The UK school system’s reliance on fundraising is something that many people aren’t even aware of. The issue isn’t spoken about enough. And if it is mentioned, it’s wrapped up in a layer of political discussion around government budget cuts. If you’re a parent, teacher, or PTA member, you’ll know how critical fundraising can be to the successful running of a school. In this blog post, fundraising experts GoRaise explore the current trends in fundraising and how this affects the education sector.

What does the fundraising sector look like in 2017?

Fundraising has been a dirty word for the past few years. It all started with the closure of Kids’ Company in 2015 and the negative media onslaught that followed. Many donors and trustees started to question how charity fundraising was being managed. As a result, they lost confidence in the donations they were pledging. Last year’s political turmoil, created by Brexit and Trump’s administration, also caused a significant hit to the major income streams of many U.K. charities.

But while the charity sector has been tested, the impact that fundraising makes has never been questioned. The demand for the money that charities and good causes raise is constantly growing. John Baguley, of UK Fundraising, hails 2017 as the year that will turn it around for charity fundraising. Speaking of his discussions with leading fundraisers, John commented –

 “as the resourceful and optimistic natures of fundraisers kicked in, new trends and possibilities began to emerge”.

How do fundraising trends affect our schools?

The fervent need for fundraising spills over from national causes to local ones: school fundraising has never been more important. Drastic budget cuts to schools across the country have left many Parent Teacher Association (PTA) groups almost solely reliant on fundraising for basic resources and extra-curricular activities for children. Many parents are taking an active role in fundraising, to be socially responsible and support their schools. The situation is even worse for schools in historically deprived areas, where budget cuts and a lack of support can make a life-changing negative impact on students’ grades and success in later life.

Laura Mount, from Appleton Thorn Primary School PTA, went to Parliament this week to question ministers about the methods behind the national education funding formula. Schools in Warrington are set to lose almost a quarter of a million pounds each year under the government’s budget cuts. Laura spoke about the fundraising that Appleton Primary are having to undertake:

“It’s a big burden, we have just over 200 pupils. So we try to involve the whole community but we don’t want people to feel like they are always being asked for help.”

But to what extent can PTAs pick up the slack created by budget cuts? Appleton Thorn Primary School, for example, has raised £6,000 in the last two years to cover special needs resources. The amount isn’t insignificant, but some worry that it isn’t enough given the time and effort that goes into fundraising.

School fundraising

What does fundraising in schools achieve?

So while many schools feel awkward asking parents for money (and some parents begrudge having to cough up), fundraising in schools has become critical to provide some of the basic resources and equipment we would expect children to have. If the school hall needs a new sound system, that will usually fall to the PTA to fundraise for and cover the cost. The money that PTAs raise also covers a huge range of extra-curricular activities, including sports clubs; arts and crafts projects; theatre trips; and visits from external speakers, storytelling groups and scientists. All of these activities help children to become more well-rounded and developed young people. Think how many young budding actors, singers and professional athletes there are out there. How would children ever find out that they’re the stars of tomorrow if they don’t get to try out all of these extra-curricular opportunities?

The benefits of fundraising for children

Fundraising might be a lot of effort sometimes, but the benefits to children are what matters. As well as directly benefiting from all of the activities that are organised for them with the fundraised money, school children can also benefit from the act of fundraising itself. Studies show that fundraising in schools promotes an admirable work ethic to children from an early age. Taking part in activities like cake sales and ticketed events improves their selling and marketing skills. They learn how to attract people to an event and charge guests for a service you’re providing. Fundraising also improves a child’s ability to work in teams. This is how they’ll learn to work towards one common goal and feel accomplished when they achieve it. Most valuably, fundraising teaches children a useful lesson about the importance of caring for others.

School fundraising
How GoRaise can help with fundraising

How to make fundraising in schools a little bit easier

Many corporations are trying to help make it a little easier for schools to raise money. A lot of parents have arranged match giving schemes with their employers, so that anything raised by the PTA can be automatically doubled by a corporate donation. Sainsbury’s often select a school to be their Charity of the Week, and will donate all of the money they’ve raised by charging customers for plastic bags.   

Here at GoRaise, we’re also big fans of making fundraising quick and easy. By using GoRaise, you can raise money for your school every time you shop online. Whenever you make a purchase from one of our 3,000 listed retailers, they will make a donation to your cause. The retailer covers all of the cost, so you’ll be fundraising at no extra cost to you and your school. We’ve also recently partnered with Uber – so that by raising money for your school, first-time Uber users can also get a free ride worth up to £15. Pretty handy for any mornings where you don’t fancy driving on the school run!

We’re so happy that many schools and PTAs are already using GoRaise to top up their fundraising totals. Salusbury Primary School has raised over £1,000 and say it’s “such a boost to the fundraising pot”. Find out more about how to start fundraising for your school by visiting our website.