The term 2 2017 issue of Principals Today (114) features Ellerslie School and its experience over the last 12 months with our online school payments portal, Kindo. Finance Manager Dawn Findlay reports some major gains in revenue and time-saving. “We were really surprised at the uptake and number of donations we received through Kindo… I’m a complete convert.” In brief:
- 20 percent increase in donations payments
- 75 percent less time spent on money handling/banking thanks to full integration with eTAP
- An extra $10,000 of fundraising generated with minimal time input
- A teacher aide back in the classroom full-time instead of assisting in the office
Digital Dollars: How taking payments online “more than pays for itself”
Ellerslie School began using online school payments portal Kindo in January 2016. The decision to take payments online was influenced by the fact that Kindo fully integrated with eTAP and allowed parents and caregivers to handle all their financial transactions with the school through a single login. After almost 12 months of hands-on experience, we checked in with Dawn Findlay, Ellerslie School’s Finance Manager, to find out how it’s gone.
“We’re seeing a huge saving of time and manpower in the office,” said Dawn. “Integration with eTAP is fantastic and has boosted our donations payments way beyond the level we usually expect.”
The school saw a 20% increase in the number of school donations paid this year, with 50% of payments made online. Dawn attributes this increase to the fact that Kindo is ‘just an easier way to pay’.
“We were really surprised at the uptake and the number of donations we received through Kindo – especially when you consider the fact that we didn’t tell the parent community about the online system until the start of the year.”
Currently around 60% of school families are signed up and using Kindo, with 80% of new families adopting the system as soon as they join the school. And it’s not just the office staff who benefit, the system has been helpful for teachers too. “They’re no longer caretakers of money and trip permission slips,” comments Dawn. “When that’s taken care of online, they can focus their attention on teaching.”
Fundraising was very successful at Ellerslie School in 2016. Kindo’s ease of use has led the admin team and PTA to run more fundraisers than usual, generating an extra $10,000 for the school. “We’ve run a couple of movie fundraisers that had Kindo as the only payment option. I was a little concerned before we ran them but they both sold out – and they created so much less work than a conventionally run fundraiser.”
Dawn says most parents love Kindo and have no complaints at all about the usability of the system. “It’s been particularly good for things like uniform sales.
“Our uniform shop is only open one hour a week, so parents love the fact that they can buy online and get orders sent home with their child. Parents also like to have the flexibility to order uniform over the holidays and just run in to pick it up on a certain day, just before school goes back for term one.”
When asked about Kindo charges, Dawn seems relaxed. “We are creating so much more revenue for the school that the charges become completely insignificant. I know that some schools may be concerned about charges but we are going through a period of growth and would have had to employ more staff in the office this year without Kindo – it more than pays for itself.”
Ellerslie School currently handles trips, uniforms, sausage sizzles, sushi, ezlunch, Pita Pit, mufti days and a school-wide pizza lunch each term, as well as school fees and donations. Dawn sees great gains from the integration with eTAP. “Integration with eTAP has saved us so much time, I’ve reduced the amount of time I spend each week on banking by 75% and the financial information is easy to access, handle and share.”
Twelve months on, Ellerslie School has increased its locally raised revenue by 12%. Student numbers have increased over the same period from 675 to 725 without the need to employ additional administration resource. In fact, a teacher aide who used to help in the office during busy periods is now back in the classroom full-time, thanks to moving school payments online.
“More than anything, our savings have been in time rather than resources,” states Dawn. “I’m a complete convert.”