Business Sponsorship was an idea I decided to explore after picking up a free copy of FundEd Magazine.
The idea is that you build and maintain positive relationships with businesses to benefit pupils and staff in your school or multi-academy trust.
Now, ‘benefit’ doesn’t have to be in the form of money and it doesn’t have to take up lots of time. I promise!
Time, expertise and resources can be more valuable than money.
As a business manager you already have a network of contacts:
- Companies that you buy from already i.e. photocopier supplier, builders, grounds maintenance, stationery, supply agencies, banks….
- Companies that your pupils parents, carers, grandparents, aunties, uncles, etc work for or have links with
- Companies that the partners (and wider family) of your staff work for or have links with
- Local companies and small businesses
- Larger companies with a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)
Working on business sponsorship does not have to be a mammoth task.
Start with looking at the companies that you have spent money with in the last 12 months.
Next pick 5 companies from that list to contact, where you already have a business contact that you know well.
Once you secure the first ‘yes’, then use that as example when you ask the next contact.
I keep my approach informal, by sending a brief email asking if they are interested in giving back to the school. I leave it open to what they can give, I am not looking to pressurise them. I have put in broad areas that we are looking for support with, for example sharing that we are looking to invest in sports as part working towards the Gold Schools Games Mark.
If you don’t have time to do this yourself, find out if you have a mum, dad, carer or grandparent of a pupil who is taking a career break or is retired; and would like to support their child’s/grandchild’s school by volunteering their time and skills. The same idea could help if you don’t have time to work on grant applications.
As a business manager you don’t have to do it all yourself!
Here are a few examples of business sponsorship that we have secured:
ABC Teachers (part of TES)
ABC Teachers are a teaching and learning support supply agency. The most important part of our business relationship with them is that they have spent the time to get to know us and our school. They ensure that they only put forward candidates for cover who will be able to meet the needs of our pupils. It is not a case of just sending us someone, that sort of arrangement won’t work for me.
They provided £150.00 worth of reading books.
A collaboration agreement means that we have a reduced rate for bookings and appointments if we need it. This has saved us between £15-£20 per day on bookings.
Remember if you are signing up to any sort of agreement, that you read it carefully and take legal advice where needed.
Academy Photography are our current school photographer.
They have provided a staff and governor photo display board, an attendance display board (a tracker showing each classes attendance percentage for the week) and diaries.
Since reading a short article that I wrote for the Spring 2017 FundEd magazine, they have offered to provide some gift vouchers a future fundraising event.
Hays have supplied us with short term agency cover for admin roles.
One of the Regional Directors from Hays is going to come in to do an assembly based on raising career aspirations.
West Mercia Supplies (WMS)
We agreed a percentage discount on products.
Also, the local area Field Sales Manager is coming in to do product testing as part of social enterprise week. Real life experiences are just as important for building aspirations of primary age pupils as it is secondary pupils; especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
They have supplied us with agency staff in the past. They have provided a free set of insulated mugs for staff to use in school.
Marketing & PR
Focusing on marketing and PR, is just as important as income generation. The two go hand in hand for me. A school has to manage their marketing just like a company brand.
The schools reputation and image is important, in order to maintain pupil numbers and stable funding.
You want your school or multi-academy trust to be a place that pupils look forward to coming to every day and that staff want to work at.
Remember to use the business sponsorship for positive marketing, take some good quality photos and do a press release or a thank you through social media. Show the company that what they have done is appreciated and making a difference.
If you are interested in the FundEd Magazine that I mentioned at the start take a look at their website: http://funded.org.uk/ for details.