Charity Begins at School

Charity begins at school

From carol concerts to Santa jumpers and a Christmas card design competition, London schools raise huge amounts for charity over the festive season

Katie Fudge, schools fundraising development manager for the NSPCC, tells Fabric how the charity supports schools with fundraising at Christmas and all year round.

How important is schools fundraising to the NSPCC overall?
It’s enormously important. We’re 90 per cent funded by the public, and schools fundraising plays a huge role in that.

What are the benefits to children of getting involved?
Fundraising is integral to the curriculum in schools, including personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education. We support this by tailoring our big annual events to important things children need to develop. Number Day builds maths skills, the Childhood Day Mile encourages children to exercise and the Kindness Challenge speaks for itself. Getting involved in fundraising also instils a spirit of giving in children, as well as teaching them teamwork skills.

How do you make the link between fundraising and the services you offer?

It’s important to us that children understand the ‘why’ behind the event. We’ve created an assembly that teachers can use to explain where the money will go and what it will achieve.

It helps that the money funds services that the children may experience themselves. Examples include our safeguarding programmes – Talk PANTS in nurseries and early years, Speak Out, Stay Safe in primary schools – and our new service for secondary schools, Talk Relationships. It’s why our Schools Fundraising team works so closely with our Schools Service; it reinforces the safeguarding message while encouraging fundraising.

“It helps that the money funds services that the children may experience themselves”Katie Fudge

What’s the most a school has raised for the NSPCC?
One school in Buckinghamshire recently raised over £10,000. It’s not all about big sums, though – our Idea of the Month also recognises schools that have done fun, innovative things to raise money. Two reception classes recently raised £2,000 by walking around a soggy playground with paper dogs on leads!

How do schools fundraise for the NPSCC and how do you support them?
We hold their hands all the way. First, the school registers for one of our events, or for something they want to do themselves. They receive a welcome pack for each event, plus email support, payment options and so on. Our website is a one-stop shop for everything schools need to make their event a success. And they can contact us if they have extra questions.

What kind of fundraising approaches work best, especially at Christmas?
Schools tend to be too busy at Christmas to run big NSPCC events. But we have lots of fantastic resources on our website for schools and parents that do want to contribute. These include downloadable activity packs for child-centred festive activities, like crafts and quizzes.

We also have great events in London that schools and families can take part in. For example, on the shortest day of the year (22nd December), we ask people to do a fi ve-kilometre Walk for Children in their local area. We also ask landmarks like Alexandra Palace’s historic telecoms mast to light up NSPCC green on that day, so people can walk past them. It’s a way of acknowledging the fact that for a lot of children, Christmas isn’t actually a wonderful time. 

How else can London parents get involved?
Another very popular option at Christmas is Letter from Santa, where parents pay £8 for a personalised letter for their child, full of details only Santa could know. We also hold our fl agship fundraiser, Childline’s star-studded Merry Little Christmas Concert, in Cadogan Hall each year. The 2023 concert has already happened, but we’d love to see you there next year!