Efficient School Fundraising Made Easy: Harnessing the Power of Online Payment Systems

9 Feb 2024

For schools, online payments have progressed from merely being a medium for paying for trips, school meals, etc. to fully integrated data solutions at the heart of a school. Initially, these solutions owed their popularity to factors such as making life easier for parents, minimising any bullying episode involving dinner money, and decreasing the paperwork burden on the admin staff. In recent years, these solutions have evolved from hardware-based systems into cloud-based software systems. This allows schools to manage their income and catering provision in real time. In a nutshell, owing to the now-evolved technology and complete data integration with the school management system, these solutions provide schools with greater control over resource allocation, staff time, and safeguarding.

These evolved online payment solutions are also a great tool for making school fundraising simple. The reality that schools are under increasing financial strain is not new. Implementing a streamlined cashless payment system also presents lucrative opportunities for your school to generate passive income. Discover how skilful monitoring and financial management through online payment systems can greatly streamline and facilitate your school fundraising efforts.

Exploring School Fundraising

Following the Spring 2023 budget announcement, the National Governance Association stated there are significant funding challenges faced by governing boards in schools and trusts.

They also stated that while the Chancellor’s decision to improve wraparound care for school pupils and provide additional funding for schools in England was celebrated by the education sector, it ultimately did not exhibit the required investment to improve pupil performance outcomes. In addition to this, the real-term per-pupil funding of schools fell by 9% in the decade up to 2020 and was only recently restored to its 2010 level. From an increase in the number of children with special needs, in addition to the cost-of-living crisis and the dwindling of public services, several challenges plague the schools. The opinion across the education sector remains that not enough has been done to equip schools and trusts to improve education positively.

With these kinds of challenges being faced by schools, trying to generate additional streams of income seems to be the logical solution. The first step that schools can take to start with their fundraising is to identify how the school’s premises can be used.

Several school sites such as school halls, school fields, and playgrounds can be rented out to provide space for exercise classes, support groups, adult education classes, and community groups. You could make use of the empty parking spaces in schools by approaching nearby event organisers to provide them with additional parking facilities. To maximise efficiency, you can create marketing materials that contain details about school spaces available for hire and send them to local organisations. You can also create a team consisting of existing school staff who could deal with lettings and quickly respond to all enquiries.

How parent-teacher associations can lend a helping hand

The first step would be to develop a strategic plan that identifies the opportunities for fundraising and the resources available to access those opportunities. As an external entity, PTAs can apply for funding and grants that the schools may not be eligible for or cannot access. PTAs can even tap into the corporate sector and collaborate with businesses or even access corporate funding through match funding. Working with local charities can also help PTAs by providing support services at the school. Such kinds of services may previously have depended heavily on the parent population to fund them, but these initiatives could take the financial burden off the schools and parents. At the heart of it, the PTAs need to ensure that they are aligned with the school’s needs and vision. This can be ensured by opening the conversation to a wider group.

Online Fundraising

Traditional fundraisers, such as bake sales, organised by PTAs and schools are great community-building exercises. However, just sticking to those could result in other fundraising opportunities falling through the gaps. Online fundraising can be simple to set up, has a broader reach, and is more cost-effective.

For example, ParentPay has partnered with BBC Children in Need, Comic Relief for Red Nose Day, and NSPCC to make collecting donations in schools easier. You can set up a free donations page for the duration of the respective

There are several online fundraising ideas, however, we will dive into two ideas that shall help parents and children with learning as well.

Online Read-A-Thon

Regardless of how your school decides to organise a read-a-thon, it is a great way of raising significant amounts of funds and encouraging children to read. You can start by choosing a theme, for example, you could have the theme of ‘Read for your Health’. You can then move on to deciding a goal for your fundraising and determining a timeline for the read-a-thon. Finalise other details such as: how students will measure their reading, who will monitor children’s reading, and how to collect pledges and donations. Finally, set up a donations page or fundraising page to collect donations, then promote your Read-a-Thon via social media and email marketing. 

Online Workshops

Building stronger parent-teacher relationships can result in better pupil performance outcomes. However, employing parental engagement tools is not the only way through which such partnerships can be created and strengthened. Schools can organise online webinars or workshops for a small fee. The theme or the topic of these workshops and webinars could be around mindful parenting, cooking easy after-school meals for children, therapeutic art sessions, etc. For organising these webinars and workshops, schools can utilise the existing resources available – teachers, counsellors, etc.

Maximising the potential of fundraising with online payment systems

With each passing day, the concept of online fundraising gains traction. This is mostly due to the convenience and efficiency it provides.

Increase in Accessibility

Attending fundraising events can be difficult for some people. Perhaps attending an event would necessitate specific travel arrangements. Perhaps they are unable to fit it into their schedule. Moving your fundraiser online allows people to join from anywhere and at their own pace. Even virtual activities like read-a-thons often run a few days to a few weeks, rather than just one day. This means that individuals can select when, where, and how they want to participate.


An online fundraising platform can inform donors about how their donations are being used through online fundraising. This further motivates donors to donate money through online fundraising.

Ease of Access

When compared to traditional fundraising, the barrier to entry for Internet fundraising is lower. With ParentPay’s Donations functionality, setting up a Donations Page is quick and easy. Add your school’s logo and branding, set a fundraising target, and share your page within minutes. You can promote your fundraising endeavour and drive visitors to your Donations Page by using any of the main social media platforms. Furthermore, a donor does not have to go through the lengthy process of drafting a cheque and sending it with online fundraising. They only need to enter their information and click a button. This ease of access is a significant advantage of online fundraising.

Want to say goodbye to counting coins and chasing pledges? Learn more about how ParentPay’s Gift Aid-enabled online Donations Pages can make fundraising frictionless.

Share Story