The “Keep the Change” program was created to encourage community members to “pay it forward” and support additional groups and organizations, by simply filling an empty Allegheny Insurance water bottle with dimes. Each bottle holds 1,000 dimes which equates to a $100 donation to your favorite charity or cause.
Recently, one such organization was able to put the “Keep the Change” program to work by raising money to furnish equipment needed for a new track at North Marion High School. Lora Michael is a determined parent and volunteer to the North Marion Track Team. We sat down with her and asked her some burning questions about what fueled the success of the “Keep the Change” program in Fairmont.
Do you think fundraising for sports is difficult?
Lora: Yes. The obstacle that I think most high school sports teams come across is that if you have an athlete that is involved in one or more sports then time becomes a factor. You also have a limited number of people and businesses to solicit to, and you always seem to have the same parents doing all the fundraising in all the sports.
How did you hear about the Keep the Change program?
Lora: I attended an Elkins vs. North Marion baseball game in the spring of 2015. I bought a bottle of water at the concession stand and started reading the label. The idea for saving the dimes (Keep the Change) was on the side and it suggested you donate it to your favorite non-profit. I have been involved in fundraising for many years with many different organizations so I took a chance and called Allegheny Insurance to see what the program was all about and how we would go about getting a donation for water for our track team.
What was the reaction when you first brought this program back to North Marion?
Lora: Initiating the Keep the Change program came at the end of the year, at our sports banquet, where almost all parents involved come to it. We passed out the bottles and talked about the things that were going to be needed for the following year. We started fundraising with “Dimes for Times”, some bit quickly, some not so easily. We had 10 parents bring them back to us filled with dimes by the following September.
What does the North Marion Track Team have to fundraise for?
Lora: Track teams are usually small teams that have a hard time fundraising. Our team has never had their own track to help offset any cost of travel, uniforms or equipment.
North Marion High School was blessed with our board of education, who built us a 1.9 million dollar track, with no equipment funded. We have been very lucky to have generous alumni and more help from the board to secure all the equipment. However, there were still little things – like a timing unit was needed and that’s where “Dimes for Times” was invented.
Lora: Yes! I thought this was a fresh and easy idea. I personally like things that I don’t have to get what I call “dirty doing”, i.e. car washes, dinners, and other things that might take my whole day.
We have raised $2,300 to date with the Keep the Change program. I hope many bottles will soon be collected. We will have a parent meeting in a couple months and that is the first thing I will ask of the parents: “does anyone have their dime bottle?” that will have given them the 3-month track season to be collecting. I think I might even pass the bottle at the track meets – we usually sit close to each other so maybe they could check their pockets for dimes and fill the bottle at the meets! Trust me – sometimes I think they all think I’m nuts! It really is easy money!
Also, the track team members are not allowed to fundraise until March, so in March each athlete was given his or her own bottle and will be responsible for getting it filled. The first girl and first boy to turn in their bottle will be given a prize at the end of the season.
Now we are working on an in-school competition where the class that bring in the dimes and fills their bottle first will get a pizza party.
What do you hope to raise money for next with the “Keep the Change” program?
Lora: I was thinking the next thing that we would like to buy that would rhyme with dime would be “Rides for Dimes”! Our track is built up on top of our campus with limited parking. It’s a good walk for someone healthy from our bottom parking lot and we have been dreaming, you could say, about a side-by-side to help folks get from one point to the other much easier. Hopefully by getting the promotional posters and having our own track – the public will be able to attend events and we will be able to get the word out better in our neighborhoods!
Do you find that fundraising can sometimes seem like a redundant process that never amounts to the goals your organization is really trying to reach? If so, we challenge you to learn more about the “Keep the Change” program and see for yourself just how easy it can be.
To further incentivize you, Allegheny Insurance is kicking off a match donation campaign this summer. To be considered for a match donation on September 1, 2016, simply spread the word about our “Keep the Change” program. Once an individual has donated their bottle of change to the organization of their choice, log it on www.AlleghenyInsurance.com/KeeptheChange. The winning organization by September 1, 2016 will receive the match donation.
Learn more at here.