For their fall fundraiser, Groveland Elementary volunteers wanted to do something unique and unprecedented in their school’s history. Not only did they want to raise money for their academic programs, but they also wanted to incorporate a learning initiative in the fundraising process. The result was a highly successful month-long Read A Thon, a fun and educational way to get students involved in meeting the school’s financial needs.
Parent volunteers created a Read A Thon theme using the popular book “Where the Wild Things Are” to creatively market the event at school. Even the informational video shown at the kick-off assembly was created to match the “Wild Things” theme, along with promotional T-shirts and fun prizes for participants.
“The kids celebrated the start of the the Read A Thon with a ‘Dress Up as Your Favorite Book Character Day,’” said parent volunteer Celeste Hill, “It increased awareness of the new Read A Thon event and also served to get the kids excited about it.”
Hill had been researching innovative ways to raise money on the popular social networking site, Pinterest. As she searched for Read A Thon ideas, she came across a pin for PledgeStar, an online platform for fundraising that could simplify the process and generate income from donors outside the Groveland Elementary student population.
“As committee chair, I was tasked with vetting PledgeStar,” said Hill, “That involved researching their company online, as well as calling and interviewing a few schools which had already used their services.”
Hill and other Groveland collaborators were very pleased with the results of their decision. At $72,000, not only did they almost double the amount of money they raised previously, but they were able to reward students with exciting prizes for their efforts, too.
Hill recounted, “We had a raffle drawing three times per week, individual prizes and class prizes. The class which earned the most received a tour of the school roof. Also, the top fifty fundraisers and top ten readers received a thirty minute visit to a video game truck that came to the school. This was a highly popular incentive.”
“We received excellent feedback on how simple PledgeStar was for everyone, even those who were not technologically inclined,” said Hill. “The support from PledgeStar is phenomenal. They are extremely responsive and work very proactively. They gave us good advice and information on what has worked best for other schools. We are already planning for next fall’s Read A Thon with PledgeStar.”