Here’s some feedback from Karen Whelan, Year 6 teacher and computing lead, who headed up a very successful fundraising project for her school Ardleigh Green, on why she would most definitely use Rocket Fund again.
- Money raised: £1,544
- Equipment purchased: 12 Chromebooks
Why did you want to create a project on Rocket Fund?
Two years ago, we took the decision to use our budget on purchasing one Chromebook per Year 6 student. It was an absolute game-changer and we saw a massive increase in confidence and coding skills. We wanted to extend this service by year group to reach our Year 5s, as we believe it has such a positive effect on learning.
We didn’t have the funds to pay for it from the school budget, so decided to run a Rocket Fund campaign instead!
What did you learn from the experience?
That I’m pretty persuasive! I liked that Rocket Fund was online, it meant that we could share it, spread it, tweet it – get it around really quickly and to a massive audience. It’s an easy way to share what we’re doing. Also, I liked that other teachers could get involved – three of our teachers swam a mile of the Thames!
Every time the parents were around, we’d ask them to donate, we tweeted daily… we annoyed people for a month, but it really worked!
Would you recommend Rocket Fund to other schools and why?
Oh yes, definitely yes.
The fact that you had helpful hints of what to say for each section really helped, as well as having someone on the phone to tell you what will work and what won’t. Having the capability of a video to hook people in was really helpful too.
It wasn’t a difficult process to have to go through, especially if you consider the impact and gain we received. The hardest bit was at the start: writing it, sending it off. Once that’s done, it’s about sharing, building up momentum and getting it out there.
How would you have raised the money without Rocket Fund?
We would have eventually, but it would have taken a long time to save the money. It’s a long-term goal to get Chromebooks for every year group. Raising money through Rocket Fund now means that we have enough for each Year 5 student as well as some for Years 3 and 4!
What do you think were your most successful ways of communicating with your funders?
Our school website was a major channel. ClassDojo (the behavioural software) tweeted a lot, and we made sure we used the same hashtags consistently. We created a cool video and showed it whenever parents were in school for plays, concerts etc. and we explained how beneficial it would be to the students. We went to the local press as well and made sure we provided them with pictures.
How were your students involved in the project?
They were involved in the video-making and producing some content for social media. I spoke to them a lot throughout the process and got them on-side so that they could help to spread the word and explain to people why we were doing it. They learned a lot about fundraising and also communications.
What would you say to others who were interested?
Choose a realistic target that you can actually achieve – because you can go above that anyway – and really put some effort into sharing it. It can be really successful if you do it, rather than just forgetting about it!
Have you ever used a crowdfunding platform before?
I’d done personal things, races etc, but nothing for school.
Would you fundraise through Rocket Fund again?
Yes! I’m keen to take part in wave 3, to fundraise for the Year 3’s Chromebooks! I want to get the children more involved still, perhaps by doing a sponsored walk…