How to Expertly Set Up and Use Fundraising Platforms to Grow Your Art Program

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How much of your own money have you spent on your classroom this year? It’s no secret that the funds for a lot of the things in your room came from your own pocket. A few dollars here for some prizes and a few there for cotton balls or aluminum foil—you know the drill.

Maybe your budget doesn’t always cover everything your art room could use. Maybe you have a project you have been dreaming of but can’t quite figure out how to finance it. You are not alone. Art teachers everywhere are using these fundraising platforms to help!

Invite others to help your art program grow while getting exactly what your art room needs through these fundraising platforms.

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1. Amazon Classroom WishList

Amazon Classroom WishList allows you to share a virtual wishlist of Amazon products with your network. People can access your list and help you by purchasing supplies from it. The items are then shipped right to your door or school. WishList is best for general supply ordering and restocking of materials. Post a physical flyer displaying a QR code or share the link on your social platforms. WishLists are a popular way to invite others to be a part of the work you do in your art room every day!

Why choose WishList?

  • Control the number of items you need.
    You can customize the number of items on your list to make complete classroom sets or replenish dwindling supplies. No amount is too small.
  • Get supplies in your hands quickly.
    Instead of waiting for a donor or a lump sum, WishList materials arrive as soon as people buy them. This way, you can quickly put supplies to good use.
  • Benefit from #ClearTheList movement.
    Amazon and other companies do their part to support teachers by buying the remaining items on Amazon WishLists during the back-to-school season.

What are art teachers using WishList for?

1. Books for art project inspiration.

Jaime Marker, an elementary art teacher in Texas, shares, “I use books as an inspiration for most art projects and to inspire the students to see that illustrators are artists too!” The Day the Crayons Quit, Lines That Wiggle, and Beautiful Oops! are just a few of the titles on Marker’s list. Marker gave her link to parents and the local community to invest in their students.


2. Items to refine fine motor skills in young students.

Jen Balanger is an elementary art teacher in Massachusetts. Jen said, “I asked for things that I found I’ve needed in the post-Covid teaching era. Tracers, large hole punchers, organizers… any item that would help foster independence and fine motor skills.” Parents at Balanger’s school shared many teachers’ list links on the school’s social platform. The amount of support she received outside of the school community touched her.

2. DonorsChoose

DonorsChoose allows you to post classroom projects with purchase orders for donors to fund. DonorsChoose is great for supplying classroom centers and special projects. One special note is that you must be a PreK–12 teacher in a public school. If you teach in a non-public setting, GoFundMe is an alternative platform.

Don’t wait until back-to-school to make a project; you never know when projects in your area may be flash funded. When you do make a project, relate it to multiple subjects and STEAM to increase the chance of matching funds. Tell the public about your students, select materials for your project, and share how you will use them. Donors can then partially or completely fund your project. You will receive the supplies to your school once your project is fully funded. Thank your donors and put the items to good use!

Why choose DonorsChoose?

  • Select materials from various vendors.
    DonorsChoose works with select vendors to provide special pricing and excellent service. You can choose materials from Amazon, BestBuy, Scholastic, Lego, and, of course, Blick.
  • Fund experiences for yourself and your students.
    You can request funds for virtual trips or visitors to your classroom. Donors can also help fund your virtual professional development. This can be a conference, program, or even a class!
  • Take advantage of one-to-one matching donations.
    Corporations and foundations offer to match individual donations for certain projects. Matching makes donors’ money go farther and helps you reach your goal sooner.

What are art teachers using DonorsChoose for?

1. Furniture options, such as stools, for the art room.

“I got rid of all the big bulky chairs, and now we only have stools, which fit neatly under the table, allowing my artists to have more room to stand and move around while they are creating,” Jennifer Hamilton, an elementary art teacher from Michigan, shares.

A DonorsChoose user since 2011 with 70 projects funded to date, Hamilton raves about her love for the platform! Donors have generously doubled her classroom supplies and funded iPads. Hamilton is forever grateful for how she has been able to maximize opportunities for her art students.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Hamilton

2. DSLR cameras and other equipment for digital photography.

Abby Schukei, a middle school art teacher in Nebraska, says that “having light booths, cameras, and studio lighting have elevated the classroom experience for my students.”

Schukei describes DonorsChoose as easy to use. Submitting requests for three DSLR cameras at once kept the overall cost of her projects low because classroom sets are easier to fund. She found that replenishing more expensive materials like glaze stretches her art budget further.

3. Artsonia

Artsonia allows you to curate an online gallery of student artwork that allows parents to customize products. You or your students photograph the finished artwork and upload it to the site. Parents and community members can print this artwork on t-shirts, mouse pads, tumblers, phone cases, and more. Artsonia donates a percentage of gift shop sales to your art room! This donation is handy for those unexpected expenses or last-minute fun purchases.

artwork on shirt
Photo courtesy of Marina Alfera

Why choose Artsonia?

  • Offer a variety of products.
    The Artsonia Gift Shop offers many products for supporters to choose from. The range in prices allows everyone to find an item in their budget. Purchasers can always opt for a simple print of an artwork.
  • Control fund payouts.
    Artsonia puts your percentage of gift shop purchases into a fund. You can redeem this money at any time and in any amount through gift cards or a check made out to your school.
  • Highlight student artwork.
    Build confidence and pride by offering parents a chance to show off their student’s work. The school community gets to see firsthand the skills they are supporting with their purchase.

What are art teachers using Artsonia for?

Must-have supplies for anything and everything you can think of.

“Not only is it a great platform for student work, but the customer service is phenomenal, and I have been able to raise a great amount of money for my art room to purchase new supplies,” says Marina Alfera, an elementary art teacher from Pennsylvania.

Alfera reports a very positive experience with Artsonia for the past six years. She sees parents buy t-shirts, mugs, magnets, and ornaments the most often. Take time to set up your account and teach your students how to photograph and upload their own work. It takes some work on the front end to get this platform running, but it’s well worth it in the long run.


4. Art to Remember

Art to Remember is a fundraising platform that turns children’s masterpieces into creative memorabilia for family and friends to purchase and enjoy. Students create art on provided paper and Art to Remember takes care of the rest! Supporters preview customized products featuring their students’ work and can opt to include a donation for your art program. SilverGraphics is a similar program that allows flexible, larger sizes.

Why choose Art to Remember?

  • Benefit from the hassle-free process.
    Art to Remember provides paper, custom labels, and free shipping to make the process as easy as possible. They scan the work, provide custom order forms, and print and distribute all of the products to school or home addresses.
  • Access coordinator resources.
    A library of free lesson plans, a downloadable promotional material suite, and support from a dedicated fundraising representative are just a few of the resources at your disposal as an Art to Remember program coordinator.
  • Create a Legacy Wall fundraiser.
    One fundraising option is to create a wall display of tiles featuring individual student artwork. This is a permanent and collaborative installation sure to leave a lasting legacy at your school! Parents purchase their child’s tile for the display.

What are art teachers using Art to Remember for?

Unique keepsakes to memorialize student art for years to come.

Alison Roop, an early-education administrator in Ohio, raves, “Our families love the keepsakes with their child’s masterpieces on them. These are truly treasured items that parents hold onto for a lifetime.” The ease of implementing the program and the customized keepsakes keep Roop and her schools coming back each year. Art to Remember has quickly become a staple in her fundraising efforts that families look forward to every year.

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Image courtesy of Art to Remember

5. Artome

Artome is a pre-fabricated art show and fundraiser all rolled into one. Like other keepsake programs, artists create their work on provided paper and ship it to the state Artome headquarters. Staff professionally mat and display the masterpieces in signature black Artome frames. On the day of the show, they deliver and set up all of the artwork for the community to enjoy. Supporters can purchase the framed artwork to support your program!

Why choose Artome?

  • Save time with done-for-you show prep.
    Artome makes it easy to host an art show in your school when you are short on time. Relieving you of having to mat, frame, and label all of the artwork for your show is a time-saver that’s hard to pass up!
  • Mingle and advocate more at your show.
    You can truly enjoy the show since Artome helps with the setup and clean-up. Spend the time socializing with families and celebrating students’ wonderful accomplishments.
  • Pay for purchased frames only.
    Artome professionally frames one piece of art for every student. When the event ends, they invoice you for any frames sold and return the rest of your artwork. You can curate an elevated display for your community without breaking the bank!

What are art teachers using Artome for?

Ready-made art shows that leave students feeling like professionals.

Artome art shows allow students and families to experience their art in a professional exhibition. The #artomeartshow on Instagram is full of teachers from various states who love their Artome art shows. “The All-School Art Show was such a big success! My first-graders were so excited about their first in-person Art Show,” Ms. Crook from Texas posted.


You are not alone in your quest to fund a variety of meaningful art experiences for your students. Fundraising may be daunting but you have access to tools to make it easier. Plus, there are communities near and far willing to come alongside you. Amazon Wishlist provides a familiar and controllable fundraiser and DonorsChoose offers a little extra boost through matching donations. Artsonia and Art to Remember not only get you the funds you need, but they also promote appreciation for your students’ art. Choose any one of these fundraising platforms to help spread the word about what your art program needs to grow. The generosity of others may surprise you!

How have you used these platforms to grow your art program?

What project will you fund next using one of these platforms?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Mariana VanDerMolen

Mariana VanDerMolen, an elementary art educator, is a current AOEU Writer. She enjoys teaching for creativity, with a focus on ELL and therapy in a process-based art room.

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