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Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

School shops for Fly Buys rewards

Innovative fundraising scheme aims to turn donated points into badly needed equipment for classroom.

Tim O'Connor, Auckland Grammar's headmaster, says he's excited by the Fly Buys experiment. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Tim O'Connor, Auckland Grammar's headmaster, says he's excited by the Fly Buys experiment. Photo / Brett Phibbs

An Auckland school has started a simple but unique fundraising plan it hopes will bring in tens of thousands of dollars to help provide classroom equipment.

From today, anyone can give their Fly Buys points to Auckland Grammar School through the loyalty programme's website.

If successful, the scheme will be extended to other schools that are increasingly looking beyond raffles and school fairs for ways to top up government funding.

The latest available figures show state and state-integrated schools raised $54,870,070 through fundraising in 2012, not including school donations.

Auckland Grammar is hoping a significant number of old boys and other people in the community will choose to donate points, bringing in thousands of dollars for teaching and learning resources.

The board of trustees has confirmed plans to build a $6.4 million classroom block that will transform the school, on Mountain Rd in Epsom.

The 16-room, three-storey building will be connected to the school's historic main building and is expected to be opened for the start of the next school year. The Ministry of Education will contribute $2.4 million, and the school has started the biggest fundraising campaign in its history to make up the difference.

Headmaster Tim O'Connor told the Herald that Fly Buys points would help equip the new classrooms with computers, tablets, printers and other resources.

The school old boys' association had come up with the idea, and an approach was then made to the Fly Buys organisation.

It would be an experiment, but the concept could result in a zero cost to equip the new classroom block and then provide continuing support.

"If you were someone who supported the school and you weren't in a financial position to make a donation ... this might be a really good way to show support without there being any direct cost," Mr O'Connor said.

"It is quite exciting - we have got 2500 students, and many of their parents have Fly Buys points, so if everyone donated 100 points for a start, that's a lot of points."

Stuart Shutt is one parent who said he would get behind the scheme.

He was signed up to Fly Buys but would not mind transferring any points earned to the school.

"I never get around to using them, I always just forget about it. And I think a lot of people are the same," Mr Shutt said. "I think it's a fantastic initiative."

Fly Buys is a loyalty programme that allows shoppers to accrue points with purchases, which can then be exchanged for a variety of goods and services.

Since its establishment in 1996, its operator, Loyalty NZ, has rewarded customers in exchange for gaining access to data and information about their spending behaviours. Chief executive Stephen England-Hall said the pilot would be assessed after six months, and the scheme could then be made available to all schools.

Shop for your school
• New fundraising scheme will let people donate their Fly Buys points to Auckland Grammar School via www.flybuys.co.nz
• Donations can be as little as 100 points, and Grammar hopes the scheme will help equip its new classroom block.
• Pilot will be assessed after six months, then possibly opened up to other schools - creating an ongoing source of support for them.

- NZ Herald

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