Many schools have a tried-and-true approach to fundraising. They run the same programs every year and ask parents to follow the same routine. However, this “rinse and repeat” approach puts your school at a disadvantage when competing with other organizations for parents’ time and money.
To help, we’ve put together a few tips to break through the fundraising noise in your community and ensure the necessary funding for your school:
Set SMART Goals
Parents will be more enthusiastic about PTO fundraising if they understand your goals. Make sure they understand how the school will benefit, the dollar amounts to be raised, and the method for reaching your goals. You can do this by setting SMART goals based on these five key factors:
- Specific. Your goals should be specific, and easily visible to parents. “We want to raise $5,000,” or “We want to buy 20 new computers.”
- Measurable. Monitor progress and deliver regular reports to your supporters. Consider using fundraising resources like ShopWithScrip to track your earnings and easily generate reports.
- Ambitious and Attainable. Set realistic fundraising goals based on the size of your school and the number of active parents. However, don’t be afraid to set the bar high enough to accomplish something great.
- Relevant. Explain clearly to parents how achieving your goals will benefit their children: “proceeds will go toward replacing our outdated play structure with safer, more modern equipment.”
- Time-based. Set a deadline for your goal, with built-in milestones to help identify if your plan is on or off track.
Catch Attention with Creative Ideas
Most parents have already been through a dozen product fundraisers, bake sales, or walk-a-thons. These traditional fundraisers still work, but you need to spice things up a bit so families don’t get bored.
Grab their attention by putting your own spin on fundraising:
- The Ocean City, NJ PTA wanted to change things up for their Halloween costume contest, so they made it a costume contest for dogs.
- Make school auctions personal by including some student art work among the auction items.
- Liven up your school’s scrip fundraising program with a “scrip party” at the start of the school year. Celebrate your earnings from the previous year and invite new parents to sign up.
Get Your Voice Heard
Parents get hit with fundraising messages from many different directions. Rise above the noise by communicating clearly and where you know they’ll see it.
The three strongest ways for you to communicate with families are through your website, email, and on Facebook. If your school doesn’t update its website often, set up a Facebook page for your PTO and use that to post important news and information.
Get email addresses for all the active parents in your organization. Use your email contact list to get in touch with individual members or send an electronic newsletter to the whole group.
By following these tips, your PTO can establish a strong presence and stand out from the crowd. Just remember to set SMART goals, think creatively, and promote your message to gain the support your school needs.