BLOGS  >  JANUARY 23, 2024

Modernized Fundraising and Understanding the Opportunities of Crowdfunding in Schools

The recent acquisition of Livingtree fundraising tech by Follett School Solutions brings greater visibility to district-wide fundraising in one intuitive platform.

Modernized fundraising has arrived. As districts continue to build out digital classrooms, integrating fundraising tech with your district asset management plan is the link to streamlining the giving process. This collaboration serves as a cost-effective engagement booster, providing a versatile platform for greater impact.

The evident disparities in fundraising within school districts have been extensively recorded. While socioeconomic factors hold immense significance in fundraising endeavors and financial accessibility, the integration of fundraising technology can truly revolutionize the landscape. It has the potential to level the field, offering enhanced transparency, valuable insights into asset management, and, ultimately, fostering improved student outcomes.

Beyond financial resources, K-12 school fundraising impacts student development. 
Between bake sales, raffles, coupon books, mixed with online fundraisers and teacher wishlists, K-12 school fundraising of all kinds play a crucial role in facilitating a successful educational experience for students. Primarily, fundraising provides essential financial resources that schools require to supplement their budgets. These additional funds are often used to enrich curriculum, acquire new educational technology, maintain and improve school infrastructure, and support extracurricular activities. 

Moreover, fundraising activities often promote a sense of community and shared purpose within the school environment. Parents, teachers, and students can work together towards a common goal — enhancing the quality of education for students. This collaborative effort increases school engagement and fosters a sense of belonging.

Lastly, school fundraisers can serve as a hands-on educational tool for students. They provide practical experiences in project management, teamwork, and financial literacy. These are invaluable skills that will benefit students throughout their lives. Hence, K-12 school fundraising is not simply a means to an end; it is a multifaceted process with far-reaching benefits for students, schools, and communities alike.

Expanding your reach offers more chances to contribute.
Currently, around 310 million individuals in the US are utilizing smartphones. Love them or loathe them, the emergence of smartphones and social media has intricately linked us in unprecedented ways. In this era of extensive digital interaction and widespread social media use, sharing information has become remarkably effortless. Through the simple use of a QR code or link, donations can swiftly pour in to support particular classroom endeavors, school sites, or broader district-wide initiatives, generating rapid financial effects.

Amid increased attention on district finances and student achievements, it's crucial to document, track, and report fundraising activities effectively. The quicker donations are allocated and put to use, the faster students, educators, and school communities can reap the rewards. Promoting fundraising initiatives that raise awareness and foster community engagement, including teacher-driven efforts and classroom participation, cultivates a sense of inclusivity throughout the entire year, transcending the confines of the school calendar. This depth of engagement offers a significant chance for community participation, heightened visibility, and awareness levels like never before.

Sounds pretty amazing, right? The only hurdle is identifying trustworthy and ethical fundraising initiatives that follow district regulations and, above all, guarantee that every cent is accounted for and used as intended. Though numerous fundraising platforms exist, the crucial factor is selecting a tech-integrated platform purposely built for schools and designed with district-specific needs in mind.

Donation tracking + intuitive reporting = greater impact.
Gone are the eras of paperwork, catalog browsing, lost order forms, and cash in envelopes. Modern donors and PTAs seek convenient and adaptable methods to support children's schools and classrooms, seeking tools that handle transactions with ease. Although popular money transfer apps serve as digital wallets, they fall short in offering the accountability required by district management and finance teams for asset channel management. Incorporating a low-code, highly adaptable fundraising technology platform into the district's financial system bridges the gap, completing the comprehensive educational asset management picture.

The importance of tracking and allocating fundraised funds within a school district cannot be overstated as this process ensures accountability, both of which are essential when handling public funds and donations. 

Accurate tracking of incoming funds allows for a clear financial overview, enabling the school board and the PTA to make informed decisions about allocation – think safety, equity, ownership, and more. Furthermore, it helps to identify the most successful fundraising initiatives, providing valuable insights for future campaigns. Proper allocation of funds, on the other hand, ensures that the resources are directed towards areas where they are needed the most. This could include enhancing educational programs, developing infrastructure, or facilitating extracurricular activities. By tracking and correctly allocating funds, schools can maximize the impact of every dollar raised, leading to improved educational outcomes and overall student success.

While key capabilities vary by fundraising platform, choosing an integrated, education-specific platform is key to ensuring alignment with existing systems and desired district-wide compliance. Capabilities to consider include:

  • Modern, intuitive interface. An effortless and easy-to-navigate application makes setting up fundraising campaigns – and donating to them – easy.
  • Comprehensive tracking and reporting. Having the ability to measure and analyze donations in real time while tracking giving behavior and trends helps inform financial and district strategy for the year while empowering teams with insights into all funding channels.
  • Robust approval processes and workflows. With added oversight, district administrators can ensure that all fundraising campaigns are in district compliance while aligning with impact objectives.

End-to-end asset management system down to the penny
The Livingtree platform, now Follett Destiny® Fundraising Manager, is purposefully built for educational settings and district deployment. Follett School Solutions integrated the Fundraising Manager into its K-12 educational suite with the goal to provide more visibility for district administrators to track and account for every penny. By leveraging its intuitive interface, parents and donors can easily contribute to their students’ classroom and school fundraisers.

For more information on how to drive greater district impact with Follett School Solutions, contact us

Interested in learning more about innovative fundraising ideas? Register for the webinar here. 

P.S. To learn more about this acquisition, read here

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