There is no doubt that UK schools have faced a financially challenging decade. Between 2009 and 2019, school student numbers rose by 10.2%, while school spending per pupil in England fell by 9% in real-terms. This coupled with the disruption to traditional fundraising activities caused by the pandemic has meant that schools must be more creative, innovative and determined in their fundraising efforts now than ever before.
At Oaks, we specialise in supporting schools and MATs to develop their fundraising strategy, diversify their income streams and fulfil their fundraising potential. Therefore, with the festive season upon us, we’ve compiled a list of 12 (mostly) Christmas-themed fundraising activities and tips to help generate income for your school.
1. Festive Fit Day. A Christmassy twist to your usual non-uniform day. Ask students to pay a small donation to dress up in their favourite Christmas-themed outfit. The more creative the better! Alternatively, you could make this a Disney Day or Superhero Day – whichever you think is going to get the most people engaged.
2. Dress Up the Head Day. This might be stretching the festive theme slightly! However, it could be a great pre-holiday fundraising activity. If students raise a certain amount, the head teacher will dress up as something chosen by the students for the day.
3. Christmas Auction. This could either be an online or face to face activity depending on your capacity. One to invite the parents and grandparents to – an auction for items, vouchers and experiences donated by local organisations, community groups or individuals.
4. Christmas Quiz or Trivia Night. After a few months of respite from lockdowns, the appetite for Zoom quizzes and trivia nights should be picking back up. Alternatively, if you have the space and the resources, you could host a quiz in-person! Ask local restaurants, salons, and other businesses to donate prizes for the winners.
5. Christmas Craft Activities. Ask students for a small donation to enter their home-made Christmas decorations or cards and offer prizes to the most creative entries
6. Teachers Got Talent/Teacher-Mind. An alternative to the traditional student talent show: organise a Teachers Got Talent or Mastermind evening and invite students and their families along to watch! You could also run a raffle to boost the night’s fundraising.
7. On-site Christmas Tuck Shop. A reasonably simple way to generate a consistent stream of income. Sell mince pies, festive snacks and drinks to students during lesson breaks.
We’ve also thrown in a handful of slightly less festive fundraising options which you may find helpful if you’re looking to diversify your income. Currently, only 42% of UK schools let their buildings out to generate additional revenue. Whether you have sports pitches going unused for periods of time or empty office space which you think might be suitable for letting out, school facilities have great income-generation potential.
8. Rent Parking Space. As the Christmas holidays approach, you could look to rent school-owned parking spaces to local businesses and groups to generate a little extra revenue. These spaces can be advertised on local council websites that show parking spots in the area.
9. Hire Out Sporting Facilities. Many school sports halls and pitches are underused during the evenings and school holidays. If you have a facility you think could be better utilised, contact some local sports clubs to see if they might be interested in hiring it out.
10. Rent Classrooms and Halls. Similarly, classrooms and halls are the perfect places for events, clubs, and night classes. Schools can work to get spaces listed in online venue search websites and work with local community businesses to advertise these spaces are for hire. Schools can list these spaces on SchoolHire and Schools Plus.
Even with a fantastic idea and the action plan in place, it is crucial to raise the visibility of your campaign and make a connection with potential donors. Therefore, to round-off our 12 Festive Fundraising Ideas, we’ve added our two top tips for maximising your fundraising potential.
11. Have a Cause. Quite often fundraising campaigns lack specificity. Consider what problem the money raised will solve and why it’s so important. If people have full visibility of exactly how their money will be spent and why it’s so important, they will be much more inclined to support the cause.
12. Tell a Story. It’s important to tell a story that gets people to buy into your cause. Your story can help you make a connection with potential donors. You could also refer to the successes of previous fundraising campaigns to demonstrate the positive outcomes that someone’s donation could have.
We hope you find some of these suggestions helpful in your fundraising efforts in the run up to Christmas (and beyond!). If you’d like to keep up to date on the latest education-related news, trending topics and opportunities, we have a bi-monthly newsletter that might interest you. You can subscribe here.
The team at Oaks would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic start to 2022!
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