Forget the annual fete or bring-and-buy; school fundraising has shifted to a whole new level.
With no end to financial challenges, school business managers are increasingly turning to innovative, and occasionally controversial, methods to plug the funding gap.
Some take advantage of schemes such as the Tesco’s “Bag for Life” initiative where a proportion of the money raised goes to communities, including schools.
Others approach parents and former pupils with direct requests for donations.
There are even examples of school facilities being “rented out”, from car parks to swimming pools and halls.
What is clear is that the role of the business manager is changing from organisational guru to fundraiser-in-chief and it is one many find uncomfortable.
While a school traditionally will rely on support from within its own community of parents, friends and relatives, all too often they must look wider afield, bringing them into “competition” with others schools.
Very often business managers will approach external funders, trusts, foundations and similar charitable organisations. But with finite funds available, this means business managers have to add bid-writing to their armoury of skills.
Fairness also plays a part. Schools with a high proportion of disadvantaged pupils can easily make a strong case for financial assistance. Yet a high-achieving school can lose out despite its need for funds to maintain standards.
While no-one criticises the well-intentioned and often necessary fundraising efforts, how long before school uniforms are emblazoned with a sponsor's name or logo?
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