Welcome to the 2020-21 donation season! We have gone through a TON of changes in a very short time. If you have not kept up with the going-ons up to this point, check out our first post. Thanks to COVID-19, our timeline for these changes have moved up dramatically. This leads to some very huge costs. I’ll break all of it down for you in a moment, but let’s take this time to be awed by these wonderful changes!
These changes have updated our co-op’s look and prepared us for the huge influx of new homeschool students we are expecting this year. Carla and Christina have been working relentlessly, behind the scenes, trying to get things ready for this school year…. And they aren’t done, yet!
Okay, so let’s get down to the nitty gritty and talk about what your admin team has been doing to better your student’s experience this year with VHSG.
Let’s start with an overall number…. We are aiming for a MINIMUM of $20,000!
- 2020-21 MINIMUM GOAL: $20,000100
Yep, you read that right! And that is JUST the minimum. We probably will need more than that before the year is up. Don’t worry, we will talk about the why, in a moment.
First, let’s talk servers. They are our biggest cost, and the number that will be the most variable this year.
Our old server with GoDaddy was already struggling last year. If you were with us then, you probably had times where it was sluggish or it just seemed to take forever. We had nearly 27,000 accounts on that site, and that really strained it. We had hoped to go one more year with that server, but we just don’t dare risk it. With the amount of new accounts we have, we are afraid we’d crash it.
Since we also needed to upgrade Moodle (the Learning Management System that runs our courses), we can’t just move the entire site to a larger server. Some of our oldest classes would not survive the upgrade to the new Moodle format. We made the decision to start from scratch on a larger, cloud server that will grow with our needs. (We maxed out the largest dedicated server available on GoDaddy, so are moving to a different provider.)
That means we will need to keep two servers open for a time. We do NOT want to start from scratch with our courses. Families need time to grab their student’s grades off of there. Admin also needs time to move all of those courses, files, images, videos, activities, and whatever else is needed for the already built courses. … EVERYONE needs time!
We hope to be able to close the old server around December, but that depends on YOU. There are many things that need to be transferred from the old site, and we will be asking for help from the Build Team to do some projects. If things can get moved quickly, our costs will be less since we can close the old site down sooner.
Our NEW SERVER number is also an estimate. That will vary based on enrollment and activity. We started with the smallest server plan we could to support our initial needs, but have the capability to increase our plan as our enrollment requires. That will involve additional costs.
WHY DO WE HAVE ALL OF THESE?
Well, just like a business, we need tools in order to perform our jobs as efficiently as possible. They also allow us to delegate tasks out to volunteers. (And, yes, admin are volunteers, also!)
Just a quick note…. THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who are helping Carla and Christina with these delegated tasks!!! If it wasn’t for them, we would not be able to spend what little time we have with our families this summer.
Okay, back on track.
All of these costs are minimums. We chose the minimum plans to get by. During our heaviest time, the server needs may need to be bumped up to accommodate everyone and everything. That means these numbers will INCREASE!
Let me throw something out there. On our old site, we have approximately 27,000 users. If each individual user was to donate $1, then we would be covered and then some.
It is!!!! Donations are voluntary, and we have no required donation amounts for those that do donate. But we do need help keeping up with our growing co-op. Our site is not sustainable if we can’t afford to pay the costs to keep it running.
This year we have two options for our families to donate. You can do a one-time donation or a monthly subscription donation. A one-time donation can be paid through PayPal, with credit or debit card, or by check. (NOTE: To pay by check, it is a separate form.) With the monthly subscription donation, you can choose the monthly amount.
Yea, it’s okay. Things have changed a LOT this year and we don’t mean to confuse you. It’s just necessary to get us up to date as quickly as possible. Let’s break these options down a bit.
The one-time donation has two different forms to fill out depending on how you have decided to pay.
Are you paying with Paypal, credit, or debit?
Either the "One-Time Donation" form OR the "Monthly Subscription Donation" form.
Are you paying with check?
The "Check Donation" form.
Now, let’s talk about the newest option, the monthly donation subscription. This option is great for those who can’t afford to do one lump sum, but can do a bit every month. How does this work? Well, it has to go through PayPal. You will authorize the payment to be donated every month using your PayPal account to manage it. YES! PayPal has that option!
As a thank you for donating, families receive Early Seating in the courses. Although it is not an absolute guarantee that you will be seated in live courses, Early Seating families are the first to be placed in the live classes. We make every effort to get enough volunteers to seat our Early Seating students in classes. Details about early seating are in the Parent Pre-Enrollment course.
Yea, tell me about it! But this co-op’s volunteers and donors have never ceased to amaze us. Our goal is to help offer affordable options to all homeschool families around the world. Yea, you read that right. Around the world!!