Community Having a smaller school donor base means it’s key for rural schools to embrace the local community. Many rural schools are one of only a few (or the only) school in the area, so it’s important to draw on community feeling and people’s willingness to support local causes. Fundraising events are often

aimed solely at those directly connected to the school, but involving the wider community can lead to more visitors and bigger profits, as well as the chance to build relationships with new supporters, raise the profile of your school and build awareness of your cause.

Alumni There are always going to be more members of your school’s alumni than there are children at your school. As well as monetary donations, alumni may have valuable experience and skills they can share with pupils. Consider how you will contact pupils and their families once they have left and ensure this complies with GDPR.

Market your school Increased awareness of your cause can result in offers of support from unexpected sources. This can be done in many ways, including partnerships, press releases and social media. Each school’s situation is unique, so develop a marketing plan that suits your circumstances.

Events Draw on your PTA (or form one) when it comes to event planning to relieve stress on staff. You may be limited by location,

so if visitors need to drive to an event, it needs to have pulling power. Do something that appeals beyond the school walls and fills a gap in the community. You could run a quiz night with a bar if you don’t have a local pub, or a film night if there’s no cinema. Research your local area looking for gaps and opportunities to fill, and conduct surveys to gauge interest.

Match funding Whenever you run an event, encourage volunteers to speak to their employers about match

funding, which is when an employer agrees to make a donation to a cause based on the amount of money their employee has raised for it. It’s a simple way to boost profits, especially if you ensure anyone being match funded is put on the most profitable stall at the event.

Other funding routes Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding relies on people to make it work, so it’s important to consider what will make it more appealing to donors and therefore more likely to succeed. Can you boost support by finding a way for the project to benefit the whole community? To be successful you must have a realistic target and timescale, explain clearly what the impact will be and promote the project as widely as possible. Grants: There are millions of pounds-worth of grants available, some of which are specifically aimed at rural schools. The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation gives to fragile rural communities, while British Science Week grants are offered to rural schools. Subscribe to the FundEd database for access to £12 million-worth of grants specifically tailored to schools. Use your assets: Make the most of the school’s assets, facilities and people by making them accessible to the public. Hire out your hall to local businesses to use outside school hours and hold open days where the wider community can make use of your resources, such as sports areas or the library.

Meet school goals With the pressures on schools and staff, it may seem as if you don’t have the time or resources to fundraise. But by tying fundraisers into some of the school’s targets, you can achieve two things at once.

Working with the community The school can fill gaps in the rural community by organising events and providing access to its facilities for local people. Invite people to come into the school as volunteers to help children in their learning, saving resources that can be used elsewhere, while letting volunteers see the school in action.

Educational events A great way to get unenthusiastic parents on board is to tie a fundraising event into the children’s learning, for example with a sponsored read or a fun run.

l See p41 for lots more on curriculum-linked events.


‘After running the village May Fair for 10 years, our local Scouts group offered our school the opportunity to take it over. The Scouts gave us guidance and a list of their regular stallholders (pre-GDPR) to kick-start preparations. The event was held on the village recreation ground, with no admission charge and free parking available. Local firms sponsored event costs and we had a mix of stallholders. Our target was £4,500 in the first year but we exceeded it by £1,100. Last year, we raised £7,120, and we’re predicting 2,000+ attendees this year.’ Lizell Williams, PTFA chair, Headcorn Primary School, Kent (240 pupils)


‘Our PTFA has been running for years and we have a great relationship with the school. They rely on us and know we’re a safe pair of hands whenever something needs to be funded. We run numerous fundraisers throughout

the year so there’s always money coming in. We use social media to promote events to

those outside the school. When opening up to the community it’s all about making sure those from outside the school feel welcome. We make sure we take ourselves out into

the community as well as inviting them in. For example, at Christmas we took a barrow of booze to the local Christmas market. It was really popular and we were able to show our cause publicly. We’ve built partnerships with local and

larger companies who support us with donations, including estate agent boards for our fairs and monetary donations from the rugby club. We may be a school of only 97 pupils, but

we raised £2,500 at our last Christmas fair.’ Emma Aylen and Monique Neeter, Framfield CofE Primary School PTFA, Framfield, East Sussex (97 pupils)

FundEd SPRING 2019 21


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