The Virtual Pivot: How Booster Has Been Bringing the Heart and the Hype Remotely
By Stephen Murray, Boosterthon President
Booster loves to innovate. Over my 13 years at Booster, we’ve always improved our fundraiser offerings to better serve our clients, to make the student-experience more remarkable, to make fundraising even more successful and easy for parent volunteers and administrators. We’ve created personalized Student Star Videos, new fitness events, a top fundraising platform from scratch, and an entire spirit wear service, to name a few.
But all our innovations have largely been on our terms and timeline.
When Covid hit back in March 2020, I never thought we’d have to reimagine our fundraiser for a scenario where on-campus learning was completely put on hold.
As school closures rolled from two weeks to the remainder of the Spring semester, our Booster team quickly shifted to a singular focus—create a virtual fundraising option that schools would love. We saw the writing on the wall for schools who needed to spend substantial additional funds on virtual learning tech, family and tuition support funds, and increased safety measures for re-openings—school communities would need more funds than ever before.
So, how can a fundraiser known for bringing hundreds of people together at events, enthusiastic high-fives, exceptional in-person client care, and investing in students bring that same magic virtually?
Here’s how we made the pivot to virtual fundraising, so that our clients could still experience everything they love about our program.
The Heart—The Booster Team’s Virtual Engagement
In order to bring the same level of care and fun that our team typically brings on campus with our full service option, we got creative with delivering fun experiences in a virtual setting.
Our team has always loved doing special things for teachers and classes that go beyond the fundraiser—our team exists to strengthen schools and make an impact on the next generation—so Boosterthon team members look for ways to create remarkable moments for people.
From being surprise mystery readers on Zoom, to Dance Parties and Dance Breaks, to teaching character lessons and even being guest teacher assistants, our team goes the extra mile to make our program exciting and fun for virtual students. As well as being a help to teachers juggling remote teaching. We hear back stories about shy students who never turn their camera on during learning, decide to show their face and wave when the Booster team remotely visits their classroom. For every way our team used to make an impact on classrooms in person, we find a new way to do it virtually. I’ve been so impressed with the creativity and care from our team members.
For schools who want to get their families together safely, our team has even hosted drive thru prize pick up events, where families will drive through carline with music blasting and people dancing. It’s a great way to bring families together while they are a part.
The Hype—Virtual Event Days
Boosterthon is known for our big, fun event days that brings the whole school and even invites parents and other family to come out and cheer. So what do the big event days look like virtually?
For students learning at home, we have a virtual event day experience that is unlike any other. Schools are loving our new Dance Fit program created in partnership with Just Dance, the legendary dance game. Students follow along to fun group dances, peppered with fitness exercises during the 30 minute event. It’s all facilitated through Zoom, so classmates and teachers can see each other while participating in the event. My own young kids were early testers of Dance Fit program and absolutely loved it. It was confirmation that the rest of the country would likely too.
And as many schools are coming back on campus, administrators are enjoying DanceFit because students can properly social-distance while participating in-doors or outside.
If visitors can be on campus, one fun surprise our team loves to do is join the teachers in their classroom to participate in DanceFit while students are dancing at home.
Catey Nossi, Principal of Wanda Hirsch Elementary in California, just finished her school’s virtual DanceFit program, where they beat their fundraising goal by more than $1,000.
“Kids love Just Dance! And the event had great music and great activities. They loved it. Most of our teachers were dancing the whole time. It was a lot of fun!”
Much like going virtual hasn’t stopped educators from finding innovative was to teach their students, I’m proud of our team who developed options that still allow schools to host a successful fundraiser while also engaging their students both on-campus and remotely.
Because both funds and fun are more critical than ever this school year and into the next.