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Getting to grips with Income Generation

May 31, 2017

I’ve visited two schools a week to conduct income generation reviews over the last couple of years. My work has given me a level of perspective and insight very few have the opportunity to gain. If you have found yourself with the need to generate additional income for your school then this article will help you get to grips with where you should prioritise your valuable time.

Income generation for schools is like sales and marketing for businesses. You and your school are going to need to embrace sales and marketing if you’re going to generate income too. We’ve identified seven key income generating activities that schools can use as products and services. These are split into two categories: charitable and commercial.


Charitable activities have donors and they expect positive outcomes or social impact in exchange for their money. Commercial activities have customers and they expect products and services that offer them value for their money. A quick internal audit of your school will help you assess which activities your school has the capacity to undertake. However, don’t be presumptuous that people or organisations will want, contribute or pay for these activities. This isn’t the movies. Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come!

Understanding consumer purchasing behaviour will help you focus your time on high yielding activities. ‘Need recognition’ is the first stage of this process which is outlined below. If you want your community to support your school then you need to understand them better. 


Now ask yourself... “How do I explain to my community that they need my school?”

It might make perfect sense to you but you’re not representative of your entire community. Don’t assume that they know this. Communities may take your school for granted. They may have forgotten you or they may have never known the problem that you fix. To some of you this may come as shock revelation, to others this may be no surprise. If you want to find the ‘need’ for your school then you have to ask the community about the impact you make to them. How would they be affected if your school closed? 

The main thing I’m looking for during an income generation review is can the school articulate the value they bring to their local community. If you want to get to grips with income generation then learn how to sell yourself.

Ryan Green - Pebble.jpg

Ryan Green
Managing Director


Income generation specialists ​Pebble have been working in the education sector for 25 years. They go beyond traditional fundraising by teaching and supporting school leaders in developing business skills such as marketing and entrepreneurship. The team at Pebble can help your school generate additional income by setting up community focused charitable and commercial activities. Pebble encourage new ways of thinking about income generation and give schools the knowledge, tools and support needed to make a real, tangible difference to the lives of children and young people.

Tags: Funding, Income
Category: Minerva blogs

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