You are welcome to reprint our articles (in their entirety) in your PTO Newsletter or link them to your PTO webpage, we just ask that you also print the source as PTO Ideas, www.ptoideas.com. Thank you.
It's not too late to raise additional funds by the end of the year. Not only are people in the giving holiday spirit, but they also know they have to make a donation by Dec. 31st in order to claim it on their upcoming U.S. tax return. Did you know that a large amount of donations are submitted on the last two days of December?
With this in mind it's time to get to work encouraging year-end giving through these avenues...
Email. It only takes a few minutes to put together a clear, concise email campaign. Send it to your subscribers at least 4 times between now and the end of December with the final one set to arrive in their in-boxes on December 30th. Remember to state the goal of the PTO, tell the reader how your organization relates to them, ask for an online donation, and ask the reader to forward your request to family, friends & colleagues.
Telephone. Compile a list of past donors that have not yet donated this year. Call them. Thank them for their past support and update them on the PTO's work.
Media. The week following Christmas is typically a slow news week so it's easier to get a story on TV or in the newspaper. Start putting together a positive story about your school and the work the PTO has been doing to enrich the lives of the students and send it to the media. Don't forget to mention that donations from community families and businesses are important for the PTO to do the positive work they do.
Direct Mail. It may be a detailed letter sent home in the student's backpacks or a brief postcard sent by U.S. mail that tells potential donors how your organization relates to them and exactly what their donation will be used to accomplish.
Newsletter. Publish a donation request in the school's newsletter.
Signs. Post a sign or banner outside your school as a reminder to donate.
Website. Post an advertisement and a "Donate Now" link button on the school's website.
Announcements. Remember to make announcements at school-sponsored events such as holiday shows.
One final tip... remember to proofread every marketing campaign several times yourself and ask a colleague to review it for you too.
In terms of school fundraising, the answer is unmistakably clear - the 'plan to spend money' comes before the 'plan to raise money'. That means you have to know exactly 'what' you need to purchase and how much it will cost before you begin researching and organizing the actual fundraising events. So how do you do this?
Make a Plan. Put together a balanced budget that includes your fundraising plan. Decide what events the parent-teacher organization (PTO) would like to run and what purchases they'd like to make that are not typically covered under the school budget, but will benefit the students.
Purchases may include, enrichment programs, a new computer lab, educational field trips, or an engineering lab to name a few.
Once you've also taken into consideration some minor administrative costs (bank fees, paper, photocopies, etc.) you'll then have an idea of how much you expect to spend throughout the school year.
Research Fundraisers. Begin researching fundraisers that will help you raise the money to pay the budgeted expenses. Similar to investing in the stock market, you're encouraged to diversify. Include both product fundraisers and fundraisers that are organized completely in-house by parent volunteers.
Product fundraisers are those where you work with an outside vendor, sell products like gift wrap, chocolates, or recyclable water bottles, and make a percentage of the sales (typically around 50%).
In-house fundraisers are those that are organized by parent volunteers such as bake sales, pancake breakfasts, auctions, raffles, or the highly profitable PTO Ideas' Educational Challenge or the PTO Ideas' $5ForKids Campaign. With these types of fundraisers, the organization holds on to a much higher percentage of sales (typically more than 90% depending on expenses).
Review Prior Years' Budget. Remember to take a look at not just the prior year's PTO budget, but also the budgets from the last 5 years. PTO Officers come and go and some past years committee members may have made some good (and not so good) purchases that you may or may not want to repeat. Similarly they may have already tried some very profitable (and not so profitable) fundraisers from which you could learn.
Use the Internet. Search terms like "How to Spend PTO Money" then "PTO Fundraising Ideas" or "PTO In-House Fundraisers". In summary, do your research, make a plan, and stick to the plan throughout the school year.
If your parent-teacher organization (PTO) was a bit overzealous and didn't quite sell that large stock of spirit wear that they had hoped, consider these creative ideas to sell that stock and make the profit you had intended.
Some of the obvious sales ideas include setting up a school store, offering items for sale before and after school, and selling at school sporting events and performances. But even before sales become stagnant, get creative.
Reduce, Renew, and Re-invent.
Reduce. Offer a Sale. Everyone loves a deal so offer older merchandise at a slightly reduced price.
Renew. Sell to a new market. Rather than concentrating your sales efforts at your own school, think globally and that tired stock will appear new to a fresh market. Sell to other schools within your city/town. A middle school can sell to the elementary schools and the students moving up from elementary to middle school will likely be thrilled to have a shirt from their "new" school.
Re-invent. Use unsold stock differently. If your school has a Field Day every year and purchases t-shirts for the students for the event, use unsold spirit wear shirts instead. Or, sell them to other local elementary schools that may do this. If a school typically purchases plain t-shirts at a local craft supply store, they may just love to have pre-printed shirts at a comparable price.
If the shirts are white, try tie-dying some of them. The changed look may spark some new interest.
Or, try using some of the stock as prizes to motivate the students to raise money for the school.
A few additional marketing suggestions.
Place large orders for spirit wear stock only every other or every third year. Wait for students to turnover and for new students to come into the school.
Whenever possible, keep the design generic. Rather than making it school-specific, display the broader town logo. As mentioned above, this will open up new avenues for sales.
Review the quantity of shirts purchased. You have to assume that only about 50% of your student population will purchase a shirt of good design. Make a note for next time if too many were ordered this year. Similarly, were the items priced effectively?
And finally, evaluate the design. Are the shirts not selling because of a poor design or quality? Perhaps have a contest for students to design the next school spirit shirt logo. Entry fee for the contest can be $2, $3, or $4 and anyone that enters the contest gets a free shirt (of the old design). So essentially you are selling them AND coming up with a new, hopefully better design.
By thinking creatively, you can turn any merchandise into a sale.
Planning an Auction or Raffle Fundraiser, means obtaining donations from local companies - items you can auction off or include in a gift basket. But before you send out those donation request letters, carefully consider three important things:
What items will sell best in this economy where buyers are watching every penny they spend?
What items are companies most likely to donate?
How can you market your request so that a donation also benefits the donor?
Solution, add a practical element this year. Offer items that are a good fit for both audience and donors.
Unique items that people cannot typically purchase in a store sell well at auctions or as raffle items; such as
dinner party for 8 prepared by a well-known chef
a minor part in a movie being filmed or a theater show
complete set-up of a child's birthday party including decorations, games, and food
school tuition for one year.
But take this one step further, because in a down economy, money is first spent on necessities. So while vacation packages and unusual luxury items still sell well at auctions, look to build packages around practical necessities or pair them with the luxury items.
What do we mean by necessities? Think food, health, and shelter.
gift certificates for food, gas, oil changes, home heating oil, dry cleaners, hair cuts, or healthclubs
handyman services such as electrical, painting, carpentry, and plumbing
Even extend this to more unusual items, such as
a pair of cemetery plots
military care packages
So how do you get these donations? It's true that many companies donate out of the goodness of their hearts to support the local community, but why not show them that a well-meaning donation can also be good for the sponsor too.
The largest companies in a town are usually the ones that advertise the most; but they are also the ones that get the highest amount of donation requests from local nonprofits. Try going outside the box and looking at local craftsmen. Most people would love to have a licensed electrician, plumber, painter or carpenter at their disposal for 2 or 3 hours to finish those home repairs that have been on the back burner.
Offering a few hours of services is good for the artisan too, because they, in turn, just picked up a new customer. The same is true of a hair salon that offers a free haircut or a lawyer that helps prepare a will.
So as you prepare your donation wish list, think about practical and unique items as well as those that, in turn, benefit the sponsor.
School vacation is here and you're bound to have at least one rainy day. Keep the kids' minds and hands active with these fun, cost effective activities. Remember to keep the list handy so the kids can pick an activity at a moment's notice!
Organize a Book Swap – Email friends and relatives and host a book swap. Kids bring up to 3 age-appropriate, gently-used books. Moms can bring books for themselves too! Open your house for an hour or two and maybe even ask each mom to bring a lunch item. It's a great way to share summer reading books. If you have a list of 10, have each child buy one then share them at a swap. Or, play bingo and let the kids win their 'new' books.
Build a Fort - Gather a few couch cushions, dining chairs, sheets, and your imagination. Build a fort by draping flat sheets from a dining table or couch over dining chairs. Imagine a castle or a camp. Build a pretend fire using papertowel rolls and red, orange, and yellow tissue paper.
Watch a Movie – Make some popcorn and watch a new movie on your home DVD. Plan to pick up the latest flick a week before the kids are on vacation and surprise them with a new one. Or, go to the movie theater. If you've been to the regular movie theater, try an IMAX theater or the Planetarium.
See a Show - See a play, the circus, a comedy show, or listen to a band play. Have dinner at a local restaurant that has live entertainment.
Take a Ride – Get in the car and take a scenic drive along the seashore, through the forest, or through some neighboring towns you just want to explore. You can even make a list of things to find on your drive to make it more interesting – i.e. Find a sign with the letter “R” in it, a yellow house, a blue mailbox, a green car, and a house with their holiday lights still up.
Play Board Games - Take a trip to the toy store and buy a new, strategic board game that will enhance their minds. Scrabble, Monopoly, Pictionary, Clue, or Chess are great options.
Go See the Animals – Animals don't mind the rain, so put on your raingear, open the umbrella, and visit the zoo or aquarium and let the kids explore the habitats of other living things.
Build Like an Architect - Get out that big box of Legos or Lincoln Logs and design a building, a city, or even a dinosaur!
Take a Tour – Take a tour of a professional baseball park, football stadium, or basketball or hockey arena.
See a Piece of History – Visit your local history museums. These may be in the form of a natural history museum, an art museum, naval museum (battleships), armory museum, or an outdoor history museum like Old Sturbridge Village (Also a great place for a hike!).
Learn to Skate – Most rinks have open-skating times each week and you pay just a few dollars to ice skate for an hour. Or, you can also get a few friends together and rent the ice rink. In-line skating rinks are also lots of fun!
Bake Some Dough & Play – Kids love to bake. Try making basic vanilla cookies, dividing the dough into four parts and coloring each differently with food coloring. Let the kids use the dough like they would modeling clay to make shapes and then bake.
Cook Family Style - Put on some tunes and teach them to cook. Cook a four-course meal complete with appetizer, salad, main dish, and dessert.
Play Ball – Get a few friends together and rent the local gym for an hour. The Boys & Girls Clubs, local YMCA, or tennis club are good places to check into. Spend an hour at the batting cages or go bowling.
Let Them Paint or Sculpt– Pick up a few inexpensive canvases or clay at the local craft store or go somewhere like Plaster Fun Time and let the kids create a masterpiece!
Visit the Library -The library is a great place to get some 'new' books, movies, and video games.
Clean the Closets – Set aside a few hours this week to clean out the kids closets. If you need to entice them a little, try hiding a surprise or two somewhere under all of the mess. This may be tickets to the zoo or a $5.00 gift certificate to their favorite fast food restaurant.
Visit Friends & Relatives – Vacation weeks are a perfect time to catch up with the cousin's and friend's that live a bit further away. So get together for a simple lunch at either their house or yours. The kids will entertain each other while the Moms get a chance to relax.
Choose at least two of the ideas listed here and your sure to turn a rainy, vacation day into one you may even look forward to!
To many parents of young children, the summer months mean vacations, trips to the beach, and weeks of recuperating from the hectic days of school. But for those involved in their school's parent-teacher organization (PTO, PTA, PTG, PA, or PAC), July and August are also a great time to make a plan for the upcoming school year!
The economy has been in a state of flux for the the past year. But everything goes in cycles. Families are spending less, saving more, and waiting it out. Any organization that relies on donations from these families needs to adjust as well.
Kevin P. Martin & Associates, one of Massachusetts leading CPA firms, recently hosted a philanthropy summit. KPM invited a panel of top nonprofits and guest speakers to openly discuss the shifting in the economy and the steps non-profit organizations (NPO) are taking in response. As a group, these NPO's all agreed on these few key points...
Now is the time for Innovation. Foster new ideas and try other things. This includes decreasing costs while increasing outcomes. The PTO Ideas' Educational Challenge is a perfect example. It's a new concept to many schools as well as a fundraiser that, without a doubt, keeps costs low while allowing the profitable outcome to soar!
Innovation also gives wonderful media/press coverage; not only for your organization, but also for your sponsors. Sponsors will want to be involved in a successful, unique event because the result will mean positive coverage in the community news.
Speaking of Sponsors, you must stay connected to these donors and foster these relationships. Don't just ask for money and walk away. In addition to sending a "Thank You" note, plan to publicize their involvement in a successful fundraiser in the local newspaper, invite them to a year-end celebration, and keep them updated on other positive events happening within the school throughout the year.
Now is the time to be Proactive. Make a list of things you'd like to accomplish in the upcoming year (and even three years) and actually work toward completing them! Plan ahead by preparing a PTO Events Calendar. Writing down all of your fundraising programs, family fun events, and enrichment plans in an organized calendar format will help you see more clearly how these events will be carried out throughout the school year. Write down your goals and carry them out!
Diversify your revenue streams. Don't rely on a single type of fundraiser. Just as you would never invest all of your money into a single stock, you must look to different types of fundraisers to make a complete portfolio.
But to do this effectively, you must know your market and what they are capable of. You need to know the capacity of your donors so that when you do ask for a donation, you are asking for a donation within their means.
And finally, collaborate with other organizations. Plan a city-wide Walk-a-thon, Yard Sale, or Earth Day event. Invite other schools as well as your sponsors to join in the activities. Because individually you can scale a mountain, collectively we can move it!
To assign a theme to a fundraising event is to give it life. It provides you with a basis to plan all of the details under one umbrella. For instance, all advertising, printed promotional pieces, decorations, games, and gifts should reflect the theme.
A theme also provides a guide for the committee members to follow. If they understand that all details must relate back to the theme, their planning and ideas will be more focussed, efficient, and effective.
Sign in to view the entire article which features unique event themes. Once you sign-in, just click on the access link for Fundraising: Success is in the Details
How do you spell success? Well the students of the Wyman School spelled it 30 different ways! On October 10th, the Wyman School of Massachusetts held a PTO Ideas' Educational Challenge fundraiser and this 200-student, public school raised just over $13,000 in about 2 weeks.
How did they do this? Students collected pledges for each correctly-spelled word on a spelling test. A simple concept with a dramatic outcome!
A fundraising committee of ten parent volunteers armed with the PTO Ideas' ebook titled Fundraising With a School Spelling Challenge
were the keys to this fundraising success story. PTO Ideas is a web-based Massachusetts company dedicated to helping schools build a better parent-teacher organization. It has brought fundraising back into the schools by explaining to parent organizations exactly how to plan an event in-house, rather than rely on outside vendors. From advertising, promotion, and fun games to motivate the students, right down to the administrative details, this ebook is unique and informative!
We are in difficult economic times and fundraising is becoming increasingly more difficult. Schools need to take a hard look at what they are offering and what the return expectations are of the school families and community.
Like many schools, the Wyman ran a gift wrap fundraiser every Fall for as long as they can remember. This year, however, they wanted to try something different. Something that allowed them to hold onto the majority of the money donated by their sponsors.
This PTO Ideas Educational Challenge fundraiser was an enormous success because it involved the students, was academically based, was fun for the kids, offered a tax-deducton benefit to the sponsors, and had minimal expenses. Expenses were only about $285. That meant that 98% of the money collected went directly to the school.
In addition to the more than 600 individual sponsors secured by 170 students, fifteen local business stepped forward and sponsored the classrooms. The key to obtaining so many individual sponsors was understanding how to motivate and excite the students to drive the event. And, the key to gaining corporate support was that the school only asked for very small dollar amounts.
Products offered by outside fundraising companies offer a quick and easy profit and are still recommended; but when combined with a creative, educational fundraiser like this Educational Challenge that's planned in-house, the total package can make for a much more successful fundraising plan and many more satisfied parents!
CHELMSFORD – The Byam Elementary and Parker Middle Schools of Chelmsford, Massachusetts teamed up with Target Sport Adventures to offer a popular and profitable fundraiser. Together the schools’ parent-teacher organizations raffled off a pair of tickets to the hottest sports event this time of year - Super Bowl XLII.
Tickets for the big game are going for hundreds and even thousands of dollars. But just $50 bought a raffle ticket for this particular Super Bowl package that included air fare for two from Boston to Arizona, two Super Bowl XLII game tickets, three nights accommodations at a three-star hotel, and a few other small perks! If for some reason, the Patriots did not make it to the Super Bowl (ha!), the prize would be $15,000 cash!
Target Sport Adventures is a Boston based company that provides sports and entertainment event travel. They can help charity organizations that may not have the resources by putting together a premier event package.
The Byam School Association hosts a number of fundraisers throughout the year. They actually considered offering this type of event over a year ago and then when the Patriots showed such promise of making the Super Bowl, they put their plan into action. “One of the things that appealed to us with this type of fundraiser was that it offered support from the local community as a whole and not just our school families,” said event coordinator and Byam School Association President Maura Shield.
The plan was to sell a maximum of 1,000 raffle tickets. If fewer than 400 raffle tickets were sold, all purchases would receive a full refund of their raffle ticket(s) purchased. In the end, the schools were able to sell 501 tickets for a profit of $7,400. Tickets were sold to school families and at The Java Room, a local coffee house where the winning ticket was pulled this past Thursday. A lucky Matt Sepe was chosen and plans to take his brother to this phenomenal event. Congratulations!
Vicki Blazejowski is the Editor and Publisher of PTO Ideas, the website were schools share profitable fundraising ideas and learn how to build a better parent-teacher organization. For more information, visit PTO Ideas at www.ptoideas.com.
A new school year brings new students, new parents, and new leadership to Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTO). The challenge is capitalizing on this yearly change and making it work to your advantage.
If last year's PTO Board members did a fantastic job fundraising and maintaining membership, then follow in their footsteps. Ask the former President to consult and find out what they did to make the year a success. If on the other hand, parents were less than enthusiastic about the results of the fundraisers or programs and participation dropped off by year-end, then analyze why and work to rectify the problem areas.
Perhaps the Board appeared disorganized and unable or unwilling to carry out the requests of the members. Remember, the Board is established to carry out the requests of the PTO as a whole. It's a democracy, not a power struggle! Encourage all of the board members to be great leaders; leaders that the members will want to see succeed. Be honest, consistent, ask for suggestions and listen to the answers, work as hard or harder than you expect your members to work, and remember to say "Thank You".
It's also important that the Board be able to follow through and actually implement ideas. Be organized. Plan and prepare for each monthly PTO meeting as well as each committee meeting. If the Board appears disorganized and unable carry out plans, the members will get frustrated and eventually stop attending meetings.
With new students, come new parents. Whether these parents have their first child entering kindergarten or they have relocated from another school, they will come with new ideas and a fresh outlook. Like any other business, a PTO has to advertise and recruit new members each year. Parents new to the school can be timid about joining a group of parents that already know each other and are familiar with the programs. Advertise the PTO and it's goals using flyers and signs. And don't underestimate the power of a simple phone call to make new parents feel welcome. Ask them personally if they will attend a meeting. It takes just one person acknowledging them by name to make them feel welcome.
A few simple tools will go a long way in helping to increase PTO participation. The first step in connecting with the students and their families is to collect their contact information early in the school year so that you can reach out to them. Create a school directory and email list. The directory allows parents to easily contact each other and the email list can be used to keep parents updated on PTO events, issues, and volunteer opportunities.
Provide parents (and teachers) with information. Believe it or not, most parents new to a school don't know what the fundraisers are, just by the titles you give them. As a PTO Board, do not assume that anyone knows what the Fall Fair, Holiday Shopping Event, or the Grocery Receipts Savings Program is. At the beginning of each year, distribute a list of all of the PTO programs along with a short description of each one and volunteer opportunities associated with each.
Provide parents with resources. Parents are more likely to get involved if they feel like they have something to contribute. So give them the resources to decide what types of programs they would like to see implemented and in what areas they are most likely to get involved. Actually distribute a flyer that lists the resources, whether they are books, or websites. PTO Ideas (www.ptoideas.com) is one website specifically designed for PTOs and offers thousands of ideas and highly detailed instructions for implementing fundraisers.
Remember to make fundraising fun! For your next fundraiser, try planning it around a theme. Children's books are fantastic resources for coming up with themes! Plan advertising and activities around the theme and you'll be amazed at what you come up with.
And finally, laugh and work together. The PTO can be a great social outlet. And so much more can be accomplished when we laugh and work together as a team!
Imagine raising $125,000 for your school. Money that can be used to provide enrichment programs, supplies, equipment, and technology to better the students' learning environment. With the help of a dedicated committee, that is just what one mother of 3 has done at The Country School in Easton, Maryland.
The Country School, a private school of 300 students for grades K-8, is hosting its 21st Annual Fundraiser Auction this February. In past years, they have successfully raised $80,000; a phenomenal achievement for a school of any size. Auction Chairperson, Kathy Dawkins, however, has been able to raise the bar even further and increase earnings to over $125,000 for the past three consecutive years. Now in her fourth year, Kathy is once again working with her committee and the community in hopes of another successful fundraising event.
Kathy's former position as a Director of College Activities where she brought entertainment events to several colleges, has provided her with the expertise to coordinate large events. Speaking of the auction, Kathy said, "I approach it like a business. I pick the right people and manage those volunteers. I don't micro-manage, but do touch on every facet of the planning in some way."
When asked her secret to increasing revenues by $45,000, Kathy explained that they changed venues from the school to a large, area hotel where they had access to 10,000 square feet of event space. This seemed to make a difference in that they were able to display over 250 silent auction items, offer a cocktail reception with a cash bar, entertainment, and a buffet dinner; making it an entertaining evening for all that attended.
In recent years, Kathy also added the element of a school webpage to their marketing plan. In doing so, she created a page that provided all of the available auction opportunities; from purchasing tickets and raffle tickets to advertising, donation, and sponsorship opportunities. The webpage allows for the auction catalog, featuring all live and silent auction items, to be viewed in advance, online. She also published a donation wish list, which has proven to be a very effective donation source.
Kathy says that it seems as though everyone wants to donate in some way, but only about half of the parents are able to donate larger items like vacation getaways because they happen to have the resources or contacts. So, Kathy says, "We gave others an avenue to give by providing a wish list of smaller items." They published a wish list on the school webpage that included an array of items like lunch for a week, lessons of all types, sports gear, and even a gas grill. These are items that appeal to a vast majority and are well sought after at the auction.
The internet offers a vast source of alternative auction item ideas. By going to sites like PTO Ideas (www.ptoideas.com) you can view a page detailing how to plan an auction fundraiser as well as find lists of unique donation items that can be provided by families, students, faculty, and businesses. Distribute these lists to potential donors to give them ideas!
In addition Kathy says, "We took a three-prong approach to increase revenue. We allowed people to donate an item, buy an advertisement, and/or become a sponsor." In doing so, they opened up opportunities for families, relatives, friends, alumni, and businesses to donate the way that best suits them. Kathy says that her goal is to have $50,000 worth of live auction items and $50,000 worth of silent auction items available on the night of the auction. "The key to that is getting the parents to donate", says Kathy. If the auction items are donated the sale of those items are considered all profit, as well as a tax deduction for the person making the donation.
In past years, Kathy says that the auction committee also ran a profitable 50/50 raffle. But she now raffles off a $5,000 tuition credit that raises an average profit of $8,000. Her secret to selling these $25 raffle tickets is to distribute them to over 2,000 school families, relatives, friends, faculty, alumni, and businesses. And by allowing the credit to be used at any educational institution, it opens the door to an unlimited number of families with children in school.
Kathy also credits her dedicated auction committee and generous community for their fundraising successes. As it takes 18 chairmen and nearly 100 volunteers in all aspects of the auction including advertising, decorating, publicity, printing, and more working together. For more information on The Country School auction visit their website at countryschoolauction.org.
While school expenditures are being trimmed thinner each year, Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTO) are becoming even more important within each school's community. PTO's are a lifeline when it comes to ensuring that the students have the supplies and enrichment programs that make for a more complete learning experience. To do this, fundraising is essential and PTO's have found themselves working harder to balance such an important budget.
But PTO's do much more than just fundraise to help pay for school supplies and equipment. They raise funds for things that do not fall within the realm of a typical classroom experience. The funds that are raised are returned to the teachers as teacher appreciation gifts and luncheons; they are returned to the students as field trips, enrichment programs, and graduation gifts to help them experience things outside of the classroom curriculum; and they help create a sense of community among school families through family fun events, ice cream socials, and school performances.
PTO?s have become a staple within every school system. Their fundraising efforts help alleviate added costs to parents and bring educational supplies and programs to students for little and, in most cases, no cost. The question for many PTO's, however, is how do they raise the funds needed to support the school community and what are some of the ways to give these funds back?
This question should actually be answered in reverse. Every business should develop a budget and a PTO is no exception. Prior to the start of the school year, the PTO should make a list of the supplies and programs that they would like to provide to the students, teachers, and the school as a whole. Does the library need new books? What classroom supplies do the teachers need? How many field trip buses will need to be subsidized? What enrichment programs will be provided? The list must be in detail and must include costs.
Diversify what you plan to subsidize. In doing this, everyone will feel as though they've been satisfied in some way. Let's assume the PTO offers a few science and art enrichment programs, purchases some new athletic equipment, and contributes to the cost of field trip buses, but fails to assist with the purchase of some well-needed classroom supplies. The teachers may feel as though they were overlooked and their participation in the PTO may drop off. Similarly, you don?t want parents to feel as though the majority of the PTO budget is going to supplies or not being evenly distributed to students at every grade level.
Remember, every member of the school community is important. They may not be a PTO member this year, but you still hope to recruit them next year. Analyze the needs of the school as a whole and then diversify. The principal or head of school is a great resource who generally has a hand in all of the happenings at the school and can help the PTO ensure that the needs of all are being met.
Once the PTO understands why they are fundraising and the anticipated expenses, they can then come up with a productive solution to raise the funds. This part of the equation is much more complicated, however. You must determine what types of fundraisers will help you achieve your fundraising goal and ensure they are implemented successfully. Do this by creating a list consisting of reliable fundraisers that have worked well in the past. Perhaps these include bake sales, book fairs, pie sales, etc. Do research as to how you can improve upon these old standbys by going online to sites like PTO Ideas (www.ptoideas.com) where you can find out what other schools are doing and get some fresh ideas.
Also include on your list one or two new fundraisers to try out. Perhaps this year's goal is to create a school website that runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and potentially earns money through affiliate marketing and advertising. Again, do some research to determine what is a good fit for your organization. For instance a barnyard square dance may be a great event in the country, but it would be difficult to find a barn in a downtown metropolitan area.
Live auctions are another example. An auction can be a enormous undertaking for someone that's never planned one before. PTO Ideas explains exactly how to implement an auction and what's needed to make the event successful. The site provides details on how to obtain sponsorships, advertise, what type of hall to reserve, how to develop and decorate around a theme, where to find an auctioneer, how much to charge for tickets, what printed material will be needed, what food and beverages to serve, how to display your auction items, how to incorporate a silent auction, a raffle, and gift baskets, over 50 auction item ideas that you can request from parents, teachers, students, and businesses, and more!
Other things to consider when choosing fundraising events are the needs and spending habits within your own community, where will you hold the event, who will attend the event, and do you need any up-front cash to host the event. Larger events like auctions and golf tournaments will require some cash on-hand during the planning stages to pay for supplies, advertising, caterers, and other items that are not sponsored donations.
Also, when will the event take place? Post a fundraising and event calendar. Evenly distribute fundraising events throughout the school year and ensure that there are no conflicting events taking place at the same time. Try not to overwhelm parents with fundraising requests. Choose a limited number of quality events and make them work for you. And remember, at larger events you can always offer products for sale that complement your fundraiser. For instance, advertise and sell tickets for an Appraisal Event, but then at the event offer beverages, lunch items, and raffle tickets for sale. Parents will feel less inundated with fundraising requests this way than if you sent out a separate flyer to purchase raffle tickets.
Finally, understand how you will implement the event. The answer to this actually stems from the PTO organizational chart itself. A PTO generally consists of board members (Presidents, VP, Secretary, Treasurer). Each of these board members is responsible for overseeing committees. A committee is formed for each fundraising event and consists of a board member, a designated committee chairperson, and a number of volunteer PTO members. The number of volunteers on each committee is based on the planning workload of the fundraising event. For instance, the Auction Committee may have twenty volunteers while the Yard Sale Committee may only require five.
Each committee chair should supply the implementation procedures to their volunteers. Print instructions from the PTO Ideas website or draw them up yourself; but tell them exactly what you'd like them to do and how to do it. Then remember to thank them for helping!
Parent-teacher organizations have become so important to schools across the United States. Research several types of fundraising programs, in-depth, to choose the ones that best suit your school and that best fill the needs of those to whom you'll be marketing. It's critical that fundraising organizations understand the needs and the spending habits within their own community and offer affordable programs. In turn, the community will feel as though they are able to help and happily support the school.
Put together a comprehensive fundraising event plan and entertain your guests by choosing a theme for your next fundraiser. Give your fundraiser direction and life all at the same time.
A theme is a unifying subject or idea. It will provide a basis to plan all of your event details under one umbrella. For instance, all advertising, printed promotional pieces, decorations, activities, gifts, and sponsors should reflect the overall theme.
In order to choose an appropriate theme, you must first understand the purpose of your fundraiser. Are you raising funds for enrichment programs, a new computer lab, a new playground facility, or new books?
Once you've established the purpose, choose a theme that reflects that purpose and make a list of the key aspects that surround it. For example, if your school is planning an event to raise funds for a new playground, your list would include: children playing on the playground, growing, monkey bars, swings, slides, playground mulch, and plants and shrubs surrounding the playground. From these ideas may develop the themes, Slide into Spring or A Year of Growth.
The theme, A Year of Growth, reflects the idea that you hope to 'grow the playground', 'grow plants and shrubs around the playground', and 'watch the children grow as they use the playground through their years at the school'. Further reflect this theme in printed promotional material, decorations, activities, prizes, and sponsorships. Develop a logo of three children, flowers, or trees in a row each one larger than the next. Run a raffle sponsored by a local nursery. Decorate tables with potted flowers to be later planted at the playground site. These are like building blocks that all together support your overall theme.
A theme provides a planning guide for your volunteer committee members to follow. If they understand that all details must relate back to the theme, their planning and ideas will be more focussed, efficient, and effective.
The details of any event can be planned based on a simple theme and both parents and children will enjoy the storyline you've made come alive!
For more information on choosing a theme, Sign up and receive immediate access to Fundraising: Success is in the Details, a Free online guide from PTO Ideas featuring 8 essential steps to creating successful fundraisers. Click here.
TV game shows have been a huge success for many years. Dating back to the 1970's and 80's with The Price is Right, Jeopardy, and Family Feud; more recent crazes include Do You Want To Be A Millionaire, Deal or No Deal, and Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader. All of these game shows have a few things in common - contestants, a host, prizes, challenges, anticipation, and humor.
A game show event makes a great fundraiser or simply a school spirit event. Here are some tips to plan an evening where people can laugh out loud with their friends, family, teachers, and principal.
Design your own game or stylize it after a popular game show. Make the game your own by implementing your own set of rules and time limits. Organize the game in a way that several people can participate. For instance, in a Family Feud style game, have two teams of five players each compete against each other. If you have 3 rounds of play, then 6 different teams can play - that's 30 people! You may want to play two or three different games throughout the evening and have a different host for each (but plan to keep the event to no more than two hours long). At least one of the games should be one where the contestants are randomly chosen from the audience. This will sell tickets and keep the audience interested and entertained at the anticipation of being chosen.
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