Problem Solver - August 2007
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Adding Benches on a Budget

We'd like to enhance our parks by adding benches and other amenities, but we have an extremely limited budget.

Memorial site furnishings provide an ideal way to outfit your parks with beautiful benches and other furnishings without breaking the bank. First, contact the manufacturer you'd like to go with and select a beautiful design that will best enhance your parks and other public spaces. Plaques can simply be installed on the bench—or even a receptacle or planter—for a clean look and secure fit.

You'll need to determine the number of benches needed in your area, as well as where the benches and companion products will be placed. You'll also want to establish a coordinator who can interact with people who have questions about the program. Now, you just need to market the program.

To garner interest in your program, consider setting up booths at festivals and fairs around town. Of course, send notices to your regular donors and set up personal discussions with your biggest givers. They might not want to participate, but they are likely connected community members who would be willing to spread the word.

Think big when it comes to building support and excitement about your program. Why not hit the local media outlets? Encourage them to do a story on your fund-raising by sending an appropriate press release with all the pertinent data and why it makes a good local story. If budget allows, buy advertisements to thank your donors, which will create goodwill and get you some added attention. If you're concerned about staffing your efforts, consider creating a nonprofit foundation and bringing in volunteers to spread the word.

Once the word's out, your memorial bench program will grow, and your parks will become more and more beautiful with every bench that's dedicated.