You or an acquaintance is likely involved in school fundraising.
I receive many inquiries about fundraising for a Catholic school.
Sometimes the questions come from a network of homeschooling parents who want to launch an actual “bricks and mortar” school.
Sometimes the leadership team of a longstanding school with hundreds of students has questions about expanding their enrollment.
Whatever the case may be, there are certain fundamentals that you never want to forget. Here is what I think they are:
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Greetings my fellow Catholics! Today, we are going to be talking about fundraising for Catholic schools. Three pieces of advice on how to fundraise if you are on the board or you’re part of the leadership team of a Catholic school. That’s our topic today.
Hi, I’m Brice Sokolowski, the founder of CatholicFundraiser.net, a Catholic apostolate helping other Catholics with their fundraising. Before we dive into the topic of fundraising specifically for schools, make sure that you download – absolutely for free – my guide, The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising. This guide is going to give you the foundation for everything you’re doing with your fundraising and, if you’re watching this (even if you’re not involved in Catholic schools) I think you’re going to enjoy the next few minutes and also this guide, and get some great pieces of advice overall about fundraising.
So let’s dig into Catholic school fundraising: How do you do it?
First and foremost, you have to know your costs before you go out to fundraise. You have to know how much is going to be required to either fill in the financial gaps or start things off. You would be surprised how many Catholic schools out there barely know how much it costs to keep the lights on. Even if there are no lights because you’re all in a homeschooling network but might want to move into a more sustainable or alternative building, you have to know your costs. You have to know, how much does it actually cost to teach one student? That’s really important. It cannot be overlooked but too many schools, unfortunately, really don’t know their costs. And it’s really hard because donors want to know this. They want to make sure that you know your costs, too. It’s helpful. It really is.
Point number two is, do not to undercut your tuition. I know that you want to offer a Catholic education to every student and every family that comes to you. Unfortunately, that can’t always be the case, especially in the beginning or if you’re trying to grow and expand. Because if you can’t stay open for the next year and the following year, you’re not really helping anybody. So don’t undercut tuition. This is another topic that’s overlooked by a lot of organizations, and when they come to me asking for advice with their fundraising find that all we are doing is trying to fill in holes in a sinking ship. Because nobody is paying full tuition. Then you kind of wonder, how many people are actually committed to the school? They seem to pay for all their private services. The cable TV company is always going to get their money, but somehow paying full tuition for a Catholic school education still looks costly. But you can’t undercut yourself, because otherwise, you are not going to be able to move up as quickly as you want, so don’t undercut yourself.
My third point is to be direct with parents and family on the costs and the benefits. When you know the cost then you can be clear about the value. Sure, the education is going to be X number of dollars but also show how it will be 10X’s, 100X’s more beneficial. Beneficial to them because, for $7,000 of tuition, they will get $70,000 worth of education! Go to a Catholic school. You know what you are going to be getting. You have to show the value of an authentically Catholic school with a Catholic education. That price tag for tuition (and the donation on top of it ) is worth their value because you’re going to have peace of mind. A lot of people will pay a hefty amount for peace of mind because that’s really what they want. It is the same thing when you go speak to the grandparents (and you should speak to grandparents, who are always very passionate about ‘legacy,’ not only for their family but their community and the Catholic church). You just have to make sure that they understand how, for every dollar that’s going to the school, there’s a huge multiplier effect.
It is not just about educating one child, it’s about setting a child up for success in the future. It is creating an impact on society. It is bringing Christ to the world. You have to keep reiterating this to people. This is what you just have to keep doing over and over, and over again, and it’s not enough that it’s on a piece of paper, you have to emphasize it every time that you speak to people. Especially when you speak to them directly, asking for a donation. Emphasize how every single one of their dollars multiplies the impact and make sure that they understand specifically what that means, don’t assume that people know. You have to be very clear. So again, point number three is to be direct with parents and be direct with grandparents, both on the costs and the benefits.
I hope that you found this helpful! In a nutshell, this is how to fundraise for Catholic schools. If you like this, reach out to me on CatholicFundraiser.net or share today’s advice with an apostolate or a religious community, or anybody you think would benefit from this type of information. May God love you and I will speak to you again soon.
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Make sure to get your free copy of ‘The 10 Commandments of Catholic Fundraising’. It’s a book that highlights the ten tasks you should do to keep you focused on your mission and hit your fundraising target, every time.