Small Elementary School Fires Big-Name Fundraising Company; Doubles its Profits at a Fraction of the Cost

ChesnutChallengegraphicChestnut Charter Elementary School has been holding its annual “Fun Run” fundraiser for several years, but was never able to keep much of its profits, or raise much money at all — until now.

In the past, the small school hired a big-name fundraising company, Boosterthon, to put on their fun run. In return, Boosterthon kept almost half of the school’s fundraising profits. When the company announced rate hikes in 2014, parent volunteer Melissa Marion-Landis knew something had to change.

“It worked out that Boosterthon was keeping about 70% of what we raised. It was laughable,” Marion-Landis said, “I was like, ‘who is going to take that?’”

Less than a month away from the Chestnut Challenge fun run, and desperate for a less expensive alternative for her school, Marion-Landis stumbled upon PledgeStar, an online fundraising site that capped its fees at $695. Compared to the $8,000 her school had paid to Boosterthon in the past, Marion-Landis was intrigued.

Unlike Boosterthon, PledgeStar doesn’t put on the fun run, it only provides the online fundraising system. With help from PledgeStar’s how-to guide, Pledge Drives Made Easy, Marion-Landis knew she and her volunteers could organize their own event.

Not only did Chestnut Charter pay less to use PledgeStar, but the school was able to raise almost twice as much as they had the year before, bringing their total amount raised to $33,542.

“It was fabulous,” she said, “it is super easy to use and it allowed us to simplify our process. We were very happy and I have referred PledgeStar to other schools I have contact with.”

When volunteers and staff realized they had raised more than enough to cover costs for science, math, English and technology programs, they went ahead and invested in items that the school wanted, but could never afford before. They bought a fun cougar costume, the school mascot, to use at assemblies and other school spirit events. The decision was also made to cut back on fundraising events for the rest of the year; easing pressure on parents to come up with more money and donation solicitations from family and friends.

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