Investing In Outcomes: 6 Tips On Funding Your Cabins For Schools Timber Building

Posted by Kay Pollard on Mar 3, 2022 1:21:04 PM

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So, quite rightly, you’ve taken a look at the timber buildings available from Cabins For Schools and decided that your school deserves one. Great choice! Having a Cabins For Schools building will make an unimaginable difference to your students’ learning experience and outcomes. You’ve visualised in rich, colourful detail what the extra capacity will bring you, and you’ve maybe even stepped inside of one of the buildings at our Nottingham Show Site and breathed in that spruce scent.

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To be fair, the cabins sell themselves, especially when combined with your unique vision for your pupils’ or students’ futures.

You called in the experts of school fundraising, harnessed the power of your PTA, your ‘secret weapon’ and they’ve already started to engage and enthuse! So … what else can you do to make your Cabins For Schools dream into a reality?

In this short post, I’ll share six great, tried and tested ideas and I’d love to hear your school fundraising hacks and tips – so please get in touch and maybe your ideas will lead to a follow up blog!

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1 – Crowdfunding

What an amazing way to boost your message and your fundraising efforts. Just Giving, Rocket Fund, DonateMySchool are just some of the platforms established to help crowdfund projects like Cabins For School timber buildings.

How does crowdfunding for schools work? Well, put simply, you ask the school’s community, its “crowd”, to each donate small amounts of money to finance inspirational projects. The platforms provide ready-made templates and social media buttons to help your school to reach out to your “crowd”.

It’s a great way to engage with parents, alumni, the broader school community, local people in the catchment area and way beyond - to easily, quickly and efficiently raise funds.

People can give as much as they like and donate anonymously if they prefer. Scrolling through some school crowd funding pages, I’m seeing donations from £1 to £1,500! These all add up very quickly and you have a real-time totaliser of your growing funds for all to see.

Also, you can reach people much further away. Again, scrolling through crowdfunding for schools pages online, I can see donations to UK school projects from America, Europe, Australia, Canada. The point is, alumni rarely settle in the same town or village anymore and often they move abroad for work or family reasons.

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Crowdfunding allows you to access these potential donations that you may otherwise miss out on. The guy from Canada I mentioned says that he was feeling homesick and Googled his home village and that’s when his primary school’s crowdfunding appeal came up! Emotional engagement like this is worth its weight in gold, or as you are funding a timber building, its weight in spruce!

Finally, using crowdfunding really expands your network, people are encouraged not only to donate but also to share. This can really increase your reach.

Of course, once you’ve set up a crowdfunding campaign you still get to do all the fun stuff, those offline school fundraising activities that your students will remember for a lifetime – so fill that bath with beans or get ready to shave that teacher beard you’ve had since qualifying!

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2 - Audacious Sponsorship

On that last point, it’s time to supersize your expectations about the revenue that a sponsored activity can generate. Don’t allow yourself to be limited by the memories of cake sales or sponsored walks of your own school days – even though that £40 that you raised doing a sponsored swim was fabulous!!

Ardleigh Green School raised a huge £4,000 for their school doing a sponsored swim and using the Rocket Fund site! Their cleverly named “Ardleigh Afloat” event engaged the whole school, they communicated their efforts well via the ‘updates’ area on Rocket Fund.

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3 - Contact A Local Celebrity 

Are there any celebrities living close by your school? Or even better – a famous former pupil. As long as their experience with you was good, famous alumni members can really boost your fundraising campaign. Not only from a financial perspective (although nothing opens a celebrity’s chequebook quicker than the chance of some feel good publicity) but having a celebrity on board can massively amplify your campaign message – especially if they retweet, share etc.

St Gabriel’s school at Ormesby reached out to a very helpful Bob Mortimer and Steph McGovern (Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch, BBC Breakfast).

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4 - Contact Local Businesses And School Suppliers

Often overlooked, but a school now is a business. Most schools I know have a business manager of some sort! Your suppliers have your best interests at heart – them helping you will keep you sweet!

You’ll remember all those who helped your school project, your school suppliers who donate or engage in some mutually beneficial philanthropy - those with whom you have built trusting relationships, will surely benefit with future business from you. Does this sound a bit mercenary? It isn’t! It’s business.

Beyond your suppliers, there is a whole network of local good will to be tapped into! There is massive commercial kudos in helping the local school, especially helping the local school to create a space that will add such measurable value. Local businesses often thrive on local custom, when your local customers are the mums and dads of local children what a great way to win local hearts and minds. You’re doing them a favour really!

GREAT IDEA: One local school had their students compose letters outlining the benefits of a project for which they were fundraising and sent them to local business owners and decision makers – perfect heart string tugger and also a nice bit of literacy learning thrown in! Curriculum and fundraising delivered! Win/Win.

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5 - Get On Local Radio/Local TV Or In The Local Paper

Radio presenter Gareth Evans told us, “Local radio is a sponge for engaging local content. If I was trying to find a school project that would make a real difference to the pupils for years to come, like a school log cabin, I’d be contacting my local radio station.”

“Make what you’re doing sound really engaging to whoever commissions the content – the why, the what, the where … paint a vivid picture that the producer at the radio station can imagine turning into a great piece of theatre of the mind”.

The arrival of a log cabin at a village school is a powerful visual image! Pitch to your local TV station the potential feelgood story of the transformation – how your school was struggling for extra capacity but now, thanks to your new wonderful outdoor learning space, you’re exploring new possibilities.

Basically, what you’re doing is leveraging the local media’s constant need for engaging local content to get as much publicity as possible for your fundraising efforts! Loop local media in from the start and let them help tell your story.  

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6 – GRANTS

There is plenty of information online about grants and the funding available to help with school investments. Two regularly updated sources are:

Schools and Colleges - News - Grants Online

Schools, colleges and children's services : School and college funding and finance - detailed information - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Another useful resource is “The NEW A-Z Funding Guide for Schools”. The 2022 issue is available to purchase now. In its fifth year, the guide has the latest grant schemes available to UK Schools.  The Guide features over 300 funding schemes that support a wide range of school projects and activities plus advice and tips on how to write a winning grant application. 

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If you have further great ideas on how to generate funding for fabulous investments, like a Cabins for Schools timber building then we would love you hear from you and perhaps they could feature in a future blog. And we’d love to discuss how a Cabins For Schools building could make a difference at your school, call us on 0800 0448418!

Topics: Garden Office, Garden Rooms, Cabin Master, Finance, outdoorlearning, forestschools, cabins for schools, Multi-Function Space For Schools