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By Sue Cowleyeducational author and trainer

Sue Cowley provides expert advice on how to involve the whole community in your fundraising and top tips to get the most out of fundraising events

Money makers

For many voluntary settings, fundraising is an essential part of the yearly routine. Once staff wages and premises costs have been covered, there is often little left over to buy resources or to develop the setting in other ways. And if a ‘bad year’ strikes, and numbers of children attending suddenly fall, fundraising can mean the difference between a voluntary setting closing and staying open.

The ‘feel-good’ factor

As well as being a necessity, fundraising also has many benefits for a setting. It is a great way to involve parents, carers and children with your setting, and often you will draw in other members of the local community too. Getting everyone together for a fun event, in aid of the setting, can create a fantastic ‘feel-good’ factor. It can also help you to build up partnerships with other local services, for example, working in partnership with your local primary school. Many fundraising events offer a great way to get some welcome publicity for your setting, such as coverage of your event in a local newspaper.

Charities and fundraising

If your voluntary-run setting has an income of £5000 or more, you are required by law to register with the Charity Commission. Your setting can gain tax benefits from being a charity. It may also be a requirement for certain types of funding that you are registered as a charity. The Commission has a useful advice line, which you can call for more details if you are uncertain about your own setting’s position (see ‘Further information’ for details of the Charity Commission).

If the income for your setting is under £10,000, the charity paperwork requirements are straightforward. You will need to give a yearly update, which can be done online. For settings where the annual income is over £10,000, you have to submit an annual return which includes your accounts. You will also need to decide on a reserves policy, for example, to account for any monies that you keep in reserve.

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