School districts are going to have to learn to find new revenue sources. I read with great interest an article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram; “Fort Worth School Leaders Eye Education Foundation.” Here is a quote from one of their administrators; “The basic purpose is fundraising,” Johnson said. “It is to support the district with our educational goals, to help raise money that supplements our programs”.
In the beginning, I explained there are two major revenue sources for a school district. It is surprisingly simple. The two major revenue sources are property taxes and state aid. This is true for virtually every school district in the country. My point has always been that resources like property taxes and state aid are drying up. Most states have laws about how much you can raise in property taxes to fund schools. This means if you have a two percent cap and your expenses go up six percent, it can create real problems. The state government has their own revenue issues; so doling out more money to local school districts is not going to happen any time soon. The time to explore creative revenue solutions is now.
Well we can begin by running schools like a business and/or a major university. Virtually all colleges have a fund raising department and the successful ones have large endowments School districts are not nearly as pro-active in their private fund raising efforts. This does not have to be the case.
Every successful CEO probably has fond memories of one of their favorite teachers or experiences during their grade school days. However, these successful alumni are usually never followed and contacted for contributions. This is only one component of a successful fundraising campaign. Through social media and other marketing efforts, we can develop a relationship with the thousands of alumni that graduate from school districts each year.
Follow the Fort-Worth model. Set up a thriving and active foundation and track down the funds you most desperately need.