It is hardly a secret that schools are a logistical nightmare. Scheduling is a nightmare, programs are constantly cut due to a lack of funding, it is hard to keep track of school activities and important dates, the list goes on. That is just the regular in-school hours problems. When you add in extracurricular activities like sports and clubs, the problem grows exponentially. However, we just came across a platform that eliminates these extracurricular problems, allowing schools to focus on education. PlanetHS is a extracurricular management, communication and participation platform. What’s more, as these extracurricular programs are often the first to be cut in a budget squeeze, PlanetHS offers fundraising and advertising tools. We recently had a chance to ask the company’s CEO, Joe Hawkins, a few questions about PlanetHS
What is PlanetHS?
PlanetHS connects school communities, and powers school fundraising in a brand new way. The platform has evolved into a useful tool that schools — teachers, coaches and administrators — use to organize, manage and communicate with students, their families and local fans regarding club, class and team activities. We offer versions for grades K-8, and for high school.
The platform is free to schools. PlanetHS offers local businesses the opportunity to support their local schools and promote their products and services at the same time. Local business sponsors are generated in partnership with each school as a one-of-a-kind fundraising vehicle. Schools receive a proven, useful communication platform and share in the proceeds from local business sponsors. It’s an enlightened alternative to a banner on the chain link fence at the ball field!
So who are the main users? Is this specifically extracurricular programs, or are whole schools using the platform?
As a platform that helps knit school communities together the features address the specific needs of educators, coaches and administrators. Within the school Principals, Athletic Directors, Activities Directors, Coaches, Teachers and Guidance Counselors are the mainstay of our user base. However, since a great deal of the platform’s engagement is from students and parents, PlanetHS pays close attention to user experience for all our user segments.
What makes your product different than what is currently available?
PlanetHS is positioned to serve the non-academic elements of the school mission — the time-honored programs that build traits of character and citizenship outside of the classroom, where parent involvement is of meaningful value, such as sports, band, JROTC, and student government. We are also a source of significant fundraising revenue to schools, which is truly different from, and in fact additive to, traditional fundraising options. Therefore, in terms of both our mission and our economic model we have two distinct points of differentiation.
What pushed you to get involved in the education industry?
What exists today grew out of a collaboration with schools in Jacksonville, FL. As an active parent who shot video of my daughter’s team events, I was approached by her principal who asked if I would post the video to the internet. What followed was a multi-year process in which a broad number of features, including SMS, email, calendaring, live streaming, polling and elections were developed collaboratively with her school, and then other schools locally. Most importantly, the features needed to save educators’ time, and be absolutely safe and secure in order to work in the school environment. We’re now used by hundreds of schools in the southeast — and that number is growing every month.
Tell us about your team and their backgrounds
Our team represents professionals from the world of education — both school practitioners and education business leaders. Because the site is a valuable tool for raising money, the PlanetHS team also comprises experts from the school fundraising industry who help schools use PlanetHS to raise the funds they need to support their programs by engaging local business owners as sponsors.
What is the next step for PlanetHS?
We continue to grow our presence rapidly, and look forward to adding schools, districts and state-wide school organizations to the platform. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or pay a visit to www.planeths.com to find out first-hand about our product.
We would like to thank Joe and the whole PlanetHS team for answering our questions.