Educational philanthropy poll results

Throughout May and June, we asked members of the education sector about the fundraising their organisation engages in.  Thank you to everyone who contributed to this very interesting snapshot.  We had participants from across Australia representing both government and non-government schools in the secondary and tertiary education.

It was clear the size of fundraising programs varied greatly with around a quarter raising over $1 million annually, a quarter  raising under $100,000 and everyone else falling somewhere in between.  However, most respondents were from organisations with a dedicated fundraising department.

Most popular fundraising activities

All participating organisations were involved in some sort of fundraising activity, with regular appeals (67%) and bequests (57%) topping the list of most popular activities.  Voluntary donation programs (56%).  While these used to be unique to the sector, we are starting to see them appear more widely, particularly in the arts as an add on to a ticket or subscription purchase.  It is interesting to note the lower uptake of the big earners – major gifts and capital campaigns.


Digital fundraising

Most of the organisations surveyed were conducting some of their fundraising via digital means, primarily through online donations and fundraising sections on their websites.  It is notable that despite the prevalence of mobile phones, no respondents were using SMS campaigns as part of their fundraising.


Most generous age group

The majority of respondents (67%) considered 40-60 to be the most generous age group.  When this same question was asked in our Giving Trends Survey covering the whole non-profit sector, the 60-75 age group came out on top.  Greater generosity from a younger age group is most likely a reflection of the specific markets donating to the education sector, namely parents of secondary school students and former students reaching a point in their career when they have the capacity to donate.


Fundraising challenges

A number of common themes emerged in regards to challenges impacting their organisation’s fundraising success.

  • Creating or further developing a culture of giving within the organisation and among its alumni
  • Competition with other not for profits
  • Rising school fees and tough economic times limiting the amount people are able to give.
  • Insufficient staffing

Closing Comments

The key take home from this sector snapshot is the immense opportunity for fundraising income growth in the education sector.  Investment in major gift programs, capital campaigns, endowment and digital fundraising initiatives has the potential to deliver impressive returns.

O’Keefe & Partners stands ready to take your school or university to the next level.  Whether you need a bit of advice to point you in the right direction or dedicated resource to run a project or campaign, OKP have the skill, experience and enthusiasm to help you achieve your future fundraising objectives.

PS: Check out our infographic for more statistics about philanthropy in education.


 Contact OKP on:       1300 721 199

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