10 Ideas from the corporate and charity arena that could improve school fundraising 

I cannot imagine there are many schools that would turn down an extra cash boost.  At Itchyrobot we are actively involved in fundraising for charities and below is a quick round up for what works for them. 

When it comes to fundraising there are a couple of key rules we would propose; 

  • it should be planned as strategically as any other aspect of your school development plans. 
  • understand your core vision and values.  Is sustainability is a high priority; is selling plastic water bottles really aligned with your ethos?  If your school is pushed hard on mental and physical health is a tuck shop with sugary drinks and sweets presenting your value proposition effectively. 
  • Enhance pupil education.  Get the pupils involved with the marketing campaigns, posters or running the banking.  Make sure the pupils understand what you are fundraising for.  Teach them about balance sheets with money in and money out.  Split the pupils in groups and run it as a little competition.  Provide resources that the pupils require that have an on paper cost that is deducted from their raised total.  Get the pupils on a computer.  Speak to local businesses.  At Itchyrobot we have ran sessions with year 5/6 pupils to produce simple websites.  Most businesses will support community projects and share their expertise.  Get the iPads out and let the pupils records adverts or promotions for their campaign.  These can be delivered out via private YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook groups.  Have fun and get creative 

Once you have your vision and values on paper you have a simple yard stick that all ideas can be measured against.  Some ideas will work for you some will not.  Try, monitor, refine is key to making this work. 

1. Online donation forms. 

This can be as simple as a PayPal donation button but can be scaled up to include systems such as eBay or Amazon Smile. 

Amazon Smile and eBay/PayPal donations work as people buy and sell on the respective platforms.  Retailers and customers can select charities/organisations that a percentage of the sale price is donated to the nominated organization. 

Fundraising barometers are effective tools if the school is attempting to raise funds for a larger capital project.  Be realistic as people like to contribute towards something that can be obtained relatively quickly. 

Amazon Wish Lists.  These are great for smaller, well any objects that Amazon sells.  Does your school need anything from a TV, Computer, Printer, Paper or Books?  Create a school account and setup an Amazon Wish List for the items you need.  Publish and promote this on your social media and school website.  Get the message out in the community which then gives your community the option to buy one of the items on your behalf as a gift. 

2. Turn your website into an E-commerce system

Make your website work harder for your school.  Itchyrobot websites and a lot of school websites are based on WordPress.  WordPress is a super flexible platform that can be turned into an e-commerce store with ease.  Speak to your provider and ask the question.  If you are not sure if your website uses WordPress have a look at our website checker 

https://www.itchyrobot.co.uk/website-checker/

If you can montise your website it is a win, win.  Now what to sell? 

Throughout the year our schools engage our photography team to take amazing pictures of the pupils at different points throughout the year.  We often turn these into photoboards for school displays and for updating the school website. 

Why not turn these photos into income?  We have just started the new year.  The photos created for schools throughout 2019 could easily have been turned into class calendars that can be promoted and sold online. 

Photos can easily be turned into a host of other printed products.  Get creative and more importantly see what the pupils come up with.  Harness the creativity and freshness of their ideas. 

3. Christmas unwanted gifts and ticket sales

Now, I cannot be the only person who gets the present from the distant relative that makes me stop in a confused way on Christmas day?  As a rugby player I’m pretty convinced that most thinks pink or ballet are not much use to me but I’m happy to be proved wrong! 

Run an amnesty and get teachers and pupils to gift their unwanted presents to school. 

Once you have the gifts maybe run a fun night at the school as a parent social for the new year.  What about a generation game conveyor belt task with the donated presents as prizes.  Find yourself a good creative host on your staff and point them at YouTube if they have never witnessed the fun and chaos of the Generation Game and the late Bruce Forsyth. 

Tickets for the event can be sold through your website with all payments online into your PayPal or other account all handled by your website!  If e-commerce and online monetization of your website is not offered by your provider come and speak to us about our solutions. 

Talk a look around your parents present and past and see if there is any interesting stories.  Who about “An Audience with …” style social night with all tickets sold for the event online.  I know schools we work with now have pupils who are professional golfers and footballers.  Tap into your network and see if they will comeback for a special one off to support your efforts. 

4. Crowd Funding

New Years resolutions.  Engage the school community and help support all the crazy new years resolutions like running the London Marathon or the Three Peaks Challenge.  If your community are doing it anyway create a page to support them on your school website and get them to setup donation pages on JustGiving or CrowdFunder.  Donations raised will boost the person to achieve their goal while supporting the school. 

If this is a model you want to explore but would rather have a school based platform take a look at the NESTA RocketFund 

Rocket fund describes itself as; 

“Rocket Fund is a crowdfunding platform for schools & PTAs in the UK. 
We help schools fundraise from businesses & their wider community. 
So far we have helped 482 projects raise over £395,000.” 

5. Recurring Donations

Empower your previous pupils, parents and local business owners to support pupil education, school trips and events with recurring donations.  Most people find it easier to donate small amounts regularly than large one off amounts. 

If you’ve got this far and monetized your website with eBay and PayPal you can easily add a PayPal recurring donation button to your site.   

Create a page explaining how the funds will be used to support front line education.  Get the community to support your vision and values with regular donations. 

6. Online Shopping

I touched on Amazon and eBay in a previous tip but there are lots of other retailers and combined retail services offering community and shopping fundraising donations. 

In the UK the Co-Op offer a registered charity scheme for shoppers with a loyalty card.  All the customer needs to do is nominate and select their chosen beneficiary for them to receive a benefit from the shopping they would be doing anyway. 

Other such systems include https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/ 

7. School Lottery

I said that all might not be applicable or meet your school values.  Some may see this as gambling but an ever increasing array of charities and organisations have taken to using some form of lottery as part of their fundraising scheme. 

One that is available to schools and advertise that one in four schools utilise a lottery model is https://www.yourschoollottery.co.uk/ 

Again, if this is a fun route to promote it can have its own page within your school fundraising section of the website which by now should be getting pretty busy if you have been adding the previous ideas. 

 8. Unwanted gifts! Get rid of junk.

I’m glad you asked.  It’s recycling time.  Now what’s not to like about this one.  Getting the stuff people didn’t want to people who do what it and making some needed cash for your school. 

You can go down all the traditional routes for school sales.  But why not recycle for cash using apps and online tools.  Great way to get the pupils involved and get them to understand about recycling and what items are worth and the impact on the environment of not recycling. 

Some tools to consider that may make your life easier to money on the donations; 

https://www.fonebank.com/schools/

https://www.musicmagpie.co.uk/

https://www.emptiesplease.com/

https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/

www.rags2riches4schools.co.uk

And for the stuff you cannot easily turn into cash why not give back to the community via your local charity shops.  Another great way to introduce pupils to social responsibility and helping others. 

9. Come Dine with Me

We’ve all seen the show but it can easily be replicated for schools and charities.  Teams of 4 enter each hosting a dinner in a league based competition with the winner of each 4 progressing to the next round.  Each participant enters at a cost of £25 and the overall winner receives £100 prize with the rest going to the school.   

Each participant could create an online blog/vlog and photos of the meals received.  It is then down to online votes as well as dinners scores as to who wins each round and progresses.  Hopefully, this will provide a good laugh with plenty of stories and kitchen disasters, just like the real show. 

10. Email and Social Media

This is a of an overall marketing model for the events above but to make it all work we need community groups and easy methods of communication.  Fortunately we are in an era with 100s of platforms all free of charge for getting the work out about our events and causes.  Sometimes you need to be creative and standout.  I would love to see some school campaigns designed by the pupils for a come dine with me event.   

Unusual stands out.  One event that drew my attention at a garden fate last year was Worm Charming!  It was quirky and as a simple title stood out as fun.  It was!! 

Same with the online world.  Have fun with your campaigns and make them bright and bold so they stand out from the crowd.  The opportunities are there to deliver some well needed funds to your school and using the self publishing power of social media for more than trips and kids work pulls the wider community into your world and opens opportunities.  Once you have the wider community and businesses involved consider setting up publishing channels on YouTube for education and monetizing them with Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/).  There is lots more I could cover but if you found this useful let me know and if you need creativity in your marketing and fundraising for the year let me know 


Conclusion 

School fundraising is not easy but hopefully a lot of the ideas presented could easily be scaled up into mini projects for pupils on a competitive basis.  From the unwanted Christmas present donations pupils chose stock, build a marketing and sales plan, are given some real or notional seed money and asked to build a business to convert their starter money into a larger amount.  Ask local business owners in to present what it is like in the real world running a business to bring the game to life.  The rules on how the game would work are up to you but it encourages creativity, math’s, entrepreneurial spirit and financial literacy which are all valued real world skills and bring fundraising into daily school life rather than an additional chore to be undertaken. 

Of all the ideas your school website should be working hard for your school.  If it is used to present information to parents and filled with statutory information then it is not working hard enough as it is a resource that can be used to generate passive income.