New activities fundraising system proposed

A new fundraising model for Fort Dodge Senior High activities and athletics will unite multiple booster club and team fundraisers into one effort.

Matt Elsbecker, FDSH activities director, proposed to the Fort Dodge Community School District board Monday holding a single car raffle throughout the year, beginning Aug. 23 and ending in summer 2014.

“One of the big complaints, one of the biggest burdens is the constant fundraising that’s going on,” Elsbecker said.

Elsbecker, joined by Shelly Sanford, Booster Club chairman; Tracy Hartley, Fort Dodge Community Schools Foundation coordinator; and Andi Adams, FDSH coach; explained that a goal of the proposal is to provide more equity between programs.

“We want to get all of our programs under the Senior High school umbrella,” he said. “We’re all on the same team, and we’re all doing things together.”

Regular fundraising activities will continue throughout the year. Elsbecker said the year will be an experiment to learn what each program’s needs are and to set long-range plans.

Dave Keane, FDSH principal, advocated the proposal as a way of curbing over-spending.

“We need to better educate the sponsors and coaches in terms of what it actually costs to run the programs,” Keane said. “We’ve overspent what our revenues have been for the last few years on our athletics programs. This gives us an opportunity for everybody to understand. We, as an athletic program, need to decide where we want to be.”

Keane said the fundraising efforts of a few programs impacts the efforts of others.

“We have some programs right now that make it real difficult for other programs to fundraise because they do so much fundraising,” he said. “We have an opportunity right now to get everybody on the same page. We need to take a look at what our real needs are, and meeting those needs first.”

He added, “This could be a real positive thing for us.”

Some programs, Elsbecker said, may choose to instead continue their own fundraising efforts.

“We want to include all activities, all athletics, but if band would much rather keep their booster club … we can help out programs like speech,” he said.

According to Hartley, the inspiration for the program came from a Christian academy in Syracuse, N.Y., which raised $300,000 in one year with its car raffle. Hartley hopes to raise as much as $150,000 in Fort Dodge.

There would be no cost to the school district or its booster clubs, Hartley said. Bud Pecoy, of Mid-Country Machinery, has agreed to underwrite the cost of the car in the event that ticket sales do not cover its cost.

Hartley added that the Foundation would not hold its own car raffle, but instead offer a $10,000 cash prize to avoid confusion between the two fundraising efforts.

Board member Bill Kent supported the idea.

“One fundraiser account would be a lot simpler than what we have now,” Kent said.

The board unanimously approved the proposal.