What is the Future of School Fundraising?
As the news headlines regarding the current U.S. economy continue to improve, there is one area that is still feeling the squeeze from the recession years: public and private K-12 school funding. Less state spending on education negatively impacts the learning experience that students receive in our nation’s classrooms. As a result, teachers around the country are turning to fundraising to address their funding gaps.
Teachers looking to lead their districts into 2018 and beyond need to recognize that change is a surety and that to survive this inevitability, they must adapt the way they engage potential donors and their community as a whole. They have to understand the need to find new donors, the factors that motivate donors to give, and the opportunities that are possible with the use of new technologies.
So what does the future of school fundraising look like? Not an easy question to answer, is it? Here’s what I think.
How is edtech shaping the future of school fundraising?
Over the last decade, edtech companies have been experimenting with innovative ways to use technology to help educators fundraise more efficiently and with greater success. Thankfully, several of these companies are getting it right and are doing a great job. One company, in particular, Edco, has done an excellent job of creating a comprehensive application designed to help teachers exceed their fundraising goals. “Edco was founded because we wanted to help schools raise money effectively and efficiently in an ongoing manner and use the best practices of the best fundraisers. We know that a lot of people want to donate directly to the school, but don’t want the products, goods, and services,” says Rafi Musher of Edco.
The first time I heard about this company was during a conversation with a gifted education teacher that I used to work with. I called her to see how things were going, and during the talk, she told me about a recent trip to the U.K. that she made with five of her students. She teaches in a school district that serves a large number of low-income students, whose parents are hardworking but often find themselves just trying to make ends meet. Since I knew that the school district hadn’t been fully funded education in decades, I wondered how she managed to finance this trip.
That’s when she told me about Edco, a new school fundraising web platform, and how it helped her raise the monies necessary for their field trip across the pond. Recently, I had a chance to visit their site to see what all the fuss was about. Here is what I found out. In two minutes or less, you can create your webpage that’s ready to take donations immediately – on any device. Your dedicated webpage allows you to create a goal, upload a team photo, and also tell your team’s story. It includes sponsorship templates, the ability to have Edco assist with your outreach and access to Nathan, who heads up partnerships, as your fundraising coach. Pretty cool, huh?
If you are like me and have zero fundraising experience, not to fret, Edco’s tips and templates show you what you need to do to raise more money. If you plan to involve your students in the fundraising process, Edco’s system can track which students are raising funds, and where your donations are coming from. The application allows your fundraising team to accept donations through credit and debit cards. All contributions are tax-deductible. Edco processes the payments, provides the donation receipts, and places your monies into your school bank account or prepaid debit card if you need access to your funds immediately. “We provide a turnkey service to free students, teachers, and associations up so they can focus on other things,” informs Amy Zucchi-Justice, Director of Marketing for Edco. “Using online platforms for fundraising can help you raise more than four times what you would with traditional fundraisers,” adds Zucchi-Justice.
Edco makes it extremely easy to manage and communicate with all your donors – which will pay dividends for your next fundraiser. Since the system keeps a list of your ongoing supporters and opportunities, you don’t have to start from scratch every year. Wait, but that’s not it. You can promote your cause with social media posts and customizable emails. Also, you can invite parents, students, and other supporters to help spread the word.
Did I mention that Edco is free to use? They don’t charge you a fee for registering or organizing a fundraising team. Edco collects a reasonable 4.9% fee once you have collected money using their platform. When compared to the other fundraising sites, this is a drop in the bucket. They invest the fees that they collect back into their company to improve their school fundraising solution continuously.
Edco is a service driven organization, devoted to helping students, parents, teachers and other education leaders fundraise. That’s it. They believe that a lack of funding should not hinder the learning process. We agree. Without companies like Edco, teachers would have to continue to get by on the meager resources that they are given. In a space full of edtech startups looking to get rich, Edco is certainly a breath of fresh air. I am pleased to see entrepreneurs stepping up to plate, and developing edtech solutions aimed at solving the often overlooked problem of school funding. After an hour of being on the site, I left thinking “I wish Edco was around back when I was a teacher.”
Public and private K-12 school systems must understand that the education funding landscape is changing for the worse. The most effective teachers will recognize this and adapt their strategic planning and fundraising techniques to stay afloat and provide their students with a world-class education. Also, they will use technologies such as Edco to stay ahead of the competition, and efficiently raise funds.
What do you think the future of school fundraising will look like? Have you used Edco for a fundraising campaign? We would love to hear your success stories!