Rally for MJDS: A Case Study of Social Fundraising

Milwaukee Jewish Day School is a non-diversified school accepting Jews from across the board. We have an excellent education program deeply rooted in tradition and innovation. We have a large emphasis on digital media and technology such as iPads, smart-boards, computer Labs, and a green screen studio. With so many students and parents using technology photo’s and videos have never been so important.

We’ve always had an Annual Campaign, but for the first time as a result of the Social Media Academy we decided to try something different, and accept donations online.

Before launching our campaign on the Rally platform, we went to the PTO and found volunteers who would be willing to spread the word and expand our network.

First, we sent out a future leader survey at the beginning of the annual campaign. We asked students what they want to be when they grow up? How is MJDS helping you reach your goals for the future? Once we identified our Fan Fundraisers for the Rally Campaign, David Hercenberg, our Digital Media & Marketing Specialist, worked with each person to help them promote the Rally Campaign on their personal Facebook pages.

We encourage our students to reach for the stars and achieve their dreams, so we used the idea of featuring current students & alumni students to show that with an MJDS education you really can achieve your goals.  

We customized our amount selection options & encouraged people to share the rally campaign with their friends and family. We posted custom photos and quotes the Future leaders survey to add a personal touch for every post. We also explained that every donation up to $10K would be doubled thanks to a match from The AVI CHAI Foundation!

Using an online social fundraising platform we were able reach our goal of $10K because we made it as simple as possible for people to donate. Facebook analytics proved that videos got people’s attention and inspired conversation, so we used photos and videos to our advantage. By utilizing our Fan Fundraisers' friends and family, we expanded our network and reach for the campaign. In addition to our Fan Fundraisers, the Milwaukee Jewish Federation reposted some of our posts to expand our network.

Although our alumni were not a huge part of the success of the Rally campaign, we did receive some donations from them. Since we opened the door to a new group of donors who might not have taken the time to donate through traditional ways we see this as a success.  Rally costs us 4.5% to process donations Vs. Paypal which is approximately 2%. Although we plan on using Rally again in the future, for now we are accepting regular donations on Paypal to keep the Rally fresh and focused, and to save money on processing fees.

Overall compared to it’s competition Rally did a great job of being customizable, however it did have one major limitation. The ability to grant multiple levels of access is not available, meaning whomever controls the account has access to all the information. Ideally we would like to allow one person to control the content posting while the business department controls the flow of money on the backend.  We hear that Rally is considering adding this feature to their platform.


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.

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