The art of regular giving

Fundraising is not always about fireworks. Sometimes it’s the quiet opportunities for regular donations that provide that all-important steady income stream for schools

Regular giving is becoming a popular way for schools to increase revenue throughout the year. The additional income raised can be used to enrich activities across schools on an ongoing basis. Many schools send out donation requests at the start of the school year. However, asking parents for money at a time when they are already paying for uniform and books is unlikely to yield the best results.

A more fruitful option is to establish a regular giving scheme with an online fundraising platform, which parents and potential supporters can sign up to at any point. Once set up, such schemes are easy to maintain and update, particularly when managed by the platform (website) provider.

Not only can they provide a reliable income stream, but they also offer the potential to streamline the giving process across school fundraising initiatives.

What’s more, regular giving campaigns – featuring eye-catching photography and exciting campaign graphics – will promote your successes and can also raise the profile of a school in the local community.

Indirectly, this can attract more pupils to the school, and can also create opportunities to develop relationships with community organisations and businesses. For instance, local garages and solicitors might choose to become regular supporters of the school as a way of getting their name in front of school parents.

How do you set up a regular giving scheme?

You can set up your own scheme (with an appropriate payment system) and manage the process yourself, or you can use a dedicated online platform to set up and manage donations through a secure portal. It’s important to consider how you will direct potential donors to the platform – and how you can extend your reach by using social media sites linked to the school and the local community.

FundEd’s regular giving promotion

FundEd has teamed up with InvestMyCommunity (formerly DonateMySchool) to offer FundEd members an online fundraising campaign with its ‘premium’ service, free of charge for thraee months. At the end of the promotion, InvestMyCommunity’s standard charges of three per cent for the basic service (five per cent for the premium service) will apply.

InvestMyCommunity is a specialist fundraising platform for schools, which sets up and manages regular giving and crowdfunding campaigns. FundEd asked managing director Chris Rose to explain more.

How does regular giving differ from crowdfunding?

A crowdfunding campaign is usually time-limited, focused on raising money for one project. A regular giving campaign encourages continuous investment in projects and activities through monthly donations. Schools provide a ‘wish list’ of projects so donors can see how their money is spent.

What are the benefits of using InvestMyCommunity?

A regular giving campaign can take as little as ten minutes to set up on our platform, offering significant time savings for school business managers. The school receives a monthly stream of donations so fundraising momentum is maintained. Donors enter their debit card details and then click to make a one-off or regular donation through a secure online gateway (Sage Pay).

They can then log in to their account at any time to make changes to payments, dates or card details. Donations are transferred to the school each month, along with a monthly report that lists all contributions. Money raised offline (through events and other activities) can be channelled through the platform so that the school community can see the campaign progressing.

We can also run ‘boost’ campaigns to top up regular donations. For example: ‘To get the next item on the wish list over the line, we need your help...’ Donations made to appeals are usually eligible for Gift Aid (which can boost the value of donations by up to 25%) and we collect this on the school’s behalf.

What is the difference between the basic and premium service?

Both services provide a comprehensive toolkit to create and run a successful scheme or campaign. This includes a dedicated webpage with a unique URL, live tracking of donations, easy social media sharing and a secure payment portal. Our premium service additionally offers a specialist team who will work with you to develop your message and create your campaign page and content. We will also help you create and deliver a comprehensive communication strategy, as well as providing regular monitoring and advice on how to boost success.

How online giving worked for us

Success story 1: Calthorpe Park School

‘Having read about the large donations some parents were making to their children’s universities, we realised that if any of our parents wanted to make a donation to the school there wasn’t a way to do this.

The fees for InvestMyCommunity were competitive and clear, and the free trial period gave us the chance to see how well the campaign would work.

We chose two projects for our first round of fundraising: the re-siting and planting of our memorial garden, and replacement PCs for our IT rooms, with the aim of raising a total of £15,600. On the day the campaign went live, I put a notice on our website, and that evening our first donation of £250 appeared. After ten days the tally was around £2,500, and now it’s over £7,000, with nine people signed up to donate regularly. We’re really pleased with how well this has gone so far. We’ve used a variety of methods to contact people – letters to parents, notices on the website, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter), and we are posting regular updates this way, too. We are also in the process of contacting local companies. We will flag up the campaign to Year 11 parents as their children leave school, and to Year 6 parents when they attend an information meeting in July. InvestMyCommunity have been very helpful throughout, always available to help when we have any queries.’

  • Hannah Hutton, website manager, Calthorpe Park School, Fleet, Hampshire (1,250 pupils)

Success story 2: Engayne Primary School

‘To celebrate our school’s 60th birthday, some of our former pupils are spearheading a £30,000 fundraising campaign to transform part of the school grounds into an inspirational outdoor hub for learning through play. When we began planning our alumni fundraising, we needed some assistance. We wanted to fully access online opportunities to promote our project, and we also needed to use an online platform for donations. The team at InvestMyCommunity were very supportive and gave excellent advice to assist us in creating a funding platform, which showcased our project objectives to the school and wider community. They led us expertly through the process, answering all questions quickly and efficiently. Our fundraising page is a great example of their expertise and we are very proud of the results.’

  • Nicky Wyman, assistant head, former pupil and project lead on Alumni 60, Engayne Primary School, Upminster, Essex (630 pupils)

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