This Primary and Secondary Schools Spotlight is adapted from the CCS Fundraising 2024 Philanthropy Pulse report to provide an in-depth look at nonprofits in this sector.

This Primary and Secondary Education Sector Spotlight is adapted from CCS’s 2024 Philanthropy Pulse report to provide an in-depth look at the data provided by 89 survey respondents from that sector.

fundraising practices

Most schools (55%) report revenue increases vs. their prior fiscal year, as compared to 57% across all sectors. According to NAIS Facts at a Glance, the median funds received were $1.4 million for independent schools.

Just under half (49%) of schools get 20% or less of their giving in the form of non-cash assets. Overall, schools’ fundraising revenue was led by the annual fund (42%), followed by the below sources:

annual fund updates for primary and secondary education

Most primary and secondary schools (62%) report that they never or rarely receive multi-year commitments to their annual fund. Schools might consider performing a wealth screening and RFM analysis in order to discover existing donors who might be interested in such a major commitment.

Of all sources, responding schools’ annual fund support comes mostly from parents (32%). Evolutions in donor sources for your type of school may offer additional insights for segmenting and engaging donors.

projections and priorities for primary and secondary schools

Sixty-four percent (64%) of participants expect major and mid-level gifts and annual appeals to increase in 2024. Eighty-four percent (84%) of respondents believe DEI is important to define their school’s values, compared to 77% across sectors. This is the highest rate among each of the other sectors, a trend that gained particular momentum in recent years and was evident in last year’s report.

staffing and resourcing in the primary and secondary school sector

In 2023, 30% of responding schools increased their fundraising staff, compared to about one-third across sectors. While 68% of all organizations increased staff pay by 1-10% over the past three years, 78% of schools in this sector saw an increase. This is the highest increase among each of the other sectors. Notably, the median salaries for directors of advancement and directors of development for 2023 were $147,950 and $120,000, respectively.

donor acquisition and retention

Forty-eight (48%) of schools indicate that their number of new donors has increased in the past 12 months, as compared to 57% across sectors. Fifty-six percent (56%) of schools report retaining over half of their new donors over the past 12 months, compared to 67% overall. Whether or not your school is in the position to campaign, key tactics like strengthening your culture of philanthropy and establishing a major gift initiative can help onboard and sustain key supporters.

data and technology for primary and secondary schools

Sixty-five percent (65%) of participants describe their school’s reporting and analytics capabilities at a leading level or higher of sophistication, which surpasses all other sectors individually and the 58% reported across sectors collectively. While 58% of all organizations have not addressed the use of AI technology in their operations, 55% in this sector have not.

The data on this page was curated from a questionnaire taken by over 600 responding organizations during the fall of 2023, reporting on FY23 results.