FUNDRAISING – Business partnerships

set themselves apart from the crowd. Tell them how their support will impact on the lives of the children. Be passionate about your cause.

Working together Generating publicity for your

sponsors is trickier at the moment, as physical events are limited. With sponsored stalls and event programmes generally off the table, what can you still do? Funding equipment: Could a business sponsor the cost of a Zoom membership so that you can hold more virtual events? Make use of the captive audience to promote your sponsor during online events. Social media and newsletters: Be sure to thank sponsors on all your social media channels and in the school or PTA newsletter, giving details of how they’ve supported you and the difference it has made. Magazine: Create a magazine that includes stories, artwork and photos from pupils, or an activity booklet to keep children entertained. Sell advertising slots, with companies paying for a quarter, half or full page. They can even help design it or pay for the printing. Yearbooks/cookbooks: While too much advertising might spoil the look of your product, you may be able to sell the back cover of the book without compromising too much and help cover the printing costs at the same time. Prizes and products: Silent

‘We’ve had a fi ve-year partnership with a

local estate agent’ ‘Our partnership with Bridges Estate Agency dates back to 2015. From the start it was considered mutual – Bridges wanted to do some marketing within the community and our PTA needed the fi nancial support. Bridges has primarily supported us

through commission on house sales. When someone related to the school sells their house through them, Bridges donates 15% of the sales fee to us. Bridges also gives support at events, funding wine stalls, raffl e prizes and bouncy castles, among other things. We discuss our events calendar with Bridges throughout the year to keep them engaged and see what we can do for each other.

Crucially, it is always a discussion of mutual benefi t. A relationship of this kind does not happen by itself; it needs nurturing, and input from both sides. Throughout the year, we

have a banner with the Bridges logo hung on our school fence. We aim to give

them a presence with a stall, leafl ets and balloons at big events, and often include them in our PTA newsletters. Bridges has continued to input into

events we’ve organised during the pandemic. They funded the main prize for our local scavenger hunt – an online quiz where people were asked to go out in the local area to search for answers. In return, we have carried on helping them with brand awareness. A business partnership can really

benefi t a PTA. Your charity has the community at its heart and children at its core, so don’t be afraid to approach a local company. For the business, your school community is often the ideal place for marketing as they can gain access to hundreds of parents. Strong mutual benefi t is the basis for a successful long-term relationship.’ Simone Hookey & Hester Kan, former co-chairs, Caversham Primary School PTA, Caversham, Reading (450 pupils)

auctions and raffl es can be run online, so seek out donations. If you’re running an event such as a virtual workshop, where you send out the materials to participants in advance, ask for a contribution to cover some of the costs. Sponsor wall: A sponsor wall is a webpage of links to companies who have paid an annual fee for their logo, which links to their website, to be included. Depending on your school or PTA website, this can be easily created with the platform you already have available, so has no outlay costs, while being a source of continuing annual income. Estate agent boards: Many estate agents will pay you to advertise your own events using their branded boards in volunteers’ front gardens. Often these are used for fairs, but

you can use them to promote virtual fundraisers if you’re opening them up to the community.

Don’t stop there After putting time and effort into

creating a relationship with a business, it’s important to maintain the connection. Keep sponsors updated on how their work has helped the school and thank them both personally and publicly. Let them know about any available opportunities. What events are coming up? What’s your next project, and how could they be involved? Discuss your expectations and how you wish to develop the partnership further. Listen to what they have to say and respond with suggestions. As your relationship strengthens, they may be willing to offer more.

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