The following post is from Melissa Batai
On a lark this winter, my son took the online qualifying exam for the National History Bee. He was delighted when he qualified for the regional round. We drove two hours to the regional round, and we were both delighted when he came in second place for his age. With this honor, he received an invitation to the National History Bee almost 2,000 miles away from our house. While I was excited for him and his accomplishment, I immediately started calculating just how much it was going to cost to get him to the Nationals.
Our kids have plenty of opportunities now that many of us didn’t have when we were younger. Whether it’s traveling abroad to submerse themselves in the language they are studying or traveling for a choir group or a traveling sports teams, kids have a lot of great opportunities. And these opportunities often come with a hefty price tag for parents.
However, with a little creativity, you can let your child seize the opportunity available without ruining the family budget. Here are some ideas:
Appeal to family and friends. You could write a nice letter to family and friends outlining the opportunity available, why it’s important and good for the student to attend, and how much the event is expected to cost out of pocket. We did this for my son for the National History Bee. When the event is over, he will send all contributors a note of thanks and a recap of his experience.
Many friends and relatives are happy to donate to a good cause, especially when it comes to a child excelling in his education. I have a friend whose children are involved in a boys’ choir that frequently travels to Europe to sing, and this is one of the tactics that they use to raise money.
Provide a service. One woman, Rebecca, whose daughter had the opportunity to study in Japan for two months, raised money by making freezer meals. Rebecca gave people the choice of three meals—baked spaghetti, goulash, or chicken noodle soup. All of the meals were fairly low cost and easy to prepare. A family would pay $15 for the meal, which would be enough to feed 4 to 6. After expenses, Rebecca earned approximately $10 per meal for her effort. She sold 60 meals one night and earned $600 for her daughter’s trip. Of course, her daughter helped prepare the meals.
Appeal to a group. Another option is to appeal to a group that may want to help sponsor your child. If you belong to a church, you may start there first. Perhaps the church has a ladies or men’s group that would be interested in sponsoring your child. The child could prepare a presentation explaining what would happen on the trip and why it’s important to him. Then, after the event is over, he could provide a short presentation of his experience and answer questions about it.
If your child has the opportunity to compete in a competition, study abroad, or have an otherwise unique experience, don’t automatically discount it because you’re worried about finances. There are creative ways to help offset costs.
What other ways can you think of to raise money for an educational event that is outside the family’s budget?