Lean Stream

How to make a fun run a successful fundraiser

In Part 2 of our Fun Run Guide, we’ll discuss how to make your school fundraiser a success! And in case you missed it, check out part 1 of our Fun Run Guide discussing what a Fun Run is and best practices for planning your own Fun Run!

A School Fun Run is one of the most popular and effective fundraisers for schools to raise money. They’re a great way to have a fun activity at school, create memories, and also raise the required funds. But the best thing about a School Fun Run is that it involves everyone – teachers, students, parents, and the local community, as well.

Kasi Lamb, Jim Pearson Elementary’s PTO Founder & Chair, sat down with us to discuss how this year has been unlike any other for them, especially when planning their 3rd Annual Fun Run designed to raise funds for their library’s new media center and a View Sonic board for the PE department. One of their biggest challenges was not having  “volunteers in the schools this year because of COVID”, Kasi stated. This opened the door for them to collaborate with Jim Pearson’s PE department and create an entire track & field unit that coincided with their Fun Run. Not only was it a great way to tie their fundraiser into an educational component, but it was also successful in exceeding their fundraising goal!

As someone who is in charge of planning and executing a School Fun Run, you would want to make it really successful. This means reaching (or even exceeding) the target you set out to achieve in the first place.

But the question is, are these school fundraising events getting the promotion they need to be successful? During this post-pandemic period, as indicators suggest, the trends will be very different. Your aim should be to evolve and adapt to new technologies. With this, you’ll maximize your reach and introduce new payment methods making it super-convenient for your donors to give. Jim Pearson’s PTO and PE department learned firsthand the benefit of adapting their Fun Run using new technologies such as LeanStream’s online fundraising platform. 

Let’s dig deeper and find out how to do it!

Changing Trends in Online Giving

Studies suggest that about 80% of all donations made in the US come from individuals. Statistics also reveal that both men (52%) and women (54%) increasingly use debit and credit cards to donate money.

Charity trends are indeed changing. More donors are turning to online giving instead of hard cash or a check. Therefore, as someone planning a School Fun Run, if you aim to increase your digital reach and engage more potential donors, you must use the technology to your advantage.

While some schools recognize the change in donors’ trends, most of them miss out on so many prospective donors either by simply not reaching out to them or making it cumbersome for them to contribute.

That is where we come in!

Della Lawson, Jim Pearson’s Bookkeeper, discussed having an online platform was good for “convenience, visual representation of what was raised, but also because we were able to put a video to see how our library’s new media center was going to look” once they raised their fundraising goal. She also commented, “I like it [LeanStream platform] and wish more people would use it” noting how “it saves time and we don’t have to touch the money”.

What Can LeanStream Bring To Your School Fun Run?

At LeanStream, we have years of experience and a professional team to guide you and find the right solutions for you. We know how important the School Fun Run is for you. And we want to make it as successful as you do.

With LeanStream as your fundraising partner, your School Fun Run event will get the promotion beyond the local community, city, or even state! We also make sure that your donors have the most convenient online payment methods available to them. And that’s not all. In fact, we have all the right solutions for you according to your school’s requirements.

So let us join hands and work together to achieve that target that you have set for yourself.

How Do We Do It?

We do it by designing custom-made solutions for your fundraising event. Once you contact us, our team will get in touch with you and start discussing the brass tacks. We offer a wide range of solutions to digitize your school fundraising event, such as:

  • Fund tracking
  • Accounting
  • Real-time target fund monitoring
  • Recording donor information
  • Real-time progress updates
  • Reporting

The list is not at all exhaustive. To digitize your school fundraising event, such as a School Fun Run, we offer a personalized holistic solution package covering all facets.

Some Tips On How to Make a School Fun Run Successful

We recently interviewed one of our clients who used LeanStream services to digitize their School Fun Run fundraising event. According to them, these are the key points that must be adhered to if you want to make your School Fun Run event successful.

Get the Parents in the Loop

Let the parents know what the event is all about. What objectives you have set out for the event, and how you plan to achieve them. The easiest way is to write a descriptive letter having all the required information such as:

  • Introduction of the event.
  • Objectives and targets.
  • Details about the School Fun Run.
  • Donations type (flat, variable, any minimum amount, etc).
  • Payment options.
  • Call to action.

For Jim Pearson PTO, “Communication with the parent is key” so they sent home “a very descriptive letter of what the parents needed to know”, Kasi mentioned, “that was the main thing”.

Approach the Potential Donors Through All Means

In addition to the conventional methods such as flyers, banners, and posters – make good use of social media. Studies suggest that Email marketing is still one of the most effective methods to approach a targeted audience.

Businesses, on average, contribute much more than individuals. Approach them by writing a personalized message and end with a call to action. Let them know that your school will recognize and appreciate their help by including their names, logos, and messages during and after the School Fun Run event.

Donation Matching Drive

Build on whatever you can raise on the day by securing a ‘donation match.’ Approach charity organizations and ask them to match the donations. Tell them that their help will go a long way in providing the kids with what they need. Donors do appreciate it when they know that their gift or donation was leveraged.

Studies suggest that one of the main reasons why Millennials give is when they know that their donation or a gift is being matched.

Jim Pearson’s PTO and PE dept. received a $7000 donation match from the Adelia Russell Charitable Foundation after Kasi wrote them a letter asking for support. Well, it worked! Not only did their donation match help ensure Jim Pearson Elementary reached their fundraising goal but it helped exceed their goal by over $3500. Kasi noted, “We’re very grateful for them doing that for us. Very grateful”.

Rewards / Prizes Based on Contribution

You can have different prizes and gifts for the individual participants based on their contributions. Cool titles for the top contributors would also make them stand out and recognize their efforts!

You can even have group-based prizes and parties. A donut or pizza party for the top-contributing grade would be a great way to appreciate the efforts of the little ones.

Whatever you do, just make sure that you create a sense of achievement in everyone who participated in the event.

Tips On How to Give Your School Fundraising Event an Online Presence

Here are a few quick tips that can help you increase your reach by additionally giving your event an online presence as well.

  • Break down the whole event into smaller chunks. Take a closer look at your regular project plan. See for yourself which of the whole process can be additionally (or exclusively) moved online. Rule-of-thumb is to conduct a Cost-Benefit analysis to evaluate ROI.
  • Live streaming the event is a very effective way to increase your online reach. Stream your event live on social media such as FacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedIn, or Youtube. With LeanStream you can share the progress of the fundraiser in real-time with everybody watching.
  • You don’t want to leave the donors behind. Fortunately, the online format gives you the flexibility to make them famous. You can add their names, business logos, messages, or even links to your live stream.
  • You’ll need to chalk out a complete sequence of events for the online School Fun Run event. A dedicated online event manager would be needed to provide a seamless live stream experience, manage online donations, update goals in real-time, or perhaps even take short interviews with the donors.

Final Word

Our clients have observed that most of the online donations come from outside school families. With LeanStream, you can reach out to those who are willing to give but are located far away. Convenience is the key. Everybody has a cellphone, and with our unique QR codes, you can make it convenient for your donors to scan and donate to your School Fun Run. With time, alternate payment options are being preferred by more and more people. Kasi also how “convenient” the LeanStream platform is and “everybody has a smartphone” so being able to link directly to their donation page using QR code was even easier.

At LeanStream, we have a range of solutions to digitize your fundraising event, just like Jim Pearson Elementary’s School Fun Run. So contact us now, and let’s make it happen together!

Don’t forget to check out our InSights page for much on how you can get the best out of your school fundraising events.