For PTO President Allison Dvorak and the other members of the South Oceanside Elementary PTO board, the decision to use PledgeStar was an easy one. They researched all their options and conducted interviews with online fundraising companies. Through their research they found some fundraising companies take 50% or more of the funds raised, which was not going to allow the fundraiser to meet their needs. Seeing PledgeStar’s incredibly low rate of 7% that caps at $995, they knew they found their match.
In 2018 they decided to add PledgeStar’s online fundraising system to their annual Jog-A-Thon and have since raised over $66,000 and kept over $62,000 (more than 93%) with the help of PledgeStar! Had Dvorak and the PTO board chosen another fundraising company, they might only have kept $33,000.
In 2021, after several successful years using PledgeStar for their Jog-A-Thon, the PTO Board members were eager to find new ways to add to the fundraising success. The school held annual Read-A-Thons for the past few years, but never thought to raise money using PledgeStar. The pandemic, with its sudden change to online schooling, pushed the need for a socially-distanced way to raise money. Fortunately, adding PledgeStar to their Read-A-Thon was a huge success! Earnings doubled from the year before, completely surprising the PTO members, families, and staff who weren’t sure a fundraiser would be as successful during the pandemic.
“We were able to hold a Read-A-Thon by using PledgeStar’s online reading logs from home,” said Dvorak. “PledgeStar made our fundraiser possible.”
To encourage participation in the event, they knew prizes were a necessity. However, they needed prizes that wouldn’t break the bank. Sticking to the reading theme, Dvorak and the PTO chose to deliver bookmarks to the students’ homes as well as gift cards for the top readers in each grade. To boost participation even further, students who entered ten or more donors were entered into a raffle.
This year’s Read-A-Thon earnings will continue to pay for PTO-sponsored programs, campus improvements, classroom supplies, field trips, and technological enhancements. Each student is estimated to cost the school an additional $80 per year after state funding.
“We used to spend so much time collecting donations and tracking the students’ reading. PledgeStar’s system made everything so quick and easy with their built in donation tracking and reading logs. Everyone really loved it!” Dvorak said.