In the winter of 2018, Hope Elementary School Principal Richard Tubbs had a radical idea: he would shave his head if students raised over $40,000 during their next annual Jog-A-Thon. Even one dollar more than $40,000 and the clippers would come out, he promised. When they exceeded their goal with over $57,000 in revenue this year, Principal Tubbs was true to his word.
“I like to do fun things for the kids,” Principal Tubbs said, “So I had all 650 kids outside to witness it at recess.” To top it off, he allowed the top five fundraisers to help with the shaving. “I took a razor blade afterwards to help with the stubble” he said. Parents and teachers took pictures and the whole crowd cheered him on.
The campaign to get rid of Tubbs’ hair started with the surprise increase in money that the school Jog-A-Thon raised in 2018. This was the first year the Hope Elementary had used PledgeStar as an online fundraising platform. Typically, the school raised about $15,000-$20,000 per year from the event. In fact, Tubbs has been the principal at Hope for over fifteen years and said that the amount had remained pretty stagnant during his entire tenure. Then, in 2018, when PledgeStar was first introduced to the school, their numbers doubled to almost $40,000.
Tubbs knew that the school could do better. He had also heard from the community that they loved the new online system. So, he decided to motivate the students to raise more money the next year by offering the ultimate no-cost prize: make your principal bald at recess. This year Hope Elementary School went above and beyond to triple their average earnings, raising nearly $60,000.
The head-shaving incentive wasn’t the first time Tubbs had used fun and creative ways to get his students excited. Hope Elementary School is known for being one of the founders of the Great Kindness Challenge, a now-international online crusade to promote exactly what its title implies: kindness. He inspires students to get involved, excited, and energized every week in his school’s TV show, HopeTV. Tubbs has been known to rap about Red Ribbon Week, make a music video about vegetables, and sing original songs about reading on the show.
Offering fun and creative ways for students to get involved at school isn’t the most unique thing about Principal Tubbs. Unlike many other school fundraisers that are organized by parent volunteers, Hope Elementary School’s annual Jog-A-Thon is organized and executed by their principal. Tubbs said that after fifteen years of fundraising and sending over 40% of the revenue back to cookie dough and gift wrap companies, he chose PledgeStar because it charges a minimal fee for its services. In fact, Tubbs decided that PledgeStar would be its only outside vendor used for fundraising in the future. “It allows us to keep almost all of that money,” he said, “Our goal is to provide the students with the best possible programs we can. Parents have thanked me tremendously for using PledgeStar in order to do that.”
Hope Elementary School uses the money raised on Pledgestar to fund their music, physical education, and technology programs. Tubbs reported that the Jog-A-Thon is now their biggest fundraising event, and that using Pledgestar to raise money has made it easy to keep track of donations. “It’s been wonderful for us,” he said, and having students help to fund the programs “really gives them ownership in that.”