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Articles > Fundraising Ideas > How ToucanTech makes a financial and operational impact for schools

How ToucanTech makes a financial and operational impact for schools

Paul Hassall, Fundraising Consultant, shares his findings on the impact of using ToucanTech at the London Oratory School

All schools, irrespective of whether state or private, face challenges in how they manage their finances. Expenditure of any significance is rightly expected to be aligned to school strategy and be measurable in terms of impact.

The good news for those schools considering investing in fundraising is that there is plenty of data available to use in the creation of a business case. In the recently published 2023 IDPE Benchmarking Report, 65% of UK schools surveyed had increased their development expenditure - and with the greater the investment, the greater the level of return. Schools with higher investment saw financial returns of over 1:10, with smaller investment still generating returns approaching 1:4.

Yet I have many conversations with schools who wish to build fundraising income but are reluctant to invest. Some have created Development roles but remain reticent to invest in CRM software which would enable engagement with their community.

Whilst the impact of upgrading to new community software will vary depending on the specific goals and objectives of a school, there are common metrics which can be used to quantify the impact of any CRM investment.

I have used ToucanTech software in both private and state schools – Portsmouth Grammar School, London Oratory School and Samworth Church Academy – and seen first-hand the positive impact the investment in the technology has had.  Each school has been in different phases of their fundraising journey but all have been able to use common metrics to measure a return on their CRM investment. 

The impact examples of using toucantech software are taken from London Oratory School where the move to the ToucanTech platform two years’ ago has enabled greater community engagement and delivered operational efficiencies.  

The 4 key performance indicators highlighted below are interlinked and can be applied to any school seeking to increase its fundraising income.

1. Financial impact

Without doubt the headline metric that all schools are judged on! Overall fundraising income at London Oratory School  is up 16% on last year, over 50% of current parents are now regular donors and direct debit cancellations are down by 45%.  This performance would not have been possible without investment in community software and the support of ToucanTech’s customer service team to help maximise its use.

2. Online membership growth

 One of the key metrics used to quantify community software is the measurement of growth in community size.  At London Oratory School we have been delighted to see online members rise to over 1,300 in less than two years. High sign up and retention rates reflect the quality, ease of use and breadth of the ToucanTech software. 

3. User engagement

In parallel with the high membership levels we have seen excellent levels of growth in user engagement. There are many features on ToucanTech which encourage relationship building within the school community – the two we use consistently are a weekly newsletter sent to all current parents (which has an open rate approaching 80%) and the promoting and booking of school events. The quality and ease of use of these two features on ToucanTech have without doubt attracted and retained community members. Metrics such as email open rates, event attendance, ticket revenue and interaction levels have all been used to quantify impact.

4. Operational efficiency

All schools are looking where possible to streamline administrative tasks  without sacrificing user experience. ToucanTech is a genuine all in one platform provider which allows schools to lower costs by removing the need to pay additional licence fees for event booking, social media and career/mentoring needs. At London Oratory School we have benefited from the payment service provided by the ToucanTech integration with GoCardless and Stripe software. Moving to an automated, easy to use service for both regular and one-off payments has enabled growth in donor numbers whilst enabling administration overheads to be reduced. Processes like claiming UK GiftAid require less time to complete leading to HMRC (tax relief) payments being received earlier and improved cash flow. We now sell school items online rather than through an actual shop – easier for parents and lowering overheads for the school.

These four metrics should be used as the basis of any business case presented to Governors and Trustees for community software investment. They will need to be reassured that there are measurement tools in place, that the benefits of the investment are aligned to the goals of the school, and that investment in community software is essential to achieve long term fundraising success.


Paul Hassall, Founder of State School Fundraising & Fundraising Consultant at the London Oratory School. 

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