|St. Joseph The Worker School: Helping families pay their school tuition|
Editor’s note: Champion Betty M., Helping Hands Coordinator, former teacher and a mother of two past students at St. Joseph The Worker School and Church, says the OneCause Visa® Platinum and Supporter Crediting programs were a big draw because they provide a simple way for families to quickly earn credits toward their tuition. Some families have earned $1,000 just by using this card. Here she offers best practices to other schools looking to help families pay their school tuition.
> Question: Why did St. Joseph The Worker join OneCause?
Answer: I chose to sign up St. Joseph the Worker School with OneCause (formerly Schoolpop) about four years ago. The scrip program we were using went out of business, so we joined to help us with our scrip program and our credit card rebate program, as we realized the credit card was an even easier way to bring in the money for our school and families.
> Question: How does St. Joseph The Worker use its OneCause contributions?
Answer: The contributions go mostly to tuition credits (known also as Supporter Crediting). The families at St. Joseph the Worker School receive 90% of their contributions as tuition credits for the following school year. The remaining 10% goes to the Angel Fund, which assists families in financial need. The contributions have already helped many families with their tuition, even helping some stay in the school as tuition rises. Parish families are also assisted in practical ways: When a family is in need, this fund gives them money for mattresses, or to recuperate from a fire or other tragedy, such as a medical emergency. Our program also funded a sound system for the school’s multipurpose room last year.
> Question: What is your current OneCause goal?
Answer: A goal would be to have three-fourths of our school families and one-third of our parish families use this great program to benefit the school, their tuition accounts and families in need. We have about 275 families in our school and 3,000 families in our parish. So, that works out to about 200 families in the school and almost 1,000 families in the parish.
> Question: How do you plan to reach your goal?
Answer: Advertising. We were thrilled when 10 people signed up for the card and used it. I signed up for a credit card for myself, then familiarized myself with the website. Now I mention this program whenever I can and encourage families to get the credit card, as almost everyone uses credit cards and it’s so simple to accumulate tuition credits with the OneCause Visa. I ask our pastor talk about the credit card at least once a year to the parish (he has a credit card also), and I speak at open houses and orientations. I also encourage parishioners with a business to use the credit card to purchase supplies, etc.
> Question: What specific resources will you use to reach your Supporters?
Answer: I sometimes use the flyers on the website. I just photocopy them and send them through our school VIP folder. I find short, frequent communication to be the most successful (a few sentences in our church bulletin or school newsletter); just state the information in a concise way and let them call if they have questions. Letting the Supporter know how much they can actually earn makes the program successful: When they hear that some families received a large tuition credit, they want the same. Some families have received over $1,000 in tuition credit just for using the credit card.
> Question: What best practices can you offer to other school Supporters and Champions?
Answer: Get out there and really advertise. Personally invite people to get the Chase OneCause Visa and go online to see what’s available. Give a portion of the contributions to your families; they will appreciate it and use the card more if they know they are benefiting.
> Question: What do you and your Supporters like most about OneCause?
Answer: Earning through OneCause is easy! Everything is already set up and ready to go. I just have to advertise to all the families to get the credit card and shop! I let them know when there are contests and specials going on. The numbers then roll in, and the checks arrive automatically. Other fundraisers take much time, effort and organization. Money has to be collected and deposited and that can be messy. There is no worrying about who didn’t pay for what. After receiving our quarterly check, I deposit it in the bank, then download the names and Supporter reports from the website. At the end of the year, I create an Excel spreadsheet and give the tuition credits to the bookkeeper, who puts the credits toward school tuition. I then let the pastor know how much went into the Angel Fund, so he can give that money to a family in need.
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