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Top 3 Tips for Growing Your School Spirit While Online

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The start of the COVID-19 pandemic presented numerous obstacles for education professionals. Within days, schools had to shift to an entirely virtual classroom setting for an undetermined amount of time. But considering the severity of the changes, the education world has been incredibly resilient and adaptable.

From hosting virtual school fundraisers to developing new applications to assist students in the transition to remote learning, we’ve seen some ingenious adaptations come out of the pandemic. As an educational professional yourself, you’ve seen the positive impact of these digital tools, but we’ve also seen the benefits of maintaining school spirit. School spirit is the driving force behind keeping your school activities afloat and your community strong.

One of the most effective ways to promote school spirit is by hosting a school fundraiser and equipping your students and staff with the technology they need to thrive while working online. With a fundraiser, you can generate pride and support for your school and bring your community together to achieve a common goal. And, when your school community has the tech tools it needs to take on online learning, you can help your students thrive even amid challenging circumstances.  

Specifically, here are a few ways to maintain school spirit even if remote learning is still part of the norm for your school: 

  • Host engaging virtual events
  • Provide a positive mobile experience for students
  • Get everyone involved in fundraising efforts

Let's dive into three of our favorite ways to maintain school spirit while learning and teaching from home for the foreseeable future.

Host engaging virtual events

Typically school fundraising events are highly anticipated experiences that students and staff alike look forward to. However, when schools are in a virtual setting, it's hard to maintain that sense of excitement. The solution? We recommend investigating your options for hosting virtual fundraising events. 

Virtual school fundraising events can look like anything from online talent shows to remote walkathons completed in a neighborhood or a local trail. Students will love that their school is engaging them in non-academic ways to foster a sense of community, even while they’re apart. Here’s how you can drum up school spirit from just a simple event that people can participate in from their living rooms:

  • Choose an engaging idea. School fundraising events, when hosted in an online setting, can be a little tricky. However, there are a few straightforward ways to adapt to the online environment and still keep kids excited. For example, you can create a virtual talent show and have students submit their acts to compile into a video. Students can watch their friends perform like they would in person. Remember, your fundraising idea should be flexible to allow all students to participate still. For instance, you might consider offering students the opportunity to submit a written poem or audio recording of them singing for the virtual talent show if they don’t have access to video equipment.
  • Promote your event to stir excitement. The most significant part of raising school spirit is getting your students, parents, and staff excited to participate in school events, even if they’re online. Once you have your event idea, promote it on your school’s social media and through your email or direct mail newsletter. Be sure to include details about how to get involved and when the event is taking place.
  • Create an interactive setting online for your event. When the day finally comes to host your online event, make sure the event includes an interactive aspect to keep everyone involved. Maybe you record well-known teachers and staff in a live stream video where they share an encouraging message with students or allow students to send messages in a live chatbox. 
  • Thank your students and staff for their participation. Finally, when your event is over, be sure to thank your students, staff, and their parents for their time. Also, thank your supporters for their flexibility, and continue to encourage them throughout these challenging times. Your school community will thank you for the extra effort.

For more ideas, check out 99Pledge’s guide to school fundraising ideas for engaging options that will promote school spirit and keep everyone involved from home. Here are some of our favorite ideas:

  • Shoe drives conducted in a socially distanced manner
  • Virtual raffles hosted via a video conferencing app
  • Social media challenges for older students
  • Online cupcake decorating contest

Your next fundraising idea can be anything from competitions to item drives! You know your student body best, so be sure to pick something that will engage your students and raise morale during this challenging time.

Provide a positive mobile experience for students

Virtual fundraisers aren't the only thing that should be an interactive online experience.  Students are using their phones and tablets all the time anyway, so by choosing helpful apps for them, you can meet them where they are. It's essential to keep your student body and staff equipped and engaged with the right technology. This includes applications with the ability to:

  • Host video conferencing
  • Manage subject and group materials
  • Aid in extracurricular activities
  • Administer surveys and quizzes to enhance understanding

When the technology you’re providing is user-friendly and straightforward, more students and staff will have access to all virtual school activities. Plus, teachers and staff can save time and reduce stress with the right technology for their learning plans. Remote learning can be stressful enough, so make sure you're supported by the best software possible.

To discover a complete list of applications and websites your school can use to help out your entire staff, check out this guide to digital solutions for educators. You know your school best, so pick software that will cater to your unique needs and help you reach your goals even while working remotely.

Get everyone involved in fundraising efforts

Finally, get everyone involved in your school's fundraising efforts. Not only are these events for students and teachers, but they're also for the parents. Your PTO is an excellent resource for helping run events and maintain school spirit.

Besides virtual events, you're also able to host fundraisers and foster school spirit in other ways. Running such events can still help you meet your fundraising goals while in a virtual setting. For example, these efforts can look like this:

  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is a team effort that can be dhttps://www.abcfundraising.com/fundraising-ideas/school-fundraisersone by students, staff, and parents alike. This fundraiser involves small donations contributing to a large sum that’ll help out your school. Students can get involved in promoting their crowdfunding efforts by calling their family members and asking for donations. Parents and relatives can help out too, by sharing the page on their social media pages.
  • Product sales: This type of fundraiser raises student engagement and school spirit because everyone tries to sell the most items to win a prize. Depending on the product fundraiser you choose, consider branding these items with your school logo and colors. These items can be anything from branded water bottles to shirts. Regardless, you receive free advertising and raise school spirit by doing so.
  • Donation incentives: Consider including a branded item with any donation to your school. For example, you could include a shirt with your school name and mascot. This way, students are reminded of their school spirit every time they see their item. Students love a good competition, too. Think about rewarding children who raise the most money with a prize. Excellent prizes include virtual lunch with their teacher or a gift card to a local establishment.

Whichever idea you choose, it'll help raise money for your school as well as get the community involved with your school's mission. For more information on PTO fundraising ideas, check out this 99Pledges school fundraising ideas guide.

When online, maintaining school spirit can be challenging because you're not physically together as a community. Nevertheless, you can still use fun events and engagement activities to maintain a support system. 

These ideas can help remind your students, staff, and parents of all of the great things about your school. When you return to in-person school post-COVID-19, your students will remember your helpful actions during a challenging time.

 
 

Brad Dowhaniuk
Brad Dowhaniuk is the co-founder of 99Pledges, which provides schools and teams with an easy-to-use, web-based fundraising solution to manage and drive success in Fun Runs, jog-a-thons, baseball hit-a-thons, and much more.
 
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