Crowdfunding’s Big Implications for Schools

Type: Article
Topics: District & School Operations, Finance & Budgets, School Administrator Magazine

January 01, 2022

Legal Brief

Either as a parent or as a student, we all remember the days of the school bake sale. And we’ve all probably uttered or heard the words: “Mom, the school bake sale is tomorrow, and I need three dozen cupcakes!”

Once upon a time, raising money for school programs, activities and supplies mostly involved flour, frosting or a last-minute trip to the grocery store. Now, thanks to technology, school staff and affiliated groups are turning to the web to raise cash fast for a never-ending list of school needs. It’s called “crowdfunding,” and it’s an increasingly desirable, no-strings-attached revenue stream for educators to access to combat stagnant funding and limited resources for schools.

Consider the 4th-grade teacher who creates a campaign on a crowdfunding site seeking funds to purchase two tablets for student use. The posting explains that the devices will be used for academic enrichment. The campaign carries the school district logo and lists the school the teacher works at. In other words, it looks official, suggesting the teacher has school district permission to create the campaign. A generous community member may see the posting and assume it would be a great way to engage in charitable giving.

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Kevin Sutton

Attorney and leader of the education practice group

Miller Johnson law firm in Detroit, Mich.