We firmly believe that all schools can fundraise

In our experience the limiting factors include: 

  • Distractions that get in the way of the proactive work of fundraising 
  • Insufficient detail in the case for support 
  • Lack of real understanding of potential donors and their motivations 
  • Fear of making the ask. 

 At RSAcademics we make the overwhelming and difficult seem simple and manageable. We help you see possibility and a clear route ahead instead of blockages. We turn ‘unattainable’, ‘impractical’ and ‘scary’ into ‘achievable’, ‘realistic’ and ‘truly rewarding’. 

How we can help:

01.Development & fundraising reviews

With the onus on schools to regularly review fundraising as part of good governance (specifically to ensure that Governors have a clear overview of fundraising, have approved the strategy and have a handle on its efficacy) many of our clients are now asking us to conduct a formal review.

Our review of your development and fundraising covers all key aspects:

  • The efficacy of the development office, including skills and resources
  • Fundraising and good governance
  • Executive oversight of fundraising
  • Success of past, present and future campaigns: key performance indicators

It allows you to understand where you are, where you have come from and how to create a fundraising and alumni relations plan that meets your school’s needs, optimises outcomes and aligns with your school’s strategy and ethos.

02.Development Director appraisals

Why appoint an external appraiser for your Development Director?

The most obvious rationale behind external appraisers for Development Directors is that Heads have rarely been a Development Director themselves. As such, they often lack the knowledge to assess performance fairly or fully, and there can be a tendency to measure the wrong things. Hence the increasingly common practice of external appraisers.

External appraisal also allows Development Directors to show their vulnerability in a way that is not always possible within a line-management scenario. In allowing Development Directors to be more open about their challenges, their performance can be optimised and developed in a way it might not otherwise be.

Our approach to leadership appraisals draws on best practice from within the education and commercial sectors. As well as collating and analysing feedback from key stakeholders, our appraisal can cover:

  • Guidance on monitoring, evaluating and setting objectives – both short term targets and milestones on the road to longer-term aims
  • Professional development support
  • A wider view of leadership – reviewing how the appraisee is working with the Senior Leadership Team and Governors
  • An understanding of the challenges ahead and suggestions for personal leadership development

03.Campaign planning

Just as a wheel will buckle with missing or uneven spokes, so a campaign will falter or fail without all the relevant components – or spokes – in place:

  • Research
  • Stewardship and cultivation
  • Communications including case for support
  • Strategy and strategic plan
  • Gift solicitation
  • Pipeline management
  • Monitoring and quality assurance

We help you identify missing spokes, strengthen weak ones and prune those that are oversized. We plot timelines and hold you to account to ensure your campaign components are best in class and fit for purpose.

04.Major donor support

Major donors lie at the heart of all successful fundraising campaigns.  The Pareto Principle applies here; 80% of the target comes from 20% of the donors.  In our experience the 80:20 rule is probably closet to a 90:10 rule.  But the principle applies; without major donors, the fundraising targets cannot be reached. 

Major donor fundraising can seem difficult and the fear of making a mistake can be off-putting.  But with the right approach, focus and armed with best practice major gifts can become the best part of a campaign.  

We can steer you through the theory, provide guidance, undertake research, brainstorm approaches and keep you focused.  Major gifts are rarely straightforward, but we can help you navigate a creative path to mutual benefit. 

05.Legacy giving

Often the most important yet overlooked element of a school’s fundraising portfolio. Legacy giving is a long game, but with the right foundations in place it can be a significant part of your fundraising plan. The sooner you begin the sooner you will see the results.

We can help you to align your legacy programme with your school’s long-term goals and ensure that the structure and messages are optimised. From there we can help you to ‘normalise’ legacy giving by developing a long-term legacy narrative that aligns to legators’ interests and weaves throughout your broader communications.


"RSAcademics has provided outstanding support for King’s Bruton in our successful capital campaign, raising over £1 million for a new Music School to celebrate the King’s Bruton 500th anniversary."

Ian Wilmhurst, Headmaster, King's Bruton

Get in touch

Email Rachael Petrie, Head of Philanthropy, via rachaelpetrie@rsacademics.com

Call Rachael on +44 1858 467449