A 2012 survey from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) found an achievement gap equivalent to two and a half years of schooling between the most socioeconomically advantaged and disadvantaged schools. More and more students are failing to meet the minimum standards, and over the past decade, performance in math and reading has dropped significantly.
While many disadvantaged schools are in need of assistance, research from Leading Learning in Education and Philanthropy (LLEAP) has found that many schools have neither the network to seek support nor the right tax status to receive donations, making them ill-suited for philanthropic funding. Without knowing what schools want and lacking the proper relationship with the schools, donors find it difficult to make donations, especially when they are not tax-deductible.
Schools Plus was established to bridge the gap between schools and donors. Fundraise Yourself, the organization's crowdfunding platform, is the only one of its kind to offer a tax deduction for donations. The donations allow schools to provide students in need with extra support, activities, and equipment.
Schools that are determined to be disadvantaged by the government's MySchool website are allowed to use the platform. Many issues contribute to disadvantage: low socio-economic background, disability, residence in a remote or rural area and non-English speaking or indigenous background.
Fundraising campaigns can run up to two years and have a minimum target of $2,000. Each campaign's donation page is given a unique web link, where schools can add updates about fundraising efforts and the project's progress, as well as promote the project to the wider community. Schools also have access to fundraising tips and resources.
Donors can search for campaigns that interest them under a projects page. After a donation is made, the donors are immediately sent a tax receipt, and the school is provided the donor details necessary to send a thank you. The donations are transferred to the appropriate school or Parent Association on a monthly basis.
The platform makes fundraising simple, and it widens the audience that can hear about and offer support to the cause. Unlike generic crowdfunding platforms, Fundraise Yourself is made specifically for schools and Parent Associations, so the people who use the platform are those who are looking to donate to educational causes.
Schools Plus has already had some great success, for within a short amount of time, donors have contributed to projects in nearly 100 schools. If you would like to donate or learn more about Schools Plus, please visit their website.