Tested: Your School Doesn’t Need My Donation

Tested: Your School Doesn’t Need My Donation

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AskRIGHT Fundraising Consultants are currently doing research for the 2016 Fundraising & Alumni Relation Survey. While browsing schools’ websites, our fundraising consultant Lisa Harris had this feeling: your school doesn’t need her donation. She explains why and how to fix this.

With the Fundraising & Alumni Relations Survey 2016, the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia and AskRIGHT seek to improve understanding of fundraising and alumni relations in schools and to identify what effective practice in these areas actually looks like within our institutions.

Contact admin@AskRIGHT.com for more information and to participate.


I had a simple question during my online research on Victorian co-ed private schools:  To whom should I email information about our survey? I wanted names and email addresses of schools’ Development staff. This is what I found.

Of the 36 private co-ed schools I researched, only 33% of schools listed the name and contact details of their Development/Alumni/Foundation staff on their schools’ websites.

Imagine you are a parent, grandparent or alumni associated with of one of the 67% of schools without information. You are suddenly overtaken by a fit of generosity. How would you feel if you went to the school’s website and found no information? Frustrated?

What would you think?

This is what I would think:

This school doesn’t need my donation.” 


Making a donation is a very personal experience. It relies on trust. Your school’s alumni should trust you; they may even believe your school changed their lives. Parents and grandparents have already shown trust, otherwise they wouldn’t send their children or grandchildren to your school.

If your school commits the act of omission – leaving out Development contact information – you may be broadcasting the message that:

1. Your school doesn’t want to talk to you about donating; or, even worse,

2. Your school doesn’t need your donation.


Of the schools which do provide fundraising information, but that information is misleading, confusing, badly designed or out of date – this may send the message that:

1. Your school is not well organised;

2. Donations are not important to the school.


Jakob Nielsen, a web design expert, wrote that “users spend most of their time on other websites.”

This means that they form their expectations for your site based on what is commonly done on most other sites. If you deviate, your site will be harder to use and users will leave.

Of Nielsen’s Top 10 Mistakes in Web Design, Number 10, Not Answering Users’ Questions, resonated most with me in writing this article.

“Users are highly goal-driven on the Web. They visit sites because there’s something they want to accomplish — maybe even buy your product. The ultimate failure of a website is to fail to provide the information users are looking for.”


For “buy your product” substitute “donate to your school.”

And yes, for those of you who argue that you don’t get many donations online (!), at the very least, a school’s website should provide the name, the phone number and the email of the person who is happy to talk to donors about donating to the school. Even if it is the Principal.


Gofundraise.com.au website says that “…many industry connections have mentioned to us in the past 12 months that they’ve found fundraising increasingly competitive.  So we ran a survey to ask our clients how they tracked against their fundraising goals in 2014.”

Results were that 63% had seen growth in funds obtained through their online fundraising channels. Significantly, 83% achieved more than a 10% increase in the dollar amount of funds raised through their online systems.


Maybe it is time to update your school’s webpage fundraising information.


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