Securing adequate funding is an essential but never-ending task for school leaders. The health of your budget impacts every aspect of provision across the school, from staffing to equipment, and facilities to enrichment opportunities. Most schools have already cut expenditure as much as they can. Given the ever-increasing costs of all goods and services, headteachers and school business managers must find more inventive ways to generate income in order to balance their budgets and deliver the best outcome for pupils.
The year ahead
New data from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) shows that schools expect the situation to worsen during the 2023/24 school year. In fact, over a third of schools are predicting an in-year deficit, despite making cuts to provision.
Unsurprisingly then, the same NFER survey of over 2,500 school leaders and teachers found that 44% of mainstream primary and secondary schools are already taking steps to increase their self-generated income.
Many are leveraging school assets: selling off property, renting out facilities, or selling surplus energy generated on site back to the National Grid. Plus, around half of schools are asking parents for increased contributions to help make up budget deficits.
So, how can you effectively boost your school income through voluntary contributions?
The challenges of collecting school contributions
In these tough financial times, asking parents for financial support is increasingly common, both for specific projects and classroom essentials. Many parents have become used to this and do not begrudge being asked to give what they can for the benefit of their children’s education.
However, for busy parents who are already juggling work and childcare, the need to bring cash or a cheque into school, or visit a specific fundraising website just to make a card payment can be a real hindrance. And, using these methods, it’s even less likely that schools will secure recurring contributions.
Manage parent donations more effectively
With Tucasi’s SCO system, schools have the power to make donating easy and hassle-free for parents, and even give a non-intrusive visual reminder to encourage regular contributions. Combining donations with your existing one-stop school payment system makes the process fast and convenient.
Schools can set up a voluntary contribution ‘product’, available to parents in SCOPAY through our Online Payments module. Whenever parents log into the SCOPAY website or open the free SCOPAY app to order school dinners, book breakfast club sessions, or pay for a trip, they have the option to make a donation too. They simply select the voluntary contribution from the product list, enter their chosen amount, then add it to their basket and checkout. With the ability to pay securely using their saved payment card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, it couldn’t be easier for parents to contribute to the school fund alongside their regular payments.
Fundraising for projects, trips or activities
Schools can also collect additional contributions for specific activities through our Trips and Events module. If desired, a school can enable parents to make voluntary over-payments when booking their child onto a school trip, club or event.
This can be utilised so that families in a position to pay more can help fund places for less-fortunate pupils. Alternatively, trips or events provided at low- or no-cost can have over-payments enabled, to help offset expenditure from the school budget.
Maximise your school donations with Gift Aid
You could potentially add 25p to every £1 donated, so it’s well worth claiming Gift Aid for eligible contributions. However, the administrative burden of getting parents to register for Gift Aid and keeping accurate records of qualifying payments can be prohibitive.
Use the SCO system’s integrated functionality to record and report on Gift Aid. You can easily configure eligible trips and products, and generate parent registration forms.
A simplified process to easily maximise the benefits of parents’ donations.
Streamline your school donation administration
Speak to our knowledgeable product specialists to find out how our all-in-one system for school administration and payments can help you boost your budget through parent donations.
Book your free demonstration or call 02380 016 563.