Big Upgrades for 2017

As always we are making upgrades to the FundMonkey campaign management platform to provide more services and to make it easier to use.

Here are a few of the upgrades implemented for the 2017 season.

  1. We added new language to the animation overlay when sending emails and donation codes from FundMonkey.   The new overlay reminds users that sending hundreds of emails can take a few minutes and navigating away from the sending screen will stop the process.  So, the new language reminds users to sit tight and wait for the process to finish.
  2. We changed the language for credit cards that are declined.  Credit card donations require the donor to input accurate information.  If the card information is inaccurate, the credit card gateway will reject the transaction. FundMonkey would report back with a message that said “Credit Card Declined” when in fact it may have not been processed.  Last year we had 6 or 7 donors call us with the complaint that we were declining their cards.  And when we entered the donation manually, the card went through.   The new message says “Oops, something went wrong” and provides options for donors to retry, by turning off autofill in their browser, or switching to a different browser.
  3. We add proceeds from online registration fees to the Fundraising page thermometer.  Before they had to be added manually.
  4. We made a slight change to the online registration capabilities so when participants select an event.  If the second event is enabled, the second event, won’t auto-populate the adult or student section.   It worked fine, it was just confusing to users.

New Feature:

We’re pretty excited about our newest feature.  Many fundraising parents think that their unique code should allow them to log into the site, but the code is only for managing online donations.

Even though we send donation confirmation emails to both the donor and the participant, sometimes that isn’t enough.  Or sometimes, those emails may end up in a spam folder or the parent has a wrong email address on file.

Now Your fundraising administrator can Select “Lookup Online Donations” in the “Edit Your FundMonkey Page” menu and select “Yes or No” on “Enable Donation Code Lookup”.

Selecting “Yes” will create a new blue button “Look Up donations or codes” Using your email address, you can lookup your donation codes and amounts for all participants that share your email address. Entering the donation code will also show donations for that participant.

Typing in your donation code or email address will result in the following information being displayed.

This tool should answer a lot of questions from parents and make the campaign portion of your fundraiser MUCH smoother.

 

 

 

 

FundMonkey Helps Central Iowa Schools to Raise $240,000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/5/2016

CONTACT:
Shannon Godwin
Executive Director
515-371-7321
shannon@empowermentsolutions.net

FundMonkey™ partners with central Iowa schools to help PTO/PTA groups raise over $240,000 dollars.

Launched in 2012, FundMonkey is the second generation of campaign management software designed to help fundraising groups raise more money with event-based fundraisers such as Walks and Fun Runs.

Typical fundraisers consist of food and product sales where schools keep from 40 to 45% of the proceeds.  FundMonkey customers typically keep between 90 and 95% of their fundraising proceeds (after expenses) and usually double or triple their total fundraising revenue.  FundMonkey helps schools raise more money for technology, field trips and learning materials.

Shannon Godwin states, “The events by themselves, don’t raise money, it’s the fundraising campaign behind the event that raises money.”

“Parents and friends usually prefer to donate money rather than buy food and products from school children.  FundMonkey shows fundraising groups the process for raising money in a campaign with our proven software, social media, emails, in-person donations, a fundraising web page and tracking online donations by student, teacher and grade level.  PTO/PTA leaders can log into their management screen and see which classroom has raised the most money online and motivate students through prizes or special privileges”, Godwin concludes.

FundMonkey wants to thank all the parents and volunteers who invest their time and talents to help the children in their local schools.  FundMonkey was created for them.

 

School Fundraising Page Event Date
Norwalk Elementary Schools – Norwalk, IA http://warriordash.fundmonkey.com/ 9/20/2016 & 9/27/2016
Prairie Trail Elementary – Ankeny http://prairiedogdash.fundmonkey.com/ Wednesday – 10/5/2016
Webster Elementary – Urbandale, IA http://websterelementarypto.fundmonkey.com/ Thursday – 10/6/2016
Woodland Hills Elementary – West Des Moines, IA http://woodlandhills.fundmonkey.com/ Friday – 10/7/2016
Clive Learning Academy – Clive, IA http://cla.fundmonkey.com/ Friday – 10/7/2016
Grant Ragan Elementary – Waukee, IA http://grantragan.fundmonkey.com/ Friday – 10/14/2016
Woodward-Granger Elementary – Granger, IA http://wgpto.fundmonkey.com/ Friday – 10/14/2016

FundMonkey Celebrates Milestone

FundMonkey processed it’s ten thousandth online donation on October 4th, 2016 at exactly 9:50pm.

“10,000 individual donations just kind of snuck up on us”, stated Shannon Godwin. “It was only a few years ago we were testing the online donations and the credit card capability for the first time.  We would like to thank the PTO groups who spend their time and talents with their schools in supporting the children.  We are very humbled to play a part in your fundraising success.”

2016 Fundraising Campaigns are Underway!

We are excited about the start of the 2016 Fundraising season.  Customers from the previous year continue to come back and we’re also signing up new customers every Spring and Fall. FundMonkey makes it so easy for your parents, friends and family to donate online.  More and more schools are using FundMonkey to manage their fundraising campaign.  We help them promote their generous sponsors on their fundraising page, communicate with parents and process online donations.

Thank you to all of our customers who’ve helped to make FundMonkey a success and we promise to continue improving FundMonkey and helping our Fundraising customers continue to double or triple their fundraising proceeds.

 

Change Log: 7-1-16 – New Virtual Servers

Over the summer, FundMonkey engineers were working on a major upgrade to enhance security, scalability and performance.  To that end, we not only moved our servers to a new data center, we also moved the software over to the most recent Windows Server application on a virtual platform.

The new platform will allow us to add processing and storage capacity as needed without further upgrades.

After the transfer, we flipped the switches and turned everything back on. We started testing the software and the many variables offered in FundMonkey.  There are two types of testing:

  1. We test assuming everything is correct.  We do everything right to see if we get the desired result.  This test is easy.
  2. Next we test the software doing different things WRONG along the way to see how the software reacts to mistakes.   This set of testing is even more important than the first set and believe me, it is also more difficult.

While we can test sending a couple emails and processing donations, we can’t test, processing thousands of donations per day and sending hundreds of emails at a time.

The Geeks at FundMonkey are both confident and nervous heading into the Fall 2016 fundraising season. We were excited about pushing the limits of our new servers in the new hosting environment and monitoring the results.

 

Change Log: 3-17-16 – Moved Servers to new Data Center

Late this Winter, the engineers at FundMonkey started the process of moving our servers to a new data center in Altoona, IA – hosted by LightEdge Solutions.   The new data center provides several redundancies including power backup, environmental controls and is able to withstand winds up to 200 mph.

This upgrade is part one of a two part upgrade with the second part requiring an upgrade of our current servers to a virtual environment using the latest Windows Server operating systems and unlimited storage, processing power and bandwidth.

Please bear with us as we complete these upgrades in order to meet the growing demand of new customers to the FundMonkey family.

Revenue vs. Profits

Since most of our customers are volunteer fundraising groups, there is often confusion about how they should report fundraising results.  Should they report total fundraising revenue or total profits?

Many of our customers have the majority of their experience with sales of candy, food and products as a “fundraising” mechanism.  In this environment, the fundraising “profits” is the money you keep after the cost of the “sold products” and sales commissions (already built into the cost of the products) are deducted from your total proceeds. Profits for this type of fundraising are usually around 40 to 50% and they are shrinking every year.

ThermomterFor event-based fundraisers like walks and runs, each fundraiser starts with 100% profit. But then, of course, each fundraiser will have expenses and those expenses can be variable from year to year. Fundraising participants don’t have control of expenses. In fact the only aspect of the fundraiser the participants, as a group, have control is the amount of money they raise and the amount of work that goes into meeting fundraising goals.

Therefore, many professional organizations which sponsor fundraising events will stick to reporting total fundraising revenue to their participants and donors. National organizations with highly paid CEO’s with expenses as high as 50 to 70% will still report total fundraising revenue.

At FundMonkey, we know that our fundraising customers are MUCH more efficient than many national organizations and will typically realize total fundraising profits of 90% or more after all expenses.  Therefore, go ahead and report your total fundraising proceeds and give your fundraisers and their families a big pat on the back for all their hard work.

And remember, rely on your responsible event planners and campaign managers to use best practices and make the right choices when making spending decisions for your fundraising activity.

Summertime Planning for Your Fundraiser

We usually suggest that it takes about 60 to 90 days to plan and host your fundraising event in order to achieve maximum results.

This Spring, a school held their first fundraising event with us, and did it all in only 4 weeks, from their initial phone call to their event date.   Their goal was only $9,000, however, they raised over $18,000 dollars with profits of around 95%.  We love this story!

After the dust was settled I’m sure the question was there, nagging in the background…. “How much more $ could we have raised with just a little more planning?”  We know this question well, because we’ve heard it before.

Here are a few simple things you can do over your summer vacation to prepare for your Fall Fundraiser.

1.  Register your event early – We have so much information available on our website, that registering early and accessing the know-how page will give you a HUGE head start!

You will also have time to experiment with your Pride Page, the Event Management tools and the Pride Pledge transaction server.

Don’t be afraid to test these services.  Add yourself as a participant, experiment with the email gateway and make a $1 donation to see how the system works.    

2.  Prepare for some ‘light’ reading – In the exclusive know-how section you will have access to our integrated “Step-by-Step” guide.   Here you will find 17 links with detailed information about planning your event, managing a successful campaign and hosting your fundraiser.

Reading on VacationAt the bottom of each page is a link that reads “Printer-Friendly Page”.  Make your pages printer friendly, print them and store them in a binder for light reading between snoozes in your hammock.

3.  Download and Edit Forms and Fliers –   You’ll find several sample letters, forms and fliers on our Know-how page.  Each of these documents is in Microsoft Word format.

You are welcome to download and edit each document for your specific event as needed.  Each of these documents is formatted to print on your event stationery.

If you have an idea for a new document that helped with your event, send it to us.  We’ll post it for others to use!

4.  Talk to Potential Business Sponsors – Much of the pre-planning that we suggest is preparation for your kickoff.  Your goal is to have all the business sponsors and donated prizes lined up before your kickoff.

Use the materials in your starter kit and the sample letters on the Know-how page to send letters and donation forms to local businesses and request cash or in-kind contributions.

A week after sending the letters, assign event committee members to follow up with your potential businesses sponsors.  Inform potential sponsors of the viral nature of your custom Pride Page and how many views you expect your page will receive during your campaign.

5.  Get Email Addresses – After several years, we think we’ve discovered the formula for fundraising success:  Communication + Motivation = Participation = Donation

Manage your event from your home computer.   Our tools will allow you to share your event, contests and incentives directly with participants or their parents via email.

Blue Email IconTake-home fliers and “backpack stuffers”  may also work, but only if they find their way out of the backpacks.

You should also send pledge codes and your custom Pride Page link by email at least twice a week, significantly increasing participation and donations!

Getting email addresses for your participants will significantly increase communications with participants and parents and increase the success of your fundraising campaign!  Take time during the summer to determine your strategy and update your mailing list.

6.  Trust your brain –  With all the reading and thinking about your fundraising event during the summer, you will become very familiar with our system and the steps for hosting a successful event.

Soon you will develop instincts on the best way to approach your event.  Trust those instincts, trust your brain!  If you’re still unsure, just give us a call, and we’ll happily share our experience with you.

When you return from your vacation, you will be refreshed and ready to hit the ground running.

In just a few short weeks, while tanning on the beaches, you’ve become your group’s, fundraising expert, and you’ll be able to make thoughtful, informed decisions with our experience, resources and know-how at your service!

 

 

Popular Questions about Healthy Fundraising

We receive several questions about how much we charge for our campaign management software and why it’s a valuable part of your fun-run and walk-a-thon. Hopefully this will answer a lot of your questions.

Q. How much does the campaign management software cost?

The licensing fee is only $149 dollars, perhaps less if you have a promotion code. Best of all, there are NO monthly fees! All returning customers will receive a promo code for a $50 discount the following year.

Q: What is included with the Licensing Fee?

A. The FundMonkey license allows users to setup their account, create their fundraising webpage, create donation codes for participants, send bulk email to participants and manage online donations by participant, group and group leader (grade level and teacher). You also have access to our know-how page to help improve your fundraising success. Don’t forget our excellent customer service!

Q: How long is the software license good fore?

A: Your campaign remains active in our system until you close your event. Closing your event at the end of your fundraiser, will render your account and pledge codes inactive. All funds collected online will be sent to the physical mailing address provided at registration. Your fundraising page will still be visible but you will not have access for editing. Please make any post-event changes before closing your account.

Q. Are there credit card processing fees?

A. Yes, our total for online transactions is only 9%. We split that with the bank to cover all the transaction and monthly security fees. Overall bank fees are roughly 4% of each transaction and FundMonkey charges 5% to help cover our expenses and pay our staff for a total of 9% fees for only the transactions we process online.

Remember, you keep 100% of the donations you collect in person and 100% of the funds received from business sponsors.

Q. Is there software I have to install?

A. There is no software to install. As long as you have an Internet Browser such as FireFox or Internet Explorer and an Internet connection you are ready to get started.

FundMonkey is a web-based platform. You will setup your fundraising webpage, upload participants or enable online registration, communicate with participants and process donations online through our secure credit card gateway using your web browser.

Q: How do we use the FundMonkey to maximize our proceeds?

A: We have a proven formula that has been shown to work time and again: “Communication + Motivation = Participation = Donation”. With this in mind, the campaign management tools are designed to maximize your proceeds.

Start by uploading participant information and email addresses into our system. Our system will automatically create donation codes for each participant. Don’t worry about sharing this information with us, it is jealously guarded per our privacy policy.

Use the campaign management tools to email hundreds of donation codes to participants. The email includes fundraisng webpage and donation codes and encourages use of social media to make your fundraiser go viral and increase online donations throughout the campaign.

Participants will be notified, by email, each time a donation is made with their code.

You can also use the bulk email tool to send custom emails to all your participants and/or parents. Sharing information about contests and prizes will create competition among your participants.

Regular communication with parents and participants using the Event Management tools WILL increase participation and maximize your proceeds.

Q: Do we have to use ALL the services and ideas available on the know-how page?

A: Once you register your campaign with us, you are welcome to use as much or as little of the services and materials we provide. Your registered campaign license is for YOUR unique event. We’ll respect your wishes and do our best to provide a helping hand and sound advice, we want everyone to be successful.

In addition, your event will grow every year and you’ll have the flexibility to try different things each year. Many of your ideas will be very successful, if so, please share them with us and we’ll share them with the rest of our newsletter subscribers.

Nodland Sunnyside Case Study

Group Name: Nodland-Sunnyside PTA
Event Type: Walk for Pride
Challenges:  First ever Walk-a-thon
Opportunity: Make a Change from Catalog Sales
Goal:  $18,000 from students

When Nodland-Sunnyside PTA decided to host their first ever Walk For Pride, they did so with hesitation.  Their two schools, Nodland Elementary and Sunnyside Elementary, really depend on the proceeds from their annual catalog fundraiser to meet their financial needs.  Risking that revenue would strain their already tight buNodland Walk for Pride Photodget.

After their PTA group held a conference call with Pride Fundraising’s support staff, they made the decision to move forward.

With the tools, advice and know-how provided by Pride Fundraising, Nodland-Sunnyside started with a focus on community and parental involvement.   Emily, event co-chair, shares her experience below.

“We started by soliciting donations from area businesses.  Some of these businesses were owned or managed by parents of students; we also concentrated on businesses located near our school and the college track where we would be holding our event.  These businesses were given advertising space on ourPride Page and on t-shirts.

We raised nearly $5,000 in cash from local businesses, enough to easily cover the costs associated with the event, such as participant t-shirts and bounce houses. We had many other businesses donate prizes, water, food, and items for the goodie bags.

We kicked off the event with a rally at both elementary schools. The kids were told that if we hit our school goal, Principal. Hansen would get a pair of green shoes that he’d have to wear for a whole week to all of his meetings.  As an incentive, the kids all received their own little green high-top sneaker keychains.

The packets were sent home with all the students. These packets were ready for pledges and included several of the templates downloaded from Pride Fundraising’s Event Know-How page.  Each packet had letters for the parents, t-shirt order forms and “Employee Matching Gift” forms for parents’ employers to potentially double their contributions.

Parents were asked to help primarily with the event itself by volunteering to mark off laps, man the first aid station, sell water & snack mix, register participants. Other parents assisted with sorting t-shirts and filling the participant goodie bags.  A select group of parents were needed during the campaign.  Each Friday morning and afternoon they would tally weekly pledges for two schools.

During the campaign, each week for 3 weeks leading up to the event, we collected packets on Fridays.  Volunteers collected money, tallied pledges, marked the pledges tallied, on the envelopes, with highlighters and handed the packets back.

We held a contest every Friday for the most packets turned in for each classroom, not the most money raised.  We announced the winners on Monday.  The winning class got a prize, like granola bars.  The kids really enjoyed hearing their class announced over the loud speaker.

We also drew names from each school from the list of kids who turned in their packets. We drew 5 names per week from each school for a variety of prizes.

In Summary, the response from the parents and community was fantastic.  The event itself was held on a beautiful September afternoon – everyone in attendance had a great time and enjoyed the day and activities. Students were awarded a participation certificate with the number of laps.

Our first year participation was around 40%.  I was a little disappointed by that number, but am reminded that as this event grows each year; our numbers will increase as well.  Even with 40% participation, we met our fundraising goal.  I don’t have the data to compare this participation level to previous years.

Because we hit our goal, Mr. Hansen was “awarded” a pair of green Converse shoes.  He proudly wore them to all of his meetings and even our holiday programs in December.  We also had a “pie eating contest” wherein Mr. Hansen got green pie in the face. The students participating in that event were randomly selected from all the students who achieved their $100 goal. We even had local news on hand to record the event.  The video was aired on the evening and morning news.

The FundMonkey staff was great to work with and we are already making plans for next year.  Our goal is to get our business sponsorships sooner, before the kickoff.  We will also get more e-mail addresses from parents and use the Event Management tools for informing parents of the easy-to-use, online donation tools.

We’re very excited about the potential for next year’s Walk for Pride.”

Emily (Event Co-Chair)

Nodland-Sunnyside PTA