Income Generation for Schools: Bidding for Grants

Tips for income generation for schools

With budgets stretched, schools are pursuing new funding streams to support the delivery of the curriculum and provide enrichment opportunities for pupils.

With budgets stretched, schools are pursuing new funding streams to support the delivery of the curriculum and provide enrichment opportunities for pupils.

In this article, FundEd, which helps provide income generation for schools, explains how accessing support from grant income is one way forward, and how you can narrow down your search by using the UK’s leading school grant database at

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How to prepare a successful bid for income for your school

When writing a bid, ask your school community if any parents have the skills to help. Some schools pay a professional bid writer, but most grant funders will not cover this cost.

What can you do to make your application stand out? Here are some tips.

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Don't focus purely on writing bids for school income generation

When it comes to attracting funding for your school's project, a holistic approach often proves fruitful. This may include looking at how you can expand income from lettings or by developing opportunities for local businesses to provide sponsorship.

Grant funders look favourably on applications from schools that demonstrate a coordinated and structured approach to fundraising. Show that you’ve mobilised the local community (using SurveyMonkey for example). Include letters of support from local councillors and your MP, Mayor and other dignitaries. Contact suppliers and local businesses for donations or help-in-kind.

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Do select the right grant and answer the questions

  • Writing a grant application is hard work and time consuming, so make sure you have understood the grant funder’s priorities.
  • Invariably, application forms contain fixed word counts and you must deliver concise and relevant content.
  • Develop your content on a Word document first, and fine tune it so that every word supports your case. Most applications allow for appendices and supporting information where you can evidence your claims in the document.

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Do take the time to get your school income generation bid right

Most school business managers and leaders agree that is it important to have a fundraising plan, but only a few actually have one. Lack of time is cited as the reason, yet thousands of schools take the time to submit grant applications each year.

Build time and resources into strategic income generation at your school. Many schools are now incorporating this responsibility into SBM/SBL roles, whilst others are introducing development officer posts (FundEd can provide job descriptions and case studies of how this works in practice).

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Do develop a strong project narrative

Engaging with an audience on an emotive level brings results. Ultimately, a grant application is where you tell the story of your project to a third party.

The grant trustees will almost certainly know nothing about your school or its context. Set the scene and explain clearly why their funds should be invested in your school. Take them on your fundraising journey.

This is a people centred sector that nurtures and grows young minds, so demonstrate clearly what impact your project will have on your pupils. Use pictures or video clips if you can.

Include statements of support, testimonials, case studies, graphs and photos to bring your story to life. Focus on the outcomes, not on the resources you need to achieve those outcomes.

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Do demonstrate the need and impact

Your application needs to prove that this is a must-have project for your school. ‘Need’ can often be brought to life with photos (physical condition) and with data (statistics to show progress or attainment).

You’ll have to show that you’ve explored all other avenues and that the funding support you’re applying for is the only way to make your project happen.

A small pilot project could demonstrate impact on a small scale, so you can clearly show that the initiative is valid and give a sense of what could be achieved on a grander scale, with funding.

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About this article

This guide, by Justin Smith of Chameleon Training and Consultancy, is part of a longer article that appears in the summer issue of FundEd magazine.

FundEd provides schools with expert guides on fundraising strategy, marketing plans and income generation. It also brings you the latest news on grants for schools, tried and tested crowdfunding campaigns, events and innovative fundraising initiatives. See for more information.

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