For the third year in a row, Truman Benedict Elementary School increased its earnings at their annual jog-a-thon, bringing in over $50,000 in 2020! Parent volunteers kept their costs low, with a small overhead of around only $1000. Local sponsors and a family friendly day made their event easy, fun, and exciting for all who participated.
As an active member of the PTA, volunteer Tina Kervick wanted to fill in the gaps she knew that the state funding would not cover. “Our school doesn’t get a lot of funding when we need it,” she said, “our PTA pays for a lot.”
At the same time, Kervick wanted to keep costs low. Her experience running the jog-a-thon in the past made her an expert on keeping the budget to a minimum. Parents were asked to volunteer at the event to tally laps, as well as stand in the sidelines to cheer the kids on. They brought a balloon arch for simple, yet cheerful decor, and snapped photos to create an exciting atmosphere.
Kervick had also learned to ask local families to sponsor food for the volunteers and pizza parties for students. Several successful businesses in the community were family-owned, so PTA members asked them to help in any way they could. Kervick knew that a parent volunteer to act as a DJ and another to guide the kids through pre-run stretching would make the jog-a-thon fun and low-cost for everyone. She even found a volunteer to wear their school’s mascot costume, so a furry bobcat danced with the DJ all morning as the kids ran the track.
“It’s not really a costly event. Room parents decided the themes for each class. We had balloons to decorate the tables, and a banner for pictures. When it comes to fundraising, choosing things that don't bite into profits is key, and PledgeStar fit the bill.”
In the weeks leading up to the jog-a-thon, parents and teachers got regular updates on pledges and registration totals. Top classes got a pizza party sponsored by a local family, and those with 100% online registration earned a popsicle party. The email reminders that PledgeStar sends out for the event kept the families on their toes, adding momentum to the competition between the classes. On the day of the event, themed tables and music kept the students engaged and the parents happy to help.
“It’s a fun family event,” said Kervick. “The kids love it and it’s all for them. The ease of the PledgeStar system, being able to edit things, apply checks online and overall just an easy system to work with made us super successful this year. Why would I go anywhere else?”
In the fall, Truman Benedict Elementary PTA will be able to pay for their K-3 music program, which didn’t exist before the organization raised the money to finance it. They also offer teachers a “bank” to purchase classroom supplies, substitute teacher funding, and several other costly necessities on campus.