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003: Protecting your school’s fundraising income

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

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How much might school fundraising income fall over the coming months and years? And what can private schools do to minimise this?

These are two questions I’ve been asked frequently in recent months. In this episode I review philanthropic data from the US, UK and Australia for the 2008 recession and consider why falls in giving weren’t as significant as some predicted.

The episode also explores two steps all schools should take to protect their future fundraising income, as well as three things to do if your staffing and resources allow.

Episode highlights

  • How philanthropic income responded to the 2008 global financial crisis (1:45)

  • Why giving fell less than some predicted (4:20)

  • How much giving may fall during the COVID-19 crisis (7:00)

  • What this means for school fundraisers (7:55)

  • Why building relationships with donors is still vital (9:30)

  • Two steps all schools should take to protect their fundraising income (16:05)

  • Step 1: Personal conversations with top prospects (16:45)

  • Step 2: Thank all your regular donors (20:00)

  • Three more steps to take if you have enough resources (21:25)

  • Step 1: Look for giving signals (21:30)

  • Step 2: Positive, two way social media communication (22:45)

  • Step 3: Run virtual alumni events (24.40)

  • Considering fundraising as an investment (25:55)

References and resources

Sign up to Juliet’s newsletter at

Find out more about Juliet Corbett’s work with independent schools and discover a host of free resources for schools at

Giving USA: annual reports on US philanthropic giving

‘The impact of the recession on charitable giving in the UK’, 2009, Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations

‘Why Rich People Give’, 2004, Theresa Lloyd


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