Why School Supply Drives are a Year-round Initiative

Back to School is as much a part of summer as ice cream and fireworks, but there are many other events and ways to support education throughout the year.  And doing so is more important than ever.


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January 17, 2020 by Scott Goldberg

A lot of donors think of school supply drives as something that only takes place in August.  But many nonprofits supporting education know we can't wait until summer to get our students the things they need. We need to make school supplies a priority all year.  Here’s why…

94% of teachers spend their own money on school supplies with an average annual spend per teacher of $479.  Despite that, over 15 MILLION kids start the school year without any supplies.

Even worse, $479 per teacher still falls far short of the need. In 2016-17, the average cost of school supplies + other school-related expenses was $662/student for elementary schoolers, $1001/student for middle schoolers, and $1500/student for high schoolers.

When a kid faces the prospect of going to school without supplies, there’s a higher likelihood of chronic absenteeism, defined as missing over 15 days of school.  Nearly 8 million K-12 students (16% overall) missed 15+ days of school in 2015-16, and the outcomes of that should be alarming:

  • There’s a 4x likelihood of dropping out of H.S. if chronically absent in preschool, kindergarten or 1st grade
  • And a 7x likelihood of dropping out if chronically absent any one year between 8th-12th grade

Fortunately there are many leaders taking charge of solutions.  Education and supply drives are no longer something relegated to the end of the summer, and we’re here to help you support these initiatives.  Here are some templates to consider using for your drives:

Do you have other ideas on wishlist campaigns to rally support for our students?  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info@rightgift.com.


Topics: gifts-in-kind, campaign management, fundraising

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