State schools missing out on £100m in donations


State schools are much less likely to ask for cash than private schools and could be missing out on as much as £100 million of untapped donations, figures show.

Research shows that only two per cent of state school graduates have ever been asked for a financial donation from their secondary school, compared with 26 per cent of private school graduates. 

The research, commissioned by the charity Future First and the Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDPE), estimates that each state school could raise an average of £30,000 a year from their alumni.

This is because the percentage of state school alumni willing to give cash to support their old schools is very similar to that of private school alumni, with around 30 per cent willing to donate to their old school. 

However, only one per cent of the state schools’ potential donors have actually given money to their former school, compared with 20 per cent of potential donors in the private sector.

Alex Shapland-Howes, managing director of Future First, said: “These are significant untapped sums. The problem is that very few state alumni have been asked to give back to their old schools before. Now we’re asking.”

Future First works in more than 300 UK state schools and colleges to help them maintain alumni networks to support current students as career and education role models, work experience providers, mentors and e-mentors, governors, donors and fundraisers, and as volunteers more widely.

The charity quotes the example of Robert Clack School, a comprehensive in Dagenham, which has 600 members in its alumni network and has raised £4,000 to tackle social mobility in the school by paying for students to travel to university open days and to attend obligatory aptitude tests for entry to competitive law and medicine university courses.

The IDPE is currently partnering with Future First on a project to support state schools to develop fundraising activities by offering expert mentoring to a select number of schools and by organising fundraising roundtables that will be open to a wider group of schools.

For information on Future First, visit


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