Every K-12 student deserves a high-quality education with access to up-to-date materials, learning technology, and extracurricular opportunities. But for many school budgets, this standard may be out of reach.
Many schools turn to fundraising events and campaigns as a way to make up the difference. But planning a successful school fundraiser often requires a huge amount of time, effort, and expertise that can feel overwhelming.
At 99Pledges, we’re passionate about school fundraising and helping students, teachers, and parents bring in the most revenue possible. Often, running a profitable fundraiser requires bringing in an expert or specialized tool.
If you’ve run school fundraisers in the past, you’ve likely heard of Boosterthon. This fundraising service helps schools across the country run fundraising programs, especially in-person events like fun runs. With many years of experience in the industry, Boosterthon has built a reputation through planning and executing fundraisers for school sports, PTAs, and more.
But the reviews for Boosterthon are often mixed. Parents, teachers, and volunteers may be wondering:
Are the services worth it? What expertise does it bring to the table? How does their programming work? Is it the best option out there? And most importantly, how much does it cost?
If concerns like these are running through your head, then this Boosterthon review will help to address some of your biggest questions.
Ahead, we’ll break down our Boosterthon review into six main elements you should be aware of:
You can jump to the section that answers your biggest question or take it with us from the top. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on whether or not Boosterthon is a good option for your next fundraiser. Let’s get started!
1. Boosterthon’s team controls the entire process.
If you’re looking for an outside expert to plan and manage your fundraiser from start to finish, Boosterthon may be a good fit. The Boosterthon team will coordinate and execute every step of the process, including:
- Program planning
- Daily presentations
- Event finale day
Because they execute so much of the programming, Boosterthon requires a lot of on-site labor to run a fundraiser. They need staff to energize and motivate students, people to handle materials like t-shirts and count money, and athletes to handle the Boosterthon fun run or dance program. Their trained team provides expertise, but the cost of so many staff members can take a significant chunk out of your proceeds.
This level of control leads to a lack of flexibility that may mean your fundraiser is hard to schedule. If you want to plan a program for a certain date, you have to make sure that it falls in one of Boosterthon’s windows of availability. Today’s challenges with in-person and virtual education make flexibility more important than ever for most schools, so this likely a key concern to consider.
2. Boosterthon programming can last up to 9 days.
A Boosterthon fundraiser is more of a campaign than a one-off fundraising event. Their hands-on team has a presence in the school for the duration of the fundraiser, which can last up to nine days.
During this time, Boosterthon tries to maximize excitement among students as much as possible, hopefully boosting total revenue. They create energy through events like pep rallies and daily presentations that often include “character-building” music videos.
These presentations interfere with the regular schedule that students are used to, and many teachers complain that Boosterthon activities are disruptive.
And with such a long timeline, nearly two weeks of valuable learning time are impacted by the event. When considering Boosterthon reviews, it’s important to recognize drawbacks like this as hidden costs to participating.
Now that we’ve gone through some of the hidden costs, we’ll turn the focus of this Boosterthon review to the financial costs of their services.
3. Boosterthon charges a base fee of $2000.
Cost is a huge consideration when trying to pick a fundraising service. You want as much of the proceeds as possible to go directly to the school and create enriching opportunities for students—that’s the point of a fundraiser, after all!
So, fees are probably one of your main Boosterthon concerns. Because of the high level of hands-on service the company provides, they charge a base fee of $2000 to run a school fundraiser.
Their service model requires an upfront investment of materials and labor, so this fee is assessed without considering how much the fundraiser ultimately raises once it’s finished. For smaller schools, this flat fee hits especially hard.
But this isn’t the only fee that Boosterthon charges. On top of the base fee, the company also takes a cut of any revenue raised, which we’ll break down next.
4. Boosterthon keeps nearly half of all funds raised.
Boosterthon’s $2000 base fee is already hefty enough, but that’s not the whole story. Many school fundraising services take a percentage of proceeds as compensation for their effort, and Boosterthon is no exception.
What percentage does Boosterthon take?
In the past, Boosterthon charged a flat 48% on all contributions to a fundraiser—an unusually sum that eliminates nearly half of your hard-earned revenue!
Now, the fee is tiered depending on school size and revenue raised, but it still falls between 40% and 50%. Larger schools could even have to fork over more than half of the final total.
A few reasons for Boosterthon’s high fees are their hands-on approach and the associated staff and material overhead of their business model.
A poor rate of return is commonplace for most fundraising services that act as a “middle man,” like companies that help students sell magazines or cookie dough. If you’re looking for a better option that allows donors to contribute directly to your school, Boosterthon is the wrong choice.
5. Boosterthon has two options: Fun Run or Dance Fit Program.
Finding the best fundraising ideas for kids can be challenging. You want to plan an event or campaign that is engaging for the students participating, simple to execute for parents and teachers, and effective enough to meet your revenue goal.
In your research, you’ve likely seen countless options for school fundraisers. The most effective ideas will depend on the age of your students, but you probably already have a few ideas about what would work best for your community.
If you’re looking for a flexible range of fundraising options to fit the needs of your school, Boosterthon falls flat.
Boosterthon offers only two choices for your fundraiser finale:
- Boosterthon Fun Run. A fun run is one of the most traditional fundraising options. Each student solicits pledges to earn money for each lap that they run. On finale day, students run up to 35 laps as they race to the fundraising finish line. Boosterthon employees will track laps and collect pledges at the end of the race.
- Boosterthon Dance Fit. This option is structured similarly to the fun run, with pledges collected to correspond with minutes danced. On finale day, students complete up to 35 minutes of dance and fitness activities which are tallied by Boosterthon staff.
These options are both classic, tried-and-true fundraisers, but Boosterthon leaves little room to customize the event experience for your school.
If you want to host a different kind of event like a talent show, read-a-thon, or walk-a-thon fundraiser, you’re out of luck.
6. Boosterthon alternatives can raise more and charge less
After reading this Boosterthon review, you’re probably hoping there’s a better solution out there. Luckily, there are plenty of strong alternatives.
While their model takes most of the guesswork out of planning your campaign, fundraising companies like Boosterthon typically aren’t worth the inflexibility and high cost. Instead, you should seek out platforms that simplify and streamline the fundraising process while still allowing schools to retain ownership, control, and most importantly—revenue.
Opting for a more DIY approach allows schools to pocket a significantly higher amount of the funds raised and collected by students.
99Pledges is a leading Boosterthon alternative for schools. Our free fundraising platform makes it easy to create, share, and organize fundraisers while giving schools more control over the entire process.
Like Boosterthon, 99Pledges makes the entire process easy and fun for everyone: organizers, kids, parents, and donors. But 99Pledges is more flexible, less time-consuming, and best of all, free to set up and use!
Let’s compare the two fundraising models.
Up next, we explore just a handful of the reasons that 99Pledges is a superior alternative to pricey fundraising services like Boosterthon.
Variety of fundraiser choices.
99Pledges offers a huge variety of fundraiser choices so that your fundraiser can be as unique as your students.
One of our favorites is the classic walk-a-thon, but the 99Pledges platform also works well for dance-a-thons, hit-a-thons, and more!
99Pledges also offers a variety of socially-distanced and virtual fundraising options that are safe for the COVID-19 era.
Here are just a handful of the many options you can choose from for a 99Pledges fundraiser:
- Walk-a-thon, including themed events like a superhero walk-a-thon
- Home run derby, shoot-a-thon, or other sports fundraisers
- Fun run, jog-a-thon, or color run
- Spell-a-thon or read-a-thon
Any of these fundraisers make it easy to engage students, build community, and collect much-needed funds for your school.
Significantly lower fees.
With 99Pledges, there is no startup cost and a $0 platform fee. The service is completely free to use!
The only fees you’ll ever encounter with 99Pledges are the standard processing fees from credit cards and PayPal—2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. This charge is a small price to pay for the convenience of being able to collect online donations more directly.
Double or triple fundraising revenue.
A 99Pledges fundraiser is not only easier and less expensive than other options, it’s also more effective.
With 99Pledges, users raise 2 to 3 times more than with previous fundraisers. Online donations are on average 25% higher than offline donations. And the easily shareable donation page means you have a much wider reach for less work!
Here are just two examples of how 99Pledges has helped raise fundraising revenue in communities across the country:
- Evergreen Little League in Washington went from $5k to $15k with a 99Pledges home run derby.
- Lincoln Elementary in Florida went from $89k to $185k with a 99Pledges fun run.
A free platform that also improves overall results? Especially when compared to Boosterthon, 99Pledges is a win for everyone.
Flexible and accessible.
99Pledges is available to any school, anywhere, at any size. Companies like Boosterthon typically don’t service smaller or lower-earning schools, but we want to make sure every school has access to powerful fundraising options.
Additionally, 99Pledges is a more flexible fundraising option than Boosterthon. As discussed earlier in this Boosterthon review, you’d have to schedule your fundraiser to fit their timeline.
With 99Pledges, you can launch our simple platform whenever works best for you. Our fundraisers are compatible with whatever format your school year takes, whether remote, in-person, or hybrid.
And unlike Boosterthon, 99Pledges will never lock you into a contract. Parents and teachers who use 99Pledges use it because they love it, not because of a legal obligation.
Simple for kids and parents.
One of the biggest reasons people turn to costly services like Boosterthon is because fundraisers can be confusing, time-consuming, and labor intensive.
99Pledges is easy to use for everyone involved, including:
- Kids and parents. Each child gets their own dedicated fundraising page with stats that fuel healthy competition. It’s quick and easy to share these pages on any platform you choose.
- Organizers. 99Pledges is simple and easy to set up—no need to chase down pledge forms or deal with mountains of paperwork. Running the fundraiser is easier with tools like powerful realtime reporting and simple participant management. Throughout the process, you also get a dedicated fundraising coach and assistance from the 99Pledges team.
- Donors. Supporters can donate from anywhere via web or mobile, so you won’t be limited to your local area. And of course, donor transaction information is private and secure.
Your top priority is the needs of your students. Finding a fundraising solution that fits your community requires a lot of research, but hopefully, this Boosterthon review gave you a stronger idea about the benefits and drawbacks of using the service.
If you’ve decided Boosterthon isn’t a good choice, consider a DIY fundraising platform like 99Pledges. If you’re looking for even more ideas for your next school fundraiser, check out these additional resources for more information:
- 20+ Amazing PTA Fundraising Ideas for Every Occasion. This list offers targeted fundraising ideas for different school levels and situations.
- 30+ Awesome (& Profitable) PTO Fundraising Ideas for Schools. Ready to boost your PTO’s fundraising outcomes? Check out this roundup of ideas.
- 35+ Best Sports Fundraising Ideas to Raise More in 2020. These fundraisers are perfect for a team booster club or just an athletic group of students.