Supercharge School Fundraising with PledgeStar

Now that school’s begun, it’s time to get serious about fundraising, and PledgeStar is the simplest, least expensive, and most effective way to squeeze every last dollar from your Jog-A-Thon, Walk-A-Thon, Read-A-Thon, or any other pledge drive.

PledgeStar is an online fundraising system that helps raise 50% more from your group’s pledge drive by making it fun and easy to ask family and friends for donations.

PledgeStar supports:

  • Flat and repetition based pledges (per lap, per hour, etc.)
  • Payment by check or credit card
  • Offline pledge packet donations

How it Works

  • PledgeStar creates a website for your group, and facilitates the creation of a PledgeRequestSamplemerchant account into which your donations get deposited. PledgeStar never handles your money.
  • You instruct your participants to use PledgeStar to enter family and friends from whom they’d like to solicit donations. They may also share the fundraiser on social media.
  • PledgeStar emails or texts those family and friends a personalized pledge request with a link to a fundraising page designed specifically for them. Your participants can track the status of each pledge request through PledgeStar.
  • The fundraising page allows family and friends to enter a donation amount andPaymentPage choose whether to pay securely using credit card, or optionally, by sending a check.
  • After completing their donation, the money gets deposited directly into your group’s merchant account. PledgeStar then emails a personalized thank you message with a donation receipt attached, as well as a payment notification to the participant.
  • You may track your fundraiser’s progress in real-time with PledgeStar’s event overview dashboard and reports.

Introducing PledgeStar Plus

Reach even more potential donors with PledgeStar Plus’ address book import feature which allows your participants to solicit donations by selecting contacts from their Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com and AOL contact lists. This makes it more likely that your participants will invite people they otherwise might have forgotten.

Unleash the power of text messaging with PledgeStar Plus’ pledge request texting Iphonefeature. Now, your participants can invite people by text message when they don’t have their email address, increasing their reach to more potential donors.

Simplify shirt ordering with PledgeStar Plus which allows participants to enter their shirt size during registration. Each participant’s shirt size then appears on the prize report making it easy to know how many of each size to order.

Pricing and Credit Card Processing Fees

After your event, PledgeStar sends you an invoice for 7% of online donations received, capped at $695 for PledgeStar or capped at $995 for PledgeStar Plus.

The credit card processor deducts 30 cents per transaction plus 2.2% of the transaction amount for Visa, MasterCard and Discover, and 3.5% for American Express. Of course, these fees do not apply for donations made by check.

Getting Started

Take your pledge drive to the next level. Call (949) 258-9706 or email info@pledgestar.com

PledgeStar Revolutionizes Corona Del Mar High School Sports Fundraising

Several Corona Del Mar High School sports teams raised hundreds of thousands of dollars using the PledgeStar fundraising system.

41It all started in 2015, when Assistant Football Coach Kevin Hettig utilized PledgeStar for his team’s Lift-A-Thon. In the past, team members sent handwritten letters to family and friends asking for donations to pay for everything from equipment to transportation. Hettig noted that this process was slow and did not yield a great return.

When Hettig heard about PledgeStar and how it automatically sends pledge requests by email, he decided to try it. The football players were able to lift their earnings high above their goal.

“We were very impressed with the overall efficiency of the system,” said Hettig regarding PledgeStar. “The ease of use was the most impressive part. We didn’t have to sit there and watch kids lick stamps and seal envelopes. Overall, it was just awesome.”

Over time, word spread about the football team’s fundraising success with PledgeStar. The Girls and Boys Water Polo teams both used PledgeStar, bringing in $36,000 each. Dave Strauss, a water polo booster, remarked, “We raised more money than we ever raised with a single fundraiser! The families loved the fact that it only took about 15 minutes to complete the entire set up and email process.”

Since 2015, several other sports organizations at Corona Del Mar have enlisted PledgeStar’s help for their fundraising. Boys Basketball, Girls Volleyball, Girls Soccer, and the Boys Lacrosse team all used PledgeStar to help lessen the burden of the high athletic costs facing students and their parents.

In the two years that PledgeStar has been used at the school, CDM athletics has raised almost $300,000. They continue to serve as a case study in how high school sports fundraising should be. With PledgeStar, they’ve worked less, and raised more.

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PledgeStar Helps Florida School Save Recess

1241When Stephany Dawson took over as co-chair of Cypress Elementary School’s annual Eaglethon fun run, she had one goal in mind: bring recess back to the school. The school’s playground facilities were virtually nonexistent, and students weren’t afforded the luxury of unstructured play. This led Dawson and other parent volunteers to take up the cause themselves.

3615Dawson was introduced to the PledgeStar online fundraising system by her co-chair on the Eaglethon board. After extensively comparing PledgeStar’s pricing and features to other fundraising companies, the Cypress Elementary parents knew it offered the most bang for their buck. “The fact that PledgeStar costs a maximum of $695 made the decision easy,” reveals Dawson.

In preparation for Eaglethon, Dawson and her staff set up a unique prize system designed to maximize student donation requests. “We gave prizes to the kids, but what really helped us was awarding prizes to the teachers who motivated their students to seek the most donations.” Massages, facials, and other rewards were raffled off to the Cypress Woods faculty members whose classes sent the most donation requests.

This year’s Eaglethon was a massive success, earning the school over $45,000, more than doubling the previous year’s profits. The fundraiser’s success initiated a multi-year project to completely revamp the school’s recreation area. Shaded spaces, basketball courts, athletic fields, and playground areas will soon be enjoyed by the student body of Cypress Woods; a massive victory for Dawson and the parent volunteers that worked tirelessly to make the 2017 Eaglethon fundraiser the best one yet.

Long Beach Cub Scouts Smash Fundraising Goals With PledgeStar

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Tom Renger became familiar with the PledgeStar fundraising system during his time as Kettering Elementary School’s PTA Treasurer. Their Fit Fest Fundraiser was a massive success, prompting Renger to apply PledgeStar’s services to his Cub Scout Pack’s annual Poinsettia Fundraiser.

In years past, Cub Scout Pack members would go door to door in their community, seeking donations for their pack and selling poinsettias to give to a local church, as well as a veteran’s hospital, to spread some holiday cheer.

This year, with the help of PledgeStar’s online fundraising, Renger and his scouts were able to reach out to family members and friends from across the country making this fundraiser their best one yet.

By the end of the fundraiser, Renger was pleasantly surprised his pack had raised over $12,000, a figure that doubled proceeds from years past. With the extra money the scouts earned, they were able to purchase a new Pinewood Derby track and other campout necessities.

“By using PledgeStar we doubled our profits with half the effort,” recalled Renger, praising PledgeStar’s convenience and ease of use. Renger was also impressed with PledgeStar’s guidance and customer service throughout the event. “My emails were answered immediately, and help was just a phone call away. PledgeStar truly is a game-changer.”

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M-O-N-E-Y For the Win! Playa Del Rey Spell-A-Thon

pdr-elementary-logo-outlinesThe winners of the 2016 Playa del Rey Elementary School Spell-A-Thon weren’t just the top spellers in each class. The entire school won this year when they almost quadrupled their past earnings and brought in over $17,000 in donations! Kids were thrilled about the exciting magic show they were awarded as one of the cool Spell-A-Thon prizes. Teachers and parents were pleased with the extra funds for physical education, Art Masters, teaching supplies, a garden program and much more.

The Spell-A-Thon is an annual fundraiser organized by the school’s Booster Club. It was held in November 2016 and the parents, teachers and students are still reaping its benefits.

While only about $4,000 was collected in the 2015 Spell-A-Thon, the 2016 revenue enabled incredible prizes like a Chromebook for the top earner, a Kindle for second place and a classroom Chromebook for any class that raised over $2,000. Moreover, students in kindergarten through fifth grade invested countless hours learning their unique spelling words for the competitions that took place in their classrooms. This fundraiser was undoubtedly a win-win for all involved.

What, then, could have quadrupled the amount of money the school brought in from one year to the next? The answer is PledgeStar. While the Booster Club was able to bring in about $4,000 offline as they had done in years past, online donations through PledgeStar added about $13,000 to the total money collected in 2016. After paying for prizes and a mere $695 for PledgeStar, the school was able to keep $15,000 for programs and educational resources.

Because the club had unsuccessfully tried raising money online before, they were wary that no one would participate, and the investment in an online fundraising system wouldn’t be worth the cost. With PledgeStar, though, fundraisers are only charged 7% of their schools’ donations, up to a maximum of $695. “It ended up being a really good choice,” McReynolds remarked, “we’ll definitely be using PledgeStar for our April Jog-A-Thon.”

McReynolds and other Booster Club members said getting starting with PledgeStar was easy. The volunteers created exciting incentives for students to use the PledgeStar online fundraising system. Every student that simply sent ten pledge requests to friends and family using PledgeStar was invited to attend the magic show school assembly. While McReynolds said that they didn’t expect much response, the magic show was “a huge motivator.” As a result, about half of the students used PledgeStar – a number that will undoubtedly increase when Playa del Rey uses it for their next pledge drive.

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SUMAC Elementary Nearly Doubles Their Fundraising Goal

jog-a-thon-logo-finalIn 2015, SUMAC Elementary School raised close to $40,000 at their annual Jog-A-Thon fundraiser. Unfortunately, the school ended up keeping only half of those funds. The full-service fundraising company they hired to run their Jog-A-Thon charged fifty percent of all earnings – in this case, around $20,000!

The next year, parent volunteer Megan Glynn said enough parents had voiced concern about where their donations were going for her to know that changes needed to be made.

In the spring of 2016, the school’s leadership made a small decision that created big waves: they would plan and execute the Jog-A-Thon without the help of a full-service fundraising company in order to maximize the donors’ contribution to the school. And maximize they did!

The Parent Faculty Association set a goal of $20,000, the amount they kept the previous year. With PledgeStar’s unique fundraising system, they ended up raising – and keeping – almost twice as much! With almost no changes in strategy, marketing, incentives and effort from previous years, the school was able to raise nearly $40,000 and pay only $695 (compared to nearly $20,000) when they used PledgeStar.

“PledgeStar just blew our goal out of the water,” said Glynn, “I know that it was the reason we were so successful.”

Glynn said she was also impressed with the help and tips she received from PledgeStar support. They gave her advice like keeping their fundraising site open even after their event had finished and other great suggestions to make the fundraiser more successful.

“I knew that for us to be successful doing this in-house, PledgeStar was the only way to go.”

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Groveland Elementary School’s Inaugural Read-A-Thon A Great Success!

GROVELANDFor their fall fundraiser, Groveland Elementary volunteers wanted to do something unique and unprecedented in their school’s history. Not only did they want to raise money for their academic programs, but they also wanted to incorporate a learning initiative in the fundraising process. The result was a highly successful month-long Read-A-Thon, a fun and educational way to get students involved in meeting the school’s financial needs.

Parent volunteers created a Read-A-Thon theme using the popular book “Where the Wild Things Are” to creatively market the event at school. Even the informational video shown at the kick-off assembly was created to match the “Wild Things” theme, along with promotional T-shirts and fun prizes for participants.

“The kids celebrated the start of the the Read-a-Thon with a ‘Dress Up as Your Favorite Book Character Day,’” said parent volunteer Celeste Hill, “It increased awareness of the new Read-a-Thon event and also served to get the kids excited about it.”

Hill had been researching innovative ways to raise money on the popular social networking site, Pinterest. As she searched for Read-A-Thon ideas, she came across a pin for PledgeStar, an online platform for fundraising that could simplify the process and generate income from donors outside the Groveland Elementary student population.

Read-a-thon“As committee chair, I was tasked with vetting PledgeStar,” said Hill, “That involved researching their company online, as well as calling and interviewing a few schools which had already used their services.”

Hill and other Groveland collaborators were very pleased with the results of their decision. At $72,000, not only did they almost double the amount of money they raised previously, but they were able to reward students with exciting prizes for their efforts, too.

Hill recounted, “We had a raffle drawing three times per week, individual prizes and class prizes. The class which earned the most received a tour of the school roof. Also, the top fifty fundraisers and top ten readers received a thirty minute visit to a video game truck that came to the school. This was a highly popular incentive.”

“We received excellent feedback on how simple PledgeStar was for everyone, even those who were not technologically inclined,” said Hill. “The support from PledgeStar is phenomenal. They are extremely responsive and work very proactively. They gave us good advice and information on what has worked best for other schools. We are already planning for next fall’s Read-a-Thon with PledgeStar.”