Expert guidance on seeking, identifying and pursuing income generation opportunities for your school.



With ever tightening budgets, and schools having to source a wider range of methods for looking after budgets, it is increasingly becoming more important to find ways to generate additional income. The chart below identifies some ways in which income can be generated.

Funding sources

Trusts and foundations applications

LA funding

Lottery funding

Local councils

Recycle banks

Partnerships with fund-holding organisations

Utilising staff expertise

Sponsored events

Sponsorship through local organisations




Some of the methods have been around for a long time; nevertheless, it is always important that, when carrying out income generation activities, everyone is made aware of why money is being sought and that the time management of sourcing income is efficient and manageable.

When carrying out events, it is more effective to have a clearly planned out, purposeful activity that everyone supports rather than a seemingly random fundraiser that does not truly serve a purpose, or brings in a very small amount of money. It is also vital to provide follow up information that shows people the impact of any fundraising event, so that they are more willing to support future events.

Seeking funding


Before seeking opportunities to apply for funding from external sources, it is important to clearly understand the funder’s criteria for giving grants. Find out the following:

  • What type of activities will it support?
  • What type of organisations will it support?
  • The grant sizes available
  • When to apply
  • How to apply

All funders will have a key supporting document called ‘Application Guidelines’ which will clearly explain their funding rules.

The important factor in determining whether funding will be given is identifying a need, so applications must very clearly demonstrate that the funding will be used for a specific need. Evidence will be sought to justify your project.

Identifying and explaining the ‘need’ can be supported through evidencing the following:

  • Data
  • Internal consultation – with children and adults
  • Case studies
  • Links with the LA or regional strategies

Many organisations will believe that consultation exercises are vital to demonstrate a need. These can be carried out easily and quickly in a school setting by regularly asking targeted classes a focussed question, such as “What is great about the way we do lunchtimes? How could it be improved?”, or “Which clubs work well in school? How could they be made better?”. Schools can never fully meet the needs of all pupils, but by regularly asking them what they would like and then keeping the information on file, when an opportunity does arise during an academic year, the school will be in a stronger position to demonstrate need.

Ideas for funded projects




Parent healthy living workshops

Adult learning courses

Parent support resources

Play therapy

Music therapy

Sports activities

Art activities

Art therapy

Community garden

School garden and wildlife areas

School clubs  - (before, lunch and after-school)

Music lessons



Science activity

Playground/Outdoor space development

Extreme sports



Maths/Problem solving

Team building

Leadership projects

Charity work

Local community projects

Heritage study


Funding applications


Whether a funding application is submitted via an online form or by letter it is important to have a clear plan for how the bid will be made. A plan could be structured as follows:

1. Project summary


  • Brief introduction giving clear and concise information about the proposal

2. Introduction and background


  • Vision
  • Aims
  • Structure
  • Track record

3. Identify the need


  • What is the problem?
  • How long has it been going on?
  • Why and where is it occurring?
  • Who is affected?

4. How will the project address the issues?


  • Show predicted outcomes and measurable objectives

5. How will you measure achievement and success?


  • What system will you use to demonstrate how many participants took part in the projects and what they thought of the activities?
  • Use registers, questionnaires and seek general comments.
  • Demonstrate success through photo/video evidence of participation and by using newsletters or social media.

6. Budget


  • How much will it cost?
  • How will the funding be used?
  • When will the project start and end?

7. Sustainability of the project


  • Is this a one-off project, ongoing or a pilot?
  • How will it continue to be funded?

Application tips


  • Use headed paper.
  • Sometimes you may need to apply through your PTA for the application.
  • Read the guidance on how to submit the application – is it by letter, application form or online?
  • Include all requested documents.
  • Check on the application deadline, when the funders meet, and how long before you will hear back – allow plenty of time.
  • Keep the funders up-to-date with a thank you letter and any photos or web links.
  • Make sure that you are aware of the accountability reporting format at the end of the project.