As a manager you are used to thinking strategically about school life, but what about fundraising? Is it a considered plan, linked to other aspects of the academic year, or an ad hoc affair? Here’s how to ensure fundraising not only does just that, but enhances the student experience and parents’ willingness to get involved.
Reflect and select
What have you done over the past three years that has been constantly successful and what hasn’t? One school might find a parent lottery brings in a much-needed boost where as for others it doesn’t. Analyse the relationship between effort in and money out. This is also an opportunity to consider if the fundraising fits well with your school’s values, for example many approaches rely on sugar or plastic-based treats, these should be phased out.
Enhance their education
How can fundraising be used to support the students learning? A good example are after school sessions on specific topics that parents would pay for, such as a six-week yoga or STEM club, with the profit split between the provider and the school. Children are offered short introductions to a range of topics and parents have an extra hour in the day while supporting fundraising efforts.
Get the parents involved, meaningfully
At my daughter’s state primary parents include a boat designer, who represented his country as a sailor, and an ex-marine, who has climbed Mont Blanc, trekked the Appalachian trail and is one of the UK’s best kick boxers. Just think of the stories and experiences they could share. But there are also those who have a love of gardening, run their own business, are working as illustrators, fitness instructors or musicians. Some will be more than happy to meet with students after school, while others might be willing to talk one-to-one with parents and pupils as part of a careers-style open day, with donations to the school.
Get local clubs and amenities to do the work
Sessions run by local clubs or facilities, such as sports centres or a museum, are planed and ready to go. They offer children’s parties and workshops on a weekly basis. Can they put on an event for your school with the profit split? If your school is part of a MAT this could be a very attractive advertising opportunity for any number of child-friendly places and an event that is free from the PTA or teachers having to take on the bulk of organizing.
And what about businesses
Is there a bookshop who will donate 50p for every book sold by Cressida Cowell, or a sports shop who will give you £1 for each pair of Nike trainers? Talk to shops that are small, local and friendly. You get another income stream and they get to advertise their commitment to their local community and the free advertising that comes with the arrangement.
Accept not all can help, but many want to give
And a final note, as a parent of a primary school child I can’t always get involved but have gladly given via a bank transfer. A direct debit option or links to online systems such as Quid can be a no-hassle option for those wanting to help but with little time on their hands.
Remember, parents want to get involved. Make it easy and meaningful and you’re away.
Hannah Day is head of visual arts, media and film at Ludlow College