A well coordinated school readathon fundraising campaign combines the best of all outcomes for children, parents, educators and social good helpers.
What is a read-a-thon fundraiser?
Students pledge to read a certain number of pages or hours when they sign up. Donors pledge to give a fixed amount or an amount based on the finally tally of pages or minutes read. Once the reading deadline passes, students enter the total number of pages or minutes they’ve read and pledges can be fulfilled based on the final number.
Parents, librarians, teachers and principals work with a child literacy nonprofit to set up, administer and participate in a peer-to-peer pledge campaign. Students register to participate with their school or as an individual if their school is not participating. Once registered, and with help from parents, students solicit pledges through parent’s email or social media from friends and family in support of their reading. During the campaign, students and book lovers read and collect pledge donations based on the number of minutes they read. Students log the amount of time and the number of pages read during the Readathon on their fundraising page.
At the end of the read-a-thon, students collect the pledged donations online and offline. The students turn in their offline pledge envelopes to the school which enter them into the online site. The fundraising site tallies the results so awards can be announced. The fundraising site tracks incentives to be awarded to students, classrooms, and schools based on the level of minutes read or funds raised.
Can read-a-thons work for school fundraising?
Let’s be honest, fundraising is going to be difficult this year. Sponsorships from businesses will be difficult to come by. Cuts in local, state and federal budgets will limit the number of available grants.
More than ever, schools will need to rely on peer to peer fundraising to replace funds lost during a slowed economy. This is where a read-a-thon comes in.
There are challenges with “event-less” peer to peer fundraising. But, there are also some advantages to peer to peer fundraising campaigns without an event.
- There are no event related costs.
- There are no volunteers needed.
- No need to book a venue.
- Fundraising deadlines can be flexible.
- Social distancing (most relevant in the COVID-19 era) is possible.
Some great things about read-a-thons
- All students can participate.
- Students spend less time playing video games and more time reading.
- Books can be from the curriculum.
- Incentives and competition can be based on the amount of reading as well as the amount of money raised.
How to organize a read-a-thon fundraiser
Steps to organize a peer to peer read-a-thon fundraiser are simple. First decide on the criteria of the event.
- First set the length of time for the event.
- Decide what the pledge criteria is. Pledges can be time-based or page-based.
- Determine how much the students want to raise per pledge. Donors can pledge money based on a specific number of pages. chapters or reading periods (hours or sessions).
- Choose whether your students read for a set period of time during class or will read as many books as possible during a timeframe.
- Determine prize categories and prizes.
- Create your fundraising website using Blue Sky
Now, help your students get ready to raise money!
- Encourage students to create their personal fundraising pages.
- Educate the students on how to promote their fundraising efforts. They can email their friends and family or post on social media.
- Keep the excitement going by doing regular leaderboards of top performers, both individual students and classrooms.
Awards and incentives
Across a metro or multi-county area, schools and students compete for top fundraising and reading medals. At each school, medals can be awarded for most:
- Minutes read
- Pages read
- Funds raised
There is also often a prize for the top fundraising classroom at each school. In addition, a prize maybe awarded to the top overall read-a-thon fundraising student. And a trophy maybe awarded to the top overall read-a-thon fundraising school.
All donations from the campaign support the nonprofit’s childhood literacy programs in a designated area. The online peer-to-peer fundraising pledge donations collected buy books and support childhood literacy programs within a metro or multi-county area. Childhood literacy programs serve many groups, such as children ages birth to 12 years, teen parents and parents of young children.
When choosing your software to support your read-a-thon fundraiser, keep these features in mind:
- Allow students to estimate how much they are going to read and enter a final amount when they are done.
- Create safe fundraising pages that don’t display students’ names while providing access to the parent or guardian.
- Make pledge fulfillment simple and secure without needing to track down the pledger to fulfill the donation (PaymentSpring‘s tokenization method work’s great for pledge fulfillment).
- Track the amount read by student, class, grade, and the entire school.
- Track the amount raised by student, class, grade, and the entire school.
- Have multiple leader board capabilities to spur competition between classes and grades.
- Allow teachers to monitor progress and activity of their classes.
We’ve hosted read-a-thon fundraiser campaigns that have raised over $100,000. Regardless of what your school’s fundraising goals are, the read-a-thon can be a very safe, effective, and educational peer to peer fundraising campaign for schools today and beyond.
Contact us to see how we can help you support your school fundraising goals.