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Case study: Buford Academy’s Wolf-a-thon more than doubles its fundraising goal

Buford Academy, a Title I public school serving grades 1 through 3, has built a successful annual peer-to-peer campaign with a 73% participation rate from its students. As a promise to parents to only do one fundraiser a year, the Wolf-A-Thon event has seen enormous impact—even during the lowest times of COVID-19.

We spent time with Jamie Burns-Pridgen, Vice President of Buford Academy’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) to learn how the school was able to blow its recent $71,000 goal out of the water (by more than double!) with the implementation of online giving options, team pages, and lots of student and teacher incentives.

We particularly loved how the school encouraged participation from every student and was able to award everyone who participated—no matter the number of donations raised—by working hard to involve its community.

Check out our interview with Jamie Burns-Pridgen for a host of inspiration and ideas for your school’s next fundraiser:

Key takeaways

It’s clear that Buford Academy’s success is based on having the right tools and committee members in place to execute an amazing event year after year. In our chat with Jamie, she confirmed that it is critical to have:

  • A point person or chair/co-chairs solely dedicated to the event.
  • Define your ‘why’ to give; what is it that you’re raising funds for or how will dollars be used? Jamie and her team made a great point about deciding on a theme each year.
  • Campaign timeline that accounts for pre-planning and ample time to promote well before the event day.
  • Kick-off event to get everyone on board; talk about what participants can win and/or how they will be rewarded.
  • Student buy-in (game trucks, ice cream parties, glow-in-the-dark dodgeball, the Bucket of Shine—great ideas!).
  • Teacher buy-in (free breakfast, incentives for the classroom, coffee, date nights—all great ideas!).
  • Support from the local community and businesses to help underwrite the cost of your event so you can keep more of what you raise.

Why online giving helped Buford Academy

Jamie touched on an important point in our conversation—businesses especially liked the option of online giving because it meant they could make a credit card donation at a time that was convenient for them. Online giving pages also made it each for teachers/classrooms to show progress throughout the campaign and for friends and family who are not local to make donations.

When all was said and done, Buford Academy raised $164,000 (with a goal of $71,000) and $149,000 of that was from online giving. Now that is amazing!

We want to give a special thank you to Jamie Burns-Pridgen for her time and ideas for successful school peer-to-peer fundraising. We know that other schools and foundations out there will appreciate these new ways to explore their own P2P campaigns.

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Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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