"Every year our office staff are under pressure in the lead up to our Jackpot Jump Twilight Fair," said Sue O'Shea, from the Hawthorn West Primary School. "A lot of time is spent counting money, banking and compiling lists of plate purchases, etc. And, like most schools, vouchers and ride tickets are being bought at the last minute, causing more difficulty for office staff and teachers."
Hawthorn West Primary School, located in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, has an enrolment of 387 students. The PTF Association runs approximately ten fundraising events in a year, including the Jackpot Jump Twilight Fair.
The Jackpot Jump Twilight Fair has run for about 15 years and is their biggest single fundraiser, contributing about half of the year's funds. More than a fundraiser, the fair is an important community-building event that draws from outside the school community and fosters relationships with neighbours and families.
In order to limit the risk with money spread out amongst stalls during the Fair and to eliminate the issue of food safety with money handling in the same stalls, event organisers centralised money collection by pre-selling food vouchers and ride tickets or wristbands (unlimited rides for children wearing the wristbands). All money collection and voucher/ride tickets were issued through the office in the weeks leading up the Fair and at a ticket stall on the day. This caused stress in the office with lots of extra work for staff.
Hawthorn West previously used TryBooking to sell tickets for their annual concert, One World One Dream. The office staff was pleased with the time and labour saved and they received excellent feedback from parents who enjoyed the convenience of purchasing tickets online.
Based on the success of online booking for the concert, Sue O'Shea worked with TryBooking to see if there was a way to streamline money management for The Jackpot Jump Twilight Fair. Sue set up an Event Booking page that promoted the fair and sold online the food vouchers, ride wristbands and the fundraising plates. The Fair's URL to the booking page was promoted in the school newsletter, on the school's website and via notices sent home with children.
"One thing that worked really well for us was being able to shut off the pre-selling at a preset time. It had been hard to close off pre-sells when everything went through the office, people would always come in at the last minute, but they had to pay attention to our online deadlines," said Sue.
Sue admits there were times in the early stages when she doubted it could work, but "Every time I had a problem or couldn't find a way around an issue and thought it wasn't going to work, I spoke with the TryBooking team. The team was fantastic, always so positive and supportive. Always worked through all our questions with me. It was much easier than I thought it might be and I'm really glad we did!"
"TryBooking made life much easier for everyone in the school. We had a few minor teething problems with parents not reading the instructions, but other than that, it did exactly what we wanted." 75% of the Fair's revenue went through the TryBooking site, which meant office staff had much less banking to manage. "It's so much easier to transfer the money through TryBooking," said Sue
"I used the reports all the time!" Sue is very enthusiastic about the TryBooking reports and the way the data could be manipulated when exported into her Excel spreadsheets. Sue generated lists for ride wristbands, food vouchers, fundraising plates etc and passed them along to the appropriate teacher to hand out to students. "It saved us so much time," said Sue. "And the main organiser was able to easily see how much we'd sold so we always knew where we stood."
"We'll definitely use TryBooking for our concert and Jackpot Jump Twilight Fair next year. Right now we're starting to plan how to use it for our Trivia Night," said Sue. TryBooking is providing information about how to set up a tabled event - so people can book whole tables or just book seats on a table with their friends.