Friends School Hosts a Successful Walkathon

Tell us about your cause.

The Friends School Detroit is an independent private school, of only 100 students, offering stellar academic opportunities. This tradition of academic opportunity and professional success is made available at tuition levels that are conscientiously maintained at one-third of the cost of other academically superior schools. However, Friends School offers small class sizes that never exceed 18 students, a close-knit nurturing community, and Quaker values including: diversity, social justice, respect and integrity. In order to bridge the gap over recent lower enrollment levels, we decided to do a fundraiser to benefit the school. We needed a large amount of money in a short period of time; we only had 6 weeks to organize the event!

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

We have an annual fundraising drive and a scholarship fundraiser in the spring. We have also organized dinner banquets and auctions. This last event was a walk-a-thon & Harvest Festival, the first we have organized.

Walk us through the planning process.

As we mentioned earlier, we did not have much time to plan this event. We are lucky to have a core group of dedicated parents that were integral in the creation of the personal fundraising pages for the kids. We had an aggressive fundraising goal of $600 per student, and the students worked very hard to achieve that goal. DoJiggy was key in soliciting pledges by allowing for emails to be sent out with a link to the site. This was also an integral part of promoting the event. We offered incentives to the students for reaching their fundraising goals that proved to be very effective. We awarded money to the top overall individual fundraiser and to the top fundraiser in each class. In addition, we had pizza parties for all the classes during the week of the event.

Did you reach out to local sponsors?

Yes. Our walk-a-thon event was combined with a Harvest Festival. We had donations of food and banners from local sponsors. The sponsors were mostly local businesses that had some direct connection to the student body; parents of the students, for instance.

Did you do any advertising to get participants?

The advertising was easy for us, since our participants were students from the school. We had about an 85% participation rate. We also received press from the local newspaper.

How did DoJiggy help with the planning and success of your event?

We couldn’t have done it without DoJiggy! DoJiggy was invaluable in the overall organization of our event. The personal fundraising pages allowed both the parents and students the ability too see at a glance the participant’s advancement towards their goal. Seeing their goals being realized through the image of the thermometer inspired the students to push even harder for achievement.

The ability to process credit card payments on the site really amplified the potential for donations. Many students have family or friends that live out of state whom they could contact via email and easily direct to the site where they could process all the steps of their donation in once place. The automation in email confirmations was extremely helpful in keeping on top of the organization of the event and the reporting functions were excellent. We had the ability to organize the students into teams, or classes, and check their progress as a whole with the click of a button.

People were impressed with our ability to organize our event in so little time, and DoJiggy was the main reason for that. The software is a package that is intuitive and easy to work with. We were able to get right in and start almost immediately. We also had a very quick turnover time in receiving support from the technical team.

Tell us about your success.

We were very pleased with the outcome of the event, and raised more money than we had expected. We had almost 110 students participate and we raised around $68,000. Especially given our time constraint in planning the event, we had no idea we would be so successful. The event has raised our schools’ credibility to the student body, the parents, and the community.

Do you have any advice for other organizations?

Starting the planning for the event much earlier is advisable and also essential to being able to get more sponsors. The key to our event being a success was the integration of technology in planning and execution. The importance of the internet is undeniable and certainly an effective tool for running an event. Get DoJiggy!

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Friends School in Detroit Hosts a Successful Walkathon
  • Based on an interview with
    Friends School in Detroit: Lori Anderson, parent and Chairperson of the Walk with Friends committee & Audrey Jackson, parent and committee member.