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.
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 for 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 for 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.
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 the 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.
Building a good relationship with your former students can be a smart move — especially when younger alumni are in a stronger financial position.
Keeping in touch with them regularly to share informative resources or having a blog on your Catholic school’s website can foster positive relationships without going overboard with asking for donations.
You can help them to find jobs or navigate life as a young adult with Catholic values, for example.
When they have the disposable income to donate, they’re more likely to support your fundraising efforts.
Here are a few extra 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, 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.
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.
Since gala fundraisers involve a significant amount of planning, it’s smart to have an event planning committee to iron out the main details.
Your staff will likely be too busy to prioritize this in their spare time but you can 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. A silent auction can engage donors and is often a lot more fun than a traditional auction — and it’s less pressurized in terms of bids too. They’re a proven way to raise funds — significant amounts in many cases.
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 since leaving your Catholic school and may be enthusiastic about the opportunity to socialize and network, and support their former school.
Since gala auctions are a great platform to bring potential donors together, it can be an effective way to strengthen your relationships with this donor demographic and help put alumni fundraising strategies into place.
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.
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.
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.
Hopefully, you’ve become inspired to try some different fundraising activities!
Here at Donorbox, we’re helping over 30,000 organizations to raise funds, including faith-based schools. Our donation platform makes it easy to attract more donors and streamline your fundraising activities.
For more tips on fundraising, take a look at our nonprofit blog.