Last reviewed on 29 March 2021
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 4117

With more pupils back in the classroom, you might be thinking about re-starting fundraising initiatives for your school. Read on for ways to make the most of your funding, how to generate extra income and how schools have put their ideas into practice.

Maximise your funding

Start by making the most of the funding available to you. Have a good marketing plan in place to attract more pupils and fill your published attendance number (PAN). Having higher pupil numbers means your school will receive more funding.

Make sure that as many eligible pupils as possible apply for free school meals (FSM). This will boost the amount of pupil premium funding your school receives.

See our template letter to encourage parents to register their children for FSM.

Be resourceful with staffing

Staffing is where you’ll find you spend most of your budget. To generate and save funds through staffing, you can:

  • Work with other schools to share services such as site, finance and human resource teams
  • Outsource staff with specialist skills to schools that need the support but cannot afford, or don’t need, full-time staff
  • Employ a procurement consultant
  • Employ a timetabling consultant who will maximise the efficiency of staff and room timetables
  • Hire volunteers

Further reading:

Use your school site to make extra money

Consider letting out your school premises to generate additional income when relevant restrictions ease. You could provide space for:

  • Yoga, pilates and other exercise classes
  • Weight loss and other support groups
  • Evening and weekend adult education classes
  • Children’s groups such as Brownies and Scouts

Note: you can still hire out your premises during coronavirus, as long as you are following relevant government guidance.


As and when such activities are allowed again, you could use your school’s car park to provide:

  • Additional parking facilities for nearby events, such as concerts and fairs
  • Space for car boot sales, where the organiser would pay your school a percentage from each car's entry fee


Think about setting up an on-site café to generate income from pupils, staff and visitors (when COVID-19 restrictions ease). It could be something as simple as selling coffees, sandwiches and cakes.

IT equipment

Offer printing and design services to local businesses through your reprographics and media departments.

To maximise efficiency:

  • Create a marketing document of the facilities available for hire and send it to local organisations
  • Make sure school staff dealing with lettings respond quickly to enquiries

Further reading:

Develop relationships with local businesses

Approach local businesses about sponsoring activities (when times allow) or facilities, such as:

  • Sports events and clothing
  • Prize-giving events
  • Open days
  • Community events

Look into developing relationships with companies under their corporate social responsibility (CSR) schemes. This could give you access to free services such as mentoring, or assistance with small capital building works.

You could also work with retailers and restaurants to earn cashback on purchases of certain products or services. For example, local restaurants may give your school a percentage of the profits from certain meal purchases.

Look for match funding opportunities

Some companies have a scheme where they match the amount of money raised through fundraising by their employees. For example:

  • Thames Water does pound-for-pound matching up to a maximum of £2,000 for registered charities
  • Barclays Bank offers employee-matched donations to officially registered charities that actively support affected communities
  • Experian will match raised funds up to £250 per person per year

Ask parents to check with their workplace if they offer this. Some schemes have terms that only registered charities can benefit from matched funding, but this varies by organisation.

References to commercial organisations here does not represent endorsement from The Key.

Further reading:

Apply for grants

Take a look at the funding opportunities available from grant-awarding bodies.

Some are unrestricted, while others are aimed at funding a specific project or purchase, such as building refurbishments or new equipment.

Encourage parents to contribute their time

Raise funds and make savings by working with parents in your school.

Parents can contribute to fundraising through school fairs, when allowed, or other fundraising events such as quiz nights - even via video links.

But they can also help in practical ways. For example, you could ask parents to help with DIY projects, reducing the need to employ contractors or additional members of staff.

Another way to generate revenue is to sell items directly to parents and pupils, such as:

  • Annual school photos
  • Personalised jumpers with pupil names on the back
  • School merchandise such as stationery, water bottles and hats

Case study: raise more money, more easily via one app

Christ Church Cathedral School, an independent school for boys in Oxfordshire, uses a free private social networking app for parents, Classlist to engage with parents and generate funding for the school.

Like this school, you might use this app or other similar services to:

Generate more income through online ticket sales

Christ Church Cathedral School has used the app to:

  • Sell more tickets online, more easily and quickly
  • Reduce the administrative burden for school office staff

Raise advertising revenue

A former chair of the parent-teacher association (PTA) approached a number of local businesses, and 3 of them set up an arrangement with Classlist where they paid to advertise on the app and a percentage of the fee went to the school.

The school raised £1,600 as a result.

Set up a second-hand uniform market

The school has used this to generate extra funds from lost property.

Sell PTA merchandise

The PTA also used the app to sell school merchandise such as tea towels and calendars.

Case study: community spirit through lettings

Cotgrave Candleby Lane Primary School in Nottinghamshire is a primary school with more than 500 pupils. Through the letting of school buildings and resources in pre-COVID times, the school generated additional funds and helped create a feeling of community spirit.

Extended opening and differential rates

The school is usually open until 9pm to host a range of community and business activities. These include Scouts groups, training sessions for local sports teams, cinema nights, and local authority and business meetings.

The school sets different rates for different users - business rates and community rates.

The business rate is:

  • Set competitively
  • Similar to rates for other facilities, such as leisure centres and conference facilities

The community rate is:

  • A lower charge levied for local groups
  • Decided by the governing board if there is debate over what rate should be set

Site staff are responsible for closing the school at the end of evening activities. The site manager has a contract stating weekend working and receives an hour in overtime pay at the beginning and end of each session.

Interacting with local businesses

The school also has a creative curriculum, with the aim of introducing 'real-life' situations to the children. For example, pupils set up mini-businesses as a way of learning about their community.

The school works closely with businesses of all sizes - from small family businesses to large corporate organisations based nearby.

See Business in the Community for details of community projects that local businesses can research and take part in. You can apply to be considered as one of these community projects.

Proactively generating ideas

The school has been proactive in sourcing potential customers for its facilities.

It has approached local sports associations directly, and through marketing campaigns such as:

  • Sending out e-leaflets
  • Displaying banners on the school gates and around the site

It has also sought to integrate itself into the community by approaching local businesses and asking how the school might be involved in their CSR initiatives.


Nazli Hussein is an experienced school business manager who has worked in both primary and secondary schools. She has a degree in business/finance and a diploma in school business management.