The Three Bucket Approach to Private School Fundraising: Maximizing Donor Engagement and Long-Term Success

Private schools rely on a variety of fundraising strategies to enhance their educational programs and provide unique opportunities for their students. The schools that successfully raise the necessary funds they need to thrive year after year often take a three bucket approach. 

From securing large scale donations to identifying creative fundraising opportunities within the community, this approach allows them to diversify their donor base, employing a well-rounded approach to fundraising. Read on to learn more about each bucket and how Booster can help private schools exceed their fundraising goals while also cultivating long-term relationships with donors. 


The first two buckets of this approach focus on larger donations. The first bucket is endowments, which are typically fueled by legacy giving or money left by someone in their will. While they tend to be very large donations, these opportunities are few and far between. 

Campaign Donors

The second bucket is annual campaign donors. Each year private schools reach out to their donor base of current and previous families and community supporters to ask for donations. This can be done through email and text or by hosting a phone event to call donors directly. 

The funds raised are generally put into an account to bridge the gap between tuition revenue and the overall operating costs of the school. These donations can range in size but are typically  larger donations and come from a bigger pool of donors than endowment contributions.

Special Projects

The third bucket focuses on smaller fundraisers that support special projects, such as teacher appreciation initiatives or the development of specific facilities. Although the individual donations for these projects may be smaller, the number of donors is significantly higher. This is where Booster can help! Booster offers custom fundraising strategies tailored to each schools’ needs that enable them to tap into this broad donor base. 

Private schools can choose from a traditional product sale, spirit gear or event based fundraiser or can simply use Booster’s online fundraising platform to securely collect donations. 

Even better—Booster can create a fundraising calendar with a combination of its offerings to cover your fundraising needs for the entire school year! This allows you to reach even more donors. By offering a variety of fundraisers throughout the year, your smaller donors are more likely to give multiple times as well. 

Along with the sense of community these fundraisers build, there are many additional features that make choosing Booster ideal for private schools looking to reach that third bucket of donors. 

MyBooster is an online fundraising platform that offers a unique advantage by giving schools the option to capture valuable donor information. This feature, which schools at any partnership level with Booster can opt into, allows private schools to gather additional important details about their supporters, such as their mailing address. 

With that information, schools can then build a database of donors for future fundraisers, expanding their reach and cultivating lasting relationships with donors, who could eventually move up into a higher donation bucket.

Another key feature is the ability to easily thank each and every donor. Regardless of the size of the donation, expressing gratitude and following up with donors are critical steps for maintaining their support. With busy schedules, this is an area that can be accidentally overlooked, but Booster’s online platform simplifies this process by allowing schools to send personalized thank you emails to all donors with just the click of a button.

Calling larger donors to thank them can add a personal touch and be helpful in forming lasting relationships as well as sharing the impact of your donors’ contributions. Consider sharing a photograph of that new playground or special event on your website or via email as well. 

These concrete examples of what your school gained through fundraising helps donors understand how their money is being utilized and reinforces their commitment to the school. Eventually those loyal special project donors  may convert to another bucket and become larger contributors. 
By embracing this three bucket approach, combined with Booster’s fundraising capabilities, private schools have a comprehensive strategy for fundraising success. It will allow schools to diversify their donor base and engage with supporters at various giving levels to pave the way for long-term success and provide an exceptional educational experience for their students.