The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to how we live our lives, from running errands to running a company, and everything in between. As we settle into this new normal, at least for the time being, one question remains: what about our children?
The average young American spends about 50% of their life in school, including after-hours activities. To say it’s important is quite the understatement. And considering the fact that it doubles as child care for many working parents, we’d say school is an essential part of a functional society. With communities gradually opening up and resuming normal activities, sending kids back to school is a natural and necessary step in the process. But how do we ensure the health and safety of our children in the classroom?
Another concern for the upcoming school year relates to fundraising. School fundraisers are tightly woven into the fabric of school life, and it’s often necessary to ensure schools have even the basics: art supplies, sports equipment, and a host of other learning tools. And while some of the reasons for it might have changed in 2020, the need for fundraising is alive and well, and, like everything else, it too must adapt.
1) Same School Fundraiser Needs, Plus New Expenses
One of the most common reasons for fundraising in schools is to help pay for field trips and class outings. While kids are slowly returning to the classroom, it might be some time before field trips resume. If they do, however, they stand to be more costly than ever, with more buses required to maintain social distancing, and facilities charging more to recoup some of their losses from the shutdown period.
The real need for fundraising relates to the health and safety of students within the walls of the school, and the list is pretty exhaustive. Schools will need to have a hefty stock of soap and disinfectant, and will also have to outfit the building with extra washing stations and automatic hand sanitizer dispensers, possibly automatic doors, and even plastic dividers in many areas throughout the school.
Teachers will also need PPE to keep themselves and students safe, and by extension, students’ families as well as their own. And finally, schools will likely have to invest in online teaching tools in the event of another lockdown, or for children who are sick at home.
All of these extra expenses will surely push fundraising to the top of the priority list for teachers and administrators. Which leads us to another hurdle: how safe are traditional school fundraisers?
2) The (Temporary) End of Traditional Fundraising?
School fundraisers have always been a social affair, with parties, school fairs, car washes, and other events involving the community making up some of the most popular fundraising activities. Given the likelihood that social distancing measures will remain in place in many communities for the foreseeable future, there may have to be a moratorium on event fundraisers for the time being.
But what about product fundraisers? Kids have long made the door-to-door trek to entice neighbors with their wares, or visited friends and family, brochure in hand, to ask for support. This too, however, involves not only relatively close contact, but also contact with a large number of people. Face masks can help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, but they do not eliminate it. There is also a fair amount of sharing and touching objects, as each fundraiser participant is typically only given one brochure, and payments are generally made by cash or check.
The last thing a school would want is for there to be an outbreak, or for even one child to contract the virus while fundraising, especially since they could then spread it from household to household. This would not only tarnish the school’s reputation, it would require extensive testing and isolation for all students and staff.
In sum, the need for school fundraisers is very much still present, and traditional fundraising methods can no longer be considered safe. So what’s the solution?
One of the positive things to come out of the COVID-19 crisis is that we’ve been reminded that humans are very industrious, and when we work together we can achieve great things. Colleges classes have gone online, the workplace is anywhere you can get WiFi; just about anything can now be done remotely, including fundraising.
3) Online School Fundraising is Helping Adapt to the New Reality!
Every industry is working hard to adapt to a world in flux, and the fundraising industry is no exception. JustFundraising is leading the pack in coming up with new and innovative ways to take your school fundraiser to the next level, while protecting your students and the community. Best of all? It’s all in one neat one-stop-shop package, so you can easily tailor your fundraiser to your group’s needs and reach your fundraising goals, safely and with minimal effort.
Here’s a look at 3 online school fundraisers that we at JustFundraising have developed with healthy students, healthy communities, and healthy profits in mind.
Program 1: Online product fundraising
Fans of our famous cookie dough and gourmet popcorn needn’t worry – we’ve taken our most popular goods online! Supporters can now purchase their fave items directly from your group’s own web page. That means no more door-to-door, no more sharing brochures, and no more dealing with cash and checks. In fact, it’s never been easier for friends, family, and neighbors to get their hands on the sweet (and salty) stuff.
We’ve created separate sites, each representing an online fundraiser for a different product category. iRaiseMore.com is your one-stop-shop for all things cookie dough! We’ve also created popcornfundraiser.org, your popcorn central, candlefundraiser.org, which features over 40 candles in various colors and scents, and snackfundraiser.org, with 20 sweet, salty, sour, and spicy snacks to choose from. Each site offers your group its own page, from which supporters can order directly and pay upfront with a credit card. At the end of the fundraiser, we will send you your Profit Check, totalling up to 50% of all sales. Easy as premade cookie dough!
As we ship all orders to a single location, your group remains responsible for coordinating the distribution of items. There are a few ways to ensure this is done safely and with limited contact, such as curbside pickups, or driveway drop-offs. You might consider adding a note of gratitude to each order as well – your supporters will appreciate the personal touch that shipping directly to them can’t offer.
Program 2: Custom face mask fundraiser
These days, “no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service” is the norm in many states, cities, and towns, at least until community transmission of COVID-19 grinds to a halt. And, as with any other item of clothing or accessory, people have begun to express themselves through their face coverings. From simple black or white, to crazy colors and intricate patterns, to bedazzled works of art and popular sayings and logos, masks are fashion’s newest darling, and they’re popping up everywhere.
JustFundraising offers your group the opportunity to raise funds while helping to keep your community safe – and stylish! We’ll create your own online custom face mask fundraiser store, as well as a custom PDF order-taker, both with your school or team’s name and logo on face masks in a variety of colors, all for only $35. We’ll add a few non-custom options as well, for those who prefer more generic styles.
Participants simply share the online store with friends and family, who can make online purchases with their credit cards. They can also print the order-taker PDF and use it to collect orders from friends and family inside their bubble.
Durable, comfortable, and priced to sell at $15 per mask, or $39 for 3, face masks are an excellent way for your students to reach their goal – and the community will be all the better for it.
Program 3: Straight online donations
Online fundraising, or crowdfunding, has taken the giving industry by storm in the past few years, with billions of dollars raised through various platforms for just about everything under the sun, from helping pay for life events such as graduations and anniversary parties, to providing medical bill relief for individuals involved in accidents or suffering from illnesses, to helping entire countries with disaster relief efforts.
The increased safety of online transactions, as well as the emergence of reputable online donation sites, and the ability to reach an increasingly large audience thanks to social media, have made this type of giving hugely popular the world over. And many people are more than happy to donate without expectation of anything in return – apart from the natural good feelings that come with helping those in need, of course.
JustFundraising is now offering a platform through which supporters can donate to your cause without having to purchase a product or attend an event. This means no coordinating deliveries, no trying to shuffle busy schedules around to fit your fundraiser in, and most importantly, no close contact.
We provide your group with its own page on which your students can share their story, post pictures and videos, and track their progress. Participants can simply share the link via text or email, or through social media, inviting their family, friends, and followers to make a donation, and to share on their platforms as well.
One thing is certain: this unusual time will eventually come to an end, and students will be able to resume their regular activities – school dances, sports, school assemblies, slumber parties, and good old fashioned door-to-door fundraising and charity car washes. In the meantime, however, we can be grateful that we live in an age that allows students to reach their financial goals safely, in anticipation of brighter days ahead.