Here are some answers to some commonly-asked questions about Schools Plus and what we do.
Questions about Schools Plus
Australian Schools Plus is a national charity that helps improve outcomes for Australian students by making giving to schools simple, effective and tax-deductible. We encourage strategic giving to high-potential projects run by schools to support the learning of students facing disadvantage.
- connects donors and schools in need
- enables schools to attract tax-deductible donations for projects to improve students’ results
- builds the capability of schools to be their own fundraisers
- adds to what we know works best for students, by using research to determine its focus for funding and evaluating the outcomes of projects.
Schools Plus has been granted Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR1) status via legislation passed by Federal Parliament. This means that any donation over $2 to schools via Schools Plus is tax-deductible.
Donors – including individuals, businesses and trusts or foundations - can give to school projects selected as part of our Smart Giving program, or nominate a specific school for their donation. Donors can also speak to us about a tailored donation or become a Friend of Schools Plus to support us in our work.
We believe every student in Australia deserves a great education, no matter their background. But disadvantage is a major factor in student performance: in some parts of Australia, there is the equivalent of more than three years of schooling between the most socioeconomically advantaged and disadvantaged schools. (PISA 2012: How Australia measures up, Sue Thomson et al)
Schools Plus will increase disadvantaged schools’ access to philanthropy, enabling them to run programs and trial initiatives to support their students’ learning. It has been established to overcome many of the barriers that have prevented schools from raising funds and building relationships with donors.
Questions about Donations
Anyone can make a tax-deductible donation to schools via Schools Plus.
Donors may include parents who want to support a project at their own child’s school and individuals who are passionate about a strong education system. Schools Plus will also offer advice and facilitate more strategic giving from individuals, businesses and trust funds or associations who want to provide significant or ongoing donations to back high-potential projects.
A tax receipt will be issued for all donations. They will be sent by email if you donate online, or we can arrange to send one by email or in the post if you donate by cheque or electronic funds transfer.
Yes, like most not-for-profit organisations, Schools Plus will retain a small percentage of each donation to support our work with schools. This money will enable us to evaluate projects and help schools build their fundraising capacity. In our case, it will be between five and ten per cent, which is in line with the not-for-profit industry standard.
Donations to Schools Plus must be voluntary and unconditional, but donors can nominate a registered project or a particular school as the preferred beneficiary of their gift. While donors cannot insist we direct their donation to a specific project or school, discretionary grants are made taking into account donor wishes.
School projects supported under our Smart Giving program will be evaluated and the results shared with donors, the school community and the wider education community. We ask schools to track the results using quantitative and qualitative measures (such as student attendance, results or parent/teacher surveys) so that we can add to the knowledge of what works best in disadvantaged schools.
For further information, please read our Terms and Conditions regarding donations.
Questions About Schools and Projects
Schools have access to a number of resources to help make fundraising as successful as possible and build their own relationships with donors. Schools Plus will be on hand to offer support and answer questions and we will continually be updating and adding any additional resources as they are needed. Those schools who register for Fundraise Yourself will be able to access further resources and tips to assist with their fundraising.
There are several ways Schools Plus can help schools raise funds for much-needed activities and equipment:
- Under our Smart Giving program, schools submit their projects in twice-yearly rounds – our assessment panel, including independent experts, selects a range of strategic projects for us to promote to donors to raise philanthropic support. See more information and apply, or contact us if you have other questions.
- Under our Fundraise Yourself program, schools can use our website to run a crowdfunding-style campaign that offers their donors the benefit of a tax deduction. Schools create a project profile online, and promote their project within their own networks. See more information on this approach.
- Our Fair Education program is for NSW schools only: it aims to develop the capacity of school leadership to better engage families and communities in student learning. See more information on this program.
Schools Plus aims to support projects that have the greatest impact on student success. These are likely to include projects that increase student engagement and their readiness to learn, improve teacher effectiveness or lift the involvement of parents and the school community.
Schools Plus will not fund initiatives that fall under core government education expenditure.
Schools Plus is designed to help schools that can most benefit from additional resources. Our criteria is based around a school’s ICSEA* value – we are currently focusing our efforts on schools with an ICSEA value below 1000. Schools can confirm their ICSEA score on the myschool website.
Schools with no ICSEA value, excluding special education needs schools which are eligible to register, need to call Schools Plus on 02 8880 0296 to determine their eligibility.
*ICSEA stands for the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage and was developed for the My School website. It takes into account factors such as parents’ occupation and education level, socio-economic characteristics of an area and the proportion of students from non-English speaking or indigenous background.
Schools Plus is needs-based and sector blind. Many non-government schools are also located in disadvantaged communities and their needs are similar to schools in the public sector. Schools Plus is about ensuring every Australian student reaches their potential.