Five Key Steps for Creating an Income Generation Plan


Does your school want to become financially resilient against the continual budget cuts
the education sector faces? It’s a dream for some schools and a reality for others. What makes those schools that can generate £50,000 a year different to those that don’t?photo-1450101499163-c8848c66ca85

In our recent national survey, 95% of Headteachers and School Business Managers said that Income Generation was ‘important’ or ‘very important’. However nearly most schools generated a comparatively disappointing amount through their income generating activities. When these respondents were interviewed, the single biggest reason they gave for poor results was a ‘lack of time’.

If time is what schools need then how do you make time? To put it bluntly….you can’t! If I could then we’d be in a different business altogether. So what’s the next best thing? You have two options:

  1. raise the priority of the task in question, therefore dropping other tasks and re-allocating time or
  2. become more time efficient and get more done in those precious hours.

As 95% said that income generation was a high priority, let’s work on the latter. Where can efficiencies be made? What do you need to realise these efficiencies?

We need a plan.

Planning is something that we do everyday. Sometimes we are not even aware that we are doing it. Planning is the process of thinking through the different steps needed to reach a desired end state or goal. Without a plan, the chances of reaching your goal or desired outcome are low, hence the common saying ‘If you fail to plan, you should plan to fail.’

Here are my five key things to remember when creating your own income generation plan.

1. Have a Visionexpand
Take hold of your school development plan and create a one-liner from the school vision that you can easily and clearly communicate to others. A vision is the most powerful tool a leader can own. Your vision will allow you to galvanise supporters and keep them motivated in times of slow progress. Visions create a big picture and are aspirational with a utopian feel about them. They might not be achieved in your lifetime but will provide focus for generations to come. Spend time getting your vision right and use it wisely. A vision is like north on a compass; change it and people can lose their path.

Example: To become the UK’s most forward thinking school with an aim to prepare our children for a rapidly changing world.

2. Set Mission Goalslist
If your vision sounds intangible then your mission goals will help you explain to others how you intend to achieve it. Mission goals break your vision down; what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, and whom you’re doing it for. It still needs to be punchy, you can use bullet points and there should be no time limit on your mission goals. See your mission goals as a high-level summary of what you do on a daily basis.

Example: To equip our children with critical thinking skills, global perspective and respect for core values of honesty, loyalty and compassion.

3. Define Projectsaddress_book
Vision and mission goals cost nothing to create but delivering them will take money. If you want people to support your activities and make donations then you need to tell them what their money is going to be spent on. When deciding which project you should undertake, ensure you think about the outcomes it will deliver and how they relate to your mission goals and vision. What will be different after this project is delivered and how will you measure this? How will you tell your supporters about your success? Finally don’t forget to let them know about the activities that will help raise funds to deliver this project. If the vision is looking into the distant horizon then projects are looking at the path beneath your feet.

Example: We plan to install an Inter-school Web Portal which will be used by our children before, during and after school. The Inter-school Web Portal will be used in partnership with our twin school in Nepal. We will alternately host two lessons every week with our twin school that focus on developing critical thinking skills and collaborative working. It’s our aim to deliver on our mission goals whilst improving technology and communication skills. Within ten months the children will showcase their ability to set-up and host Inter-school connection with a second school of their choice. This showcase will be demonstrated to parents, community members and local businesses with a live carol service between the three schools at our school’s Christmas Fair.

4. Create Activitiesbox_check
Schools are traditionally great at creating activities. Activities are your summer fairs, clubs and fundraisers which will raise money for your projects, which in turn will deliver on your mission goals, which contributes to your vision. Make sure you create a range of activities that don’t exclude those supporters who can’t visit your school. Where I see big mistakes made are when schools spend huge amounts of time on an activity and don’t factor time as a cost. If you’re not commercially savvy then find someone who is. Those schools that make the biggest return on their time investment are entrepreneurial. Those that aren’t either fail or end up subsidising the project from an already tight budget. Don’t make this mistake and create both financial and time plans for any activities you do.

5. Tell Supportersspeech_bubble_exclamation
Your plan should include communication. When you’ve done all this good work don’t forget to tell others. It very easy to push your keyboard away after you’ve spent all this time writing your vision, mission goals, project and activity plans. Your work is not done. This is where you must pick up your megaphone because you won’t get supporters sitting in the back of your chair. Social media is the cheapest and most powerful mega-phone that can reach billions of people. If your vision truly resonates with other people then Twitter, Facebook and the internet will allow you to connect with them. Make some decisions about your supporters and the best channels to reach them on. If you can’t update every social media channel every day, then don’t. Pick one channel and do it well. When you’re able to recruit a supporter to help you with the next channel then add it in afterwards.

In conclusion, we have seen all sorts of plans from different schools on how they are going to generate additional income. Some are 100-page documents and others are just two sides of A4. Both can work to keep you focused and effective. More importantly, a plan can be passed to others and they can use this plan to understand what’s inside your head. Being super efficient with your time is one thing but if you can use your plan to empower others who have time; that’s a whole new level. Maybe your issue with time is not that you don’t have any but the fact you are unable to share your workload with those that want to help.

For more tips on Income Generation get in touch with us at 0845 310 1788 or info@mypebble.co.uk. We’re experts on finding creative ways to get more funding using less time.

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    E. info@mypebble.co.uk

    W. www.mypebble.co.uk

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