Fundraising for playground and outdoor equipment
Playground equipment has long been top of the list when
it comes to PTA spending. So how do you raise the money? Our guide
breaks down the best fundraising strategies out there.
First things first - what are you hoping to achieve? Renovating
your existing equipment or adding a few new pieces is quite a
different fundraising prospect to a full architectural playground
build. This will dictate your target amount, timeframe and funding
Depending on the amount you plan to spend, you may have to go
through a procurement tendering process, inviting several companies
to submit a proposal. Schools within a MAT need to make additional
checks in respect of thresholds.
For guidance, go to
Look beyond the information on playground suppliers' websites or
brochures - pick up the phone and discuss your plans. Most
suppliers will adjust existing products, or can recommend the best
solutions for the specific needs of your pupils, or the learning
benefits you want to achieve. Many will want to survey your site to
prepare a solution that complements your existing landscape and
Obtain quotes for the work and/or equipment. Once you know how
much you need to raise, we recommend breaking this down into a
variety of different fundraising activities. Explore options that
require input from different stakeholders and appeal to different
pools of potential donors - this has the dual benefit of spreading
the workload and reducing the pressure on parents' purses. Give
each individual activity its own target that adds up to your
overall fundraising goal. Consider what you will do if you exceed
your target or fall short - make these plans clear in all of your
Look at the options
All schools are different - what works for one doesn't always
work for another - and fundraising amounts can vary hugely. Survey
your stakeholders, asking what events they would support or what
specific skills your parents, governors, and wider community are
able to offer.
You could raise: £500-£10,000
There are a number of grant schemes available, for which school
playground projects are eligible. These range from grant-givers
with a specific interest in outdoor learning, such as Ernest Cook
Trust, through to general funds like Awards For All.
There are also regional funding schemes available, or those that
aim to address a particular need, eg, supporting families in
deprived areas. Most schemes state the maximum amount they will
fund, and may have other criteria that will make your application
more or less likely to succeed. FundEd members can search the
grants database at funded.org.uk, improve their chances of success
by reading examples of previously-funded school projects and get
expert guidance from school bid-writing guru, Rachel Gordon.
Grant applications generally take longer than you think to
compile, so check any deadlines and work backwards allowing plenty
of time to gather supporting documentation, compile detailed
budgets, seek evidence from stakeholders, etc.
You could raise: £2,000-£8,000
Crowdfunding enables you to promote your project to a wide
audience and collect online payments. Unlike a grant, where you ask
one funder to give a large amount, crowdfunding invites a large
number of supporters to each contribute a small amount.
As schools sit at the heart of the community, you are well
placed to tap into the generosity of all those with a vested
interest in seeing your school thrive. As well as straightforward
online pledges, you could also contact people directly with
requests for sponsorship. Investigate which local businesses
operate Corporate Social Responsibility schemes. Others, such as
estate agents, do well if your school is helping drive up local
house prices! And consider after-school clubs that use your
You could raise: £150-£3,000
While profits from any of your regular fundraising events can
contribute, it makes perfect sense to reinforce the
message that you're raising funds for a playground (or
outdoor project), by organising related activities.
- Big outdoor events - as well as your summer
fair, anything held outdoors gives you the chance to highlight the
area in need of development. How about a car boot sale, campover or
pet show? Find step-by-step guides for these (and more) at pta.co.uk/events.
- Sponsored events - popular choices include a
run, walk, circuits, or bounce. Claim Gift Aid to boost profits.
For more information, go to pta.co.uk/funding.
You could raise: £50-£1,500
- Football scratch cards - are cheap to buy and
offer a quick turnaround. Each card has 20 to 80 football
teams listed. Friends, family and neighbours pay £1 to write their
name and phone number against their chosen team. Completed cards
and money are then returned. The silver panel is scratched off to
reveal the winning team, and 50% of the money collected from each
card is returned to the student to pass on to their winner. If 100
families take part, on cards with 30 teams, you raise £1,500!
Local community groups, such as Rotary Clubs and Lions
International, often raise funds to give back to local projects.
The amounts and criteria vary from club to club, but it's always
worth asking - especially if your new space will benefit the wider
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