Last year, the Austin Waldorf School raised $13,000 for their school and created 13 blankets for Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF) to distribute with a knit-a-thon fundraiser. This year, they’re knitting scarves and hats for MLF and have increased their fundraising goal to $18,000. Key to their event is the Casting Off Party on February 20, 2010. This day, friends and family will come together to join the knitted squares into scarves, and to celebrate a day of games, food, and entertainment including live music. Hosting a silent auction and money spent at the party will bring in even more revenue for the overall knit-a-thon event.
Amid all the preparation, planning, and knitting, Chairperson Cinnamon Nemec took some time to share some insight with us into putting on a great fundraiser.
How did Austin Waldorf decide on a Knit-a-thon as a school fundraiser?
A Knit-a-thon fundraiser builds our community within while reaching out to community. For instance, the Casting Off Party celebrates our entire community and demonstrates our commitment to reaching out. We want our kids to think outside of themselves and what better way than having them help others?
The Knit-a-thon builds our community within as it brings groups together that normally don’t spend time together. For example, it pulls parents of high schoolers together with parents of elementary school children as they participant in their children’s fundraising efforts.
Also, knitting really fits into our curriculum well. Knitting develops fine motor skills, requires focused will, necessitates practical math, and produces a beautiful expression from the knitter. This is one example of why an education from Austin Waldorf School is so extraordinary. Through lessons like handwork, which students take from first through twelfth grades, our students learn more than the 3 Rs. For the modern world, no other methodology provides students with the breadth and depth of experience that a Waldorf Education provides.
How does knit-a-thon fundraiser work? What is the sequence of events?
The “Casting On” Open House on January 9, 2010 marked the official start of the Knit-a-Thon. Kids, family, alumni, and friends starting raising money by collecting pledges per knitted 8” square and flat donations. Everyone has until the Casting Off Party on February 20 to collect donations and knit. On the 20th, we will gather to join our knitted squares into scarves and to drop off completed scarves and hats which will be distributed through Mobile Loaves & Fishes to people who need them.
I see that you provide plenty of opportunities for people who want to participate but don’t know how to knit.
Yes, we make it easy for them. They can learn to knit at the Casting On Party or from one of the Knit-a-Thon sponsored teachers or classes or from an AWS student. They can also create a pledge page and get sponsors while we provide them with a “ghost-knitter”, someone who will knit squares for them. And we’ll need help at the Casting Off Party, like sewing the scarves together and obtaining auction items. Finally, they can simply pledge to support a registered knitter.
Were you able to get sponsorship on the needles and yarn?
I noticed that registration includes a nice starter kit: a set of wooden knitting needles, a ball of yarn, pledge sheet, instructions for knitting squares and fundraising sample letters!
Why did your group decide to go with DoJiggy for fundraising software?
We really appreciated the free trial and getting a chance to work on our website before committing to a subscription. The crowdfunding platform was user friendly and easy to set up. This is important to us since we have a wide range of skills and it needs to be doable for everyone. We liked that everyone has a personal fundraising page. The software is well priced and the customer service is excellent!
Do you have any recommendations for a school looking for an appropriate fundraiser?
Look at the community as a whole. Make sure your fundraiser fits your community and that everyone feels comfortable participating.
* Read more School Fundraising Ideas!