9 Best Fundraising Ideas for Catholic Schools

Catholic schools are privately run, which means they can’t depend on the state or local government to fund their programs. If you run a Catholic school, fundraising is a necessity. We’ve included nine fundraising ideas to help you raise more money for your school and build solid relationships with parents and others in your community.

6 minutes read
9 Best Fundraising Ideas for Catholic Schools

Since most Catholic schools don’t receive public funding, fundraising is an ongoing effort for staff and students.

It can be a big challenge, especially if you need to raise a large amount. But with the right idea and an effective fundraising tool like Donorbox, you can meet your fundraising goals with ease and efficiency.

We’ve got you covered with some unique fundraising ideas to offer inspiration.

Catholic School Fundraising Ideas

Need some new inspiration for your next fundraising campaign? Try these ideas for Catholic school fundraising:

1. Fundraising letters

Creating a powerful fundraising letter can raise a significant amount of donations.

Many schools find that their donation letters can make or break their fundraising efforts — especially for Catholic schools (and other faith-based schools).

Here are some tips for getting the most from your donation letters:

  • Personalize your letters to include the names of individual recipients. “Dear John and Jenny” works a lot better than “Dear Friends of [Name of your catholic school” for making potential donors feel valued.
  • Tell a story about how a particular student has thrived as a result of attending your Catholic school. Within this, paint a vivid picture that helps potential donors form a positive, emotional attachment to your school. This can be more effective than using facts and figures to demonstrate the real-world impact that donations will have on your Catholic school.
  • Share stories from parents of students that have attended your Catholic school. This builds trust with potential donors and acts as social proof of your work.
  • When you ask for donations at the end of a donation letter, emphasize the impact that previous gifts have had on students.
  • Try segmenting your recipients and sending slightly different donation letters, depending on who is receiving them. Parents with Kindergarten-age kids are more likely to donate if they receive a donation letter that speaks to their situation, for example. If the same parents receive a letter that’s aimed at a much broader range of parents, they can be less inclined to give.

Pro tip: You can go a step further in segmenting your recipients, especially if you have donors that have given to your Catholic school year-on-year. These donors should receive a different letter to your standard donation letter. It can be personalized and refer to their previous gifts, for example. Donorbox Donor Management automatically collects and stores donor data in its database. You can also add offline donors and donations to the tool. The donor profiles can be updated with information and communication notes. You can easily apply basic and advanced filters to the data to segment it, as well as integrate with CRM tools like Salesforce, Blackbaud RE NXT, HubSpot, Rock RMS, Planning Center, and more. Donorbox donor reporting templates also make it easy for you to get better insights into your data and send personalized fundraising letters.

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2. Alumni appeals

Reach out to former students and their parents. Some schools even send donation letters to the grandparents too! Former students and their families have first-hand experience of the value your Catholic school delivers. Tapping into this as part of your fundraising efforts is often overlooked but it can be a good source of donations.

Here are a few tips for alumni fundraising:

  • Let your former students know the donation options that are available to them. While some may only be able to give a one-time donation, others may be in a position to set up a recurring donation that will help your Catholic school to be more sustainable in future years.
  • With Donorbox Recurring Donations, alumni donors have control of their recurring giving and can cancel recurring donations at any time or change the donation schedule and the amount they give.
  • Asking for smaller donations can be more effective for fundraising amongst your younger alumni. Since this donor demographic often has less disposable income and higher levels of debt, they’ll likely be poor candidates for larger giving. Suggesting smaller donation amounts can help them support you without being off-putting. In the future, younger alumni may contribute larger gifts if their income grows.
  • Once your alumni know that your Catholic school needs to raise funds, they may get involved in peer-to-peer fundraising. This is a great way for them to help your fundraising efforts by harnessing their network, even if they’re not in a position to support you with a donation.

Check out the recurring donation form embedded in St. Francis Xavier Catholic School’s website. This helps them encourage recurring donations among their supporters including former students and parents.

catholic school recurring donations example

Create a Customized Recurring Donation Form!

3. Gala auctions

Gala fundraisers are a proven and successful way to raise funds. They’re effective for demonstrating the value your Catholic school delivers.

A venue will likely be your biggest consideration, particularly if your Catholic school isn’t large enough to host the event.

Reach out to parents and people in the community who share the same mission and values as your Catholic school to get involved in the planning side of things.

You can combine a gala dinner with a silent auction to raise more funds. It’s likely your Catholic school has plenty of connections for securing high-quality auction items. Parents of students may own businesses or you can ask businesses in the local community to donate items to be auctioned.

Invite alumni to the event too. Former students will likely not have seen a lot of each other since leaving your Catholic school and may be enthusiastic about the opportunity to socialize and network, and support their former school.

Sell tickets to your gala event with a powerful event ticketing tool like Donorbox Events. You can create customized event pages and ticketing forms. Add multiple ticket tiers to the form to match your pricing strategy. Our tool is packed with conversion-optimized features for the success of your events – learn more here.

Sell Tickets for Your Gala Event!

4. Themed food and drink events

If your resources won’t stretch to organizing a gala dinner, why not host a themed culinary event instead? This could be a Mexican night, a cheese and wine party, or a wine tasting evening, for example.

Food-based fundraisers tend to be a big hit and can raise a lot of money. You can also include a silent auction as part of the event to boost donations.

Pro tip: See if you can encourage parents to get involved in the catering side of things. This can reduce the cost of hosting the event and allows more of the funds raised to go to your Catholic school. Parents will often be very happy to help plan and run fundraising events since the funds are supporting their child’s education.

5. Faith-based scratch card fundraisers

You may already be familiar with scratch card fundraisers. Each donor scratches off 2 dots and contributes the amount revealed. As a thank you, they receive a coupon for discounts at popular retailers.

Faith-themed scratch cards are available, and these make it obvious to donors with regards to why you’re raising funds.

6. Student photography exhibitions

Ask your students to take photos and exhibit them around a Catholic theme.

This can be a powerful way to showcase their creativity and use art to highlight your mission and campaign.

Pro tip: Charge a small entry fee to view the exhibition and sell student artwork to the highest bidder to raise funds. Utilize Donorbox Event‘s powerful features to boost your ticket sales revenue. Add tax-deductibility to ticket tiers for better transparency, set a ticket quantity limit and purchasing deadline to create a sense of urgency, let purchasers make additional donations and cover the processing fees, and more!

7. Grants

Not all grant-making foundations and trusts will be keen to fund core costs for running your Catholic school. Many will prefer to approve grants for specific projects.

Some grantmakers are willing to fund running costs so it’s worth looking for these types of grant opportunities.

You may be able to find grants to buy textbooks or computer equipment, for example. This can be very helpful for reducing expenditure.

8. Student fundraising

Students can go out and sell products to raise funds for your catholic school. This can include cookie dough, popcorn, or candle fundraisers. Or they can pledge to carry out tasks in the community in exchange for donations. This can be anything from yard work to raking lawns or picking up litter.

Even better – equip your students with a simple but effective tool like Donorbox Peer-to-Peer! Create your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign on Donorbox and invite students to use their own fundraising pages to raise money for you. This helps boost donations and outreach for your Catholic school. Learn more on our guide and watch the below video!

Try Donorbox Peer-to-Peer!

9. Set up a donation kiosk at your school or events

Your Catholic school should have a modern way to accept in-person, cashless donations at the school. Or even at fundraising events. Use an effective kiosk app like Donorbox Live™ Kiosk to turn a tablet device into a donation kiosk. Then, pair it with a card reader device to start accepting swift and easy cashless donations. Your supporters can easily tap, dip, or swipe their credit or debit cards or use their digital wallets to make a donation. Learn more on our step-by-step guide.

donorbox donation kiosk app

Sign Up for Donorbox Live™ Kiosk

Over to You

There are plenty of ways to raise funds for schools and while fundraising for Catholic schools has its challenges, there are unique ways to secure donors and cover costs. If you’d want to start a PTA/PTO in your school and create a way to help your students, here’s a blog that can be useful.

At Donorbox, we’re helping over 50,000 organizations in 96 countries to raise funds, including faith-based schools. Our donation platform makes it easy to attract more donors and streamline your fundraising activities. Learn about our features and sign up to start fundraising today!

For more tips on fundraising, take a look at our Nonprofit Blog.

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Raviraj heads the sales and marketing team at Donorbox. His growth-hacking abilities have helped Donorbox boost fundraising efforts for thousands of nonprofit organizations.

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