An investigation by The Guardian has reported that more than 1,000 schools across England are turning to crowdfunding websites and wish lists to raise money, with many appealing for basic supplies such as pencils, glue and textbooks.
Schools say they have been forced to seek additional funding after a string of cuts and cost increases, both to their own budgets and those of their local authorities. Last week the Department for Education (DfE) admitted school budgets would be even tighter next year, and schools faced “real pressures” to make ends meet.
It has also been revealed that the DfE’s cost-cutting experts have advised schools to limit pupils’ lunch portions, keep money raised for charity and replace senior staff with less well-qualified teachers on poorer contracts to save money.
The latest reports on increased fundraising are no surprise to us. Whilst The Guardian’s investigation finds that a significant part of the activity includes traditional PTA fundraising efforts for new playgrounds or sports facilities, many explicitly mention the effects of government funding cuts in their appeals to supporters, and there is no doubt that whilst schools have always been involved in fundraising many are missing out on untapped support from parents, alumni and potentially even businesses.
We will shortly be launching FundStar to the wider education sector after successful trials to offer primary, secondary and independent schools a strategic and co-ordinated approach to their fundraising activity. Cardholders shop in store and online as normal using their FundStar card and every time they use it to buy something, a micro donation (from 20p to £1 per transaction) is given to the school, and the project, of their choice.
Though individual cardholders’ donations may be small, with many people on board these payments soon add up. We estimate that an average sized secondary school can raise £60,000 per annum, and an average sized primary school can raise £15,000 per annum, enabling schools to take a more focused approach to raising funds for particular projects they wish to generate funding for that will help them deliver more opportunities for pupils. We are really excited about its potential. Watch this space….
The FundStar team
26th April 2019