August is here and “back-to-school” is top of mind for many parents, teachers and students. As schools open their doors, one of the issues being discussed with many planning committees may have to do with school fundraising. How will the school raise enough funds to support the programs planned for the coming year? Parents are invested in the education of their children, and therefore may be some of the school’s best assets when it comes to fundraising.
PTA Fundraising (PTO fundraising) campaigns are a common way for parent-teacher groups to raise funds to support school programs, projects, educational resources, and extracurricular activities. PTA fundraising efforts are most successful when parents partner with school faculty, students and members of the local community to determine which type of fundraiser will work best to meet their goals.
Considerations when organizing a PTA fundraising event:
- What age are your students? Students tend to take an interest in things that will immediately benefit them such as improved equipment or annual trips.
- Financial Planning: What is your budget for producing the PTA fundraiser? What are the upfront costs and how will your organization cover these?
- What resources do you have including: Parents, volunteers, local business & media relationships that can assist with sponsorships and spreading the word.
- What are your plans for promoting your PTA fundraising campaign? Networking, social media, community relationships, local businesses, event calendars, email blasts, website links, school gatherings, etc.
- What message and skills are you teaching students through your fundraising campaign?
- How will you motivate participants? Will there be any prizes or awards for top performers?
- What tools/resources (i.e. online fundraising software) will you use to collect donations and manage all the planning details of your fundraiser?
Examples of PTA fundraising events:
Walk-a-thons: A school walkathon is a great way to bring parents, teachers, students and the community together to raise funds for the school in a social and active setting. PTA members can easily manage event details, student registrations, and track online donations with walk-a-thon software. Students will not only enjoy the social aspect of the event, but will have fun creating their own personal pledge pages where they upload photos, share their story, and have people make secure donations online.
Fundraising Raffles: Make any school event, pep-rally, sports-competition, etc. into a PTA fundraiser by hosting a fundraising raffle as part of the event. Obtain donations from local businesses and sell raffle tickets to faculty, parents, and community spectators.
Golf Tournaments: A great warm-weather PTA fundraising event is a charity golf tournament. Parents, school faculty and older students pay a donation entry fee to participate in a golf tournament. Consider pairing teachers with parents and students to encourage collaboration between school staff and families. Add contests and prizes to add an element of “fun” to the tournament, and raise more money for your fundraiser. You may also want to consider selling products (such as golf shirts, hats, balls, etc.) at the tournament or on your tournament website.
School Carnivals: Some schools achieve great success in hosting a fun, interactive event for the local community. These fundraising events can bring in a great deal of money with admission fees and sales from food, drinks and games, but they also provide an excellent opportunity for families to socialize. Be sure to provide food, entertainment and enticing activities so people will want to attend! Have the school band and dance team perform. Provide games and contests. Consider bringing in a vendor with inflatable rentals or a climbing wall. Rent a large outdoor screen and showcase a movie on the football field after it turns dark. The options are endless!
Silent Auctions: Add a silent auction as part of any fundraising event, or host an online charity auction. PTA members can seek donations from local businesses such as professional sporting event tickets, gift certificates for local restaurants and hotels, and possibly even autographed merchandise by local celebrities. Display items on banquet tables or in a tent at your fundraising event with detailed information about the item and a silent auction bid sheet. Event attendees place bids during the event and auction winners are announced at the close of the event. Various auction items can also easily be displayed and bids accepted in an online auction environment.