When Rachel Hatch joined Urban Discovery Academy in 2017, she had ambitious plans for the big city charter school that started as a small gathering of families and grew into a diverse institution in the heart of San Diego.
Hatch knew that charter schools only receive about 72 cents for every dollar a public school receives from the state, and fundraising at Urban Discovery Academy in its early years had been challenging. Its first jog-a-thon brought in about $4,000, which was hardly worth the effort it demanded, but Hatch recognized that the event had potential for becoming a major source of revenue for the school. She had seen PledgeStar used at her own child’s school, and knew that an online platform, with access to social media networking, was definitely the way to go.
It turned out that Hatch was right. After using PledgeStar for the first time, UDA increased its earnings by about five times, bringing in a whopping $20,000 in 2018 and again in 2019. What started as a fun event to bring in a little extra money for the school turned into one of the school’s major fundraising events for the entire year!
“It was incredibly simple,” Hatch said, “We went from expecting close to nothing to knocking the socks off the foundation. It really blew the doors off for this event and I see the possibility of potentially doubling this amount.”
After the 2019 jog-a-thon, Hatch saw one key aspect of the event that she believed could unlock the doors to success in the next few years. Only about 50% of the school population registered on PledgeStar in 2019 and Hatch knew that getting students to register on the platform was the first step to accessing donations from their friends and family. Next year, Hatch hopes to campaign to get at least 80% of the students using PledgeStar for the jog-a-thon. She is confident that encouraging community participation is the best way to get families involved in the fundraising process.
“We really want the parents to feel invested in their children instead of just asking them to throw money at the foundation,” Hatch said. “Getting grandma, grandpa, aunts, and uncles to donate small amounts feels different to the parents. They know that the money is going directly to their child rather than some other company thanks to PledgeStar’s unbelievably low fee. We want to work on creating those experiences for them, and PledgeStar is one way we can do that.”
Hatch and other school staff plan to rev up their jog-a-thon campaign for 2020. Their ideas range from inviting Storm Troopers to visit students at the jog-a-thon to having the students dress in costume on the day of the event to get them excited and motivated to support the school. With a goal of doubling their $20,000 average, programs like engineering, art, PE, theater, and their transitional kindergarten classes will continue to be funded with the community’s help. Using social media and online platforms like PledgeStar, Hatch said, “is able to make great things happen. We’re undertaking a big endeavor in downtown San Diego and PledgeStar is helping us every step of the way.”