Seeking sponsorship is a great way to start building relationships with local businesses. Not only can sponsors ease your financial outlay, but their support also opens up your fundraiser to the wider community, by encouraging company staff to promote or attend your event.
'We send out emails or letters about our summer fair programme to as many local companies as we can, and a lot of school parents with businesses are happy to pay for an advert. We have around 30 to 40 advertisers paying for quarter, half and full pages. One of our parents designs the programmes and we pay £500 to get 1,800 copies printed. The 30 pages include the winner of our student artwork competition on the cover, as well as advertising, lists of stalls, attractions and raffle prizes, an entertainment schedule, and information on the PTA and what we've funded. We deliver the programme to the local area after May half-term. It's a lot of work, but we make around £1,000 profit.'
Ruth Presswood, PTA member, Saltford School, Saltford, Bristol (350 pupils)
'One volunteer is dedicated to arranging sponsorship. The packages we offered last year were £200 for a 2m x 1m banner plus an A5 advert in the programme, or £100 for a 1m x 1m sign plus an A6 advert. We paired sponsors with stalls, i.e. a beauty salon with the face painting, and a pub with the bar. In addition, one business purchased all the meat for the barbecue, so we made them a banner, too.'
Sarah Everson, Secretary, Friends of Halsford Park Primary, East Grinstead, West Sussex (415 pupils)
Estate agent boards
'A local estate agent provides boards advertising our summer fair. We aren't paid per board, but come to an agreement that works for both parties. Last year, they paid for two new banners promoting the fair, and £400 in sponsorship. In return, 20 of our families had boards outside their homes, and the PTA included the estate agent's logo in advertising. Our estate agent is an independent firm that is well-known in the area, which, along with our approach, contributes to the rapport we have.'
Hayley Lake, committee member, Friends of Whiteley Primary School, Fareham (630 pupils)
Ask local companies for donations outlining what they will receive in return (programme, social media). Having a silent auction opens up your options for companies to approach. So while you'd never use a will-writing session worth £300 as a raffle prize, a parent might well pay £250 for this, and I bet that solicitor isn't inundated with requests!
Many companies will pledge a sum of money related to the amount an employee has raised. Some will match fund on a £ for £ basis, others will specify a maximum that they're prepared to give. Ask parents whether their employers offer match funding, explaining that it's an easy way to get free money. Match funding applies to the money an individual raises, so place eligible volunteers on the most lucrative stalls!
Say thank you!
After the event, be sure to thank all of your volunteers and write to businesses and sponsors who supported you. Let them know how much was raised and what you plan on using the money for. The more they feel appreciated, the more likely they are to come back, meaning all the effort you put in this time around could really pay off next year. For a charming, personal touch, how about getting the children to make thank-you cards?