Fairburn Elementary

Tell us about your cause

Our school district is in a multicultural, economically diverse community in Los Angeles. We’ve seen continual budget cuts resulting in outcomes like reduced staff and eliminated programs. Our community decided to unify and undertake fundraising efforts to preserve the integrity of our school. We created a fundraising committee, in addition to the P.T.A., to facilitate this purpose. Most of our funding goes to teacher assistance, and donations from our DoJiggy walk-a-thon website went specifically to save our gym teacher and library from extinction.

What kind of special event fundraising do you do to support your mission?

We hold an annual general pledge drive which this year raised $232,000. We also have an online auction which raised $70,000 this year. This year we hosted our second annual walk-a-thon. We also have a number of student events and dances, but they don’t generate much profit.

Walk us through the planning process

This was truly a community collaborative effort, and we got support from many sectors. We had about 15-20 volunteers that helped throughout the planning process and on the day of the event. The police department was very helpful in blocking off streets for the walk. We had a contingent of nurses from the UCLA who were on board as volunteers for the event as well. The teachers were integral in explaining the personal fundraising pages to the students in their computer lab. (Although the kids cannot create their fundraising pages in class due to legal restrictions, this support was very helpful.) We also had strong email communication with the parents. Having a core website that everyone could refer to made all the difference in generating greater participation.

Did you reach out to local sponsors?

We acquired corporate sponsorship from the local Whole Foods who donated gift bags for the participants, and many small, local businesses came out in support. For instance, I am a realtor and I supplied all the bottled water which included my logo. We also encouraged parents to tap into their work environment for greater pledge capacity. Often a company will match the donations made by a team of employees.

Did you do any advertising to get participants?

We did lots of marketing to the kids and parents for this event. My co-coordinator dressed up in a crazy outfit and went to each class to get the students excited about the event. The teachers also were a great help. We really tried to emphasize the importance of a high quantity of donations rather than focus on a high overall dollar amount.

We had many incentives for the students as well: the top fundraisers got $100 and the top class got a field trip. We also had t-shirts for sale, but if the kids reached a certain amount of donations by a set date, they got a free t-shirt.

How did DoJiggy help with your planning?

It was very helpful that I, as the administrator, really understood how to use the site. As a result I could act as a resource to the parents. The support I received from DoJiggy was excellent and I found the site really easy to understand. I also was able to manage all the classes as teams through the reporting functions. The email functionality was essential and the credit card processing option made the administration of the pledges much easier.

Tell us about your success…How many participants? How much did you raise? Did you accomplish your goals?

We had about 1/3 of the student body participate which was up from last year. Although we set a lofty goal of $40,000 we were happy with the amount we raised. The most important thing is that we were able to accomplish the cause oriented goals for the event; keeping the library open and saving our gym teacher’s job.

Any advice to other organizations?

Definitely start early – at least three months ahead of time. The upfront cost to purchase the website service is without a doubt the best move you will make. Take advantage of the great support offered by DoJiggy and really learn the site. DoJiggy also has great tutorials and participant instructions that are easy to share with parents and students. It will make your life much easier if you do not accept checks and cash! The online credit card processing was all we needed.

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Fairburn Elementary
  • Based on an interview with
    Kelly Aluise, Fundraising Committee Coordinator