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Money for Driving

By participating in the Ford Motor Company Drive One 4UR School program and Lincoln Drive Smart 4UR School program, Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, brought in almost $5,000 through a single-day fundraising program.


Melissa Reid
President, Mountlake Terrace High School Sports Booster Club
Mountlake Terrace, Washington


Our sports booster club is very new. It started last year but only focused on the concession stand. Then a group of us felt there was so much more we could do for the sports teams. So this is really the first year we've been getting organized.


The first big fundraiser was May 7 and it was a dual test drive event sponsored by Ford/Lincoln Motor Companies. The Drive One 4UR School program, which was developed by Ford Motor Company in 2007, assists cash-strapped communities in raising up to $6,000 for local high schools in a single-day test-drive event. Lincoln also participates in the Drive Smart 4UR School program. So that's another possible $6,000.


The way it works is that for each qualified driver, $20 will be donated by the car company to the school, up to $6,000. The more test drives, the more money earned! A qualified driver has to be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver's license. There's a limit of one driver per household.


We worked in conjunction with Harris Ford/Lincoln/Mercury, a local dealership in Lynnwood, Washington. It's the first time they were doing this type of fundraiser.


We learned about the fundraiser on Jan. 19 after Harris Ford sent an email to our principal, Greg Schwab. He generally sends any type of fundraising ideas to different groups throughout the school. And he sent this one to us. As soon as I saw it I contacted Harris Ford and said "We're in, what do we need to do?"


The only commitment from the booster club is to promote the event. Harris Ford handled everything else. So we put up banners and posters and handed out flyers to get people excited about the fundraiser. The booster club has a Facebook page, so we promoted the event through social networking as well.


We held the test drive fundraiser at our school from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We made it clear that this is a free test drive--not a way for Harris Ford to sell cars. There was no pressure to buy.


Harris Ford provided 14-16 cars, of which 12-14 were used for test-drives. The other two were placed in a demo area so people could sit in them, try the various amenities, and ask questions. The 2012 Ford Focus came onto the lot that week and there was a bonus $10 per test drive (200 max).


We ended up getting community members to do 283 test drives, which brought in $4,900. There were 207 test drives on the cars that earned us $20 each and 76 test drives on the new Ford Focus, with the $10 bonus.


We also had a chance to earn an additional $12,000 via a three-minute (or less) video testimonial. Ford/Lincoln will match whatever we make if our video is chosen. The video can incorporate test-driving, interviews, or overall impressions of the fundraiser. We found a student to do two videos, and we will find out this summer if either of them is a winner.


To provide an additional fundraiser for us, I also asked one of our local businesses, The Red Onion, to grill food on-site. While this ended up not bringing in a profit, it was a nice way to get more people to the event.


My advice for others interested in signing on for the Drive One 4UR School program is to keep this as two separate events, one for Fords and one for Lincolns. They run them in the spring (sign up in January) and in the fall (sign up in May). Doing both together means a ton of test drives to get to the maximum number. Separating them is more manageable.


Other advice is to advertise--a lot. Utilize press releases in a timely way. And use the press materials provided by Ford Motor Company, which are very thorough.



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