So what is it? In very basic terms, it's a way of having other people working for your school, making money for you 24 hours a day, doing things they are already doing, without any cost to you. Or, as I like to call it, 'free money'!
Previously we discussed how, as a school, you have a valuable database of potential clients that you can use to market to businesses in order to gain sponsorship. Well, all of those parents can also be used as a potential workforce to make money for you. They don't have to change their lifestyle or do anything differently, apart from perhaps making two extra clicks of their mouse, giving a code over the phone or trying a different menu item.
There are hundreds of ways to set up a passive income stream, but you have to decide, as with your partnerships, what is right for you.
The first place you should start is probably the easiest - an affiliate shopping scheme. This is a great way to raise money for your school just by shopping online. Popular sites include giveasyoulive.com, thegivingmachine.co.uk and easyfundraising.org.uk. Buyers can choose fromthousands of popular online retailers, including Amazon, eBay, John Lewis, Thomas Cook, Expedia, Groupon, Aviva, GoCompare and Tesco, and the restailers will give a donation every time someone buys something, at no extra cost. They just click through to their chosen retailer from the affiliate site, and the retailer will give a percentage of the sale to their chosen charity. For Amazon purchases, you can also register your school or PTA with AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), which works in the same way.
And don't forget that your own school purchases - such as stationery, technology products, travel and accommodation - can all be bought through an affiliate site. We now make around £600 per year just through parents having to make a couple of extra clicks!
From this basic premise I have been able to expand the idea and look for other companies that either offer a similar deal or would be willing to set something up. For example:
The following companies offer us similar partnership deals:
Why not get a school or school-nominated Nectar Card, Shell Card or Tesco Club Card? You would be surprised at how many people do not collect these points - and they do add up. I have set up a school card and left it at the local Shell garage. Parents are then able to ask for their points to be added when they fill up. Sainsbury's and Tesco will not allow this, but you could request extra cards for people to borrow and use for big purchases. As a school, we also shop online every week and have school cards registered.
Another simple idea is to charge companies a small fee for sending out their leaflets in book bags. In schools, we are constantly being asked to hand out leaflets or send them on email via Parentpay or ParentMail. We now charge a fee (£30 each time) for the service, and this regularly brings in over £700 a year - not bad for something we were previously doing for free.
Although they are not huge amounts individually, when put together they start to add up. And that is the real key - it takes very little effort for you to set up multiple income streams.
The examples I have given are based on my own experience but of course there are hundreds more. Search for affiliate programmes online, approach local businesses and ask them to sell an item or service that you endorse. Remember, if it doesn't sell they don't give you any money so there really is no risk to them. Speak to your local sports teams, restaurants, estate agents and solicitors. Show how it has worked in other schools and the positive publicity that can be had. Some businesses would love to start a relationship with a local school but don't know how.