Why does St. Croix Montessori need to raise additional funds beyond tuition revenue?
Like most independent schools, St. Croix Montessori School (SCMS) is a not-for-profit organization. That means all our revenue is invested directly in the people and programs that serve the children and families enrolled in the school.
As a not-for-profit organization, we rely on donations outside of tuition in order to meet the full set of school needs. Donations received by families and friends of SCMS help us to keep tuitions affordable so the school stays accessible to a wide range of families.
There are 4 corners to the foundation of a strong not-for-profit development program:
The annual fund is the primary tool of SCMS's Development Program. The SCMS Annual Fund is truly the corner stone of this effort! It focuses on securing annual gifts and pledges from families and friends of the school in lieu of multiple, smaller fundraising efforts. The annual fund most often helps the school to "meet the margin" in the budget that is unfilled by tuition. It is also the first step for any new development program and establishes a firm foundation of charitable giving in order for the other fundraising areas to be successful.
Another corner to the development base is special events. Special events, such as the St. Croix Montessori School Auction, are most often led by parent volunteers. They provide another avenue for raising funds, especially for targeted funding needs such as capital projects. Special events also allow the school an opportunity to involve outside community members and to celebrate together as a school family.
Major Gifts & Capital Campaigns
Major gifts (most often in excess of $1,000) are often sought to help with special building projects. Most all large building and capital projects are outside of the revenue potential possible through tuition. Therefore, donors are needed to come forth with one-time gifts or longer term pledges to help provide the funding needed for building enhancement and expansion. Donations from families and friends are the major source of "venture capital" for not-for-profit organizations. Fundraising campaigns that are targeted toward specific building projects are often excellent opportunities for "named" gifts which can be made in honor or in memory of specific people or life events.
Foundation & Corporate Grants
Less than 10% of all donations made to not-for-profit organizations actually come from corporate or foundation grants. Many people believe that grants from charitable funders are the best source for outside funding of an organization. However, more than 90% of all charitable gifts are given directly by individual contributors supporting their schools, churches and other community organizations. Grants are often very competitive and awarded to very few organizations, most often for very specific program initiatives. While grants deserve to be considered within the overall development program, they should be pursued with those funders where the best connections can be made with overall program goals, priorities and personal relationships.
Together, each of these initiatives provides a strong base upon which SCMS can hire the best-trained staff, develop first-rate programs and curriculum, and build quality educational classrooms and learning environments.