With the help of PledgeStar, students at San Juan Elementary, a Title I Spanish Immersion School in San Juan Capistrano, exceeded their ambitious fundraising goal of $30,000 at their annual Jog-A-Thon in November, bringing in a total of over $37,000.
As a Title I School, over 40% of the student’s families qualify for reduced price or free lunch. This didn’t deter school volunteers from reaching out to families for donations and participation in the fundraising effort.
“The parents realize what a great opportunity this is and what a great community we’ve built for this school; all the parents - Spanish speaking and English speaking,” said PTA volunteer Denise Thatcher, “so there’s more of an effort there...Everybody pitches in however they can...Our school is very special that way.”
There are 750 kids at San Juan Elementary, and about two-thirds of them participated in the fundraising effort - an extremely surprising rate for a school that is identified as having a high-poverty population.
PTA board members worked diligently to incentivize the entire student body to bring in donations for the Jog-A-Thon. Every donation, large or small, counted toward raffle prizes.
Not only does San Juan Elementary have a Spanish Immersion Program, but over 60% of its students are identified as English language learners. While this could have created a difficult communication barrier for the jog-a-thon campaign, Thatcher and other PTA volunteers found their way around it. A former San Juan parent was recruited to help create flyers and other information sent home for the parents who did not speak English. Volunteers were also available on the school campus to offer assistance to families who needed help setting up their online fundraising page.
Thatcher also said that using PledgeStar for online fundraising helped with their school’s unique demographic. Many families would not normally ask for Jog-A-Thon pledges from relatives living in other countries. PledgeStar's email pledge requests and online payments helped bridge the gap between San Juan students and their families who live abroad.