How to Fundraise for Your PTA
The Parent-Teacher Association is an important auxiliary organization in enhancing the K-12 student experience. Not only does the PTA raise funds for school events, but it acts to bring parents, teachers, and students together in a true community. Despite these advantages, fundraising for the PTA is sometimes difficult. Ultimately, though, by organizing your PTA effectively, actively fundraising in your community, and fundraising online, your PTA will be able to raise the funds it needs to pay for its initiatives.
Fundraising in Your Community
Organize a direct donation event.At direct donation events, participants and supporters will be able to donate money directly to your PTA. Direct donation events are a traditional and very popular way to fundraise for the PTA.
- Sell products in which a large portion of the proceeds go toward the PTA. For instance, organize a cookie or candy selling event for your PTA.
- Provide entertainment or other value-added services and request donations from participants. For example, organize a PTA car wash, dog wash, or a play.
- Other examples of direct donation events include student art shows, bake sales, or marathons.
Launch a campaign.A fundraising campaign is an on-going process in which you and others associated with the PTA raise funds over a certain time. The benefit of a campaign is that you’ll have time to develop and spread the word about your campaign – which may ultimately increase the amount of funds you raise.
- Name a specific goal that that your campaign intends to meet. For example, your campaign may intend to raise money to fund a trip to Washington D.C. for the 7th grade class at the end of the academic year.
- Schedule a series of events over the course of several weeks or months. Such events could be speakers, dances like father-daughter or mother-son dances, or other similar events.
- Raise money for your campaign by mailing fliers with donation forms. Ask recipients to donate and to solicit donations from friends and family.
- Consider an on-going sales event where students and parents sell goods like candy, t-shirts, or even Yeti products. Make sure the event has a definitive time, like a month. Make sure to publicize the results of your sales event and to encourage participants to meet the goals of the event.
- Incorporate direct donation events, mail-based donation solicitation, on-going sales events, and internet fundraising into your campaign.
Recruit local businesses as sponsors.Local businesses are a great, often untapped, source of fundraising dollars in your local community. Businesses may see sponsoring an event as an opportunity to bolster their own business.
- Identify several businesses that might stand to profit from an association with the PTA. Think about restaurants, sporting goods stores, book stores, or other business that cater to families and children.
- Visit the business and make your pitch. Say something like “Mr. Parker, I was hoping you – and your sporting goods store – would be interested in sponsoring the PTA’s marathon next month. All you’d have to do is help us with a few supplies and you could post advertisements around the event. I think you’d get a lot of goodwill from the community.”
- Try to maintain a long-term arrangement. After an initial sponsorship deal, let the business or business owner know that you’d like to maintain the arrangement in the future. For example, say “Mr. Brownson, I think your sponsorship was an extreme success. Would you be interested in sponsoring our event annually?”
Sell products via websites.Websites help you create the opportunity to reach a broader audience than you would otherwise reach in your community. Through a website, you’ll be able to offer a wide variety of products.
- Have the PTA purchase items, like food, t-shirts, or other goods, to sell on websites like Amazon, Craigslist, or even your PTA’s own website.
- Hold an online auction. Have students or parents donate items or services to be auctioned off. Then advertise the auction event. Use websites like eBay for the actual auction.
Create an online fundraising campaign.Online fundraising campaigns are some of the most effective and least time-consuming ways to raise money for your PTA. By creating an online campaign, you’ll be able to get the word out about your PTA and raise money over the course of the entire year.
- Sign up with websites like the Cause Network. The cause network will help you organize a campaign and contact supporters.
- Sign up with Amazon Cause and have friends of the PTA in your community access Amazon through a link tied to your PTA. This way, your PTA will get a portion of all purchases friends of your PTA make on Amazon.
Use email and social media to fundraise.Email and social media are one of the most efficient and effective ways to reach friends of the PTA in and outside your community. By utilizing these online resources, you’ll be able to reach more people in a shorter amount of time than direct donation drives in your community.
- Reach out to the relatives of parents and students who do not live in your community. Social media is a great way to recruit grandparents as givers to a specific campaign or event.
- Establish Facebook and Twitter accounts for your PTA. Have students and parents friend or follow these accounts. Use them to advertise fundraising drives and meetings. For example, you can Tweet “Lydia Maria Childs Elementary School’s PTA is having a bake sale this Friday to benefit the victims of hurricane Taney in South Carolina.”
- Send donation requests to friends of the PTA in your community. For example, email friends of your PTA with a request for funds to sponsor the 5th grade’s soup kitchen day charity event on Thanksgiving.
- Use email to advertise online campaigns, sales on websites like Amazon, or events in your own community.
Organizing Your People
Establish channels of communication.Communication is perhaps the most important part of successfully fundraising for a PTA. Without communication, people won’t be able to effectively organize and plan.
- Hold regular PTA meetings. These meetings should be monthly or biweekly. In addition, hold meetings of key committees. Committee meetings may meet monthly or more often depending on what they need to do.
- Create a contact list with email and phone numbers of each member. In addition, create a list of donors and friends of your PTA.
- Make sure your PTA has a communications secretary – this person oversees sending out emails and making sure people can get in touch with each other.
Schedule fundraisers and activities.Ultimately, the key to successfully fundraising for a PTA is to plan many fundraising activities over the course of the academic year. Without scheduling diverse and regular fundraising activities, your PTA won’t be able to raise sufficient money to meet its goals.
- Plan many different types of fundraisers. The more diverse your activities, the more people you’ll wind up involving. For example while holding a bake sale on a weekday might draw on many stay-at-home parents, a weekend marathon will help draw parents with different schedules or interests.
- Space your fundraisers out over the course of the year. Be conscious of other organizations fundraising drives (like the Girl Scout’s annual cookie sale), and the timing of religious holidays (like Christmas or Chanukah). For example, try to hold a fundraising event every month of the school year, instead of clumping many together during the busy fall months.
- Fundraising activities should always be associated and advertised as supplying money toward a specific goal or activity. People are more likely to donate if they know where the money is going to.
Create committees.Committees should be tasked with specific roles and have specific responsibilities. In the end, committees are responsible for making sure the mission they oversee is carried out in an organized and systematic manner.
- One of the most important part of committees are their leaders. Leaders should be elected by members of the PTA, committee, or appointed by the executive body of the PTA.
- Some committees will be tasked with organizing specific events or campaigns.
- Some committees will have the responsibility of overseeing general responsibilities like strategic planning and marketing.
Video: Innovative Fundraising for your school PTA and PTO
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