Celebrating the impact difference makes

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Marlborough College


Founded in 1843, Marlborough College is the largest co-educational boarding school in the country, with over 1,000 pupils aged 13-18. Renowned Marlburians include Catherine Princess of Wales, William Morris, and Jack Whitehall.


As part of their ambition to become more inclusive and diverse, the college is aiming to dramatically increase the number of full bursary places from 30 to 100, so that 10% of pupils will receive a free education at Marlborough by 2030.

Their goal is to give motivated and talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to create a transformative impact not just for themselves, but for the school and wider society.

Key to this fundraising challenge was establishing an emotional connection to the story of the bursary pupil that resonated with potential donors and volunteers. Anything we created needed to look and sound like Marlborough and stand out as something new.

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Through a series of 1-2-1 interviews and focus groups, it became clear that the sense of community and responsibility among pupils and alumni at Marlborough is a defining characteristic. Pupils are given the opportunities, environment, and support to thrive, and have the potential to make a lasting, positive impact on the school and the world around them.

Old Marlburians proudly carry this as part of their sense of identity, acknowledging their role in helping to create opportunities for the next generation.

Through conversations with past bursary recipients, the life-changing impact of these opportunities was evident, as was the effort and determination needed by students to take full advantage of the support they were given by the college.

Marlborough Case Study Posters
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By telling compelling stories of positive transformation enabled by full bursaries at Marlborough College, our campaign illustrates ‘The Marlborough Difference.’ These stories connect audiences to students’ real, lived experiences and showcase the impact that donations can have.

Crafting the life stories was challenging as we needed to create a poetic narrative that would emotionally connect with potential donors, while providing a glimpse into each person's life. To achieve this, we used literary techniques such as alliteration and rhyme.


On Wednesday 19th April, the Marlborough Difference Campaign launched with a special Giving Day and in just 36 hours, over 1,000 parents, Old Marlburians, staff, pupils and friends supported the Campaign raising more than £1.3m in the first weekend. This is a record-breaking amount, not just for Marlborough but for any independent school in the UK.

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“A simple idea yet so impactful. Working with True North helped us understand the defining difference that attending Marlborough College could make and use this to engage our donors and stakeholders.”
Kate Graham, Development Communications Manager at Marlborough College
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