Epsom Primary School’s PTA signed up for a Ralloo campaign and were sponsored by Bloom & Wild. Within eight days they had raised £1,000 without asking parents for a single penny. Here’s how they did it.
When the Family and Friends of Epsom Primary School heard about Ralloo, they were keen to try it. They had a project and a budget in mind. Their aim was to refurbish a neglected part of the school playground to create a quiet area to give the children a peaceful and reflective space that will support their emotional well-being. To help achieve this, the parent group registered for Ralloo with the aim of bagging £1,000 through non-event fundraising to set them well on the way to reaching their target.
Ralloo is an online fundraising platform - and what's more, it's free for PTAs to register and use. Ralloo pairs PTAs with recognised brand sponsors, which ask them to perform a few simple actions online ranging from watching short video promotions to sharing links on social media. Anyone with internet access can take part. It's quick, fun, easy, and completely free! PTAs can monitor their Ralloo campaign page to see how many points they have gathered through the actions of their supporters, and how much money this translates into.
Catherine Grinyer, chair of the Friends group, takes up the story. “When I heard about Ralloo, I thought it sounded interesting and a bit different. I took the idea to the committee and we decided to go for it.” With an outdoors project, the Epsom Friends were sponsored by florist shop Bloom & Wild and they set a target of reaching £1,000 in ten days by asking parents, friends and community members to visit their Ralloo campaign page and follow a few simple interactions with Bloom & Wild.
The appeal of fundraising through Ralloo
“It was really easy to set up,” Catherine said. “Once we’d registered, I could see that, as a concept, the campaign would be easy to communicate to parents, and they’d support it because the commitment was giving their time – and even then only a few clicks – rather than money. It was something that parents could do on their smartphones or iPads, so they could contribute to our campaign on the hoof or even from the comfort of their armchairs.”
Great communication - the key to success
To meet the target, the Friends group had to not only inform parents about the fundraiser but get them excited about it, too. Catherine explains: “We have a very active PTA Facebook page, which was our primary communication channel. For each year group, there’s also a closed Facebook group for parents – so we made sure all of the class representatives shared the campaign across every private group. It was really easy. If you see the campaign link on Facebook, it’s not a big step from then completing the Bloom & Wild tasks. Once you’ve got them on social media, you’re half way there.”
You don’t have to have Facebook or other social media profiles to register for Ralloo or take part in a campaign – there are plenty of ways to interact with the sponsors. The Epsom Friends used other channels to communicate. “We promoted it via direct mail to the subscribers on our PTA website as well as making sure it was included in the school newsletter and school midweek reminders. We also had a word with the teacher who was leading the playground redevelopment project and they agreed to use the internal mail to send the campaign link to every member of staff. Basically, we badgered everybody to do it!”
Conveying the message - asking for time and not money
Catherine notes how interest gathered once parents knew the small request being asked of them. “As a PTA, we’re often asking parents for their money and sometimes to dedicate a lot of their time by attending events or contributing goods. This was a refreshing approach that asked for no money and only a tiny time commitment, so it was very well-received by the parents.”
Spreading the word far and wide
People in the wider community were soon involved. “We saw parents asking their friends and family, ‘Please, just do it, it’s for my child’s school.’ So it snowballed. Two crucial things for us were that we have community Facebook groups in our town – one a parents’ page and another a social listings page. They both posted about our Ralloo campaign, so there was reach beyond our immediate parent community. One community member said she went around her office and made all her colleagues do it. Another one was chatting to people in a café near the school and showed people how they could help on their phones. It was really easy to access the campaign anywhere. There was reach beyond our immediate parent community. Everyone got behind it. It was a great campaign, and so many people wanted to share it and show their support for our school.” After an incredible communication effort by the PTA, 332 people supported their campaign in little over a week.
Reflecting on the success of the campaign
“We’d definitely recommend Ralloo,” Catherine enthused. “It’s a fun and innovative way of raising money for a specific project that can really boost your fundraising efforts. Not every parent can come to events – but using Ralloo is something anybody can do. All you need it a few minutes of internet access. I’d 100% recommend it to other PTAs.”
What should other PTAs bear in mind when signing up for a Ralloo campaign?
We asked Catherine for a few pointers. “You need to identify a strong project and get some images and write a bit of copy to explain it in a way that makes it obvious what you want to achieve and also captures the imagination. You need to plan ahead how and when to communicate your project. Ask yourself when the school newsletter goes out and make sure you have all the information together before you launch.”
The end result
Catherine brings us up to date on what their Ralloo campaign has achieved. “With minimal effort from the PTA we bagged £1,000 in eight days. What more do you want? As for the quiet area in the playground, it’s almost there. We have removed broken flagstones and replaced them with astroturf. We’ve painted a pagoda and ordered some giant planters so we can put some new flowers and herbs in. Bloom & Wild said they’ll give us a plaque that we can put up to celebrate the finished quiet area. We’ll soon be putting some screens up as well as suncatchers and windchimes to create an oasis of calm in a busy playground. The children are desperate to get in there. It’s been a fantastic project.”
Learn more about how your PTA can register for Ralloo.
Note: the photo of Epsom Primary School's new playground quiet area shows it prior to final completion.
"There was a feeling of pride from parents that they were sharing in something new and innovative that was ultimately going to benefit the school, especially as the campaign was associated with a strong brand like Bloom & Wild." Catherine Grinyer, PTA Chair.