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Targeting deep-pocketed parents for donations

GMTplus7GMTplus7 Registered User Posts: 14,567 Senior Member
edited March 2012 in Prep School Parents
Interesting piece in the NYT about how prep schools are pursuing more targeted fundraising:
Post edited by GMTplus7 on

Replies to: Targeting deep-pocketed parents for donations

  • WeatherbyWeatherby Registered User Posts: 173 Junior Member
    It is surprising to me that a Head of School could spend 50 percent to 74.9 percent of her time on fundraising.
  • Momof7thgraderMomof7thgrader Registered User Posts: 317 Member
    If you look at the websites of many schools, you will often see pics of the head in various cities with alumni at different receptions. I'm assuming they aren't just dropping by to say hello.
  • VelveteenRVelveteenR Registered User Posts: 78 Junior Member
    "To him whom much has been given, much is expected."

    Much refers to gifts, talents, and time as well as funds. If I could afford to part with $500,000 to give to my child's school, I'd do so in a heartbeat, but I've already given them my child; I don't have much left.

    However, I'm grateful for the parents who are able to fund the endowment of my child's school to enable those with less to enjoy an amazing education. I don't have a problem with the amount of time and effort it takes to ensure that a school maintains and improves itself.

    As has been said on other threads, give what you can, even if it's only a dollar. Helen Keller said:

    "The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker."

    This concept works as well for donations--little amounts add up.

    (Guess I'm feeling "quote-y" today.)
  • CalmlyiChaoticCalmlyiChaotic Registered User Posts: 119 Junior Member
    My kids attend a prep school. My husband also works at said prep school. I can assure you, they aren't just targeting deep pocket parents. They target the employees, both with and without children in school and as fast as those kids graduate, they're getting letters, calls, texts asking for donations as well. Our school has actually started a "Young Alumni Texting Campaign," since they've discovered that the fresh alumni are more comfortable over text than on the phones. Our headmaster also does a ton of fundraising. He's on the road a lot but at the same time I give him props for always being available. He's the Headmaster of the school but each division, lower, middle, upper, also has a director, so it's not as if they're left unattended. I love our school, very much, but there's still a whole lot of fundraising going on.
  • opsops Registered User Posts: 818 Member
    Fund raising was recently bought up on an earlier thread. I cannot stress how vital participation is to the schools. The ranking system of "Princeton Review" is based in large part by Alumni participation.
    For the boarding schools the Annual Fund is a major component in running the school and participation is crucial and plays a big part in bragging rights. The big bucks is of course a different aspect and vitally important to a school's existence. Giving back to a school is more than just giving back to a private enterprise. The 10-20-50-100k enables a school to offer an opportunity for a prospective student where 30-40 years ago there was none. Those kids grow up and in turn also give back to the schools and it ceases to amaze me to read those names on a list for the capital projects, the big donors. But just because so many are not able to give thousands does not mean the gift goes unnoticed. Please believe me that the twenty dollar gift is very much appreciated and valued.
  • opsops Registered User Posts: 818 Member
    I know well the preschool they mention in the article. I also read some of the comments that followed. My biased to the NYT may be apparent but stir the pot as they regularly do, making opinions and assumptions that are taken as truths by the readers really gives a false sense of reality of what really transpires. As anyone who knows anything about fund raising, it is a lot of hard work and incredibly time consuming but very self satisfying and rewarding for what ever cause. The comments are typical but I can personally assure all of you that what the so called Schwab family has contributed to the world of education has benefited literally tens of thousands of kids.
  • D'yer MakerD'yer Maker Registered User Posts: 3,421 Senior Member
    The comments following the article are interesting in that there is a thread of resentment toward fundraising efforts from people not being asked to give money to a school that their child doesn't attend and that they never attended. One person compared it to being asked by the grocer to write him a check to help fund improvements to the grocery store after paying for the bag of groceries -- clearly analogizing private schools to for-profit enterprises and ignoring the mission aspect of the not-for-profit status that all (or nearly all) of them adhere to.

    Something else that people often do is seize on one of the myriad motivators to giving and ridicule that motivating factor. People who give away their money do so for many reasons. As someone whose job it is to raise funds to advance the school's mission, a fundraiser needs to tap into all possible motivators.

    Just like church giving, some people do it for the recognition. They want to sit in the first pew or have their name engraved on something prominent. Others do it for power. They want to sit on the board or be an elder and have their say and be recognized as a valued participant. Some do it out of gratitude for kindnesses and good will from days of yore. Some to compete with their neighbor. Some to show that they're part of the team. Some to support values they believe in, etc., etc., etc. Most of the time more than one of these motivators comes into play. Critics, however, will seize on any one of them and then ascribe that single, isolated motivating factor to all donations, and thus prove that there's some sort of taint that attaches to the entire private educational experience. I'm not sure what's wrong about funding this year's library acquisitions by giving Mrs. Gullywuggle the chairmanship of the Teacher Appreciation Committee, but there are people who seem to think that's reason enough to burn down all private schools.
  • bostdad2bostdad2 Registered User Posts: 61 Junior Member
    Few people realize that the oft-quoted "$8-10K per public student" excludes the multimillion dollar costs of land and buildings. The actual spend per public student once these are included is $22K (and more like $25K in cities). Hence, an elite city prep school at $50K is just twice the national average, not 5X as it may appear.

    The article says at $40K, the tuition is only 80% of the budget. Yet some students receive FA while others make sizable donations. At a school of say 100 students with an average spend of $50K, it could look like this:

    8 students - FREE
    12 students - $25K
    30 students - $40K
    35 students - $50K
    15 students - $115K

    What makes this ironic is that the New York Times (of all places) is decrying a system in which people "give according to their means".
  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 Registered User Posts: 14,567 Senior Member
    I think prep school annual cost/student also excludes "multimillion dollar costs of land and buildings". Purchase of land & buildings are capital expenditures rather than operating costs.

    Maintainenance of the land & buildings, however, should be included in the annual cost/student at both public & private schools. I don't doubt that prep schools spend more money/student to keep their facilities nice.
  • bostdad2bostdad2 Registered User Posts: 61 Junior Member
    GMT, the two private schools that I know best have a big slug of facility in their operating budgets; in one case due to monthly lease expenses and the other due to annual fixed debt payments on a loan that was used to refurbish and expand buildings. But I agree that most schools try to run a special capital campaign to pay for buildings and land, at least in part, and that would be in addition to the $50K.
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