Lincoln PTO tries something new

Nathan Domenighini
Lincoln Elementary students circle the fields at the school in October during the PTO’s first walk-a-thon, which replaced selling magazine subscriptions as a fundraiser.

After years of selling magazine subscriptions and performing odd jobs to raise money for the Lincoln PTO, members decided to try something different.

So, they dropped the subscription drive and turned their fundraiser into an entertaining and healthy event — a walk-a-thon.

“In the past, we sold magazine subscriptions said Andrea Knepp, who co-chaired the first walk-a-thon which took place in early October. “It was successful. It worked well. But, I don’t love selling things to people.”

Knepp said magazine subscription drives became a tired idea, one that many were reluctant to do well.

“If you wanted your kid to get credit for it, you had to go through that fundraising,” she said.

This year, rather than sending children door-to-door, Knepp and the rest of the Lincoln Elementary PTO devised a plan for the walk-a-thon.

But, ending the subscription fundraiser came with some uncertainties, Knepp said.

There was concern that the walk-a-thon would not produce the same results as the magazine subscriptions did. Additionally, the PTO, rather than the magazine companies, was responsible for offering prizes.

“We decided to take that risk,” Knepp said. “And, it worked.”

The walk-a-thon raised about $1,200 more than last year’s magazine fundraiser, which happened to be a record-breaking year.

The funds will be used to purchase a mobile computer lab and additional technology for the classrooms. Knepp was thrilled by the success of the event.

“I can only see the potential for this to continue to grow,” she said. “For year one, to come out and set a record is great.

“I can’t get over how well it went,” she added. “I was expecting more resistance.”

Knepp said parents bought into the idea. In some cases, it seemed they were relieved to not worry about magazine subscriptions, she said.

Local businesses stepped in to donate services and prizes for the walk-a-thon, something Knepp said was appreciated.

“Getting the businesses in town involved was really cool,” she said. “They all got together to donate something.”

Even more impressive, Knepp said, was the enthusiasm of the students during the event. They were only required to walk one mile.

“I loved that our older kids were walking 2-and-a-half miles. The younger ones walked 2 miles,” she said. “They were so proud of themselves and so excited about what they accomplished.”

Knepp said area PTOs should consider taking a similar risk to get out of the selling routine.

“Don’t underestimate your families and don’t be afraid to change,” she said. “Get yourselves in a position to be able to try something different.”