete the outdoor classroom project, we made a list of the supplies and materials needed to complete the project through lots of research. My husband normally prices many of the building materials and determines which materials may be best to use. Once we finalize the list the potential vendors or donors must be called.
For the most part the fundraising is completed in October and November before the quarter is over for most businesses. Some businesses will have money toward the end of the year for charity and donations. It is important to get as many of the commitments as possible before December.
Most vendors would like to actually meet in person and allow you to tell them about the project. It is much easier to ask for donations when you can explain in details instead of an email. Most all the vendors we have come in contact with gave us a donation. It normally takes about 60 days to have final approval for donations. Over 95% of the companies we called on gave us the donations they promised. We go to the stores and show them the list of the items we need and ask what they can provide.
This year we collected donations from Sherwin Williams, Lowes, Home Depot, University of Georgia Extension office, Ferry Morris Seed Company, Growers Outlet, Amazon Smile (from several people and then money is earmarked for the County foundation), City of Norcross, Victory World Church, church members, and others in the community.
Project completed at Norcross Elementary:
We completed a community service outreach at NES: Clean-up, Recycle and Re-Use. We partnered with Victory World Church, City of Norcross, Sustainable Norcross Committee, Lowes, Sherwin Williams, Growers Market, and Home Depot. We completed a school cleanup, trimmed bushes and weeded the property and gardens, built benches for our new outdoor classroom from donated wood, painted and repurposed old benches in front and the side of the building by re-staining, painted old pots to reuse, and rain barrels, weeded the raised garden beds, added dirt, more flowers, and mulch. We painted garden beds and used old pallets to make vertical gardens. The Norcross Mayor came out and helped us too.
The vertical gardens were made of old pallets that were donated with discarded or recycled materials. One local business was called to donate some pallets. They were taken apart to reuse the wood in the pallet. We finally got the pallets cut, painted, and put the weed blocking fabric inside them. The flowers and seeds were planted in the pallets by the Norcross School Garden Club. We put pressure-treated wood on the bottom so they do not touch the ground and can be moved anywhere. The students put fall vegetables in them. We had seeds donated by the UGA Extension office and Ferry Morris. We finished four pallets.
We added benches that turned into desks. The City of Norcross donated two benches and reimbursed us for some receipts for supplies. We worked very hard by calling local businesses and friends to donate enough money for us to get two additional benches. The donations were made through Amazon Smile. We raised $400+ to buy the benches.