Fundraising has long been the primary funding source for enrichment programs at schools across the country, with school groups raising more than $1.5 billion per year on average. In our new era of virtual and hybrid learning, school fundraising is moving online too, prompting the rise of the virtual readathon.
We all know that literacy is essential. The more students read, the more likely they are to test well in reading, math, and science. Virtual readathons incentivize your students to read while raising money for school projects and programs, so students get twice the benefit from a single fundraiser.
Readathons are customizable, accessible, and fun for kids, but they also have many practical benefits. In this blog post, we’ll explore four reasons your school should host a virtual readathon this year.
Virtual readathons are less work for your staff, and are often more effective than traditional alternatives. With a virtual readathon, you are centering reading, not products—so donors don’t need to purchase anything to show their support. Virtual readathons are also more flexible, with virtual payment options and no need to coordinate orders and deliveries.
For many schools, planning less labor-intensive events is pivotal, as they face a shrinking pool of parent volunteers. A PTA leader in California, who uses Beanstack for readathons, puts it this way: "We are lacking volunteers now that folks need to work more hours, so we always are looking for ways to cut the amount of work we issue to volunteers. Beanstack cuts down that time!" With a readathon, volunteers, staff, and administrators can focus on planning a fun and educational event for kids—not managing inventory.
Most schools are fundraising because they want to provide resources that school budgets just don’t cover. With school library budgets shrinking and districts cutting back on art and music classes, schools are often left to fund these essential programs on their own.
Readathons are a great way to boost your dwindling school library budget and pay for new books, e-readers, laptops, and other supplies that improve your library media center. And when you opt for a virtual readathon powered by Beanstack, you get to keep more of your money. Unlike many fundraising alternatives, with Beanstack, 90% of the funds you raise go directly to your school—a much higher percentage than offered by any other readathon partner, book fair, or product fundraiser.
If we learned anything during the pandemic, it’s the value of flexibility and versatility. Virtual readathons are designed for the digital age and are much more adaptable than other traditional fundraisers. Plus, because all the fundraising happens online, there’s no cash or checks to handle. People can easily donate from anywhere in the world—so students can receive support from their distant friends and relatives. Many Beanstack clients have experienced incredible results after moving to an online fundraising model. For example, one school with fewer than 400 students raised more than $35,000 from their virtual readathon, during the height of the pandemic when fundraising numbers were down.
The biggest reason administrators gravitate toward readathons is the educational benefit. Readathons encourage students to read independently, which studies show can dramatically improve students’ academic performance and social-emotional health. And with two out of three American children reading below the national standard, administrators and educators alike are on the hunt for creative ways to get their students to pick up a book and hone those skills. How effective are readathons? One Beanstack client reported a whopping 98% participation rate for their virtual readathon, meaning that almost every child in the school read for some amount of time during the fundraising period.
Hosting a virtual readathon is a creative way to incentivize students to read while supporting school programs. To get started, your school should choose a platform that will streamline the planning process and make it easy for students to track their progress and meet their goals.
Beanstack includes the ability to design and implement customizable reading fundraisers as part of our annual subscription. And unlike other platforms, we only take a small percentage of your profits to cover processing fees, so 90% of your students’ hard-earned money stays in your community.
Are you ready to start reading for a good cause? Learn more about how Beanstack can power your next reading fundraiser.
See how Beanstack can power your next fundraiser.