Donations to boys’ schools nearly four times greater than girls’ schools, study shows

A small study of 124 schools showed the value of donations to boys’ schools was greater than girls’ schools, with donations from alumni decreasing by nearly half overall in 2020

The value of donations to single-sex boys’ schools is nearly four times greater than for all-girls’ schools, a study shows.

The study by ToucanTech found donations for boys’ schools totalled £226,000 compared to £61,000 at girls’ schools.

The software company examined almost one million of its database records from 124 schools – 100 independent and 24 state schools. Of the schools involved in the study, 24 were girls’ schools, 19 were boys’ schools and 81 were co-educational.

Kate Jillings, founder of ToucanTech, said: “This gender disparity is extremely intriguing. Whether it’s because men ‘giving back’ to their schools is a more ingrained habit than for women, we’re not sure. Of course, we know that the gender pay gap remains sizeable in the UK so women may be less able to afford donations. But we also know from philanthropy studies that women outrank men in the percentage that give to charities.”

The study also showed that total school fundraising income dropped by nearly 20% in 2020, with donations from alumni decreasing by nearly half.

However, fundraising income from those aged 60–70 was up by more than £1,000 per donor in 2020, compared to 2019. The largest donations came from the over 70s who, on average, gave more than £8,000 per donor.

Jillings added: “It’s telling that alumni in general felt unable to donate to their schools in the same way as previous years. Presumably many were concerned about job security and the general uncertainty that hit us all during the pandemic and lockdowns.”

Although donations from alumni fell, their donations were the largest by value. Total fundraising income for the schools in the study was £6.5m, with average fundraising for each school approximately £103,000.

“Despite the enormous challenges of the last year, it’s so encouraging to see how school communities have come together during such a challenging time, to maintain the bonds they build with pupils, parents and friends of the school,” said Jillings.

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