Online Fundraising – Is It Safe for Schools?

Online Fundraising – Is It Safe for Schools?

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Are you considering an online fundraiser for your school or class?  Concerned about safety?

Safety is of the utmost importance in school fundraising.  Parents, teachers and administrators have to be assured the choices they make will not only successfully raise funds, but are also in the best interests of student safety.

Online fundraising has had huge success with schools for many reasons:

• It’s cheap, and often free.
• It’s fast and easy.
• You never handle cash, order forms, deliveries or inventory.
• Parents can help out on their own time.
• There’s no need to organize everyone for a group meeting.

But is it safe?

Choosing Your Fundraiser

Each online fundraiser is different, so it’s important to fully explore the one you’re considering to determine if it is appropriate for your students.

Let’s take a look at the Online Magazine Fundraiser from eFundraising.  We often recommend this fundraiser at USAFundraising because of how quick, easy and successful it is.

That said, our favorite part of this fundraiser is the safety factor.  Here are the safety features that make this a good school fundraiser:

• The magazines are family-friendly.
• Teachers can login and see each student’s activity.
• The system allows outgoing emails to invite friends and family, but no incoming.  This removes concern that a child will receive questionable emails through the fundraiser.
• Information is secure.  Any information a child, parent or teacher enters never leaves the MagFundraising system.  It is never shared or rented.
• There are no ads.  Some “family-friendly” fundraisers allow ads on their website.  Companies don’t always control the content of these ads, so there’s no guarantee they’ll be appropriate for children’s eyes.

These are a few things to look for when selecting your online fundraiser.

Some online fundraisers ask users to enter their birthday, or require a parent’s email address for a child to register.  These are nice features to look for as well.  However, as there is no solid monitoring method, a child can easily enter false information without anyone knowing.

This is where you come in.

Communication is Key

As with any fundraiser, communication is key.  Parents must be made aware of the fundraiser.

Send letters home, speak to parents face-to-face or on the phone when possible, send letters by mail (since a letter in a child’s hands doesn’t always make it home), send emails and announce it in your school newsletter (if you have one).

In fact, email is where online fundraising really gets its charm.  Many programs, like the Online Magazine Fundraiser, have built-in email systems that let you quickly and easily send information to parents.  Since the program is online and available 24/7, busy parents can read their email any time of day, and easily monitor their child’s participation at a time that’s convenient for their family.  It’s a great way to keep parents informed, and encourage them to take an active role.

The Bottom Line

When choosing an online fundraiser, look for basic safety features like the ones discussed above.  These will give you a good foundation for a safe fundraiser.

The most important safety feature is you.  In the same way that you arrange for volunteers and chaperones at a candy bar sale, you need to arrange communication with parents to ensure safety is high on everyone’s list.

Online fundraising can be a huge boost to your school’s fundraising efforts.  And it’s certainly exciting for students who spend so much time online anyway.  Keeping safety in mind, online fundraising is sure to be a huge success for your school.

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