PTA of PS 59: Finding the Right Mobile Fundraising Software Makes All the Difference
Not so long ago, the Parent Teacher Association of Public School 59 (PTA of PS 59) in New York City was in a fundraising rut. Limited by its outdated fundraising technology, the PTA’s year-over-year proceeds were flat. So they set out to find a solution to better meet their year-round fundraising needs.
The PTA of PS 59 is no stranger to charity auctions. For several years, its annual gala and silent auction had been the PTA’s main fundraising revenue stream and its primary means of engaging supporters. But traditional pen-and-paper silent auctions are incredibly time-consuming, resource-taxing and difficult for volunteer-run organizations like the PTA to afford.
Given the effort involved, the revenue generated from the PTA’s traditional silent auction events eventually became insufficient. The PTA’s Annual Fund, its primary campaign constituting the majority of its budget, had gone stagnant at $50,000.
The PTA purchased third-party fundraising technology to allow them to collect donations online. The intent was to supplement donations received and supporters engaged at its annual fundraising events.
Unfortunately, there was no increase in online donations or supporter engagement. The PTA’s new technology left much to be desired with its donor interface and overall functionality. Jessa Schwartz, co-president of the PTA recalled, “We had hoped to use the technology to collect payments for things like after-school programs and summer camp, in addition to ticketing for our annual events. But it wasn’t jazzy or easy to navigate, so no one used it.”
Worse, event revenue remained stagnant because the fundraising technology lacked mobile auction bidding and basic reporting features. The PTA was still stuck with paper bid sheets. “Without effective analytics,” Schwartz continued, “it didn’t offer the time-saving solution we needed.”
In fact, the fundraising technology made matters worse for the PTA. Because it did not integrate with other software, payment processing was impossible. The PTA had no choice but to purchase a second vendor’s services just to complete the reconciliation process. Schwartz lamented, “Our old technology once reported that we generated $120,000 at an auction, when in reality we only raised $88,000. We were paying for two vendors’ services, yet our treasurer still had to reconcile everything manually.”
The PTA of PS 59 went back to the drawing board in hopes of revamping its entire fundraising program, including online and event revenue streams. Said Schwartz, “We weren’t even considering mobile bidding back then. What started as How do we get rid of paper and save time? became How do we consolidate our processes and raise more money now and throughout the year?”
The OneCause Solution
After an extensive search for mobile fundraising software that would better meet its needs, the PTA selected OneCause’s comprehensive, end-to-end solution. OneCause supports year-round fundraising campaigns and events from the initial data import to the last payment processed and everything in between.
Year-round fundraising is now easy and efficient for the PTA. OneCause software doesn’t require a lot of time and resources to be effective, and data export and import capabilities make OneCause compatible with most other software platforms. “I love that OneCause integrates with our payment processor. It makes our efforts much more efficient. We consolidated vendors and processes and now all our numbers are accurate!” exclaimed Schwartz.
The PTA also chose OneCause for its 12-month mobile bidding and fundraising software subscriptions that include unlimited, customizable online fundraising sites called Giving Centers. Schwartz recalled, “When we found OneCause, we knew there had to be a million different ways we could use the online software for the school.”
The Results are In
In just three years—and at no additional cost—the PTA has raised nearly $600,000 with 13 unique online fundraising campaigns and events including: ad book sales, ticketing, bidding, annual fund donation appeal, after school class sign-up, summer camp registration, vendor sponsorships, and post-event fire sales. OneCause Giving Centers enable the PTA to engage their donors all year long and help drive proceeds before, during and after traditional fundraising events.
Along the way, the PTA of PS 59:
- Generated $101,000 in total proceeds with its first mobile bidding event
- More than doubled its Annual Fund to $110,000 by year two with OneCause
- Raised an average of $110,210 each year with mobile bidding events
- Received more than $250,000 in online donations in two years through non-mobile bidding events
Since partnering with OneCause, the PTA of PS 59 has significantly increased supporter engagement and proceeds raised. Schwartz confirms, “We’ve seen a huge increase in online revenue and participation. PS 59 parents like using OneCause. It’s easy for them to go online and make purchases or donations without sending in cash or checks.”