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St. Jude Math-A-Thon vs ForOurSchool.org Math-A-Thon

St. Jude Mathathon vs. ForOurSchool.org Mathathon

A Math-A-Thon is a school fundraising event where students solve math problems while raising money for a cause. They are our top rated school fundraising event because they are one of the few events that require almost no cost to get started, they help solicit donations from outside of the school ecosystem (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!), they encourage students to practice math, and they are fun!

School Math-A-Thon Fundraiser

New to Math-A-Thons? Check out our
Complete Guide To Math-A-Thon Fundraising

The two most popular Math-A-Thon platforms are offered by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and ForOurSchool.org. Each organization has its own benefits and drawbacks, so we will quickly summarize how each program works and why they might be a good fit for your school.

St. Jude Math-A-Thon

Overview St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is renowned for its work in pediatric cancer and other life-threatening diseases. When a school uses the St. Jude Math-A-Thon platform, all the money they raise goes directly to St. Jude, which helps to support the hospital’s mission to provide free medical treatment to children.

Approach The St. Jude Math-A-Thon platform is almost entirely managed offline, with students completing math problem workbooks. The 10-15 page workbooks resemble Highlights magazine, with their comics, puzzles, and games, but also include overviews of St. Jude’s and the services they provide children. As students complete the workbooks, they solicit pledges to support their efforts. Parents and school coordinators collect the completed workbooks, who score them and record the results online, so the students can track their progress.

Pros

  1. Established Reputation: St. Jude’s is a renowned and trusted organization.
  2. Charitable Impact: Contributions support critical research and treatment, with clear evidence of the hospital’s impact on children’s lives.
  3. Support Materials: Schools can order copies of the workbooks, event posters, sponsor letters, and other resources, or print them at home.

Cons

  1. Complexity: Organizing and executing the event may require significant effort from school staff and volunteers.
  2. No Funding for Schools: 100% of the contributions support St. Jude’s, making it difficult to ask for additional funds for school-specific events. Including the cost of printed material, the event can be a net cost to the school.
  3. Limited Educational Benefit: Workbooks do not align or review any material directly taught in school, and are limited in scope and complexity.
  4. No Online Option. Online math games provide instant feedback and gratification and can help students stay engaged with the event.

ForOurSchool.org Math-A-Thon

Overview ForOurSchool.org is a fundraising platform built by parents of elementary school students. When their school was looking to bring their Read-A-Thon online, they found that the platforms available were overly expensive with poor data protection policies, so they created ForOurSchool.org and made it available to the neighboring schools. They then added a Math-A-Thon option because their kids loved math and there were no platforms that combined math with fundraising.

Approach ForOurSchool.org provides students with the opportunity to participate in their school’s Math-A-Thon either by playing math games online or by filling out math worksheets offline. In either scenario, the math problems generally follow common math curriculums and students can track their progress from their dashboards. To further enhance engagement, schools have the option to enable class or student leaderboards, and students can also set personal goals, which they work to achieve. Each student gets a personalized donation page with the money receive going directly to the schools, less ForOurSchool.org’s industry-low 5% platform fee.

Pros

  1. Direct Impact: Funds raised directly benefit the participating school, allowing for tangible improvements that students and parents can see.
  2. Ease of Use: The online platform simplifies event management, tracking, donation management, and promotion of sponsors.
  3. Aligned with Curriculum: Math problems generally align with the math curriculums taught in schools.
  4. Hints and Visual Aids: Most problems are multiple-choice and include clear guides to help students arrive at the answer.
  5. Online or Offline Options: Parents and students have the opportunity to dictate how they want to participate in the event.

Cons

  1. Lesser Known: ForOurSchool.org may not have the same level of recognition or trust as St. Jude, potentially affecting donor confidence.
  2. Fund Allocation: The local focus means funds are used for school-specific needs, which might not have the broad emotional appeal of a cause like pediatric cancer.

Conclusion

Both the St. Jude Math-A-Thon and ForOurSchool.org Math-A-Thon offer unique benefits and cater to different fundraising needs. St. Jude’s program leverages its established reputation and impactful cause to inspire participation and donations. On the other hand, ForOurSchool.org offers a customizable, locally focused approach, empowering schools to address their specific needs and directly benefiting their community.

When choosing between these programs, schools should consider their fundraising goals, the causes they wish to support, and the resources they have available to organize and run the event. Both Math-A-Thons promote the integration of education and philanthropy, helping students develop math skills while contributing to meaningful causes.

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