School fundraising: Make more with match funding

Reach out to your parent volunteers, whose employers can provide a healthy boost to your fundraising efforts

Asking parents to involve their employers in supporting school fundraising can be a win-win. Many companies – in particular banks, IT and phone businesses, supermarkets, utilities and car manufacturers – offer match funding schemes through their HR or CSR departments. If a scheme isn’t in place, then employees can ask whether it is possible to introduce one.

Match funding allows employees to boost their fundraising efforts because their employer agrees to match the funds they raise. This incentivises parent volunteers to do more. It also makes employers look good because they are supporting your school and PTA in delivering better facilities for pupils. Match funding can be particularly effective if your school is in an area where many parents work for the same major employer.

As well as financial matching, some companies also pledge time and resources instead of money (such as printing posters and newsletters) so that employees can support a cause during their working week. There’s usually an upper limit and you are often required to be a registered charity, such as a PTA or School Fund.

At Wren Academy in Finchley, north London, the PTA has used match funding for many years to help pay for facilities such as a primary playground, static gym in the secondary playground and pupil laptops.

Amelia Coops, of the Friends of Wren Academy, says it takes a lot of focus to get match-funding schemes off the ground, but overall it’s relatively low effort for enormous gain. ‘We give a five-minute talk at every year group’s PTA coffee morning at the start of the academic year, explaining how valuable match funding is for us – and how easy it is for parents to get involved,’ she says. ‘They simply need to contact their employer’s HR or CSR department to ask if match funding is available – and what the process is.

‘If businesses are able to match the funds raised by parents at events, we make sure to place the parents on a high-value stall that will raise a lot of money. The parents then fill in the appropriate form or write a letter to report how much they’ve raised to the employer.

‘We also keep a spreadsheet of parents’ details as it’s vital to keep track of where each parent is in the process. It also means you can go back to them the following year.’

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