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Let’s face it, who doesn’t need some extra money for their setting? Fundraising is an option that many nurseries use, and there are tried and tested ways to do this. We’ve put together a list of some old favourites as well as some new ideas to help you expand your fundraising options.

Fundraising favourites

1. Cake and bake sales – a great way to raise a few pounds for small projects since a lot of people like baking and are usually willing to invest some time and pennies to bake some delicious treats.

2. Seasonal fetes and fayres – these usually attract a lot of people and it gives you a chance to run some simple stalls, competitions and fun events that everyone can get involved with. Make the activities affordable so that people can enter a number of events. Some settings run a ticket system, where for a suggested donation of say £5, each child gets 10 raffle tickets to spend on activities. Some of the stalls you could run include:

a. Guess the weight of a cake/ object
b. Guess the number of sweets/ counters/water in a jar
c. ‘Bash a rat’ – obviously this doesn’t involve harming a real rat(!), but it’s a game where you drop a stuffed sock or similar through a tube and the person playing has to hit or catch the ‘rat’ at the bottom.
d. ‘Spin the wheel’ – create a spinning arrow and land of a prize to win
e. Competitions to see who can do things for the longest, e.g. hold their breath, stand on one leg, hold a heavy object at arms stretch. You can offer age categories to make it fairer
f. Find the treasure – each person buys a square on a grid and there is a predetermined winning square which is revealed at the end
g. Tombola or lucky dip – for example, tickets ending in 0 or 5 win a small prize
h. Hoopla or a coconut shy

3. Coffee mornings or afternoon teas – you can make these a way to engage more with parents too, such as running a short educational session on behavioural issues, helping children read, or ways to encourage mark-making.

4. Bring and buy/nearly new/jumble sales – these usually work well for all involved as people don’t mind donating things if they feel they can come along and get a bargain.

5. Sponsored events – these are useful ways as long as you don’t ask too often. It’s better to be selective and choose one event such as a sing-a-long, dance-a-thon, walk, run, swim, litter pick etc.

6. Mufti days or dress-up days – good ways to encourage dressing up for events such as World Book Day and raise some money at the same time.

7. Raffles – running a seasonal or event raffle can raise extra cash – ask for donations and create some hampers to increase the value of prizes on offer. Check with any regulations you may need to follow depending on the legal status of your setting.

Ways to maximise your fundraising

• Whatever events you run, think about other ways to maximise your fundraising. In business, they call it ‘upselling’ and it’s akin to ordering a burger in a restaurant and have the waitress say: “would you like fries with that?” Simple ways to upsell things are:

• Ask your staff to offer additional items – e.g. if they order a cup of tea, ask them if they’d like a cake too

• Offer 2-for-1 or 3-for-2 deals or other multibuy offers

• Have donation tins on the stalls/entry/exit points

• Set up an online fundraising page such as gofundme.com where you can set up a fundraising account for yourself, someone else or a charity

And some new ideas ...

1. Get creative and sell things that your children have made. You could get all the children to draw a picture of themselves and have them printed on a setting tea towel or apron, or individually on a mug, coasters or cushions. A lot of online printers now let you upload individual designs to raise money. You could sell individually framed photos or pieces of artwork which also make good presents.

2. Put on a show – these take a lot of work but can be very rewarding and you can increase your audience by selling tickets to people’s wider families and the local community too.

3. Sell a recipe book/Christmas cards – collect some favourite recipes to publish and sell – ensure you have the copyright first though.

4. Work in partnership with others – joining together with another organisation and splitting the profits is another good way to widen your audience. Consider local schools, retirement homes or sports clubs. You might consider taking on a part-time freelance fundraiser to apply for grants. This may be more feasible if you are a charity or a larger setting as it will involve a cost, but may be worth looking into.

5. Consider setting up a crowdfunding site for specific projects – crowdfunding may be a way to raise money for special projects such as running a holiday scheme or community project. See https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/ for more information.

6. Lotteries – to run a lottery for cash prizes, you need to obtain a licence and there are strict rules to follow. However, they can be worth it as long as you stay within the law. They are usually banned for commercial purposes but may be allowed for community groups and charities. You can find out more on the gambling commission website.

Some pitfalls to avoid

No one likes to be tapped constantly for extra money, so be discerning with your fundraising events, and don’t run too many for the same people, otherwise you will risk losing your audience. Make sure you keep very clear records of all the money you take in and any expenses you incur running your event. This is good financial practice to avoid loses and maximise income, but it is also a legal requirement for charities as keeping good financial records is a statutory duty.

A word about fundraising for charities If your setting is set up as a charity, then

it will need to follow certain fundraising conditions set out by the charities fundraising regulator or the Scottish charities regulator. Charities receive tax advantages from the government when it comes to their income, so every penny needs to be accounted for in order to stay within the law.

And finally, make sure you are claiming all the allowances your setting is entitled to – see early years funding at Gov.uk here.

Useful sites and information

https://www.earlyyearscareers.com/eyc/latest-news/top-10-ways-to-fundraise-in-the-early-years/ 

https://www.teachwire.net/news/make-the-most-of-your-schools-fundraising 

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