|4 Sep 2020|
Development fundraising can often focus heavily on alumni, sometimes overlooking a key group of highly motivated potential donors: parents. While parents are unlikely to engage after their children have left the school, they are highly motivated to provide the best experience possible while their children attend. Here are 5 tips to engage parents and run a successful fundraising strategy:
At the start of the school year, the Judd School invited new year 7 parents to a social event with the Head, where they discussed future development plans for the school. Following this, the development team sent out an email to parents who had attended the social event but had not yet made a donation and raised £10,000 from previous non-donors. Establishing a good relationship with new parents will likely lead to several donations over the course of their child’s school career.
Annual events that have a unique twist are always excellent for engaging parents, such as the annual St James’ art auction, which was held online this year through their community site. Creating just a few unique fundraisers that are held annually saves from overloading parents and allows you to make your events effective and strategic.
Some parents might want to be hands-on when it comes to fundraising and help with organising behind the scenes, or volunteering at the main event. Others might be able to help by boosting the promotion of your fundraiser on social media or sharing with other parents. Involving parents in a way that isn’t directly asking for money is a great way to build a strong parent community that will help to support your school.
Schools that can point towards an area of under-resource and plan for development can make a clear case to parents about where their donations will be going, and how this can help improve their children’s experience at the school. Parents are also reasonably time-bound, and may prefer the nudge to donate so that their new building can be open in time for their children to make the most out of it during their time there. Aylesbury Grammar School have built a fantastic collaboration with their wider community, and are direct and honest about where their funding goes and how to help.
Alumni often receive their own benefits from being part of the alumni community, such as networking and career opportunities: parents may not receive such benefits, so it’s important to show your appreciation for their donations. Thanking parents doesn’t have to be over-the-top, but a handwritten thank you from the Head, a personal phone call or even a tailored follow up email are greatly appreciated and will leave a better impression of your school.
Find more top tips on fundraising, engagement and data on our blog.
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