School Fundraising Ideas – Directory App

Elementary, Middle and High School Fundraising Ideas Here is a school fundraising idea that will not only help your school, it will motivate plenty of students and their parents to get involved for the entire school year. It is a great fundraising idea for any elementary, middle or high school. These days many schools and parent teacher organizations will subscribe to a directory app that they can provide for their families. Most school directory apps you find will offer some standard features such as sharing contacts, viewing calendars and sending alerts. These are great tools that allow your families to stay in contact with each other and also give them on the go access to your school activities and events.

Something that is beginning to appear among the leading school directory app providers are features that allow your school to raise funds directly from the app. They are not just donations to your school, but rather donations that open up additional interactive features in the app that families will truly enjoy using.

These are fun features that will keep everyone coming back for more. They are features that will motivate parents. They are features that will challenge students. They are features that allow teachers and staff to foster learning among their students.

The easiest way to motivate parents is by engaging them in a way that will benefit their own children. One idea is by rewarding students on a scale when their parents take some kind of action with the app. Parents will take plenty of action when you give them fun features they will enjoy that also challenge their students.

Students with smart phones are very common these days. A student that knows they can earn rewards for actions taken with the interactive features of the app will use it all year long. When interactive features promote thinking, logic and creativity, you have an app that teachers and staff will want to use so they can help foster learning.

Teachers will do it with a true passion for helping their students. Staff members will do it for fun. As more and more parents, students, teachers and staff are using app, the buzz in your school community will permeate all year long. You will have an entire school community using your directory app’s features that motivate parents, challenge students and foster learning while raising funds for your school.

Let’s learn exactly what these fun features are and see if this fundraising idea is a good fit for your school.

Michael Kerin is the founder of Paperless PTO, one of the first providers of e-Commerce websites and mobile apps for schools and parent teacher organizations.

School Fundraising Ideas - Knowing What Will work

I recently had a conversation with the president of a parent teacher organization in the US. She had questions about how to allow the parents at her school to make donations to their group on their website and also in the mobile app that we provide support for. After a five minute tutorial she was able to quickly set up a donation that parents could add to their shopping cart and then pay for. The donation was in the amount of $100.

Towards the end of our conversation I asked if she had read about the Bells and Whistles fundraising feature of our program. This is a feature where parents make donations to their school and receive add on features to the app and website that are educational, challenging and fun for parents, students and teachers. She replied with concern because there is a $25 deduction from Bells and Whistles donations and felt that if they offered plain donations in flat dollar amounts they would not be subject to the $25 deduction.

Sure, $100 minus a $25 deduction nets her $75 while a $100 donation with no deduction nets her $100. What she did not consider is the appeal factor of the different donations. If your parent teacher group makes a $100 donation available that is simply a $100 with nothing else to offer, how many parents in her school are going to be excited to share that option with other parents? How likely are they to even think about it when talking with other parents in her school?

On the other hand, if a parent makes a Bells and Whistles donation for $100 and the school receives $75, that parent now has features available on her app that are going to motivate that parent to participate more. That parent now has features on the app that will enlighten and challenge her students. This parent now has features on her directory app that will drive her to use the app several times each week.

In addition to this, her students will now be able to participate in directory app features that will challenge, educate and reinforce learning in a manner that is so much fun that both she and her students will be talking about it over and over again with their friends. Talking about it is just the beginning. Sharing it online in their social media circles will trigger more opportunity for other parents in their school to make the Bells and Whistles donation.

This leads us to wonder how much excitement there will be among parents and students in a school community where they can make a $100 donation? How often will these parents and students talk about a plain $100 donation with their friends?

We also wonder how much eagerness will there be among parents to make a $100 Bells and Whistles donation that nets their parent teacher group $75? How often will these parents and students show their friends the fun and interactive features they now have on their school directory app?

In closing our conversation, I asked this PTO president to multiply the number of plain donations she thinks she will get by $100 and then multiply the number of Bells and Whistles donations she thinks she will get by $75.

We can all apply our own math to these equations. Regardless, the keys to making a school fundraising idea effective are human emotion and momentum. You can ask for a donation or you can ask for a donation that will appeal to both students and parents. If it appeals to students, their parents will quickly create the momentum it needs to be a very successful school fundraising idea.

Michael Kerin is the founder of Paperless PTO, one of the first providers of e-Commerce websites and mobile apps for schools and parent teacher organizations.

Oneline and Mobile Auctions

Our Paperless PTO program has just about every feature that a parent teacher group needs to conduct their daily activities. We have built the program based on the needs of the schools we support. From day one we have kept an open mind about adding new features. If we receive a suggestion from someone or some group we think about it. If someone else or another group suggests it as well, we get to work on putting it together.

A few weeks ago I was asked by a PTO president if our program could handle a live auction for an event they are going to have. It was not the first time we have heard this request, so we decided that the time was right to get to work on it. Suffice it to say, our program now has a nice auction feature that you can use. It is enabled on all websites we support and under construction in the School Directory App.

The basic premise of the feature, is that you can offer any number of items to auction off at any event you hold. Each item will be setup with a price of $1 which enables bidders to offer a bid at any price. A minimum bid price can be set so that the bidding starts at the level you would like it to. Once the first bid is made on an item, the auction begins. Anyone that has registered for the event will receive notices in various forms letting them know an item has been bid up. These notices can be triggered in the form of an email notice, a text message and a push notice to the School Directory App. Each notice will include a hyper link or an alert that can be tapped which leads the potential bidder to a page where they can view all auction items and each items’ current high bid. Each item will also have a button that prompts the potential bidder to make their bid on the item. If the potential bidder then makes their own bid on the item, they become the high bidder on that item and the notification cycle starts again.

You may be thinking that bidding can easily get into a frenzied pace and there may be too many notices about newly placed bids. We did think of that too. There are parameters that can be set which allows you to dictate when the notices should be sent. A setting of real time means they will go out with every bid. If this setting is enabled and the bidding is frequent, then the new bid notices will be equally frequent. There is also a setting that allows you to indicate the number of minutes between each bid notice. If your auction runs from 8PM to 10PM and you set the bidding interval to 15 minutes, this will result in bid notices going our 4 times each hour for a total of 8 for the duration of the 2 hour auction.

Are you a true auctioneer? If so, you are now wondering how you can track the bids. Well, there is also a reporting feature that you can monitor during the auction. It will list all bids on all items with the most recent high bid at the top. You can see who made which bids and exactly when.

Finally, when the auction ends the high bidder will then be sent a notice letting them know they are the high bidder and then have a preset number of minutes to make their purchase. The notice will include hyper links and alerts that will direct them to the page to make the payment for the item they bid on.

There you have your Paperless PTO online auction feature.

Michael Kerin is the founder of Paperless PTO, one of the first providers of e-Commerce websites and mobile apps for schools and parent teacher organizations.

After School Enrichment Programs - Being Fair To Everyone

Does your parent teacher organization offer after school enrichment programs? Are they in great demand? Do they sell out quickly?

Earlier this week a parent teacher group that we support prepared to open their after school enrichment classes. They usually set a specific time to open the registration so that their parents can prepare and be ready for the registration. The list of classes is very impressive and every parent wants to sign up their students. The only problem is that there are a limited number of students that are allowed to register for each class. In an attempt to be fair to all parents and students, the classes are set up on a first come first serve basis. We like to call it a shotgun registration.

Our helpdesk assists them in setting up the classes on their website and in the School Directory App, and we also monitor the event as parents get ready to register. This time the classes opened up at 7PM. It is interesting to see hundreds of parents jockeying for position hoping to be one of the first to register. However, it quickly turns into a stressful event as many students wind up being shut out and our helpdesk then starts fielding complaints.

What some parents do not foresee is being shut out at the last second. They visit the site and find the class they want. They add it to their cart and then checkout. Next comes the time to make their payment. They key in their credit card details with a feeling of satisfaction as it seems they are able to register. However, what often happens is that someone else paid for the last position in the class seconds earlier. They wind up missing out on the class.

Anyone can make an argument to say that once they add it to their cart it should be reserved. But this method also opens up potential issues. There is no guarantee that the parent will eventually pay for it. If they don’t a rule will need to be set to dictate how long they can hold the reservation. Regardless of the time determined, this will also cause angst among parents who try to register later and cannot. When that unpaid reservation is made available again, the parents that missed out may not get a chance to register again in time.

What can be done to make the registration fair for everyone? Is a lottery an option? Perhaps all parents should be allowed to indicate their desire to register their students. Once all parents have put their names in the hat, a drawing should be held that is completely random and can be watched from the website. In the end some students and parents will still wind up not being selected. Perhaps a lottery may soften the blow when compared to losing out at the last second.

This is a feature our development team is exploring now. Many times in the past we have begun to work on features and new ideas continually surfaced as the feature evolved. I will revisit this blog entry with updates as progress continues.

Michael Kerin is the founder of Paperless PTO, one of the first providers of e-Commerce websites and mobile apps for schools and parent teacher organizations.

Adding Waivers at Checkout

You can now add waivers, disclaimers or terms and conditions to your Paperless PTO website. When activated, the waiver will appear at checkout to buyers who are purchasing items for sale that meet the conditions of the waiver you have created. They will need to check the box indicating that they agree to your terms in order to complete their purchase.

Waivers can be created so that they will appear when:

  • individual items for sale are being purchased
  • all items for sale for a specific event are being purchased
  • all items for sale for all events sponsored by a specific committee are being purchased
  • any item for sale is being purchased

    Watch this video to see how easily waivers can be set up:

Watch Donations Soar

When parents tap this button on the app they can easily make a donation to your school. After making the donation, a suite of fun app features will become available to them.

Make Donations Appealing

Give Donors Something They Will Enjoy

Create a Buzz That Will Lead To More Donations

Learn More
Did You Know

Our fundraising program is
1. Educational
2. Challenging
3. Fun
4. For parents, teachers and students
5. Web and mobile enabled
6. Run by our staff
7. Going to surprise you

Find out how our Bells and Whistles Fundraising Program will raise more funds for your school than you might think. Be sure to Contact us.