You’ve found a great program for your school assembly, now how are you going to pay for it? Here are a few suggestions. Please let us know in the comments if you have come up with any other creative ways!
Most performers will offer a substantial discount if you are able to team up with other schools in your area. I typically offer a $100 discount per school when two or more schools book together. After you have scheduled your date, call/email other schools in the area. In most cases, you’ll find at least one other school willing to block book with you.
It helps with planning when schools book as early as possible, especially out-of-town trips. Ask if the performer has any early-booking discounts.
Contact local groups to ask for sponsorship. Even better, ask if you can attend and speak at one of their meetings. Local groups to contact include: business & civic clubs (Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary), chambers of commerce, churches and other religious groups, local groups that support youth causes.
If the content of the assembly program you wish to book is curriculum-based, your school district may have funds that you can use. They also may have funds set aside for character/anti-bullying presentations.
Gaps in the Schedule
Ask if the performer has any gaps in his/her schedule he is trying to fill. Often when I book a week of schools in an area, I will have an afternoon or morning slot I want to fill. I am always happy to offer a discount if schools can help my schedule by being flexible with their date.
Local Business Sponsorship
Ask your parents if any of their employers would be willing to sponsor an assembly. Invite local media to your assembly and make sure to recognize the company for their contribution. Take photos at the assembly and email them to your company sponsor after the show. People love to see how their contribution was appreciated by the students.
Most performers will offer a discount if you book more than one show. Usually the second show will be about half the cost of the cost of booking a single show (e.g. $500 for one/$750 for two).
Many performers will vary their shows depending on the age group, so splitting the assembly by grade level can be helpful. Personally, I always recommend adding a second program if a school has more than 500 students. For example, often I’ll do K-2nd in the first show and 3rd-5th in the second. For middle school programs, I usually do one show per grade level.
Budget for a school assembly as part of your regular fundraising. Make sure you have a specific line item for assembly programs in your budget.
There are three people at your school who may have a little pot off money to contribute towards assembly programs (see also Title I and Title IV below). You should ask your principal, counselor and librarian if they would be willing to help out with the cost.
Special Event Fundraising
Consider doing a one-off, special event fundraiser for your assembly program.
Title I and Title IV
Schools receive Title I funds if a certain percentage of their students receive free or reduced lunches. Schools can sometimes use certain portions of their Title I funds for school assembly programs.
Title IV is a special set of funds for programs that address drug and violence prevention and promote student wellness. Many large federally administered grants come from these programs, but schools and school districts often receive Safe and Drug Free funds directly.
Also, let your performer know if you are a Title I school. In addition to money available from the school/district, some performers will provide a discount directly. I set aside a certain amount each year to provide discounts to schools in low income areas.
Here is a list of organizations which have grants available for schools. Please let us know in the comments if you find any others: