Private Pre-School Raises Money, Awareness, With Ennect
- Consistency across Ennect tools makes them easy to use
- Professional emarketing results even with little design experience
Shady Lane School has always been ahead of its time. One of the nation's first early childhood programs to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), this Pittsburgh-based pre-school keeps itself at the forefront of adapting to new research on learning styles, early childhood brain development, and cultural diversity.
As with many nonprofits, Shady Lane runs a tight financial ship and depends on fund-raising to help it maintain its high quality programming. So when the school was readying for its annual fundraising auction, it's not surprising that it turned to an innovative approach—emarketing and online registration—to help it cost-effectively promote the event.
Ennect Event Helps Nonprofit Raise Funds
Shady Lane's Art on Ice fundraiser, named after the Ice House Gallery where it was first held, is an evening of fun, food, and entertainment. It is also a night of giving. Attendees bid at a silent auction on nearly 60 unique and fun items, from original artwork to vacation retreats to private dinners cooked by master chefs.
Using Ennect Event, Shady Lane's administrative director, Patrick Webster, was able to reach out electronically to the school's current and past supporters with a full palate of information about the event's logistics, the musical entertainment, and a growing list of silent auction items. Additionally, Ennect's online event registration allowed him to set various ticket price levels for different types of attendees. Registration flexibility extended to other things as well.
"Thanks to the volunteer work of one of our creative parents, we were able to offer a special alphabet poster featuring pictures of many of our students. Ennect Event enabled us to collect pre-orders for the posters when attendees registered," said Webster. "Attendees could also make a direct contribution to the school through our Ennect registration page."
Ennect Makes Emarketing Easy
"One of the things that most impresses me about Ennect's software is how it enables someone with little or no real technical or design skills to easily create a site that looks professionally done," Webster said. "We've used Ennect for this event for two years running now and I was basically able to build on what I'd originally created and—thanks to Ennect's own ongoing product enhancements—build a more sophisticated site for this year's event."
"One of the things that most impresses me about Ennect's software is how it enables someone with little or no real technical or design skills to easily create a site that looks professionally done."
Shady Lane School
Shady Lane's success with Ennect Event has spurred it to try other of the company's products. "As an accredited educational institution, we have certain regulations to follow. One of the things that the NAEYC requires is an annual survey to gauge program satisfaction with the families we serve. We've done paper surveys in the past but this year we're using Ennect Survey to do our first online survey," said Webster. "Ennect makes it easy to move from one of its programs to another because it uses the same sort of rules and conventions across all its programs. It also allows you to use the same mail list across programs which greatly simplifies administration."
Shady Lane also uses Ennect Mail to send reminders to parents about special events, like its spring fair, and about schedule changes at the school. According to Webster, these emails are a 'warm-up' for the re-emergence of the school's newsletter. Previously published in paper format, the newsletter wasn't really meeting the school's needs. "In electronic form, we could do so much more with it," said Webster. "In today's electronic age, it's as much about gathering information as it is about providing it. With the vast majority of our families having access to the Internet, it makes sense for us to convert to an enewsletter. Ennect Mail should make it easy for us to measure the results of what we publish."
Shady Lane is also working on an electronic version of a more expansive email newsletter targeted at a broader audience. It will focus on other work achieved by the organization, including professional development and consulting services provided to other early childhood programs and professionals. "We want to ensure that the community knows about everything we do here at Shady Lane, both within the school and beyond," said Webster.
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