Three creative ways to boost your school’s fundraising

With rising costs comes a need to rethink how schools raise funds. Here are three easy-to-implement ideas to maximise revenue streams

With rising costs comes a need to rethink how schools raise funds. Here are three easy-to-implement ideas to maximise revenue streams

27 Feb 2024, 5:00

With research from the National Education Union showing that 92 per cent of mainstream schools predict they will not be able to cope with cost increases in 2024, fundraising has never been more important.

To navigate rising costs, schools need to innovate and broaden their approach to generating income. Here are three creative ways schools boost their fundraising in the new year.

Get creative about monetising space

One of the most under-utilised assets within schools is undoubtedly space. Renting out your halls, classrooms and even meeting rooms is one of the easiest ways to generate income. But unfortunately, many schools are missing out on maximising earning potential here because it requires so much admin.

Advertising, communicating with bookers and handling payments can be incredibly time-consuming. The key is to streamline this as much as possible. Listing your school on an ‘Airbnb-style’ platform can make it easier to monetise your space and reach new audiences. We use one called Sharesy which is made especially for community organisations and to date has helped London schools and community centres collectively raise over £1.3 million. 

Think about how you could rent your spaces out to new audiences, too. Go beyond the classic birthday parties and dance classes. For example, reach out to local production companies to let them know your school is available for any filming or photography opportunities. It’s also a good idea to build rapport with local activity providers, like school holiday programmes and community clubs, so you’re on their radar for bookings too.

And don’t overlook your outdoor areas, like car parks and sports fields. You would be surprised how in demand they are, particularly if you live near a sporting ground or music venue. Make them available to rent by listing them on low-cost platforms like YourParkingSpace.

Embrace tech in new ways

Traditionally, schools have been slow to embrace new tech and this has often held them back. Tech can save you a huge amount of time and money, so it should play a crucial role in your fundraising efforts. There are many free or low-cost platforms that you can tap into to help you get further.

If you’re hosting an event, pop it up on Eventbrite or Facebook to make it super ‘sharable’ among your community. This also gives you a place to share any updates, build excitement and engage with the community. If you’re crowdfunding for new technology or a playground upgrade, do it through GoFundMe so everyone can talk about their donations, keep up to date with how much you’ve raised and share the URL with their friends.

We’ve also had success with affiliate link programmes, EasyFundRaising, which allows us to earn a commission on parents’ everyday purchases at no extra cost to them. It’s a smart way of discovering small extra income streams that benefit everyone. 

Start new traditions

If you’re hosting events yourself, breaking away from tradition can breathe new life into fundraising efforts. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try something fresh, especially if you’re finding relying on the same old events each year is no longer working. 

Think about your community and what they are likely to want to get involved in. A Burns night supper makes for a great January event. Clothes swaps and boot sales are trendy right now and will appeal to those who are environmentally and cost-conscious. Board game nights, meditation classes or hobby groups will attract entirely new audiences to your school.

Rapidly rising costs and budget cuts are hitting schools hard across the board, making creative fundraising a must. While it can feel daunting to try something new, there are several simple, easy-to-introduce initiatives you can explore. In the long run, they could make a huge difference in boosting your earnings and giving your students the best possible learning experience.

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  1. Chris Carpenter

    While I can see that we have to acknowledge the current context my worry with this piece that is can be interpreted as being is overly accepting of the status quo. If the government were serious about investing in public education this situation would not arise. The idea that we can see the national economy like a household budget is not the case and has been described by Kelton (2020) as ‘pernicious’. Modern monetary theory (MMT) would suggest that the government is not dependent on revenue from taxes or borrowing to finance its spending and that the most important constraint on government spending is inflation. Therefore I argue that we can read the underfunding of non private schools as a political decision not an economic one. There is also the idea that teachers, in my view, should be focusing on their students and to expect them to be raising money for essentials is possibly not the best use of their time. This also highlights, for me, an inequality between professions. I believe it is the case that heart surgeons, airline pilots, and lawyers are not often expected to carry out sponsored walks and second hand book sales to fund surgical instruments or time on flight simulators.