Business Behind the Books

In this issue of the RAR Bookmark, we spent time reviewing our STEM book collection and showing how Affiliates are incorporating the collection into their RAR programming to not only add different books to the rotation cycle, but also to help meet STEM initiatives within curriculum guidelines and several federal/state mandates.  However, where does the funding come from to add these extra books?

First, look to your principal/school district. If there is a budget set aside for curriculum materials or STEM activities, RAR STEM books should qualify not only due to the book content, but also because they include bookplates inside each book cover that outlines what STEM concepts are explored in the book and provides ideas and types of questions parents can ask their child as they are sharing the book aloud.

Second, look at any Head Start/EHS, Federal or State funding to see if there are STEM mandates and requirements for a percentage of funding that must be allocated.  This is a great strategy where you can overlap family engagement/literacy/early childhood education/STEM requirements all in one purchase!

Third, look to local funding. Often there are many businesses, civic and other philanthropic organizations interested in funding activities for children, but prefer a specific “ask” rather than writing out a blank check. Several RAR affiliates have had success with obtaining a quote from our office listing out the STEM books and other materials they need and providing it to the funder to verify the costs.  Invite the funder to help unpack the boxes the STEM materials arrived in, take photos and ask the local newspaper to publish your “thank you” to the funder. It is a win-win-win for everyone – the press has a feel-good story to publish, the funder is publicly acknowledged, and your program is highlighted to the community!

Fourth, try out the donate page on Facebook or GoFundMe.  Carol Williams, Director and Owner of Carol’s Tiny Tots in Charlotte, NC, needed $1,700 in new books and materials to refresh her RAR program after 10 years of use.  In less than three weeks, she had more than $2,000 donated to her program specifically for the purchase of RAR books!  Carol was featured last year in our June Bookmark detailing the specifics of her success and the steps she took during the process. is another option to fund RAR in your classroom. 

Fifth, reach out to us! We are more than happy to help your team brainstorm on funding opportunities and support efforts to submit applications for grants, or other requirements needed.  Located on the OAN, we have templates available containing information and specifics about the RAR program as well as various forms you can customize to fit your funding idea. If you need something more specific, let us know and we can help come up with a solution.  Share your success stories with us so we can publish them in upcoming Bookmarks!