Emmanuel-St. Michael Lutheran School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, has taken a healthy lifestyle approach to fundraising. “We want our event to be two-fold: a healthy initiative for our school as well as a fundraiser,” says volunteer coordinator Janet Smith.
Appropriately named “Eagles in Motion,” evoking the school’s mascot, Emmanuel-St. Michael’s walk/jog-a-thon celebrated its third year using PledgeStar with a big financial plan. “We set a goal of raising $50 per student or $75 per family,” says Ms. Smith. “This puts us at the $20,000 mark, which we have been able to hit each year.”
Ms. Smith and the volunteers at Emmanuel-St. Michael credit their financial success to community support and using the PledgeStar platform. “Our families appreciate that they can share their personalized donation request with people from out of town and they don’t have to be a middle person who has to collect money. It’s very simple to use; that’s what’s nice about it.”
Emmanuel-St. Michael’s focus on health doesn’t end when the Eagles in Motion event is over. The PTL [Parent Teacher League] prefers to steer funds toward healthy purchases—both mind and body—for the school. “The earnings support our entire PTL and all the projects we support,” explains Ms. Smith. “Over the years we’ve purchased water-filling stations, replaced playground equipment, added awnings and a pergola, purchased classroom and library books, and funded special teacher projects.” This year, the school also plans to use a portion of their proceeds to purchase live-streaming equipment for school activities and programs.
The school extends the healthy slant toward student incentives as well. “All of our prizes are healthy and activity based, rather than junk food—things like headlamps, T-shirts, bouncy balls, cooling towels, lunch coolers, and water bottles.”
The PTL also discovered a way to tap into the 8th grade families who often don’t heavily commit to fundraising since it’s their last year at the school. “This year we allowed our 8th graders to use funds raised through Eagles in Motion for their trip to Washington, DC,” explains Ms. Smith. “The first $50 each student raised went to PTL and anything beyond that went into their trip account. It was a great way for us to get the 8th graders involved and to get their donors to cover their trip expenses. And with the PledgeStar platform, it was very easy to allocate those funds to each student’s account.”