When a new school year approaches, back-to-school time is without a doubt one of the busiest times for a PTA. There's the stress of adjusting to early mornings, new routines since the COVID-19 pandemic, and the withdrawals of summer. On the flip side, it's rewarding to see PTA efforts in full swing, and it can be a ton of fun when they're effectively orchestrated. To help you get a head start, we’ve put together the three best ways to organize your fall fundraiser, the first major event for many PTAs. Learning your 1, 2, 3’s has never been so easy.
1. PTA member with a plan: plan ahead
Organization is your golden ticket to running a virtual event smoothly, and you not pulling your hair out. Create a checklist with basic items (budget, timeline, materials, etc.). Your fellow PTA members will look to your leadership to steer the planning process and keep them in the loop of what their roles are. Using online surveys to gather feedback, consolidate detailed information that’s pertinent to your event, and ask for volunteer signups can help cut down time on the back-and-forth correspondence between you and your members.
2. Keep it inviting: Send event invites
The sooner you get the word out about your event the more likely it is you’ll see a high turnout. We suggest sending invitations six to eight weeks before the event (or right at the beginning of the school year) so attendees can add your event to their calendars. It's also a best practice to send a second round of invitations a couple weeks later to those who have not RSVP'd yet. Our event module allows you to create an event site and send invitations. (You can even add your own PTA logos and images!) We recommend using our Smart List feature to target people on your guest list. Smart Lists let you generate email lists for a specific set of people based on platform data. For example, if you sent out an invite to get RSVPs, your next email can target those who replied “Maybe” or those who didn't reply yet. As your event date draws near, you can use the event site to post updates and answer any questions guests have. Increasing your engagement efforts beforehand is a great way to build anticipation so everyone is as excited about the online event as you are!
3. Sharing is caring
Social media is one of the best marketing tools around, and best of all, it's free! After you've created your event page, use the social sharing icons available to share your event directly from the platform. Ask your PTA members to share on their social pages as well. Each member has a personal and varied network that will increase awareness of the event, and likely boost attendance. The more people share, the more free publicity you get for your event and your PTA efforts. Along with social media, make sure to ramp up your marketing efforts and spread the word via email flyers, text messages (when appropriate), and announcements on your school or group's website.
Remember to make a plan, send your invites, and spread the word. Most importantly, have fun. The hallmark of a successful event is being able to enjoy yourself alongside your guests.
Our event functionality, donation and email campaign features, and online payment options make it easy to plan for your entire year. So, what are you waiting for? Happy planning!
PTA Simplified is a series of tips for PTA and PTO leaders to get the most out of a powerful association management system – to manage, engage, and grow their membership all year long.
Updated since original publication on 10/12/17.