Building bridges to boost income

Building relationships between your school and your local community, so that they support your ambitions, underpins a good fundraising strategy. Kerry-Jane Packman, development and membership director at Parentkind, shares five ideas to generate some income

School business managers can build on the fundraising efforts of PTAs, and work with them collaboratively, to boost revenue in the following ways.

1. Work your assets!
Most schools have a range of facilities that could be used in the evenings and on weekends by those outside the school. Consider renting out the sports facilities to local fitness groups or using your school hall for adult evening courses. Local clubs often need spaces for their activities and your school could be a great option; not only will this bring in funds, but opening the gates to the community in this way encourages greater interest in your offering and builds support among those who are keen to see their locality enhanced by the existence of a community-minded school.

2. Look into the archives
Remember your alumni. Use social media to create an online community and let them know of any big ambitions or the latest developments taking place at your school. They could be benefactors of the future, so keeping in touch and creating such a network is important.

3. Get to know your neighbours
Creating links with local businesses could be a very worthwhile effort. Think about selling advertising space around school sports fields and playgrounds, where local businesses can get significant exposure with a targeted audience. Identify those that might work well as an advertiser in the school prospectus and other publications you produce – or even on your website. This sort of advertising is a good revenue stream.

4. Don’t forget ‘gifts in kind’
Local businesses may also offer ‘gifts in kind’. For example, if you’re planning on re-painting a classroom, or revamping the school garden, why not ask for a donation of materials to help you achieve this, in return for some advertising in your parent communications? It’s good for you and great for the businesses who can promote their charitable credentials!

5. Create a pipeline
Funding opportunities can come from many different sources. There are many organisations that offer grant funding for a whole range of school projects. It is important to review what’s on offer regularly, and to make time to fill out application forms.

Schools that work closely with their PTA or Friends groups – sharing the responsibilities and identifying the most effective ways to divide tasks for the common good of their schools – and, ultimately, their children – will give themselves the best opportunity to generate funds.

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