Ellwood City-based marketing company Thought Process Enterprises (TPE) recently signed a contract with North Allegheny School District forming a partnership that will allow advertisements on the district’s website as a means of generating revenue for the district.
With school districts facing increasing financial difficulties, some districts have looked for alternative means to raise money beyond tax revenue and government funding.
TPE helps districts in their search for additional income. Through their online advertising division, EDGEclick Advertising, TPE has created a network school districts that earn supplemental revenue through banner ads on the school district’s website.
North Allegheny is the 36th district to join the network and is one of several large districts in the greater Pittsburgh area, including North Hills and Penn Hills in Allegheny County, Ambridge in Beaver County, and Ellwood City Area in Lawrence County.
“It’s an out-of-the-box way to do to generate revenue, and it is money most schools didn’t have in prior years,” Eric Venezie, President of Thought Process Enterprises, said.
In May 2016 alone, TPE distributed over $10,000 in revenue to member schools.
In the network, school district websites display one or two banner ads from companies relevant to parents of school-children, such as insurance companies and colleges. Current notable advertisers include Geico, State Farm, National Guard, and Westminster, Thiel and Grove City colleges. EDGEclick handles soliciting and designing ads, invoicing of advertisers and customer service.
The origins of EDGEclick Advertising go back to 2012 when TPE negotiated a contract with their first school district which continues to serve as a pilot district.
As the number of districts grew, TPE created EDGEclick Advertising as an online advertising division, focusing on promoting the benefits of website ads to school districts in the Pittsburgh area.
However, the concept of school’s using advertisements has met with some resistance. For various reasons, not all school boards are open to the idea. In fact, in some states it is illegal for districts to generate revenue with advertisements.
Network Operations Manager, Robert Phillips assures the worries are ungrounded. The ads are limited to two banner ads that appear unobtrusively on the website. In addition, content such as tobacco, alcohol and politics are prohibited.
While EDGEclick has continued to market Pittsburgh schools, the company expanded its reach to the greater Philadelphia area in 2014 when it signed Upper Darby School District in Delaware County. Three more districts have since joined the network.