As early years settings have to stretch the capacity of their resources further and further, there will come a point where being inventive with what you have just isn’t enough to plug the shortfall anymore.

You may have decided, finally, that enough’s enough. You’d like to improve the way your setting runs for the better; to deliver that “outstanding” service that parents expect; embrace new technology and upgrade your facilities. But without having access to extra funds, how will you make your dreams a reality?

One possible route is to apply for funding from local and national authorities, as well as exploring whether your setting could benefit from the generosity of local businesses and the community. For example, you could find out more about:

Crowd funding

Crowd funding gives small businesses access to funding opportunities through online platforms. Small donations can be made by hundreds or even thousands of generous supporters, allowing a fundraising target to be met through the help of many individuals coming together.  

Example: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/

Online retail schemes

These sites offer your supporters the chance to shop online and raise money for your school or charity when they buy something. Any eligible purchases generate a commission, which is then turned into a charitable donation for your cause.

Example: https://www.thegivingmachine.co.uk/

Community cards

This is a scheme whereby you register your setting and request community cards to be shared with your supporters. Whenever they shop and present their card, your setting can earn points on their purchases. Over time, the points can be converted into cash and put towards your fundraising goal.

Example: http://www.chelmsfordstar.coop/community/community-card

Community foundations

Community foundations help companies like Comic Relief channel funding to where it’s needed most, providing expert knowledge about how donations can best support local communities. There are 46 community foundations across the UK – find your closest one here to apply for support.

Knowing which funding route to go down will be a matter of personal choice, but you could consider using a combination of the suggestions above to achieve your target. Whichever route you choose, make sure you look at the terms and conditions of each organisation to ensure there are no unexpected costs or unfair administration fees associated with your fundraising efforts. And finally, good luck!

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