Rarely do kids get a chance to laugh at their parents, but the 1,027 students of Belen Soto Elementary in Goodyear, Arizona, recently enjoyed this rare privilege.
“The kids just loved the color run itself because by the end of the day the parents who were throwing color were covered in the powder,” says Tabby Hatfield, PTA treasurer and FUNDRun co-leader at Belen Soto. “I was throwing the green color and by the end of the day I looked like Hulk. Our blue person looked like a Smurf and our orange person looked like an Oompa Loompa! The kids thought it was hilarious!”
This was the school’s first time using PledgeStar, a switch that was long overdue. “For this event, we had always used another company that takes half of what you raise. We wanted to stop paying so much money,” explains Ms. Hatfield.
Belen Soto has the unique experience of a principal with a personal connection. “Our principal also has a child at the school and used PledgeStar from a parent standpoint. She liked that she could follow the dashboard and keep up with the donation levels by classroom rather than having to run a report every day.”
Ms. Hatfield raves about how easy and convenient the PledgeStar website is to use. “I really appreciated that I could categorize the different prize winners based on the runner, the amount they raised, teacher, and that we could log our prizes on the PledgeStar site. It helped us keep track of who we had given prizes to and it was super helpful.”
As is typical with schools who make the switch to PledgeStar, Belen Soto did not expect such a dramatic increase in funds. “We were hoping to raise $50,000 and ended up raising $61,000.”
PledgeStar was a huge help in getting the kids and parents excited about Belen Soto’s event. “We announced the fundraiser six weeks in advance and opened up the fundraiser a week before the run. Every week we were sending some sort of notice home. We sent flyers home with the kids and sent emails. We had a big online packet we sent out through PledgeStar. The teachers were really instrumental in getting that out and reminding parents to check their email.”
Belen Soto’s color run this past February was called the Rainbow Fun Run. “Instead of a 5K where everyone runs at once, we had 2 grade levels come out at a time every 40 minutes. We invited the parents of those grade levels to come be color throwers.”
“The run was the last day of a week-long event we call Storm Week. Every day we had a character trait event. The “S” stands for service, so the kids did an act of service on Monday, like thank-you notes or picking up trash. Teamwork, ownership, respect, motivation. M was Friday and the color run–they were motivated to run and raise money for the school.”
Belen Soto worked hard to get the word out about the Rainbow Fun Run and motivate the kids to raise as much money as possible. “We made a few bumpers that we sent out in the morning announcements. We created videos and powerpoints with music and animations. We had prizes for $25, $50, $100, all the way to $1,000. We had 4 kids that all reached over $1,000 in pledges.”
“We are going to provide shade structures over the playground and a seating area outside,” says Hatfield when asked how they’ll use the funds from the event. “We will definitely use PledgeStar next year.”