The Ultimate Guide to School Fundraising

Introduction to School Fundraising

Are you looking to raise money for your school? Do you need assistance with planning an event or want to know how to find alternative ways to raise money online? 

You’ve come to the right place. In our ultimate guide to school fundraising, we help give you the foundation to make your fundraising efforts a success. 

What is School Fundraising?

All schools need extra funds, as school budgets can only stretch so far. By fundraising, the school can supplement these budgets to help them pay for things that can enhance the quality of the teaching at the school. This could be simple things like buying new books, or could be for more significant improvements like a new library, a new playground or new technology such as an immersive classroom. 

Whatever the school needs that doesn’t fit within its budget, there is an opportunity to fundraise to help secure it. Fundraising is also a great chance to engage with the wider community of the school. Parents, grandparents and school alumni can get involved, as well as businesses in the local area. 

The Changing Landscape of School Fundraising in the UK

Traditionally, we’ve seen plenty of classic methods of school fundraising. And to be honest, many of them are still relevant today – the oldies are still the goodies! Bake sales, bring and buy sales, raffles, quizzes and other school events have been used to fundraise for years and still bring the cash in for schools today. 

But schools also have other options nowadays as well, as technology has changed the game. Schools now have access to a range of digital platforms to use to help them fundraise. At easyfundraising, we’re proud to help hundreds of schools raise money through our innovative platform. Other options include online crowdfunding platforms for example. The key to digital platforms for school fundraising is that they offer a convenient option for busy parents, and also enable schools to widen the net of their potential fundraising efforts. 

Different Types of School Fundraising

Let’s look at both traditional and digital methods in a little more detail. 

Traditional School Fundraising Efforts

These can include: 

Bake sales: Throw on your aprons and get baking to help raise money for the school. Bake sales are an easy way to raise money, it just requires a little effort from parents and kids to get involved with the baking. You’ll also need a dedicated time and place to hold it – you could try and include it in your school summer or winter fair to make things easier. 

Charity runs: A charity run is a great idea to raise money. You can ask for funds for people to enter and then ask each runner to secure sponsorship too. Older kids can also get involved alongside their parents. You face a few challenges when it comes to charity runs. The first is ensuring enough people take part. The second is logistical – you’ll need to find an appropriate place (it could be the school running track or the local running track) and ensure it is booked out. You’ll also be asking parents to take time out of their busy schedules to get involved, whether you host it after school or at the weekend. A good option for a smaller charity run or race is to hold it as part of your annual sports day. 

Car washes: Putting the children and teachers to work washing cars is another great idea for fundraising. You can open up the school at the weekend and get washing! You can ask parents to bring their cars along but also attract the general public from the local area – you just need to get your advertising right on the day. 

Sponsored events: An easy way to do a sponsored event is to ask each child to try and raise a specific sum (say £20) during the Easter holidays for example. They can choose their method of fundraising and will need to secure their sponsors for up to £20 or more. They could do a sponsored run on their own, be sponsored to score a certain number of goals at football or to swim a certain length. The ease of this fundraising idea is that you put the onus on the children (and parents) to organise. The difficulty is that you don’t have too much control over whether or not they choose to do it. Other sponsored events could include a sponsored silence (the teachers would love that) or a swimathon. 

Non-uniform day: This is an easy one. What child doesn’t want to ditch the school uniform for the day? All you need to do is set aside one day – usually at the end of term – where the kids can wear their own clothes in exchange for a small donation of £1. While it might be an easy one to execute, the potential funds you can raise are capped by the number of children in the school. 

Digital School Fundraising Methods

Online fundraising methods can be easy to set up, they have wide reach, and they offer the potential for greater donations. 

For example, with easyfundraising, all you need to do is set your school up as a good cause on our website. When parents or supporters of the school shop online, they simply need to start their journey with us, select one of the 7,500 retailers we work with and shop. You’ll receive a donation out of their spend, and it doesn’t cost them anything other than what they’re spending with the retailer. You also have plenty of promotional tools with easyfundraising too. 

Other platforms like JustGiving and GoFundMe enable you to set up a fundraising page that you can then promote to parents and supporters across social media and in your school emails and other communications. Crowdfunding platforms also offer a great way to fundraise for big development projects, like a new school classroom or library.

Planning Your School Fundraising Event

Think an event would be the ideal way to raise funds for your school? Here are some helpful tips to do it. 

Setting a Fundraising Goal 

When you’re running a fundraising event or campaign for your school, it always helps to set a goal first. This enables parents and supporters to clearly see what their efforts are going towards. If your fundraising aim is some new computers, a new library, new classroom or new sports equipment, you need to do some cost calculations first. Then you can set a specific amount as your goal. 

How much do you realistically need to make it happen? Can you use any of the school budget? What percentage needs to come from fundraising? This will all help you set your fundraising goal. You’ll also need to consider the time you have to raise the funds – is it a full school year or just a term? You don’t want to set an unrealistic goal in your chosen timeframe. 

Does your school have a history of fundraising or is this the first time? If it’s the latter, you’ll need to think carefully about what’s a realistic goal. Also, your target audience is so important. If parents are struggling themselves amidst the cost of living crisis, it can be a difficult sell to get a big fundraising goal off the ground. 

If you register your fundraising efforts with us at easyfundraising, you can promote your goal on your dedicated fundraising page. You’ll also see when you get a donation and can track your progress on your own personal dashboard. 

Choosing the Right Fundraising Event for Your School

Finding the right type of event is key to help reach that target. Are the parents at your school all about community spirit? Then a bake sale or school fair could be the way to go. Do they like to party? A school quiz or ball could be a great idea. Does your school have a history of sporting success? A swimathon, fun run or football tournament might be the right approach. 

It all comes down to understanding the culture of the school and the parents. But you’ll also need the facilities to make it happen. A swimathon is a great idea in principle, but you’ll need access to the right facilities, such as the pool at your local leisure centre.

Sometimes less can be more. Simple ideas like bake sales, non-uniform days, school fairs and car washes can all raise a decent amount of funds when executed properly. But if you have the means to do it, there’s nothing wrong with going all out with a black-tie ball for parents! 

Promoting your School Fundraising Event

You can come up with the best idea ever for a school fundraising event, but it lives or dies on your promotion. You need to spread the word to parents with absolute clarity on what the event is, how much you’re trying to raise and how they can get involved. 

Your communications need to be super clear, engaging, and concise. Social media, regular school emails, PTA update emails are all good online ways of speaking directly to parents. You can also put posters up around the school and at the various school entrances so parents will see them every time they drop their kids off. It also doesn’t do any harm to speak to the local press to get coverage of your fundraising goals and event. 

And one of the biggest tools you have to promote the event is the children themselves. Make sure the teachers are speaking to them regularly about the event. You’ll want to get them excited about the event itself but also the end goal of the fundraising. There isn’t a better motivator for parents than if their kids won’t stop talking about the super exciting school fundraising event. 

If you register your fundraising efforts with easyfundraising, you get access to our fundraising toolkit. We’ll help you create your page, provide you with templates for your social media posts, emails and WhatsApp messages, and help you create your posters. You’ll also get access to all our how-to videos to aid your fundraising efforts.

Success Stories of School Fundraising

It is possible to raise money for your school through fundraising. And when you do, it can have a big impact on your school and the children. 

In 2018, Friends of the Charter School was amongst the top three highest raising causes that summer with easyfundraising. They raised more than £2,500 with us by summer 2018 to fund a trip to Dorset and pay for places on the Duke of Edinburgh scheme for children who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford it. They are also continuing to raise funds with easyfundraising to replace one of the school science labs. 

They did it through constant communication of their fundraising goals via the school newsletter and on Facebook whenever one of their goals was achieved. They promoted their cause regularly on easyfundraising and ran seasonal events and campaigns throughout the year – like the Christmas Fair – to supplement their fundraising efforts. 

Making School Fundraising Easier with easyfundraising

Whatever your school fundraising goals and whatever your chosen fundraising events, you can help supplement your fundraising efforts with easyfundraising. Our platform is easy to use and we have a wide network of donors who can help fund your cause – as well as promoting it to your parents, you can also engage with our network of 3.4 million supporters. Plus, we’ve also got some essential tools onsite that will help you get set up and promote your cause. 

It’s easy to get started with us too. All you need to do is register your school as one of our good causes – it takes minutes and doesn’t cost you anything. It’s straightforward to create your fundraising page and list your goal. Then you can start promoting your cause and securing donations every time your parents and supporters shop online.