PTA fundraising is hard work, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun! Walt Disney Elementary PTA proves this with their Dolphin Color Dash, an in-person/virtual hybrid PTA fundraising event.
The first Dolphin Color Dash was held in the Spring of 2021. Their donations totaled $16,782 with an average of $700 per class. The most raised by a single class was $1,085. This was an exciting start for their first foray into an in-person/online hybrid PTA fundraising event.
The second dash, held in the fall of 2021, saw a jump of $3,000! They raised nearly $20,000 in total and an average of $823 per class. That’s $123 more per class! This time 3 classes raised over $1,000, with the leader bringing in $1,362.
The Walt Disney Elementary PTA Fundraising Event Philosophy
The Walt Disney Elementary PTA seeks to keep 3 core values when it comes to fundraising.
- One and Done – WDE PTA collaborates with school administrators to determine the annual budget. They focus all of their attention on a single PTA fundraising event to raise the funds they need for the full year.
- Reduce the Hassle – WDE PTA recognizes that teachers, parents, and staff already have full-time jobs educating and parenting. They make it a priority to keep participation as simple as possible for teachers, parents and staff while still achieving their goal.
- Make it Fun – WDE PTA has found that inspiring student participation is more effective than requiring it. Activities, competition, and prizes are woven throughout the event to keep students interested, invested, and rewarded.
Leading up to the in-person Dolphin Color Dash, WDE PTA hosted 2 weeks of hard-core online fundraising through their Mightycause event page. They found that 2 weeks was their sweet-spot. It’s long enough to build momentum but not so long that participants get burnt out.
The PTA was careful to make this a competition between classes, not individual students. They wanted to be sensitive to those who may not have the means to bring in high donations. Keeping the classroom model also encourages a group effort and merits a class reward.
When speaking about the rewards, the PTA president noted, “Tying in an event the kids can touch is important to making the fundraiser important to them.”
Each class had a goal of at least $700. WDE PTA created reward “Clubs” for different donation milestones.
- $200 Club received Extra Recess
- $400 Club received A Chalk Art Party
- $600 Club received A Movie Party
WDE PTA first partnered with Mightycause in the spring of 2021, where they had PTA volunteer take the lead in setting up their fundraiser on Mightycause. After creating the PTA fundraising event page, they used the formatted team template to customize a page for each class.
“I liked how I could just create one campaign page and then duplicate it and make changes. So each page I tried to incorporate pictures that were unique to that teacher and those students.”
The PTA president was busy arranging community sponsorship, buying colored chalk, ordering t-shirts, organizing the day of the Dash, and mapping out a promotion strategy.
This strategy included preparing flyers that went home with every student, printed instructions for how to donate, and tracking the success of each class.
One of the great things about a repeat PTA fundraising event is not starting from scratch. When it came time for their second Dolphin Color Dash, the same PTA volunteer created new teams for new teachers and updated the previous class pages. The president was able to update her documents, tweak her Dash day plans, and focus on recruiting community sponsors and purchasing the items for the Dash.
The online fundraising launched at the Fall Festival, which happens to be the same night as Open House. The Walt Disney Elementary community was already together buzzing with Dolphin pride. The launch created excitement from the word “Go!”
It’s a two-week, all-out, dash! Everyday updated totals were sent home on flyers, the school website was updated, email blasts were sent, and the principal was on the loudspeaker congratulating classes as they rack up the rewards.
“Part of the increase from the first run to the second is that people got to see what the event was last year so there was more participation. People felt more comfortable donating because they saw that our kids got to do this big thing and we got to support our school. The mindset became: Yes! Let’s donate again and donate more to get them to the next Club level.”
The PTA treasurer is the unseen star in this! Every evening she used the Mightycause Donation Reports & Leaderboard to track class totals and growth. This information is then updated on every promotional outlet and provided to the principals and teachers.
Dash Day Is Here
The two weeks of fundraising culminate on the final Friday with the Dolphin Color Dash. Students received a t-shirt, sunglasses, and colored headbands. A word of warning: A color dash isn’t going to be cheap. Chalk, t-shirts, sunglasses. . . it adds up. But community sponsors can offset the cost. One of the president’s goals was to fund the full Color Dash through sponsorship. Not only does this create community involvement, it means all the virtu
al fundraising goes straight to the PTA Wish List.
Classes were brought to the field by grade level. “Parents can come to the Color Dash. They get to see their kiddo warm up, race around the track, then we have a cool down station with snacks and treats.” Parents can also buy chalk to spray their kids. This is a blast for everyone and it brings some extra revenue.
PTA Fundraising Event Results
With their second virt
ual Dash under their belt, they received an average donation of $53, saw a $3,000 total donation increase from the first to second event, received donations from California to New York and paid less than 1% per donation in donation fees. Talk about success! And what’s more, the students and parents loved it!
“People donate because the event is just so fun. They get to hang out with their kids.”
Behind the Scenes
- WDE PTA chose to use Mightycause Events for the simplicity of donating. “The donation form is just so easy to use.” Donors clicked one donate button, entered the name of their student’s teacher and were taken directly to check out. Could it be any easier?
- Online donations meant they weren’t restricted to receiving checks and cash. Although these are welcome, students could petition friends and family from coast to coast for support. And boy did they answer!
- WDE PTA didn’t have to bother with the tax-deductible receipts for online donations. All donations through Mightycause received an immediate tax deductible receipt via email along with a customized thank you message. What a relief for the treasurer!
- One of the reasons WDE PTA choose Mightycause was because for our customer service. Whether it’s your first or fifth virtual campaign, questions will come up! Their dedicated account manager was invested in their success.
“Your customer service has been outstanding. As a consumer, we really appreciate your super fast response time and your knowledge of the system. It has just been great!
Three Tips from WDE PTA
- Provide a QR code on every piece of promotion. Link the code to the event donate button. This makes it easy (and fast) for parents to donate from their phone. This is something WDE PTA implemented for their second run and it was an absolute game changer!
- If you can, set your fundraiser dates to include the 1st and 15th of the month. This helps donors participate when the campaign falls on a pay day.
- It’s ok to not take late donations! After an intense two weeks of competitive fundraising, go ahead and turn off your donate button. Your treasurer will thank you.
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