During the month of September, Chevron’s Fuel Your School promotion, with the help of California drivers, raised $858,445 for schools in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
To participate, customers simply had to fill up their gas tanks at participating Chevron stations in Alameda or Contra Costa between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30. Chevron then donated $1 for every eight gallons of fuel purchased to help fund eligible classroom projects.
Chevron partnered with donorschoose.org, where teachers from eligible public schools in the two counties had the chance to log on and post their project to be considered for a portion of the funds raised. More than 567 projects at 640 schools were funded by the promotion—effectively meeting the classroom needs of about 65,000 students.
Giving Back to the Community
The San Ramon-based oil company also reached out to teachers with information about the promotion to make sure they took advantage of the opportunity.
“In getting word out about the promotion we’ve bumped into a lot of great stories, including teachers dipping into their personal pockets to fund things, and unfortunately that seems to be more the rule than the exception,” Glenn Weckerlin, global director of brand and product lines for Chevron, told CSD. “It’s our hope this program does something to supplement that.”
Some 47 independent retailers, 33 company-owned and company-operated facilities and 98 dealer stores participated in the promotion, which is a pilot program the company expects to expand in the future to reach more schools in various locations.
“This was largely done as a grassroots effort. We didn’t use a lot of traditional media. We did things at the stations, through the retailers, through the schools and through Facebook, email and other social networking efforts,” Weckerlin said. “We’re pretty happy with the results.”
Once projects in need of funding were added to the Web site, dollars and projects were paired up behind the scenes based on how much funding was allocated for each school. Weckerlin noted one great benefit of having donorschoose.org as a partner is the Web site offers a way to continue funding projects long after the promotion is over.
Up to the Challenge
While projects with modest monetary needs had the best chance of being fulfilled quickly, teachers and schools with exceptionally large needs had the opportunity to enter their project in the Classroom Challenge.
The 10 Classroom Challenge entries that are determined to have the most creative and innovative projects will be announced in November. Each winner will receive $25,000 for their project, which will be judged by a panel of educators, business partners and retailers from the community.
In deciding on the promotion, Chevron was concerned more with the charitable cause than merely driving volume to the gas pumps. “Education is a hot topic in the U.S. and every little bit helps,” Weckerlin said. “This promotion was designed to utilize our local retail networks to put money back into the community and into the schools.”
An added benefit was the motivation and satisfaction employees felt being part of a promotion that hit home with just about everyone. “We’ve had a tremendous amount of employee pride that came out as a result of this—much more so than any promotion we’ve ever run in the past,” Weckerlin said. “I think it’s because we were focused on something that is an issue with everyone, whether it’s your own kids or your neighbors or your community.”