Sometimes, the best way to discover the benefits of web-based fundraising is by experiencing it from the receiving end. That’s exactly how German International School in Beaverton, Oregon, came to use PledgeStar for its annual “Fit for Fun” event.
“I found out about PledgeStar because my niece’s school used it for their Jog-A-Thon,” says Mandy Cohn, events coordinator at German International School. “I received an email asking for a donation, and I really liked the setup. I liked that they emailed a reminder, just in case I forgot about it after the first email.”
The 200-student elementary school near Portland, Oregon, hosts a student-led Jog-A-Thon each year to raise money for anything from special campus programs to larger structural needs. In 2021, GIS conceived of an outdoor learning center as a way to provide alternatives to traditional indoor classroom instruction. The small preschool-5th grade campus knew substantial funding would be necessary to make this dream a reality.
“We talked about doing a fundraiser,” says Ms. Cohn, “So I brought up PledgeStar and mentioned the email I received from my niece. I presented the concept to my boss and he really liked the idea.”
GIS’s June 2021 “Fit for Fun”—which had students visiting various physical activity stations and earning points—utilized not only the typical elements of PledgeStar’s online fundraising platform, but also the new multilingual offering (a perfect fit for the English, German and Chinese immersion school). The translation element proved to be a key factor in GIS’s financial success when trying to reach not only multilingual homes in Oregon but also international friends and family.
“We easily translated our PledgeStar page and donation requests to English, German and Chinese,” says Ms. Cohn. “It was easy for families to share with others by sending out requests and sharing on social media. It was a great way to get more donations than when we fundraised without PledgeStar.”
Ms. Cohn also explains how using PledgeStar made life easier for campus staff who were already busy with day-to-day responsibilities: “It was so easy for us at the school office,” she says. “We barely had to do anything. Parents signed up their kids, which was also really easy to do. It’s a great program and it reaches more people, which means more donations. If we hadn’t used PledgeStar, we wouldn’t have raised as much money. Even people from Germany donated!”
When all was said and done, GIS surpassed its $25,000 fundraising goal by almost $15,000. Armed with nearly $40,000 from the “Fit for Fun” event, GIS has already begun construction on its new outdoor learning centers. The school explains that these centers will not only provide alternative instruction space but also serve to inspire new and exciting learning opportunities for all grade levels for years to come. Thanks to a successful fundraiser, GIS will be able to further its mission of teaching the power of nature, spending time outdoors and taking care of the environment.