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Activate Pupil Power in School Fundraising

What do the pupils in your school want and can they be empowered to fundraise for it?

Not every school fundraising event has to be organised and run by the PTA. With a little support and encouragement, pupils can be very resourceful. When they will be direct beneficiaries, motivation levels are usually high.

Would they love to head out on a field trip or enjoy an end of year social event? Is there a demand for an after school Craft Club or a sports coaching programme? Are there eco-warriors who would love to set up a wildlife garden or budding bakers in need of kitchen equipment? Are Leavers Hoodies a must?

If financing a project is the main thing holding you back, the pupils could help. Not only will their involvement increase the appreciation and value what they receive in return, but they will also gain an education in enterprise.

Developing Enterprise Skills

As every PTA member knows, the process of working in a team to plan, prepare and execute a fundraising activity demands a wide range of skills. Sometimes, we are unaware that we have the confidence or ability to fulfil an activity until we have to.

The same applies to children. The curriculum focuses on developing certain abilities, but life demands so much more from us. With a little more freedom to explore and develop ideas pupils can put other innate skills into practice.

Event management demands effective communication skills, negotiation, problem-solving and creative thinking. Budgeting, sales and marketing, leadership and customer service all come into play. Sometimes the characteristics that can make some individuals difficult to handle in the classroom can be assets in a different setting.

Even if they don’t fully pull off their plans and profits are low, they would have experienced a range of life skills. Consider ending the project with an activity where peers openly recognising a skill that they noticed in every other member of the team.

Benefits of Enterprise Education

Enterprise education builds self-awareness and confidence. It helps young people to better understand and appreciate what is involved in making things happen.

They learn to collaborate and work collectively to achieve their goal. This can mean compromising and adapting plans, dealing with differences of opinion and resolving issues. The process can build resilience and effective communication skills.

Without the barriers that we develop as adults, young people are often imaginative and innovative in their thinking. With support to implement plans, they can be resourceful and determined.

Every one of your pupils will need enterprise skills in the future, no matter what career path they follow. As such, this approach to fundraising provides valuable life lessons for all involved.

A Clear Target in Sight – Goal Focused Planning

Keeping a focus on the end goal is important for maintaining enthusiasm for pupil-led projects.

When they know what they want, it is a good idea to work out the full costs of their plan and set a realistic fundraising target. The aim might be to cover 50% of equipment, with a grant application for match funding hopefully topping up the pot.

It could be 25% of the cost of an activity to reduce parent contributions or they may be aiming to completely fund their plan.

Why not create a fundraising totaliser, where progress is mapped, to help to maintain engagement?

Does Every Pupil Need to be Involved?

Pupil-led fundraising can be a class project or something that the entire year group get involved with. Dividing pupils into groups of 3 – 8 individuals work well. This gives everyone can take on a range of tasks and means that decision making doesn’t get too complicated.

Alternatively, this could be run as an afterschool Enterprise Club, or for a specific group. As an example, the school Eco Club, a sports team or orchestra may be keen to fundraise for particular equipment.

The main thing is to make it fun. This is a very different style of learning and working as a team. If all goes to plan, their efforts will be justly rewarded. Are your school and PTA up for supporting pupils fundraising ideas?

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