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Articles > Fundraising Ideas > Establishing & running a bursary campaign

Establishing & running a bursary campaign

What to consider when promoting bursaries & how you can meet your goals through effective fundraising tactics

Bursaries are often one of the key fundraising areas for independent schools, as schools seek to maintain their role in creating more opportunities for children to access quality education. Whether your school already has an endowment fund or bursary programme established, or you are aiming to enhance bursary provision, planning out the promotion of your bursary programme through a campaign can help you to reach your fundraising targets. Often, bursary campaigns are run over a year or more, with several activities to help reach your fundraising goal and assist a greater number of students with bursaries. 

Things to consider before starting a bursary campaign
There are a number of considerations before embarking on a bursary campaign, including the key questions below;

  • What is your case for support?
  • Why are you fundraising for bursaries now?
  • Who in your constituency is able to, and has the affinity to give?
  • Internally, who can support your bursary campaign?

Discussing these questions within your development team and working out how to communicate these points clearly can help you to answer tough questions from stakeholders, both internal and external, when you begin your bursary campaign. In many cases, the case for support for bursaries might seem obvious, however this should be tailored towards your existing bursary provision and the objectives you have to provide financial support; e.g. increasing bursary provision by X% or funding more transformational bursaries. 

When sharing the ‘need’ for bursary fundraising, the timing for the campaign must be clear. By demonstrating that there is a greater need for bursaries, through facts & figures, donors can be motivated to support the campaign. Similarly, to run a bursary campaign for an endowment fund must show that while the funds raised will go towards future students of the school, there is a palpable need to fundraise now.

How can you promote your bursary campaign?

The best way to promote your bursary campaign is to reach as many people as possible but offer them a tailored message for why they should consider donating. Sending targeted email communications can be extremely effective; for example you could send

  • An email to new parents asking them to consider donating their deposit to the bursary fund or making a regular donation
  • An email to former bursary students to ask for their support in helping another student like them
  • An email to major donors to consider sponsoring a student’s education or an ongoing scholarship

This type of targeting is more efficient when demographic, donation and engagement data points are available as flexible database filters, enabling you to segment in a flash and send emails with a tailored message for maximum impact. 
You can also promote your bursary campaign through your website, by building a flexible, customisable fundraising page to accept online donations, set up direct debits and share the story of previous bursary recipients. You can also set up landing pages for specific events, such as a Giving Day, that include a countdown, progress tracker and quotes from donors and beneficiaries to bring the story to life. 

ToucanTech will be talking with three UK independent schools; Winchester College, Lady Eleanor Holles & Kingswood School, on how they built their brand for bursaries at the HMC, IDPE and AGBIS School Bursaries and Partnerships Conference on 8th March 2022; please join the session at 11:20am to learn more.

To learn more about how ToucanTech facilitates bursary fundraising through an all-in-one system to connect with donors, send targeted communications and track progress with an integrated CRM & database, speak to a member of the ToucanTech team. 

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