Fundraising: easy as pie

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Massachusetts Key Clubbers raise money and awareness with an unconventional project.

Story by Julie Saetre

For students and staff at Silver Lake Regional High School in Kingston, Massachusetts, breast cancer awareness is a cause close to home. Four faculty members are breast cancer survivors, and many of the students know a relative or family friend who has been affected. So each October, designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, raising money for the cause is a priority. For members of Silver Lake’s Key Club, however, simply requesting donations and hoping for the best weren’t enough. Last year, they decided to be more “in your face” with their campaign.

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Pie Your Teacher in the Face, the brainchild of club co-advisor Jennifer Strid, allowed students to vote for a faculty member who would be the target of a well-aimed pie. A donation to the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center earned one vote, with four faculty spots up for grabs—one for each lunch wave.

To publicize the campaign, Key Clubbers wrote and produced two promotional videos, which were shown as part of morning school announcements. During lunch periods, they circulated among tables, encouraging students to participate and collecting donations and votes.

“Our Key Club members really enjoyed doing something a little bit different,” says Sarah Stefaniak, the club’s other co-advisor. “They didn’t just sit in the front of the cafeteria and say, ‘Oh, will you donate?’”

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Their classmates also appreciated the fresh approach.

“One of my students said, ‘You know, it’s really cool that you’re not just asking for money. We’re getting something fun out of it,’” Stefaniak recalls.

With one day to go before pies began flying, Strid and Stefaniak made a last-minute push for donations—by volunteering for duty themselves.

“We walked around during lunches, asking ‘Who wants to donate money? If we get $25 this lunch wave, both of us will get pied in the face,’” Stefaniak says.

The ploy worked: The next day, they were “pied” four times—once during each lunch break. The top four vote getters—a math teacher, a social studies teacher, the athletic director and the assistant principal—each took a turn as well. The Key Clubbers created a fun atmosphere complete with music and balloons; two guidance counselors dressed as dinosaurs cavorted among the crowd.

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The Key Club raised $425 for the cancer center. And as a bonus, club members broadened awareness of their mission.

“We don’t necessarily branch out to all the students in the school,” Stefaniak says, “and we saw every single one that day, between all the lunches. It was a really fun way to get everybody involved and excited.”

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