With severe educational budget cuts and limited discretionary income, school administrators and teachers can have a hard time finding the cash for field trips, art classes, library books and classroom helpers.

Around the country, parents are being asked to help pay for facilities, supplies and staff (think aides, librarians, and art teachers) that were traditionally covered by school districts, states and cities. That’s big money.

Many businesses and other organizations are willing to partner with school and parent groups to raise money for schools.

  • Recycle Empty Water Bottles: Set up a collection station near school lunch tables and ask students to toss empty bottles into the collection station. Enlist a few parent volunteers to take the bottles to the recycling center and turn the money over to the school.
  •  Ads on Buses: Some states have passed laws allowing ads on the sides of buses. This may be a district initiative, but any money earned could be split among schools.
  • Online Searching and Purchasing: Mouse clicks can generate money for schools. Use Yahoo!-powered GoodSearch.com as your search engine, and they’ll donate $0.01 to the school you choose with every search. Also shop through their online shopping mall, GoodShop.com, and a percentage of your purchases will go to the school. Learn more at Goodsearch.com.
  • My Coke Rewards Program: Donate any points to get rewards for schools through the program. Find rewards on Coke and other drink products such as Dasani, Powerade, Minute Maid and Sprite. Go to mycokerewards.com to register.
  • Office Depot 5 Percent Back to Schools Program: This program gives you an opportunity to help your school receive credits for free supplies. Shop at Office Depot. Tell clerks you’d like school credits and provide a school ID number. Office Depot totals qualifying purchases made during each program period and will award your school 5 percent in merchandise credit.
  • Tyson Project A+: Clip and save Tyson Project A+ labels from participating Tyson products found in your grocer’s freezer section. Send labels in to your school. Each label earns your school $0.24. For more information, visit Tyson.com/projectaplus.
  • Volunteer Your Time: Offering to listen to a child read, chaperoning a field trip, helping prep educational material, or even talking with a class about a skill can be as valuable as a cash donation. Schools have a great need for active participation by parents. If you have a specific skill, consider sharing it with the school. Those with experience in grant writing may be able to help in the application process, while computer-savvy volunteers can provide data entry help. Others can maintain bulletin boards, re-shelve returned library books or provide photography and videography.

This has been a guest post by Deborah from San Diego, CA
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Editors Note: This is Part Two of a two-part series on innovative ways to make money for schools and school organizations.

School Tools Part 2: Easy and (Mostly) Free Ways to Make Money for Your School