About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Rocket Fund is no longer operational and has been acquired by Crowdfunder. Visit their website for more information on raising money for schools.

Rocket Fund was a crowdfunding platform for schools, designed to reduce educational inequality by modernising school fundraising. We enabled schools across the UK to raise funds for resources and experiences they otherwise would not be able to afford.

Crowdfunding is an innovative evolution in school fundraising, giving school staff and PTA’s a quicker and easier way to raise funds than their traditional bake sales, school discos and summer fairs. It enables them to reach a wider audience, going beyond parents and connecting with their alumni, local businesses and community

It is based on a successful model (Donors Choose), that is used by 83 per cent schools in the US, helping them raise $150m in 2018 ($70m of this came from corporate and philanthropic partners). Their former CFO is on the Rocket Fund advisory board.

In the UK, 71 per cent of governors say funding is the biggest issue facing their school (National Governance Association, 2018), but there is no easy way to help. State school fundraising still relies on bake sales and letters to parents. Future First (2013) estimate that state schools miss out on £100m per year from their alumni alone. This would double the amount currently raised by PTAs every year (ParenKind, 2018).

The impact of this is huge. Educational experience and access to opportunity depend on where children grow up. Rocket Fund aims to change that, by enabling anyone to support schools from anywhere.

We believe every child should have equal opportunities at school, wherever they are. Rocket Fund enables anyone, to support any classroom, anywhere.

How Rocket Fund works

  1. Schools create a pitch describing what they want to buy
  2. They share it with their contacts and community
  3. People donate from anywhere in the world!
  4. They hit their target (woohoo!) and receive the donations to their school / PTA bank account
  5. They send thanks to donors

A Rocket Fund project takes 20 mins to set up and many schools hit their target in 24 hours. The record amount raised is £8,200.

The results so far

We’ve been running Rocket Fund for the past three years, taking the idea from concept to pilot and now to a nationally recognised brand. We’re really happy with the results we’ve seen over the past three years and the impact that we’ve had on schools and communities across the UK.

  • 475 projects launched
  • £380,000 raised
  • 120,000 students benefited

See all current and previous projects.

Map of all projects

Below is a map of all schools who have launched fundraising projects on Rocket Fund so far. Zoom in to find a school near you...

The impact

  • 96 per cent of schools said they wouldn't have been able to purchase the products without using Rocket Fund
  • 30 per cent of projects are from schools with over 15 per cent students on Free School Meals (the national average)
  • 70 per cent of schools said over 75 per cent of their students wouldn’t have access to the products elsewhere

Teachers and School staff love us!

"Rocket Fund was a great way to engage the parents and local community in raising funds for a tech project I was passionate about. We met our target really quickly. I'd definitely do it again!" Ms Galilee, Pearl Hyde Community Primary School

"A very clever, easy tool to use. I never thought we could raise this much money!" Ms Yau, Grappenhall Heys Primary School

"An amazingly simple way to fund new equipment for schools." Ms Brown, Ladysmith Infant and Nursery School

"I recommend Rocket Fund to anybody looking to bring a new dimension to fundraising in their school. Their support was invaluable and I can't believe how quickly we managed to reach our goal!" Ms Williams, Cornist Park Primary School

"Rocket Fund was a great way to involve parents in raising much-needed money for Computing resources." Ms Willemse, Great Chart School

"It is an absolutely brilliant way to raise money for equipment that will make an invaluable contribution to your children's education!" Ms Whelan, Ardleigh Green Junior School

"Easy to use, easy to work with and fabulous results. I have recommended to many of my friends and colleagues at other schools." Ms Read, Waterfoot Primary School

What's next?

We will be scaling the concept in the UK before launching it around the world.


Ben Gill

Ben Gill

Ben Gill

Senior Programme Manager

Ben was a Senior Programme Manager in the Innovation Lab's Education Team.

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Karmel Edmonds

Karmel Edmonds

Karmel Edmonds

Programme Manager, Challenge Works

At Challenge Works, Karmel is part of the Rapid Recovery team and leads on the innovator journey, programme delivery and communications.

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Huma Haque

Huma Haque

Huma Haque

Schools and Colleges Engagement Officer

Huma is a Schools and Colleges Engagement Officer in the Education team.

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Emma Sutherland

Emma Sutherland

Emma Sutherland

Assistant Programme Manager

Emma was an Assistant Programme Manager in Nesta’s Education team.

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