After five successful years of using PledgeStar for their jog-a-thon fundraising, PTA members at southern California elementary school Aviara Oaks wanted to bring in more money than ever before. Thanks to the advice and help of the seasoned PledgeStar team, they were able to achieve just that!
Since 2015, Aviara Oaks Elementary School has more than tripled its earnings of their annual jog-a-thon, raising the bar from about $20,000 per year to over $71,000 in 2019. PTA volunteer Krissy Otten says that they owe all their success to the PledgeStar online platform and helpful fundraising tips provided to every PledgeStar event.
For the first few years of their jog-a-thon, volunteers stuck to the tried and true offline donations and per lap pledges, but they knew more could be done. After careful research they decided to give PledgeStar’s online platform a try. To Otten’s delight, their first year of online fundraising doubled the school’s average earnings and inspired PTA board members to stick with PledgeStar as they moved forward.
After several years of successful events using the same techniques, however, Otten noticed that their jog-a-thon fundraising amount had plateaued, so she sought the advice of the PledgeStar fundraising team. “PledgeStar gave us two pieces of advice that really made all the difference,” Otten said, “switching from per lap pledges to flat donations and focusing on getting the kids to sign up on PledgeStar.” The changes were easy to implement and made running the event even easier. “We were able to stop screaming at the parents and instead focused on the kids,” said Otten. The volunteers encouraged competition between classrooms and did their best to make the event more enjoyable for the participants. Instead of running laps around the track for thirty minutes, they set up an obstacle course that the kids were far more excited about. Rather than hounding parents to collect donations, they focused on encouraging competition between classrooms (not individuals, as the PTA members knew that not everyone could participate) and offered prizes for the classes in the lead. One morning after seeing their updated donation numbers on PledgeStar’s leaderboard, a group of second graders saw that they were $8 behind the leading class. By that same evening, they had raised over $300 because they were so motivated to take the lead, Otten said.
“I cannot recommend Pledgestar more strongly to our fellow PTA/PTOs,” said Otten, “The ease of the website and PledgeStar’s guidance helped our fundraising numbers grow to heights that our principal and PTA volunteers could only imagine.”
Aviara Oaks must earn $150,000 per year to cover the costs of a PE, science, and music teachers, as well as two tutors for their campus. Their jog-a-thon covers about one third of their specialty teachers salary, and for this reason is especially important to the students, staff, and community members. Thanks to the help of PledgeStar they have been able to continue to grow and sustain their extra programs. “We really want to expose our kids to everything,” Otten said. “With our diverse program, they can try everything, do everything…and the PTA covers the cost.”
Otten says that she plans recommending PledgeStar for other sports teams and schools as her children get older. For now, she is very happy with the changes and success she helped bring to Aviara Elementary.