A Vital Revenue Source

A Vital Revenue Source
Leslie Dickey, Director of Advancement

What is the impact of my gift to the annual fund?

With December upon us, the holiday season is well underway. At The Governor’s Academy, students have decorated their dorms, enjoyed the first dusting of snow, and are looking forward to winter festivities during their final weekend on campus before the winter break.

For the Advancement team, December brings a new level of busyness to our office and fundraising program – calendar year end charitable giving! For most donors who regularly donate to charities, December is a time to pause and consider which organizations are worthy of their support and how they will direct their remaining giving for the tax year.

December is an important milestone for the annual funds at most independent schools. At Governor’s, we aim to surpass 60% of our dollar goal for our annual fund, The Governor’s Fund, by December 31 each year. We strive toward this goal through personal phone calls, email campaigns, social media posts, classmate outreach, and any other creative outreach we can imagine. It’s an “all hands on deck” moment.

At some point, every member of the Advancement team has been asked, “What difference does my gift to the annual fund make?” There are a few ways to answer this question. The first would be to use any number of catchy marketing phrases you may come across on school or college websites:

  • “The annual fund is ‘today’s’ dollars. The endowment is ‘tomorrow’s’ dollars.”
  • “The annual fund makes up the difference between tuition and the full cost of educating a student at XYZ institution.”
  • “The annual fund powers our future…and is our engine of opportunity.”

But what does all of this really mean?

Over many years, I have come to appreciate that explaining The Governor’s Fund using basic math is perhaps the most effective way to convey its importance. Put simply – the annual fund is one of several vital revenue sources that funds our independent school’s expenses, or operating budget, as follows:

Revenue Source & Percent of Fiscal Year Expenses Funded

  • Tuition & Fees                         73%
  • Endowment Draw                   13%
  • The Governor’s Fund           6%
  • Other Revenue                       8%


This data often prompts the next question: “Can’t you just take more from your endowment?” The answer to this question is no. The endowment isn’t a savings account. Instead, by practice, and some legal obligations as well, Governor’s or any school with an endowment cannot spend it on whatever it wants. There are regulations that our trustees and administration are required to follow that allow us to spend roughly 5% each year.

The Governor’s Fund is essential in covering our school’s annual costs and providing the full Governor’s experience. The strength of the Fund is made possible through the participation of alumni, parents, and friends who love Govs, care about our current students and their academic and co-curricular experience, and are invested in our future.

To the Govs community, I hope Govs has earned your support this year. Thank you for reading, and happy holidays!


Author: Leslie Dickey, Director of Advancement

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