these expectations. Schools need to understand what the business expects in return, and just how involved the partner expects to be in the project they’re supporting. They’ll want to consider how the community views the partnership too, and you could develop questionnaires to engage with your parent groups to assess their views.

Engage suppliers Of course, schools need to apply due diligence and consider carefully any commercial relationship they develop with an external organisation. The safest and most obvious place to start is with those businesses already engaging with the school: suppliers. Schools have trading relationships with suppliers and a degree of trust that may have been cemented over a number of years. Alternatively, you may need to research for a specific business to meet your need. For example, school leaders looking for a specific service should reach out to a business that has expertise in that area and should also ask parents to suggest potential partners. Much may depend on your geographical location – being surrounded by growing high-tech micro businesses may offer different opportunities to locations in traditional industry heartlands. Some needs may be short term and will need

specific expertise to help with the delivery. However, you’re probably looking to develop longer term bonds that are sustainable and can be grown and developed in the future. Make sure the activities you develop with that partner align to your own values and their business culture too – sustainable relationships are more likely if your

core brand values match. Make sure those that are involved receive the publicity they are promised! Failure to deliver can be the quickest way to undermine and derail any budding sustainable relationship. Also, of course, the school needs to evaluate and reflect on the partnership regularly to ensure the ‘win-win’ is still delivering and goals are being met.

Tiered packages There are many examples where schools are operating commercial partnerships successfully with business. Wymondham College in Norfolk introduced a number of sponsorship packages to suit various needs and budgets. Bronze, Silver and Gold packages allow a partner business to support the school, in return for a sliding scale of promotion and advertising opportunities, from appearing in the programme for the annual music show to regular posts on its social media channels. Additionally, a business directory on the school website allows selected businesses an opportunity to raise their profile for an annual fee. Regular subscriptions from trusted, local businesses offers a ‘win-win’ for both parties and, over time, help cultivate those relationships, so the school is in a great position to ask for future support! Other excellent examples of

Justin Smith is managing director of Chameleon Training and Consultancy (, providing specialist marketing and income generation support to the education sector. For over 14 years, Justin has worked in secondary schools, developing – and successfully implementing – fundraising, sponsorship and marketing strategies. In 2015, Justin was awarded the NASBM Marketing Award.

education/business partnerships exist, for example the Castle and Marlwood Schools’ Premium Partners initiative in Gloucestershire boasts a network of over 100 schools and an impressive list of impact case studies. As long as sufficient time,

coordinated effort and thought is invested up front, then all schools can enjoy lucrative and sustainable relationships with business. Innovative programmes and fundraising campaigns can have a real impact on the lives of children at the school, supporting projects that our diminishing budgets cannot sustain.

FundEd SPRING 2019 49


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