Harnessing Technology for Community Engagement: Sarah’s Story

Meet Sarah
Ridgewood, NJ

Technical Secretary,
Benjamin Franklin Middle School HSA


  • Membership dues
  • Event ticketing
  • Spirit wear
  • Author visits






(and counting!)

For Sarah Traband, getting involved with the Home and School Association (HSA) at Benjamin Franklin Middle School was a natural step when her daughter began sixth grade. As a parent eager to contribute to her daughter’s school environment, Sarah embraced the role within the HSA, bringing with her a drive for innovation and community engagement. This drive led her to Cheddar Up, a platform that revolutionized how the association managed its events, membership dues, and more.

School fundraising platform

Getting Started

Sarah’s journey with the HSA began amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the limitations of traditional fundraising and event management methods, particularly the difficulty in collecting cash payments during remote schooling periods, Sarah proposed a solution. Her role as the “Technical Secretary” was born out of necessity, focusing on leveraging technology to streamline HSA operations.

The Role of Technical Secretary

At Cheddar Up, we’ve worked with a lot of HSAs, PTOs, and PTAs, but the role of Technical Secretary was new to us. When asked what it entails, Sarah explains it covers any type of technical communication. From managing social media announcements to coordinating event ticket sales and membership drives, her role is central to keeping the community informed and engaged through platforms like Cheddar Up. In short…she’s busy!

Bringing Cheddar Up to the Table

The transition to Cheddar Up was a game-changer for the Benjamin Franklin Middle School HSA. Sarah, reflecting on past difficulties, found Cheddar Up’s user-friendly platform to be the perfect fit. The platform’s ability to handle membership dues, event ticket sales, spirit wear, and even book sales during author visits not only simplified transactions but also enhanced the organization and tracking of funds.

A Favorite Event Brought to Life

A standout event, the annual Spirit Night, is an HSA and school favorite that includes sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Cheddar Up facilitated pre-sales for tickets and concessions, allowing for a smoother event execution and a more enjoyable experience for the 400+ attendees. Sarah noted the positive feedback from parents, who found the presale option and the organized entry process to be exceptionally convenient.

“Having that [large] event and not having to just take cash and to have the pre-sale is tremendous. It means it can move the night along a lot easier.”


Sarah, Technical Secretary
Benjamin Franklin
Middle School HSA

“Sometimes I send communications for other events and parents will ask ‘Why isn’t there a Cheddar Up link for this one.”


Sarah, Technical Secretary
Benjamin Franklin
Middle School HSA

Feedback from the Community

The ease of use and convenience offered by Cheddar Up has resonated well with the school community. Parents appreciate the simplicity of making payments online and being able to track payments they’ve already completed. This is especially significant at the middle school level where direct parent involvement in school activities is less than at the elementary school.

Volunteer Engagement

The introduction of a sign-up feature on Cheddar Up has also paved the way for better volunteer engagement, making it easier to manage volunteer lists for various events alongside ticket sales.

“The only people who are going to volunteer for a spirit night event are the parents’ who have a child attending. So it makes sense to have it on the same checkout as the event.”


Sarah, Technical Secretary
Benjamin Franklin
Middle School HSA

Looking to the Future

As Sarah continues her role, the versatility of Cheddar Up remains a pivotal part of the HSA’s success in engaging the school community. What truly sets Cheddar Up apart, in Sarah’s experience, is its ease of use. She marvels at how quickly she can create a new collection, a task now taking her as little as three minutes thanks to her familiarity with the platform. This efficiency has not gone unnoticed by the HSA’s treasurer and team members, who have enjoyed the simplified, streamlined process of managing funds.

One last thought

At Cheddar Up, we love hearing about our users’ passions. So we had one final question for Sarah- what is your favorite part about being on the HSA? “I like to know what’s going on. At the middle school level, [as a parent] you’re not in the classroom as much, so this is my way of keeping my finger on the pulse. I like to give my time and it allows me to provide fun experiences for my kids.”

Before you go

Sarah’s story is a testament to the power of technology in overcoming the logistical hurdles of fundraising and event management. Don’t wait another minute and start simplifying your collections now!

Collect for FREE

Whether you’re collecting dues and fees, fundraising, managing an event, creating a sign up, or selling something online or in-person, you can do it with a Cheddar Up collection.

You’ll want to ask your group’s organizer for a link. For privacy reasons, it’s not possible to search for this on Cheddar Up.

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