At the beginning of every year, many participants register for the Dance Marathon; however, most wait to start fundraising until the last couple of weeks before the event. This causes many participants to have to raise their $100 dancer minimum in less than a month. At that point, many participants state that they would like to attend the Dance Marathon but they don't have room to donate $100 in their monthly budget and end up raising $0. At RebelTHON 2021, 365 out of 1,007 people raised $0. In brainstorming ideas to combat this tragic reality and make fundraising more attainable by fundraising little by little and emphasizing year-round fundraising, the RebelTHON Rewards program was born.
While DonorDrive has the option to give recurring donations, one thing that we've noticed for our particular DM is that the majority of people who decide to give recurring donations are not participants. This is very interesting considering college students today have grown up in the age of monthly subscriptions. We pay monthly subscriptions for music, TV and movies, homework help, and many other things. The difference here, sadly, is that many students tend to hesitate signing up for a recurring monthly subscription unless there are tangible benefits for them.
To appeal to participants, we are trying to implement a subscription service of $20 a month that features benefits such as the entire subscription "fee" donated to their personal donor drive page, free admission to any special events, a small monthly freebie of whatever we decide to sell while tabling such as Halloween or Valentine's Day candy grams, and several entries into a monthly raffle for donated gift cards from local businesses. The big selling point, though, is that if it is started in September close to the beginning of school and kept until the DM in February that $120 would be raised and the dancer minimum would be reached allowing them to attend the Dance Marathon. If adopted by even ¼ of the 365 participants that raised $0, there would be a total donation gain of $10,950.
The $20 value was chosen to account for the average charge of each subscription benefit plus an extra donation. The normal cost of each benefit is $5 for the special event we have each month, $5 for the monthly item we sell while tabling, $5 for the 5 entries into the monthly raffle, and $5 as an extra donation to help reach the dancer minimum to equal the $20 that would be charged. Because the cost of each benefit was taken into account when deciding the monthly price, this subscription service doesn't decrease the amount of money that is raised from general fundraisers but instead, it just allocates the donations differently from the general total to individual participants' fundraisers. Not only should this subscription service help increase fundraising throughout the whole year, but it is expected to increase participation in special events by promoting them. If anything there should be an increase in the funds raised because if a subscriber doesn't come to an event, their "entry fee" is still taken into account in the monthly subscription.
RebelTHON Rewards is a subscription service that many other DM's could adopt and adapt to not only help participants fundraise year-round but to allow leadership to get a more accurate picture of how much is being fundraised at different points in the year. To make the subscription service adaptable, it could include different "plans" such as $10, $15, or $20 per month that offer varying levels of incentives based on the amount donated.
By making fundraising the dancer minimum more attainable by implementing the RebelTHON Rewards program, we expect to see an increase in engagement throughout the year, an increase in overall fundraising, and an increase in miracles made.