The Pebble Blog

Helpful advice, inspiration & news relating to Income Generation. Ideal for School Business Managers, Headteachers, Financial Directors and other School Leaders.

  • Conferences & Events in Spring 2017
    • Elly Roper
    • 20 January 2017
    • 1 min

    We’ll be exhibiting at the following conferences & events this spring. We hope if you’re planning to attend, that you’ll pop by our stand and say hello.

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  • We’re holding a free Fundraising Focus Session for West Midlands Schools & Academies on Thursday, 6 April 2017. Please come join us!

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  • Settled back into the new term? New Year’s Resolutions a distant memory? They don’t need to be. Keep your best intentions going by developing positive habits to last through 2017 and beyond. Last week we brought you five tips for Income Generation success. Keep that success going with five more tips below!

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  • Joining the gym? Keeping a diary? Having a dry January? We all make New Year resolutions that often wane by the middle of the month. However, one resolution you can’t afford to break is a successful income generation plan for your school. Make 2017 your most successful and profitable year yet by following our top tips!

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  • Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
    • Elly Roper
    • 16 December 2016
    • 1 min

    We’d like to wish you season’s greetings!

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  • A Public Relations Primer for School Leaders
    • Elly Roper
    • 2 December 2016
    • 6 min

    Your local newspaper, community websites and radio stations are always looking for stories about what is happening in the community. This is great news if you’re trying to raise awareness of your particular project. A few hours of public relations work could spread news of your project far and wide.

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  • If you know anyone in business, chances are they’ve sung the praises of Steven Covey’s book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.’ It has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide since its first publication in 1989 and is basically required reading for people who want to get ahead in life. While it’s a great read for business people it’s also a great read for Headteachers, School Business Managers and other School Leaders too.

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  • Plan an Awesome Fundraiser
    • Elly Roper
    • 18 November 2016
    • 3 min

    Planning a fundraising event that actually makes money is a challenge. It requires a lot of time, effort and coordination. Furthermore, it can be quite a risky undertaking. However, with careful planning, organised teamwork and a strategy for promoting the event, the end result should be well worth it.

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  • Getting into the Habit of Generating Income
    • Elly Roper
    • 11 November 2016
    • 4 min

    Are you finding it difficult to incorporate Income Generation activities into your working day? Do you find yourself looking for other tasks and procrastinate when it comes to getting the word out about your fundraising activities? If so, you’re in good company because we’re here to help.

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  • We’re holding a free Fundraising Focus Morning for North East Schools & Academies on Thursday, 17 November at 9:30am. Please come join us!

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  • Building Your Network of Supporters
    • Elly Roper
    • 28 October 2016
    • 4 min

    In order for your Income Generation to be a massive success, you need to get on board some heavy hitters such as national corporations, successful local SMEs, influential unions and other big wigs in business. However, often when we start working with schools the only contact details they have are for the parents of their pupils.

    Building a large network of supporters may seem like a daunting task that takes huge amounts of time and effort. Actually, doing just a few quick things every week can increase your network exponentially in a short amount of time.

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  • Quick and Easy Marketing Wins for Your School
    • Elly Roper
    • 21 October 2016
    • 5 min

    Many people think the terms ‘advertising’ and ‘marketing’ are interchangeable. While advertising is certainly an aspect of marketing, marketing itself is much more than that.

    So what, exactly, is marketing?

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  • We’ve put our quick 10-minute webinar, ‘Benefits of Income Generation’, online for everyone to view! In this webinar, Ryan Green, Pebble’s managing director, talks through the key activities that surround Income Generation and how to engage external stakeholders with a clear vision and marketing strategy. More than 200 people have watched this webinar and we’ve had great feedback!

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  • 5 Grants for Music Projects

    Looking to increase attainment? Studies show a correlation between children who are exposed to music and higher academic achievement! Listening to, engaging with and playing music stimulates parts of the brain related to reading, maths, and emotional development.

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  • Pebble's Free Webinars are BACK!
    • Elly Roper
    • 21 September 2016
    • 2 min

    After a brief hiatus over the summer holidays, our popular webinar series focused on Income Generation is back! The topic for this September and early October is ‘The Benefits of Income Generation’. We’re packing in loads of valuable information into this brief, 10-minute webinar that will help you get started on your Income Generation plan for the 2016 to 2017 school year!

    And have we mentioned it’s totally FREE?

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  • Michelin, the famous tyre company, has a plant in Dundee and they are always in need of a well-educated and committed local workforce in order to remain successful. They have partnered up with a local secondary school, Braeview Academy. The partnership has students engaged in paired reading and numbers programmes with Michelin volunteers as well as pupil mentoring, work experience and work placement options. Furthermore, Michelin supports Braeview Academy projects such as sponsoring students competing in a Go4SET Celebration and Assessment Day. It’s a total win-win, right?

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  • Back in 2012 we provided a list of ten freebies and it proved to be our most read blog post in our blog’s five year history. Well, we think it’s time for an update! So without further ado, here’s another 10 Freebies For Schools That You Can Get Right Now (the 2016 Edition)! Back in 2012 we provided a list of ten freebies and it proved to be our most read blog post in our blog’s five year history. Well, we think it’s time for an update! So without further ado, here’s another 10 Freebies For Schools That You Can Get Right Now (the 2016 Edition)!

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  • Do you hate leaving those big sad eyes of your treasured pup on a Monday morning? Can’t wait to get home to see your kitten? Does the tranquility of your fish tank calm you after a day at work? Well, why not bring those animals into school?

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  • Here in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, home of Pebble HQ, one of the favourite school days for many students is the day Maximus comes to visit. Maximus is a Roman Centurion who comes in full Roman regalia from the local Roman fort, Segedunum, to teach students about Roman life and times. He’s incredibly engaging and brings history to life in a way that truly engages students, encourages learning and fosters curiosity in a way everyday lessons just can’t.

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  • Outdoor Learning All Year Round

    The sun is shining, the school yard is looking clean and tidy and the school gardens are lush with summer blooms. Why not make the summer feeling last by utilising your exterior space for outdoor learning all year round?

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  • Will Brexit Affect Grants for Schools?
    • Ryan Green
    • 12 August 2016
    • 4 min

    With no EU country having chosen to leave the union in such a spectacular fashion as the United Kingdom, it’s hard to predict anything. Voters and forecasters are speculating both positive and negative impacts to the economy with some bookies placing odds on ‘Article 50’ never being invoked. So let’s stick with what we know…

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  • We hope you are all having a wonderful summer, enjoying some ‘you time’ before planning the academic year ahead. If you are fretting over applying for multitudes of grants come September, fear not! We’ve chatted to Pebble’s resident copywriter, Lucy Jones about making grant applications easy and taking the fear out of them! Have a read for some top tips and nerve calming words of wisdom!

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  • 5 Tips for Thanking Your Donors
    • Elly Roper
    • 29 July 2016
    • 5 min

    It goes without saying that when donors contribute to your project, it’s important to say thank you. Not only is it just the right thing to do but a great thank you can enhance your relationship with a donor, turning them into a regular supporter. To phrase it like an entrepreneur, it can be a great return on investment for the cost of a notecard & stamp and a minute or two of your time.

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  • Sporting Success at Your School

    The summer holidays have started, the sports days have ended and the children have left…but don’t let that stop you generating income over the six week break! If anything, the absence of children could potentially open up more facilities.

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  • School’s out for summer!

    Nice for some. However, a lot of the school leadership team are still in school, finally getting to all the things that get put on the back burner during term time, things like Income Generation.

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  • Myths of Income Generation

    Here at Pebble, we love to help schools generate income for a wide range of projects. However, sometimes we come across perceived barriers that schools face when generating income. This article will dispel these barriers as myths to reassure you that income generation is not as difficult as it appears to be! Read on to find out more…

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  • Are you effectively engaging with the hundreds of people who could get you the additional funding your school needs? Determining who your school supporters are and engaging with them is paramount to running successful fundraising campaigns.

    Our free webinar, ‘Engaging Your Community in Your Fundraising’, is now available on The Pebble YouTube Channel. This informative video covers how to identify and segment your stakeholders into those making time and financial contributions as well as how to effectively engage with them.

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  • Apart from what happens in classrooms, school clubs and events play a vital role in quality engagement with your students and the wider community. Clubs support learning, improve physical and mental health, teach life skills and play a significant role in helping with family logistics. By running events, schools are able to interact directly with parents, organisations and businesses in the community to foster important relationships.

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  • ‘Even the most misfitting child
    Who’s chanced upon the library’s worth,
    Sits with the genius of the Earth
    And turns the key to the whole world.’
    - Ted Hughes, Poet

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  • When our schools and academies learn about income generation, they want to get their projects funded straight away. The thought of waiting up to six months to be awarded a grant can be too long. Furthermore, grant donors increasingly want to see your own fundraising efforts contributing towards your project. That is why we developed the Joinos online donations page.

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  • Thursday 23rd June marks National Women in Engineering Day (NWED). What is your school doing to celebrate?

    National Women in Engineering Day is an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus on the wonderful career opportunities available to girls in this sector.

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  • Recent financial changes to the education landscape have broadened the roles of school leaders. As the education sector becomes a competitive market, school leaders have to take on additional marketing and entrepreneurial tasks to survive. We all now hear the words, “running a school is like running a business” in everyday conversations.

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  • How a Pebble School Funds a Big Project
    • Elly Roper
    • 13 May 2016
    • 10 min

    Have you seen the video about the American man who spent six months and $1,500 making a sandwich entirely from scratch? He milked a cow, churned the butter, ground the flour, gathered the eggs and so on and so forth until he had a beautiful, truly ‘homemade’ sandwich.

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  • National Share a Story Month

    Did you know that May is National Share a Story month? How many stories have you shared so far this month? Which one is your favourite? Your school library is a magical resource full of life-changing stories for your students. If you don’t have a school library or would love to expand it to make stories available for all, there are plenty of ways to do so. First, let us share a story with you…

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  • In case you missed the next in Pebble’s webinar series, “What is a Project Narrative and why is it important?” we’ve put it online. It’s a great watch if you’re struggling with grant applications, asking for donations or not even sure where to start!…

  • ‘Shy Bairns Get Nowt!’

    It’s a popular phrase up here in Newcastle, where Pebble is based. Just in case you don’t speak Geordie, here’s what it means: If you’re too shy to ask, you won’t get anything at all.…

  • 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?…

  • A Shiny New Pebble Video
    • Elly Roper
    • 22 April 2016
    • 1 min

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    Spring has sprung at Pebble HQ! We have our windows open wide and have been trading tales of recent Sunday afternoons spent digging in our respective gardens.…

  • The Importance of a Project Narrative
    • Lucy Jones
    • 12 April 2016
    • 8 min

    Your project narrative is the foundation of all of your income generation efforts. Not only does it give you a framework for grant applications, it can also be used as part of your other income generation activities. A strong narrative may encourage more people to engage with your school and therefore, further increase your income.…

  • In case you missed the first in Pebble’s webinar series, ‘the Benefits of Income Generation’ we’ve put it online. It’s a great watch if you’re new to Income Generation, or not entirely sure where to begin’…

  • Julia Draisey, Office Manager at Fairfield First School has taken her school from success to success. The school wanted to transform an underused area of the grounds into a garden that could be enjoyed and cultivated by pupils and teachers. However, funding proved to be a barrier to implementing that plan.…

  • At Pebble, we’re always working hard to help you generate the income you need for your projects. With the first major update to Arro, our flagship Income Generation platform, we’re delighted to announce a wealth of new features which will move you closer to your goals. From Project Sharing to Adding Grants to Projects, we’ve listened to our users and have added plenty of improvements that we’re sure you’ll love.…

  • The Redeemer CEP Case Study

    School Business Manager, Maggie Duncan, first came across Pebble at a conference, and subsequently signed up for our workshop, ‘An Introduction to Income Generation & Grant Writing.’ She immediately found success with regards to lettings, but her biggest win came soon after when they were awarded a £10,000 Awards for All grant to go towards an IT Project.…

  • Pupils and teachers were left feeling despondent after several years of diminished library provisions at Washingwell Primary. Mrs Catherine Bulman (School Business Manager) approached Pebble with the school’s dilemma and a drive to create funding.…

  • Longbenton Community College is a prime example of the diverse range of funding available to schools and academies. The college recognised a growing interest in sailing among its students and approached Pebble to help feed this curiosity.…

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    Have you been told that you should cut your carbon emissions? Be more eco-friendly? Consider the environment? It’s not just companies that are expected to have an awareness of the impact they have on the environment, schools are increasingly under the spotlight too.…

  • Generating more income with Pebble
    • Pebble
    • 22 April 2014
    • 5 min

    It’s a common misconception that grant funding is an option available only to registered charities. That leaves many schools unaware that there is £1.5 billion available to them in grant funding. From small pots of money to fund a daily breakfast club through to large grants for development of new sporting facilities. Fundraising in general is a grey area for most schools and grant funding in particular, is something that goes greatly untapped.…

  • We’re often asked “Why should our school have a system for taking online payments?”

    Well, let’s begin with the most obvious benefit, that online transactions make payments for dinners, school trips, events, clubs and other items simpler for parents, and more robust and auditable for schools. Additionally, children don’t need to carry cash to and from school, or have it with them on the premises. It virtually eliminates the risk of them (or the school) losing money, and has had an effect on theft and bullying too. This has benefits for the parents, the children and the school.…

  • Ysgol Pen Coch Case Study

    Ysgol Pen Coch have been incredibly successful with their fundraising. They credit Pebble’s software with helping them secure £4,500 from the Henry Smith Charity for a residential trip to Cumbria and additional funding from the British Legion for a trip to France.…

  • Only last year at Lyncrest Primary School, pupils were missing out on outdoor play due to a lack of funding and limited external space. The school were very keen to develop an interactive play area to be used for extracurricular activities as well as break times.…

  • As discussions of mental health checks for children hit the news, we decided to ask the question, what can be done to make a young person happier and more confident?…

  • The Big Draw

    If you want your children to get into some extracurricular activities but are worried about the distinct lack of pennies in your purse, then what can be better than drawing? No pricey guitars to buy or nasty nipping Shetland ponies to contend with. All you need is a pencil and pad to get them started, how easy is that?…

  • It’s a fact that a staggering 43% of children are now driven to school. The Living Streets Walk to School campaign has been encouraging walking to school since 1995. It reaches over 1.9 million children every year.…

  • Funding for School Breakfast Clubs

    Schools and parents were collectively shocked last month when figures were released that one in seven children go to school hungry. That’s a staggering 820,000 children with rumbling tummies every week across Britain, seriously affecting their ability to concentrate in the classroom.…

  • Last week we gave you our top 10 freebies up for grabs, now it’s time for the competitions. You or your students can enter all of these right now on behalf of your school, and be in for the chance to win some cash or prizes.…

  • At Pebble, we’re constantly on the lookout for grants, competitions and free stuff for schools. Here are our top ten freebies that you can apply for right now on behalf of your school.…

  • The development of multi-channel banking has caused a huge increase in phone and Internet banking. In fact, 21.5 million customers now bank online, with half of these customers using it to make online payments.[1]…

  • Join the Pebble Facebook page
    • Pebble
    • 2 February 2012
    • 2 min

    Our new Pebble Facebook page! Pebble are going all social media. Join the Pebble Facebook page and stay up to date with all the latest news and posts.…

  • Cloud Computing in Education
    • Pebble
    • 6 January 2012
    • 11 min

    In recent years, there has been a massive move towards cloud computing for the organisation and operation of the world’s everyday computing needs. Cloud computing can be thought of as a cluster of distributed computers that provide on-demand resources and services over a networked medium (usually the internet). This means that data, software and other resources are stored remotely, rather than in-house, meaning that they can be accessed whenever and wherever they are needed.…

  • We are delighted to announce that Janis Green, CEO of Pebble, collected the Women Into the Network “Best Use of Technology” award in 2011. The award recognises those women who champion technological innovation at the heart of their business.…

  • Engage parents in a cashless school
    • Pebble
    • 16 November 2011
    • 10 min

    Is your school considering online payments for parents?

  • Is your governing body fully aware of the implications of SFVS? Does your school office have a voluntary fund accounting system that is adequate, properly run and delivers accurate reports, including the annual Consistent Financial Reporting return?

  • At the end of the financial year in March 2011 all funding for Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) came to an end. As a result the majority of Extended Services Coordinators (ESCOs) were made redundant.…

  • Many schools are considering converting to an academy. With the prospect of greater financial freedom, coupled with flexibility in curriculum delivery and increased autonomy, becoming an academy looks like an attractive proposition. But what benefits do academies secure over schools, and is there truly greater financial freedom?…

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