The trickle-in effect

Passive income streams require minimal effort to maintain, but will keep extra funds flowing into your school, says Lindsey Marsh

If you have limited time to organise fundraising events for your school then it’s worth looking at how you can generate income ‘passively’ on a continuing basis. There are many options to choose from:

Affiliate shopping websites offer a choice of thousands of leading online retailers who will donate a percentage of sales to your school charity. You can raise funds simply by putting all your online office buying through your chosen site. You can also promote the site to staff and school parents, as a way for them to support your school as they shop online, without additional time or financial commitments.

Give as you Live Online ( has raised more than £10million for UK charities by passing on 50% of the commission it receives from retailers. TheGivingMachine ( is a registered charity that allows shoppers to support up to four charities through their purchases. It can also collect Gift Aid for you on top of commissions.

Both sites have a downloadable ‘donation reminder’ and free mobile apps. There is no cost for a charity to join and the average amount raised is £2.10 per person per month. So with 200 families supporting your scheme, you could potentially be earning £420 per month.

Affiliate schemes are where retailers and businesses pay a commission on sales generated from referrals. This can be set up through a promotional link on your website and most merchants pay 3-4% commission. You could initiate this kind of partnership agreement with local service businesses, such as garages and restaurants, who could make a donation for every new customer or booking.

Many schools charge for business advertising on school literature, such as brochures and welcome packs, and on signage in prominent locations, such as sports pitches. You could also charge for any leaflets you are asked to hand out.

Often, school suppliers pay commission for the sale of products such as school uniforms, photos, yearbooks, bags and one-off promotions. See the suppliers’ directory at to identify possible options.

Further streams

  • Set up a regular-giving scheme. Read our article in the spring 2021 issue of FundEd or on click here for the online article.
  • Register to receive donations on eBay for Charity ( and AmazonSmile (
  • Promote the price comparison website SwitchAid ( Every time one of your supporters switches energy or telecoms suppliers, they raise money for your cause.
  • Set up a school lottery or 100 club. Check out Your School Lottery (
  • Encourage supporters to nominate you for supermarket token schemes.
  • Consider Payroll Giving, where employees donate to you from their wages in a tax efficient way.(
  • Register your charity to claim Gift Aid on eligible donations (

How we generate extra funds

Amanda Burgess, community liaison and income generating manager at Priory School, Lewes, details her school’s passive income activity.


Easyfundraising: We raise £150 to £200 a year through this shopping affiliate site and find it user-friendly and helpful. There are people to support you and lots of tools to keep prompting your audience, plus ready-made messages you can post to thank contributors. We’ve incorporated this promotional work into our social media activity.

AmazonSmile: We are looking into this scheme as a parent suggested it. You receive 0.5% of any purchase made by your supporters. It’s only a small percentage but every little helps…

Stikins: Sells iron-on name labels for school clothes, on which you can earn commission. It’s easy to set up: just display and promote your code for parents to use when they order labels. We promoted this to our new Year 7s without much success and it may be more suited to primary schools. However, I plan to put more information out this year, maybe in the new student packs. There is a real need as we get lots of unlabelled lost property!


Empties Please: Provides envelopes for you to recycle printer cartridges. Our problem is that people have given us lots of compatibles that aren’t accepted, so be clear which brand you want!

Recycle4Charity: Also recycles printer cartridges and a few mobiles. Check carefully which brands are accepted.

Rag Bag: A textile recycling scheme that provides a promotion pack and bags to go home. Be clear about which items are acceptable and book a collection date. Rag Bag pays £400 per tonne, and if you book twice a year it’s an easy way to raise cash. Liaise with your caretakers to identify where clothing can be stored. You also need someone to look after the clothing coming in and sort it into bigger bags.  Bags are weighed on collection and payment (usually around £60 for us) is sent within six weeks.

Recycle with Michael: Funds raised from collected textiles are split 50/50 between your school and the Salvation Army. It’s a win-win, as your recycling efforts are supporting another charity and helping the environment. Lesson plans and assembly presentations are available, as well as promotion fliers and posters. Bags are not supplied. I often book my collection slot before I promote the collection as they get very busy. The last thing you need is clothes piling up in the school hall!  We usually raise around £60 per collection. It’s worth doing around spring cleaning time and in the autumn term.

Mazuma Mobile: Takes unwanted mobiles, with sim cards removed and pays according to make and model.

Local affiliates

We had a link with a local restaurant that gave us a percentage of their lunch service if our school choir went along to sing carols just before Christmas. This often raised about £200. I’m also aware of schools who have an item on the menu in a local restaurant that brings in a small donation each time it is ordered.

Further income-generation inspiration

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