Its not just about the money

As participants in the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy, we have faced many exciting challenges this year.  Getting our social media presence up and running was the first hurdle – daily posts, monitoring the likes, the reach, the insights overall – it has been a whole new world of lingo.

Once we had established some social media “cred”, we then ventured to the next madrega (level) – social media fundraising.  While initially we were most excited about the potential funds raised through the campaign, in hindsight we realize that we gained much more from the experience than the funds.  The obvious benefit was the prospect of raising important funds that could be matched an additional $10,000 from the AVI CHAI Foundation.  The side (and possible more useful?) benefit was watching as our school transformed into a community of PR ambassadors and fundraisers within a matter of hours.

Here’s how we did it:   

  1. Strategically craft a campaign – we spent a considerable amount of time deciding specifically what the campaign would support.  Once decided upon, the next step was to ensure that the administration “bought in” to the idea and would follow through on the expenditure of this money.  We made sure to select programs that would benefit the entire PreK-12 student body and would have broad appeal. Hence, our campaign was dubbed the “Music and Movement Challenge” supporting enhancements to the athletic and music co-curricular programming at RMBA.
  2. Create a fundraising campaign on – a social media fundraising website which allows individual campaign champions to set up their own pages and tell their stories to their personal social networks of why our school (and this program in particular) is a worthy cause.
  3. Tell the world – send out messages to the entire school community letting them know about the exciting matching opportunity and seeing who would rise up to be a champion of our campaign.
  4. Train the champions – in a Powerpoint presentation, we told the campaign champs how to create their own personalized pages.
  5. Incentivize the champions – by announcing gift cards to the champions who raised the most money, and who secured the largest number of individual donations, we created a more energized team.
  6. Watch the money roll in – within hours, our champions were talking up the campaign and bringing in gifts.

The rewards:

a.       $15,000 toward the enhancement of our music and athletic program.

b.       A dedicated group of champions who spent their time talking up the school and encouraging others to donate to our cause.

c.       Virality – champions were talking about our school to their cousins, employers, college roommates – anyone who might support them and their school.

We were overwhelmed with the positive response garnered by the campaign.  The utilization of our champion’s personal social networks created a fun, yet competitive, vibe which motivated all to push themselves for success. 

The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy is an intensive program designed to help Jewish Day Schools advance their strategic use of social media in areas such as communication, marketing, community building, alumni relations and development. The 2012-13 nationwide cohort of 20 schools was generously supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation.  Each of the schools will be sharing insights from their experience through blog posts here this spring with the tag #jdsacademy

The 2013-14 cohort is currently in formation. If your school or community is interested in more information, please contact Lisa Colton.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *