Having read a few posts here and there and just chatting to colleagues it does seem that raising money for music departments is essential. Budget cuts up and down the country are meaning that music departments are left without enough to really make things happen. I am in a hugely supportive school for music, but they still can’t offer me a huge budget, in-fact my budget this year was pretty tiny all things considered. We can moan about it or we can be proactive. I find moaning only makes me feel worse and doesn’t get me anywhere. So I like to try and bring in money for music and then use it to enhance what I do.
So here are my Top Ten Tips for Raising Music Department Cash:
- Ask for SLT more, but present a reasoned argument on one side of A4 paper. Don’t moan, just ask for more. You might not get anywhere, but if your approach is right you might!
- Write to your local Rotary Club who are often only too keen to support a local school. Offer to maybe perform at one of their events or simply ask for support.
- Look to your local council for grants – often there are youth grants out there that you might not be aware of. This year I got £1500 to buy two new electric pianos just by filling in some forms etc. As well as local councils there are national grants – I got an EMI grant for £1000 this year thanks to a parent who helped me apply! Parents are great, get them onboard.
- Perform at local events to raise the profile of music – this is likely to then lead to paid gigs. Make sure you say yes when people ask for music.
- When you are asked to perform, think about whether or not to ask for a donation. If it is a local business then you can offer them free advertising and marketing in return for a donation. Don’t feel cheeky, just explain that you need to make sure events benefit the school as well as the business.
- Get your local paper on side. Whenever you play at an event make sure that you tell the press so that your name is out there. This will help raise profile and could get you more gigs in the future.
- Hold a fundraiser that isn’t a concert – curry night, quiz night, racing night. These can be a pain to organise and you will need to give up an evening, but you will make some money for music in the process. And when you do have a concert make sure you have a licensed bar and raffle to enhance what you make on the door.
- Sell old kit, instruments, textbooks etc. See what you have lying around and then try and make some money out of it.
- Ask the students to pay subs to be involved in groups – I don’t personally do this, but it is something I have thought about and I know that the sports department have to do it. £1 per student for the year might just be enough to buy a piece of music!
- Seek out a local sponsor – restaurants, estate agents etc. See if you can get someone to sponsor a show or concert. Again, put together an A4 proposal for businesses and see what happens. I had a local business sponsor my production of Singin’ in the Rain in November – they sold umbrellas and raincoats so it worked well for them!
So whilst Jessie J is right and its not all about the “Money Money Money”, it is fairly essential to do what we want to do as music teachers. We are all in the same boat and so we have to keep coming up with ways to raise money. Keep going, keep trying and soon you will find ways to enhance your budget.