New Digital Fundraising Platform, AppFairs, Puts Money in Schools’ Pockets Through App, eBook and Movie Purchases

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AppFairs, a modern school "book fair", is a discovery portal for children's digital content that schools use for fundraising.

AppFairs tablet user interface

AppFairs fundraising portal for schools

Because with AppFairs, each purchase means money back for a school you care about

Four digital creatives from two coasts have combined their expertise to develop AppFairs, a new fundraising platform aimed at helping the country’s ailing schools raise sorely needed dollars. The funding source? Digital entertainment. “App”Fairs may be its name, but the platform doesn’t merely capitalize on the growing success of mobile applications. Other digital entertainment mediums including e-books, music, movies and more are all now fundraising fodder for schools. “If you’re downloading music rather than purchasing the album from a store, regularly buying mobile apps for your smartphone or using an e-reader or tablet, you fit into the global trend that makes AppFairs a logical modern tool for school fundraising. Because with AppFairs, each purchase means money back for a school you care about,” says Brett Alter, co-founder.

The concept is simple: Schools set up a free, easy-to-use portal via AppFairs.com, which automatically displays specially curated apps, music, movies, iBooks and beyond from Apple’s iTunes store. When parents or other members of the school community make a purchase through the school’s portal link, a percentage of every dollar spent goes back to the school. With mobile app downloads alone already in the double digit millions per day, this is an unexplored resource for fundraising – with huge growth potential.

The light bulb moment came for Brett Alter in 2010, when his six-year-old daughter brought home a fundraising relic from his own past: the book fair flyer. “I couldn’t believe that schools were still relying on in-school book fairs to raise dollars in this digital age. All across the country budget cuts and teacher layoffs were happening; I thought, ‘that the book fair is so antiquated.’” A great feature of the AppFairs platform, he notes, is that it doesn’t just modernize the classic book fair – it makes finding and purchasing products that parents and their kids use together so much easier. In that sense, it doesn’t feel like an ‘ask’ from the school in the way that a 2-day book sale or candy fundraiser can.

West Coast founders Alter and Sam Berman were already invested in digital products appealing to parents and children through their interactive children’s book publishing company, Grids Interactive. The two first worked with Thinknerve, the Brooklyn-based digital marketing shop that ultimately built AppFairs, when developing Berman’s own children story, The Truly Great Noodle, as an interactive storybook. Among other rave reviews, CNET called it “one of the best iPad apps for children.” Following that success, Thinknerve co-founders Ben Preuss and Mike Merlo eagerly got on board with the AppFairs concept and the bi-coastal partnership was formed.

AppFairs officially launched at the start of the 2012-2013 school year and is accessible for desktop, mobile and tablet users. The company supports schools who sign up for a fundraising portal with e-marketing collateral, including promotional newsletter templates to introduce the platform and encourage use. Portal registration is completely free and schools can customize the appearance with their colors and logos. Learn more and register today at appfairs.com.

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Adrienne Preuss
AppFairs
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