Top tips for PTOs and PTAs

PTO Tips

Fall is right around the corner, and so is fundraising for the school year. Many school fundraisers are handled by the school’s PTO/PTA and we don’t know what we would do without them. There are several mindsets, however, about PTO/PTA that aren’t really true. We wanted to share some common misconceptions people develop, and use quick fixes for school fundraising through a product company.

Mistake: Thinking all parents are the same.

  • The Fix: Instead of growing frustrated when parents aren’t responding to your needs, or aren’t helping as much as you’d like, remember that parents are motivated by different things. You may be heavily involved in your parent group because you know it’s the right thing to do, but others need to be approached from a different angle. Clearly communicate why it is important for them to be involved and explain how their kids will benefit. Show them that your group accomplishes a great deal and explain that their time won’t be forgotten, even if they are only able to offer an hour or two. Many parents don’t realize they can help without committing large amounts of time, and so they don’t help at all.
  • The Mistake: Focusing only on fundraising

The Fix: While you might be inclined to spend all your time and volunteer hours fundraising, remember that some people will shy away from a group if they think sales are all that matters. Don’t begin the first PTO meeting with fundraising information; start with a welcome event where people can socialize and get to know each other. You’ll build more support, and in the end this will impact your fundraising campaigns in a positive way.

  • The Mistake: Leave out the Principle

The Fix:  You’re  If you don’t always feel like your school’s principle is always behind you, or slows down progress because of administrative reasons, it’s easy to leave him out. However, it’s important to see things the principal’s point of view; this way, you can address concerns he/she may have. Principals have other priorities sometimes, but keeping  involved is a better option.

  • The Mistake: Doing things the way they’ve been done in the past.

The cure: Don’t avoid large changes, especially if your fundraisers are no longer successful. You wouldn’t follow a road map from years ago, so why would you continue the same practices year after year? Seek out creative people in your group to come up with new ideas and try to implement them. Try a green fundraiser instead of selling wrapping paper, or host a different event. Your group and the event will thank you for bringing on change that is often needed.

  • The Mistake: Volunteers are used as free labor.

The Cure: Your loyal volunteers may feel unappreciated if you don’t reach out the thank them for all the help. Recruiting becomes more and more difficult. Make your volunteers feel appreciated and give them a sense of accomplishment. Give them some power to use their own creativity for tasks. Building involvement in a PTO group will make it easier to reach out to others.

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