How do you replace face to face school fundraisers?
The current global health crisis has thrown a wrench in a lot of activities related to K-12 education. School fundraising is an essential activity that happens in the background of the school ecosystem, so it’s not typically top of mind for most individuals. However, throughout a regular school year, teachers fundraise for extra supplies and student experiences, PTAs fundraise for student events and activities, school sports teams and their boosters fundraise to develop and advance their programs, school programs and clubs fundraise to support their groups and attend competitions/events, and education foundations are always fundraising to provide grants and better educational experiences across their schools. Unfortunately, that wrench has brought most traditional school fundraisers to a halt.
Even though there’s been a movement towards online school fundraising over the last few years, there are still many school fundraisers taking place in a traditional sense. Much of the fundraising that typically happens over the course of a school year is in the form of selling goods and products, hosting restaurant or food nights in the local community, or even hosting events, auctions, or galas. All of these require face to face interactions and community gatherings, which for the time being cannot be done. So how do you replace face to face school fundraisers? With online fundraising.
Although schools are closed and social distancing rules are in place to limit face to face interaction, effective school fundraising is still possible. Online school fundraising platforms offer a simpler and more efficient approach to fundraising, and a number of programs and organizations are transitioning. There’s been a growing recognition that families and community members would rather give directly than buy an overpriced item. And schools would rather take online donations with lower fees than have to sacrifice upwards of 50-70% of the funds they raise. So, for schools and programs in need of funding, it makes sense to switch to more efficient online school fundraising platforms like Livingtree Give.
How schools are successfully fundraising online
Many school programs, teams, organizations, and education foundations have already successfully adopted and embraced online fundraising, making it the primary and/or only fundraising activity that they do. Here’s a look at some school organizations that are successfully fundraising online.
PTA FUNDRAISING: KENT GARDENS PTA
A great example of an organization that has successfully taken school fundraising online is the Kent Gardens PTA. Over the last 3 years, their organization has raised over $156,000 on Livingtree Give, with the bulk of those funds coming from their annual KGPRIDE “One & Done” online fundraisers.
The KGPRIDE fundraiser is their one, main fundraiser of the year with a very simple concept: you make one contribution and you’re done for the rest of the year. It’s a convenient way to support the school and meet their fundraising goal early in the year, reducing the PTA’s other fundraising efforts and face-to-face fundraising activities like selling candy, cookie dough, and wrapping paper. In the last two years, the PTA has exceeded their goal of $50,000 by more than $4,500 each year, paving the way to fund projects and support student educational enrichment.
SCHOOL PROGRAM FUNDRAISING: BASHA AFJROTC
Another example of a school organization that has successfully adopted online fundraising is the Basha High School AFJROTC. Every year the program conducts an annual fundraiser, which is a crucial event to raise funds for program equipment, critical supplies, and educational field trips. Last year, the program tried the Livingtree Give online fundraising platform for the first time and set a goal of raising $15,000. Within a month’s time, the program surpassed its goal and finished with just under $18,000 in funds raised.
Feeding off of last year’s success, the program approached their 2019-2020 online fundraising campaign with a new goal of $18,000. The program again surpassed the goal and raised over $20,000 for their program. For more information about how they’ve been so successful, read their story here.
EDUCATION FOUNDATION FUNDRAISING: COPPELL ISD & AUSTIN ISD
School classrooms and programs aren’t the only ones finding success with online fundraisers. District education foundations are also finding opportunities online that go beyond their traditional fundraisers and galas.
Take the Coppell Education Foundation for example – just following the fall of 2019, a news article was published highlighting the teacher grants funded by the Foundation, including the 10 grants that were funded online on Livingtree Give. The funding of those grants followed the new rollout of the Livingtree Give online fundraising format, which allowed the public to see and contribute to all of the grants submitted by Coppell ISD educators.
Another Education Foundation finding success online is the Austin Ed Fund. In 2017 amid the talks of student meal account debts, the Austin Ed Fund launched their “Help Keep Student Meal Accounts Current” campaign, aimed at offsetting negative balances on student meal accounts and contributing to Austin ISD’s courtesy meal policies. After launching the campaign, it was picked up by a blogger, which then led to news attention, resulting in over $20,000 in donations in just a few weeks’ time. The Austin Ed Fund has since continued this campaign annually, raising money every year to help keep student meal accounts current. The education foundation has hosted a number of other successful fundraisers through Livingtree Give.
Schools fundraising during the current health pandemic
If your school organization missed its main fundraiser due to school closures, or needs to replace face to face fundraising for the upcoming school year, an online school fundraising platform like Livingtree Give can be the perfect solution. Even though schools are closed, there are a number of online school fundraisers already taking place. Some organizations are on top of fundraisers for next year, and others are fundraising for important needs right now. Below are some of the reasons school organizations are fundraising right now.
Annual Spring Fundraisers Are Canceled
Those who typically host a regular or annual fundraiser in the Springtime may have missed their opportunity to raise funds because of school closures and the face-to-face nature of their fundraiser. For Spring sports like baseball, softball, golf, tennis, and track & field, many teams have lost their opportunities to raise the important funds that sustain and advance their programs. It’s especially disheartening for those who had plans for major program improvements, like raising funds to purchase new equipment, or to complete much-needed renovations for their facilities. Additionally, the face to face fundraising events like spring auctions and galas put on by school PTAs and district Education Foundations are also at a loss due to the current situation. Those who counted on funds coming in during the Spring have lost that opportunity.
Jump-Starting Next Year’s Annual Fundraiser
Some of those who typically fundraise during the summer and around the fall back-to-school times are actually making the switch to online school fundraising to get a head start on next year’s fundraisers. Already there’s been an increase in the start of fall athletic fundraisers like high school football.
Raising Money to Support Students and Their Families
The most prominent and heartfelt fundraisers right now are those supporting students and their families during this difficult time. A number of school districts are continuing to provide meals to students, and as a result, fundraisers have been started to support those efforts.
Midway ISD is a great example. The district runs an annual “Hunger Free MISD” campaign supporting backpacks full of nutritious food home for insecure students over weekends and breaks. The district is currently raising funds for this program so that they can support weekend food packs for students in need during this difficult time.
Additionally, some school districts currently have fundraisers to purchase technology for families who don’t have what they need to access online learning resources. Other school districts have fundraisers to raise money in support of families who are in need and going through a difficult time.
Moving to online school fundraising
Regardless of the reason, online fundraising platforms can be a tremendous help, especially for replacing typical face to face fundraising events. Where traditional fundraisers can be limiting in their audience, school fundraising platforms can allow schools to track and grow their supporter bases, and reach a larger community through the power of online sharing. Online school fundraising platforms like Livingtree Give are extremely effective, and help school organizations maximize the funds they raise through professional-looking and customizable fundraising pages, promotional tools, and low transaction fees. So when it comes to raising funds for your school, forget the worries of face to face school fundraisers and give a school fundraising platform a try.
Ready to get started with online fundraising in your school?
It’s FREE and easy to get started on Livingtree Give. Just visit the free fundraising account page to learn more and sign up.