Many organizations around the country quickly shifted into gear when the pandemic hit, to provide help for those struggling with all the challenges COVID presented.
Dater Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) in Ramsey, NJ, was looking to help. “Our goal was to show our love and support to frontline healthcare workers and support local restaurants by paying local restaurants to feed front line healthcare workers in the area”, says Tricia Cherubini, website administrator for Dater PTO. Inspired by the Frontline Appreciation Group in Madison and Chatam, on March 24, 2020, the Dater PTO in Ramsey launched Ramsey Strong, Supporting True Heroes.
In less than five days they raised over $17,000 and began delivering food. Their main focus was to deliver meals to frontline health care workers at Valley Hospital, Hackensack Meridian University Medical Center, Holy Name Medical Center and New Bridge Medical Center. They also supported Memorial Sloane Kettering Bergen, testing centers, and the local community. In an amazing town-wide effort, they had so many people jump in to help raise money, such as selling signs, shirts, plants and front porch photos. In addition, they had a long list of people at the ready to deliver the food to the hospitals. On May 29, Ramsey Strong made its last food delivery.
“Over the amazing 9 weeks of the initiative we raised $113,614 from 1,090 donors, delivered 17,296 meals to frontline healthcare workers at 5 area hospitals and paid 31 Ramsey restaurants $104,462,” says Cherubini. With the remaining money, Dater PTO plans to purchase approximately $3,000 in gift cards from Ramsey restaurants and donate them to Ramsey Responds and donate approximately $3,000 to Ramsey Ambulance, Fire, Rescue and the PBA Local155.
Dater PTO originally started accepting donations with a sales form but quickly realized that they needed a way to show donors up-to-date information on how much money had been raised. Cherubini explains, “I contacted Membership Toolkit and they suggested I use the Fundraising Tool instead. What a great feature and it was exactly what we needed.” Anytime a person donated, the numbers were automatically updated and donors could see how close the organization was to meeting their goal. In addition, the donors could write their own messages of hope and support, which was just another way to rally the town together to support each other. “As an admin, I found it was very easy to create and launch our fundraising page. From a user’s perspective, it was easy to donate and I think they liked seeing the up-to-date donation information and the donor messages.”
In order to coordinate all the schools in the community as well as local businesses, Dater PTO used Facebook and Instagram to post links to their fundraising page on Membership Toolkit. They were also able to post thank you pictures and notes from frontline workers. In addition, they posted profiles of front line workers in town. This continued to rally support in the town. Lastly, to thank the restaurants that participated, Dater PTO also began posting restaurant profiles. Their social media efforts helped increase awareness and bring those that wanted to participate and donate directly to their fundraising page.
Membership Toolkit’s Fundraising Tool helped Dater PTO quickly collect and track their fundraising efforts. “The fundraising tool was exactly what we needed for our recent initiative,” says Cherubini. “The ability to show a minute-by-minute tally of funds raised and to display the corresponding encouraging messages went a long way in helping us rally together as a community and support those who needed us.”
Membership Toolkit is inspired by the entire team at Dater PTO. We are honored to have provided a platform on which to coordinate these massive efforts. Well done!