We were live on Facebook and Twitter last week for our first #PTAhour session of 2019! Our social media followers voted for a general Q&A session, so we opened up the floor to questions on any PTA-related subject. Here are just some of the many and varied topics that we chatted about on the night - and into the next day!
#PTAhour: Publicising Events
Our first #PTAhour question of the evening came from Meadow PTA on Twitter, who asked:
"How far in advance do you advertise/communicate your upcoming events?"
"I've started trying to do a little 'coming up' flyer for the term ahead with dates and any details we have confirmed. Mainly regular things like disco/film night/Easter/Xmas dates for diaries etc." Jemma P
"We publish a little newsletter at the start of term, then use Parentmail and social media usually about 2 weeks before the event." Stephen S
"School like us to set dates in advance as much as possible. Let’s be honest, everyone including parents likes as much notice as possible!! We get them on the school calendar too. We try and run our big summer fayre alongside our village open gardens. We have seen our footfall and profit increase very nicely doing this!! It’s mutually beneficial to both charities." Pam B
"We send out a termly newsletter and include a "what's coming up" section with dates for their diary. Tickets for events can be bought 2 weeks in advance." Lyndsey G
#PTAhour: Sponsorship for Events
Stephen was keen to get advice from other PTA volunteers on #PTAhour about getting sponsorship for an upcoming event.
"Local companies are best. We ask parents first if they have a company who would like to sponsor, then we target local companies." Natalie S-N
"We were very successful with sponsorship for our Christmas fayre. We are a small school of 110 in a tiny village which is quite affluent. We wrote to the local Porsche car centre which had recently opened, worded the letter well and managed to persuade them to donate amazing prizes for our fayres. They enjoyed being a part of sponsoring the local school. We asked parents with businesses and local companies for £25 in exchange for their name on flyers & posters and their flyer in book bags, and a mention on our social media too. We had about 8 companies sign up! Also don't be afraid to be cheeky and approach construction companies who are a part of the considerate constructors scheme. We have had success with those in the past." Vikki W
#PTAhour: What to sell at Events
Natalie had a #PTAhour question about greener products to sell at school discos:
"We are trying to get away from glow products, they are so bad for the environment! What does everyone else do?"
"We did finger lights at the winter disco a while back. Bought 300 from an online auction site for about £8 and sold them for 50p each. Kids loved them and they made us a great profit!" Stephanie R
"We don't do anything! We did look but everything was just tat. We used to do hotdogs, unlimited drinks and then a treat (Haribo, ice lolly etc) at the end, but we skipped the treat last time and nobody complained. We're trying to be healthier and cut down on the plastic. In my opinion, if the disco is good (we hire a DJ with great lights etc for £150) you don't really need the extra stuff." Rachel K
"We have themed our last few discos. Did a Hawaiian theme last summer and neon in the autumn. Face painting for 50p, mocktails for 30p, and a tuck shop." Stephen S
#PTAhour: Event Ideas
Pauline asked #PTAhour members for a...:
"simple idea for Father's Day please. The school does an assembly for mums but nothing for dads."
"Could you do anything actually on Father's Day? There are companies who print coasters, the kids draw a picture and they print it on them and the PTA get a cut from sales, could you do that then have an evening event after school where parents could come in for a drink and cake with their child?" Vikki W
"We do a Father’s Day picnic on a Friday afternoon at 2pm (any parent is welcome) the kids come out onto the field and have about an hour with a parent. The parents bring a little picnic. Doesn’t raise money but it's nice for the kids." Alex M
Check out our Father's Day Pinterest pages for more ideas, we'll also be posting a blog with great event ideas very soon!
#PTAhour: Getting Volunteers
Finally, this was a very interesting #PTAhour question posed by Lucy on Twitter:
"Our PTA is close to disbanding :( One of us had an idea about a 'parent club'. If every family donated £20 per year we'd have £8k. We get no volunteers and this would be instead of events while we regroup. Has anyone done this?"
"Could you focus on low effort fundraisers for a year or so and see what happens? Things like Christmas cards, maybe something sponsored like the Matchbox Challenge, an Easter Egg Raffle - all very little organising required and no big event to set up. I think it's a decent idea to ask parents to set up a regular donation, but not as payment for anything in particular or for any named 'club' or anything. If everybody gave £2 on payday, that'd be nice and they'd probably barely notice. But still keep doing fun stuff too, if you can manage." Rachel K
"This would never work in our school, what would happen if some didn't pay? For me the fun part of a PTA is holding events. Kids love discos and summer fairs and we enjoy providing them, most of the time!!" Stephen S
"Our school already asks for a donation of £40 per family, its a Faith School so not completely government funded. Our parents would never go for it." Natalie S-N
What do you think about asking parents for an annual donation instead of (or as well as!) holding PTA events? It's very common in the USA, but would it work elsewhere? We'd love to know what you think!
Over to you!
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