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iPads for iMusic Fundraiser Success!
Posted by Amanda Stevens at 10:51:45 AM Tue 09/10/2013

Digital Wish Fundraiser Success Story


July 15th, 2013


Brian VandeWalle, Elementary Music Teacher, Texas 

Brian ran a technology fundraiser on Digital Wish and was able to meet 100% of his fundraising goal to purchase iPads for his music classroom. After 90 days and strong campaigning Brian was able to accomplish his objective and now we can share some tips from Brian that will help others also run a successful fundraiser. 

Identify Needs that will Enhance your Classroom.
After attending a teachers' conference where iPads were all the rage, Brian brought his own iPad into his music class to test it out with the kids. The students loved it. Brian realized that this new technology could get kids excited about learning. He saw that even kids who were normally disinterested in class became engaged when using the iPad. With the iPad he had access to many music education apps that motivated his students to explore music in exciting new ways. He also realized that the iPads were not just something that would be useful in the music room, but could be shared throughout other classrooms and subjects.


Digital Wish’s Fundraising Tool.
Brian’s school is classified as “high need” and he knew there was no money in the budget to buy iPads. After exploring some other fundraising websites he discovered that Digital Wish allowed him to raise money without any risk. If he failed to meet his goal he would still get whatever money he had been able to raise. This gave him the ability to set a high goal and obtain the money he needed for the iPads. With other sites he would have had to do a much smaller fundraiser because of the risk of not receiving any money if the goal was not met.

 

Spreading Awareness of the Fundraiser.
As soon as the fundraiser began Brian sent home letters to all the parents letting them know what he was trying to do. The key to running a successful fundraiser is constant communication with people to encourage them to donate. However, Brian noticed that only about 5% of the parents had participated. So, in order to drum up more participation, he explained to everyone at a PTA program night why he wanted the iPads and found out that part of the reason the participation was so low was that many parents were hesitant to use their credit cards online. After the program night, many parents donated money using checks or cash which Brian then donated for them.

 

Communicate Needs - Carefully and Often. Brian also realized after talking to his students, that many of the parents thought of the iPad as a gaming machine and were not interested in donating their money to purchasing them.  At another PTA program night, Brian gave a presentation showing a music video that the kids had made using an app on the iPad. He was able to show all the educational projects the students could tackle with the iPad, and many parents were able to see the device’s potential. His persistence in trying to get the message across to parents was key in being able to raise enough money to meet his goal. Without careful and constant communication potential donors were unable to understand the goal and they were reluctant to donate.


Keep Fundraiser Awareness High Until the Very End. Throughout the course of the fundraiser Brian kept a thermometer measuring the progress in his classroom. This raised student excitement and kept the goal fresh in students' minds, triggering them to remind their parents to donate. Two parents even approached the companies they work for and enrolled in their matching donation program. The corporations gave an equal donation to Brian’s classroom and doubled the impact of the parents' donation!


Wishes Granted and Fundraiser Goal Reached. In the end all of Brian’s hard work paid off and he was able to purchase iPads and an Apple TV.  Additionally, money that had not come in during the fundraiser was still donated afterwards and Brian has been able to purchase even more technology for the classroom. The kids were thrilled to start learning with the new iPads and even happier that they no longer had to share one iPad with the entire class. Brian said, “Digital Wish was a great site to use because I could create a risk-free fundraiser that was actually successful. With these new iPads I can speed up class and get more kids involved.”

Key Elements of Brian’s Success:
-Start a fundraiser on Digital Wish with a clear and well explained goal.
-Spread the word to parents and community members.
-Clearly explain and demonstrate the educational purposes to people.
-Let people know that they don’t have to donate online.
-Follow up with people about donating and thank them for their support.



For more information, contact Amanda Stevens, amanda@digitalwish.org, 802-375-6721.






 




 


Tips for Fundraising Success
Posted by Jonathan Gallup at 12:53:32 PM Fri 11/16/2012

Successful Grassroots Fundraising

Katie Shea, Preschool Special Education Teacher, Virginia

Katie recently ran a successful fundraising campaign on Digital Wish to get an iPad for her classroom. Here are some tips from Katie to help others with their campaigns:

Know what you need and why you need it.  Katie used a friend’s iPad with her students and found three children doing things with the iPad that they had never done before: demonstrating joint attention, engaging in difficult fine motor tasks, and reciprocal communication.   She recognized the iPad can be an important learning tool for her students and felt that this technology had enhanced her student’s developmental success in just one day.

Set up a Fundraiser on DigitalWish.org.  When Katie found there were no funds available in this year’s school budget and two grant applications didn’t come through, she turned to Digital Wish.  She created an account on Digital Wish.org.  While setting up her Wish List and fundraiser for an iPad with accessories and care plans, she clearly described her need for these items.  Check out Katie’s fundraising page: http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/view_fundraiser?id=561

Make your fundraising campaign compelling.  The items Katie placed in her Wish List appeared as images in her fundraiser, helping donors see the items she needs.  Katie gave a clear explanation how the iPad accessories would be incorporated into lessons and how they would help enhance learning and development for her students.  She was professional, detailed, and clear when creating her fundraising campaign.

Let people know about your campaign.  Katie sent an email to 60 of her family members and closest friends who respect her work in education.  She also sent announcements about her fundraiser through Facebook and Twitter using the easy “share” buttons on Digital Wish.

Thoughtful and clear emails are key to reaching your goal.  Katie emailed everyone with a personal message that was heartfelt and thoughtful, being clear about her need for an iPad and how it will help benefit her students. Her first batch of donations came in immediately and within 3 hours, her fundraiser was 80% complete.  Katie said, “It was such an encouraging feeling to know that other people care about what I do as a Special Educator and that people are willing to help children they don’t even know.”

Thank you!  She emailed each donor a personal thank you message.  You can get template thank you letters in the Digital Wish fundraiser tools section.  Thank you messages can be by phone, email, Facebook or Twitter.  The important thing is making sure your notes of appreciation are timely.

Follow up by email and other social networking tools. While Katie was still trying to reach her fundraising goal, which included Wish List items, Katie followed up by emailing her family and friends again, except for the people who already donated, talking about the progress she’s made towards her goal and the distance left to go.

Closing the fundraising campaign.  The third email Katie sent updated everyone on the progress since she started, who had given, and how it’s made her feel. She hadn’t reached her goal yet, so she let everyone know the last day of the fundraiser so they were aware of the deadline for donations.

With each email reminder about the fundraiser, she received donations. Everyone’s busy, but a donation on DigitalWish.org takes less than 3 minutes.  Acknowledge that you know your friends and family are busy, but tell them that completing a donation will take less than 3 minutes of their time.  It’s thoughtful and it works.

Wishes Granted and Fundraiser Goal Reached.  Katie’s fundraiser campaign reached 105% of the goal, plus friends and family purchased items directly from her Wish List.  She received almost double the amount of her fundraising campaign goal, giving her the added accessories and iPad insurance she needed.  Digital Wish delivered the iPad and accessories to Katie’s classroom for her students and they immediately start learning with her new iPad!

Katie said, “My experience with using Digital Wish’s Fundraising tools was wonderful.  There were too many hoops to jump through with other fundraising sites, but Digital Wish’s online tools were easy-to-use and the customer service was great.   When I needed items that weren’t on DigitalWish.com, I contacted customer service and they were available for me within a few days!”

Key Elements of Katie’s Success:

  1. Create professional, detailed and clear wish lists and fundraisers on Digital Wish.
  2. Email and follow-ups to family and friends.
  3. Be upfront about the need and how it will help benefit the growth and developmental of your students.
  4. Keep family and friends updated on the progress with the goal and with what students are going to achieve through it.
  5. Thank your supporters!


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