Considering PledgeStar’s new fee coverage program where donors can opt-in to cover our fee but have cold feet? Well, now’s the time to pull the trigger on this revolutionary concept. The results are in from our Fall 2021 test pilot program and the consensus is an overwhelming YES!
Schools across the nation demoed our opt-in program—where donors can add an additional 10% toward PledgeStar’s and Credit Card fees at checkout—and every campus was successful. Amazingly, every school not only covered PledgeStar’s fees but had a substantial amount left over to offset and in most cases completely cover their credit card fees. The best part was all overages went right back to each school.
The numbers say it all:
Still unsure? Keep reading to see a school's experience with the opt in option and how they raised 20 times more that previous fundraisers!
When Principal Tom MacDonald was approached by new parent and experienced fundraiser Matthew McDonald about taking St. Jerome School’s annual Fun Run campaign online for the first time, he was slightly skeptical. The small K-8 campus in West Los Angeles had collected donations the old-fashioned way for years, and MacDonald was concerned about getting involved with a company that would potentially keep a large portion of the school’s profit.
What sealed the deal for Principal MacDonald was PledgeStar’s new option that asks donors to pledge an additional 10% to cover administrative fees—potentially making the service free for St. Jerome’s. “This was significant for us because we had no idea how much we were going to raise,” says Matthew McDonald. “The school had been living in a manual, paper environment for so long. We didn’t want to bring the principal a high-tech digital method that was going to suck up all his profit.”
“I had used the additional 10% option with another platform at another school a couple years ago and found it to be hugely successful,” says Matthew. “When we heard it was an option with PledgeStar, it was a no-brainer. We saw over 50% of people selecting that option. Since most donations tend to be in the $10-$50 range, when donors check the box [to add 10%] they’re making the judgement that it’s only an extra one to five dollars. It tends to be easy all the way around. When people commit to paying $20, they’re not going to think too much about paying an extra $2.”
Once the event kicked off, Matthew suggested setting a goal of raising 10 times more than the year before. In the end, St. Jerome’s leap of faith paid off: by partnering with PledgeStar, the October 2021 Fun Run actually raised 20 times more than the year before.
“This year’s Fun Run brought in more money than the entire last two school years' total fundraising efforts [St. Jerome raises funds in many ways, such as selling Christmas trees and gift wrap],” explains Matthew. “The principal was blown away. We thought this year would be a big improvement [using PledgeStar] but we didn’t expect it to reach this level.”
When asked if PledgeStar contributed to this massive donation increase, Matthew agreed. “Ultimately, PledgeStar's ease of use was a key factor. The easier you can make something, the better chance you’ve got to get donations. You can reach people using PledgeStar in multiple ways, quickly and easily—email, text, social media posts. It also makes the somewhat uncomfortable task of asking for money easier. PledgeStar handles the followup requests, the gentle reminders. We saw a flurry of donations come in after reminder notes were sent, so clearly they have an impact. If it were left to the individual, I’m sure you’d get a really low percentage of people wanting to hit up a family member or friend a second or third time,” Matthew adds.
The excitement at St. Jerome over the fundraiser’s success wasn’t limited to the principal and event organizers. Since the Fun Run was so successful, every student was able to participate in almost every incentivized reward related to the Fun Run. Special rewards like a lunchtime dance party, a movie night and even watching the principal shave his head were enjoyed by the entire student body.
In the end, Matthew says it was the support of PledgeStar that really contributed to the Fun Run’s success. “I didn’t want to sign up with a company and then get lost in the mix and only have a few days to fundraise. PledgeStar really helped us get through everything and had great answers for all our questions.”