Tools for a level playing field

With more and more schools competing for grants, it's rare to find a funding provider that is actively investing in supporting fundraising in education. However, The Wolfson Foundation is doing just that.

It has been working in partnership with the Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDPE) and fundraising consultancy More Partnership to create a free online toolkit to help state schools develop long-term fundraising programmes and make successful grant bids.

'We believe that it is possible for all schools to fundraise effectively, although obviously it is harder in some communities than others' says Paul Ramsbottom OBE, chief executive of The Wolfson Foundation. 'This toolkit is aimed at schools who have never before engaged in significant fundraising, at schools who have convinced themselves that fundraising is not for them.'

Earlier this year, The Wolfson Foundation announced that a total of more than £1.3million had been awarded to 20 schools to improve teaching and learning facilities for STEM subjects and the creative arts.

Louise Bennett, joint CEO of the IDPE, a charity that provides support and training in school fundraising, says that fundraising can completely transform the opportunities a school can offer its young people.

'The Wolfson Foundation approached IDPE and More Partnership to work with them to develop fundraising across the state sector,' she says. 'Their experience is that schools can make compelling proposals for support to individual funders but may then struggle to develop a coherent and sustainable long-term fundraising programme.

'Professional fundraising is a real growth area in state schools. We want to reach and support school leaders across the state school sector in achieving more equal access to grant income and other funding streams.'

The new toolkit is designed to help schools help themselves. Launching in September 2021, it will focus on the role of the school leaders, and include advice on outstanding practice, as well as guidance on how to set up professional fundraising programmes within schools.

It will also include a series of case studies, examples and templates from state school settings up and down the UK. 'Fundraising requires resilience and patience,' says Louise. 'It will take time to develop relationships with those who can give, but every school can be successful as long as they have the right approach and resources in place.'

For more information, and to access the free toolkit, visit idpe.org.uk