Fundraise Yourself is a crowdfunding platform, supported by the not-for-profit organisation Schools Plus. It is designed to enable disadvantaged schools to conduct their own online fundraising, while offering donors the added benefit of tax-deductible giving.
What is Fundraise Yourself and Schools Plus?
Schools Plus is a national not-for-profit charitable organisation set up as a direct result of the 2011 Gonski Review which recognised that schools in disadvantaged communities did not have the same access to philanthropic support (ie fundraising) as more advantaged schools.
Firstly it is the only platform designed specifically for schools and secondly, thanks to Schools Plus’ Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR1) status, all donations of $2 or more are tax-deductible.
Who is eligible to use Fundraise Yourself?
- Schools with an ICSEA value under 1000 (Index of Community Socio-Education Advantage) and
- Special Schools, as defined by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) are eligible to use the Fundraise Yourself platform.
You can check ICSEA values at www.myschool.edu.au here. There are more than 4,600 schools in Australia, from across government, independent and Catholic sectors which are eligible for support. Contact Schools Plus if you are unsure if you are eligible (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The goal of Fundraise Yourself is to help close the education gap, by offering an opportunity to schools in disadvantaged areas to raise funds to improve outcomes for their students – an opportunity they might not otherwise have.
What can you raise money for using Fundraise Yourself?
Since being launched in 2015, more than 550 projects have been supported by Schools Plus, raising more than $13 million in donations. Projects include upgrading resources and facilities, such as buying lap tops or improving school libraries, improving teacher training and effectiveness and boosting the involvement of parents and the community: any project that impacts positively on student success.
You can see what projects are currently being supported here: https://www.schoolsplus.org.au/donate/projects/
Does it cost anything to use Fundraise Yourself?
While there are no upfront or ongoing costs associated with using the platform, Schools Plus does retain a percentage of each donation (5%) to use towards admin and other programs. This is consistent with most other not-for-profits, and this fee is added automatically to the target amount when the project is published online.
If your supporters are donating online, please note there are standard credit card processing fees for your donors of 30 cents plus 1.4% – 2.9% of your donation, depending on what type of card they use. Donors can also direct deposit to the Schools Plus bank account to avoid credit card fees.
Therefore a $100 donation will actually cost your donor (using a Mastercard or Visa) $101.70 and the project will receive $95.
Things to consider
While the Fundraise Yourself platform provides a fantastic way of raising funds for your school and offering a tax incentive for donors, you still need a plan, and to work hard to raise the funds.
Who will you approach for donations? Do you have a way of communicating to people within and outside of your school community? How will you get students, teachers and families on board? Are you prepared to approach local businesses for donations? Have you considered social media, emails, school newsletters, local letter-dropped brochures, posters at your local church, shopping centre and community centre, and adding it your school website.
Eligible schools can also take advantage of regular free fundraising webinar workshops to find out how to maximise your fundraising potential. There are also plenty of tips and fundraising resources to access once schools register via the platform.
Schools can also use Fundraise Yourself to collect annual voluntary contributions to the school, and make the donation tax-deductable for families.
Once you have registered, you will be able to create a fundraising page that describes your project, you can upload pictures and a video, and with it comes a unique URL you can share with your community.
Remember to make it compelling – you need to sell your project to potential donors and make them want to help you.
To find out more and register your school for Fundraise Yourself, visit: https://www.schoolsplus.org.au/for-schools/fundraise-yourself/
Schools Plus also hosts the annual Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards. Schools from all ICSEA values are encouraged to apply and the awards recognise twelve great teachers and school leaders from across Australia who go above and beyond in creating a brighter future for their students and schools.
How can I (or my company) donate to Schools Plus?
Individuals and businesses can donate to Schools Plus, and receive a tax advantage while also knowing they are contributing to the educational outcomes of students across the country.
You can make a one-off donation of any amount or set up a regular (monthly) donation.
Visit the https://www.schoolsplus.org.au/donate/ page and choose one of the specific campaigns being run by schools or you can donate to Smart Giving Circle and the money will be used to support a select number of major initiatives in disadvantaged schools.
For donations of $2 or more, an official Schools Plus receipt for taxation purposes will be forwarded to donors by email (or by mail if you donated by cheque).