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It pays to get creative when planning to boost your budget, says Kirstine Beeley
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Most parents are fed up with cake stalls and dressing-up days, so the key to successful fundraising is to think outside the box.
I’ve found that if you tie the fundraising into the learning in your setting, people are more likely to engage, and children have lots more fun too.
Try making up some creative craft sets from your local scrapstore. For a few pence you can usually get plenty of crayons, paper, etc. and if you charge a few pounds per pack in the run up to a holiday break, you can emphasise your ethos of encouraging creativity (rather than following a template), while children get something fun to do in the holidays.
Fine motor skills are essential to early learning, so try focusing on these processes whilst earning a few pounds for your setting! Offer packs of play-dough and some associated bits and pieces (matchsticks, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, etc.) for sale, and you’ll get the message about that all-important finger and hand strength across to parents while building bridges with home.
Seasonal sensory play-dough is always popular, e.g. lemon in spring, cinnamon/chocolate at Christmas, etc. Your local supermarket may donate the flour, etc. needed if you ask nicely. Alternatively, see if your local DIY or hardware store will donate nuts, bolts and washers, and make up some funky fingers bags for little people to use at home.
Why not try a sponsored sunflower grow? For the price of a packet of seeds and a few pots from a pound shop you can put together a kit for the children, who can then get sponsors for each cm or 10 of growth. Give a special prize to the tallest sunflower – certificates are always popular for sponsored events.
Alternatively, consider a sponsored singsong: provide parents with words to songs or rhymes their children enjoy in your setting and encourage them to learn at home with the children. Gather sponsorship for each song the child can sing (in a group). Again, both activities build on partnerships with parents as well as raising funds.
For larger items there are plenty of grants you can apply for. Try to find local sources of funding such as the Lions Club, Rotary Club or even local Freemasons. Look for companies with head offices near you, as many have local community support schemes, which have tax benefits to them.
Make sure you’re really specific about what you need the money for, and show you have shopped around. A request for £500 to ‘do up the garden’ will be overlooked due to a lack of detailed information. Try looking online for lists of community grant funding or ask your local authority sustainability department.
Rather than raising money, why not try to save some by getting parents and local companies to donate products? A donation tree with examples of things you need on a daily basis gives mums and dads the chance to make small, affordable contributions to your setting.
Ask for items you use regularly, such as rice, pasta, flour, shaving foam, food colouring, etc. Or ask local builders, garden centres and turf suppliers to donate gravel, sand or plants for your outdoor area.
Discover creative lesson activities and innovative teaching practices in this CPD box set full of ideas for boosting reading skills.
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