Income generation is not a short term ‘fix’ to the current and future financial status of UK schools. It’s a practice to be adopted by senior school leaders and has many benefits that go beyond cash in the bank. When practiced diligently it builds the value of education by explaining to individuals and organisations why they should support your school. By articulating this message, and utilising the assets of your school, you can bring community groups together to share and enjoy these facilities. They, in turn, can help with financial upkeep and share your message with others.
Prioritise the top five items you intend to deliver from your school development plan over the next 12 months
Steps to success
The following three steps will ensure you have the correct foundations to build your income generation activities upon. Ignore these at your peril. Effective income generation is all about communication; it’s not just about ‘how’ but, more importantly, ‘what’ you communicate that will determine whether your audience is engaged.
1. Have a vision
Take hold of your school’s vision and adapt it for the outside world. A vision is the most powerful tool you can create for galvanising support. Your vision will motivate people and keep them inspired in times of slow progress. A vision is the big picture for your school and should have a utopian feel. Spend time on getting your vision right and use it wisely. A vision is like north on a compass; change it and people can lose their path.
2. Set goals
Prioritise the top five items you intend to deliver from your school development plan over the next 12 months. Summarise each of these, ensuring they map clearly onto your vision. If your vision sounds intangible then your goals will help you explain to others how you intend to achieve it. Goals break your vision down; what you are going to do, how you are going to do it and who you’re doing it for.
3. Define projects
A vision and goals cost nothing to create but delivering them will require projects. If you want people to support your income generation activities, and make donations, then you need to tell them what their money is going to be spent on. Start by writing a narrative for each project you want funded. This document should include a project description outlining the need for the project and the impact it will have; add supporting evidence and statistics to this. Imagine your reader knows nothing about your school or children and the only piece of communication you can use is your project narrative. What would they expect to see and read in this piece of information?
With these three items written in a document you can use them as tools to help you generate income for your school. Need a grant application completed at short notice? No longer a problem now you have this content to hand. When speaking to a local business about sponsorship and they ask for more information – print them a copy.
When you need to raise money it’s easy to slip into the ‘doing’ instead of the ‘planning’ but, without a strategy, how will you know what is the best approach?