3 ways to make your school funds grow

Rachel Gordon

Rachel Gordon heads up the School Funding Service, which helps schools across the UK win grants for a wide range of projects, from playgrounds and sports equipment, to after-school clubs and extended services. She writes bids for schools and advises them on how to maximise their funding potential.

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Website: schoolfundingservice.co.uk Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Setting up an after-school club, purchasing new books for the school library, updating computer equipment, and installing specialised playground equipment – these are all important projects for the creation of a diverse learning and social environment at school but they are often the first things to go when budgets are tightened.

Taking matters into their own hands, more schools and colleges are looking for new and inventive ways to boost their funds to support special projects and activities. The great news is that there are plenty of ways that your school can make money that don’t take up too much time or require sustained effort from school staff to organise and operate. The following ideas constitute a selection of easy-to-implement money raising schemes which, once they are put into action, you can sit back, relax, and watch your school funds grow, giving you that additional income to enhance the school experience for your pupils and local community.

The benefits of recycling schemes for fundraising

The start of a new school term, coinciding with the spring season, is the perfect time to take advantage of schemes that help boost your school funds by recycling unwanted items. It is that time of year traditionally associated with having a good old spring clean, which encourages us to tidy up, rummage through and sort out everything we have collected over the past year.  It is certainly not unusual to uncover items of clothing we no longer want or find mobile phones that we had forgotten about and no longer need.

Rather than disposing of these items in the rubbish and sending them to landfill, there are a number of recycling schemes that help you exchange items for cash to boost your school funds. This is, of course, considerably beneficial for the environment, as many of these items are refurbished and reused, while others are saved from landfill through recycling. It can also be a useful focal point for encouraging pupils to think about environmental and citizenship issues in the classroom.

Once your recycling scheme is in place, schools find that pupils and their families continue to send in recyclable items, meaning that the scheme often takes care of itself, bringing in a steady income. In turn, the income you receive is available to be spent as you please, enabling you to accomplish your school’s wish list of special projects and equipment without having to adhere to funding conditions.

Ringing in the money

Mobile phone recycling has long been a popular way for schools to raise extra cash. As mobile phone ownership continues to rise –with the number of pupils who have their own mobile phones also increasing significantly – there are more mobile phones per household, providing more opportunities to collect old phones that are no longer wanted.

To get you started, Recycool collects mobile phones and empty laser and inkjet cartridges, found in printers and fax machines, in exchange for cash. Each item is valued separately and a list of approximate values can be found on the website. Support Your School also collects mobile phones, inkjet cartridges and toners. Both companies will give you a collection box and arrange to pick up your collection free of charge. They also offer campaign materials to help you increase awareness of the scheme in your school community.

In the pink

Empties Please specialises in the recycling of empty ink cartridges and they will give schools up to £1 per ink cartridge and 75p for any original manufacturer toner. The company will provide you with a collection box and recycling bags to send home with pupils and, when your box is full, they will arrange to pick it up from school. They also run a Green Point loyalty scheme where your points can be redeemed for resources for outdoor environmental projects, which includes useful items such as trees, gardening tools, bird tables, hedgehog houses, and bug boxes. One of the best ways to boost your campaign is to ask local businesses to collect their ink cartridges for you – just ask them to put a collection box in their office. It is a fantastic way to boost your funds with minimum effort!

From rags to riches

Collecting old clothes is one of the easiest ways to raise funds – everyone is in possession of clothes that no longer fit or they no longer want. Bag2School and Phil the Bag are two companies that collect unwanted textiles and they will arrange a pick-up free of charge. The current rate is 50p per kilo and they accept a wide range of items including clothing, blankets, curtains, shoes, belts and handbags.

Time to start recycling

If you can rally around your school community to donate unwanted or used items, you can quickly make cash for your school and spend it on whatever your school needs. This is the attraction of fundraising recycling schemes – they are good for the environment, they encourage pupils to think about issues of sustainability, they are designed to be easy to implement, and, once they are put in place, they continue to make money without much extra effort. Of course, there are other recycling schemes out there, so it is a good idea to perform a quick internet search, especially if you are looking for competitive prices for specific items you think are high value.

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