by the AFRDS
In closely examining non-government sponsored schools, you soon
discover that fundraising is essential for their survival. The typical
Catholic elementary school raises about ten percent of its operating
budget from different fundraising activities. If you were to do the
math, for the over five million children in independent schools of all
types, you would discover that fundraising for these schools is a $1
billion business each year.
While administrators, teachers and parents readily admit that
fundraising is an onerous task, it does have several significant
- First, fundraising reduces the actual cost of tuition because it
invites the wider community to support the school. Thus, the burden
of maintaining a quality educational institution is spread across a
- Fundraising also brings together people from various
backgrounds who work for a common goal, quality education for their
children. Such interactions frequently lead to greater understanding
of different people.
- Finally, fundraising creates ownership of the school and its
programs. This is an important factor and, unfortunately, some
parents do not realize how great an effect ownership has on their
involvement in the education of their children.
Whoever bears the responsibility for organizing the various
fundraising efforts also bears the responsibility for providing quality
products and services to the customer. Nothing can hurt a school's
future fundraising efforts more than not pleasing the customer.
Therefore, the school needs to consider carefully what product or
service will best meet the needs of the customer. Blindly repeating the
same practices year after year drives the public away. Having found a
real, unsatisfied need, the selection committee should examine the
quality of the product or service to be sold.
While profit is the goal of fundraising, this profit needs to be shared
among the manufacturer, distributor and the school. Neither of these
parties can take the major share of the profits. When a school makes
undue demands on the distributor, the distributor must make cuts and
these only happen in terms of quality and service.
Since fundraising is vitally important to our schools and it is big
business, the time has come for all schools to address fundraising in a
professional and business-like manner. If this is done, the long term
effect will be increased revenue to the schools which is the reason
why we do it in the first place.
Robert J. Kealey, Ed.D., Executive Director ***********************
Department of Elementary Schools
National Catholic Educational Association
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About the Author:
This article is from the Spring 1997 issue of the Fundraising Edge, an online publication of the Association of Fund Raisers and Direct Sellers and is reprinted with permission. Visit their web site at http://www.afrds.org/ for more information and a look at the complete issues of the Fundraising Edge.
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