How to Organise a Successful PTA Fundraising Event

The Impact of PTA Fundraising Events

Events are a crucial part of the work a Parent Teacher Association does. Through fundraising events, essential money can be raised for the school to go towards equipment and facilities that enhance the learning experience for students. 

So, how do you organise a successful PTA fundraising event? Here’s everything you need to know. Plus, a little info on how easyfundraising can help supplement your in-person fundraising efforts. 

Planning a PTA Fundraising Event

Proper planning will help ensure the success of your event. So, let’s start at the beginning. 

Establishing your Fundraising Goals

The first step when it comes to planning your event is determining what you want to achieve. What is your ultimate fundraising goal? How much do you want to raise? 

It’s important to set a clear goal for your event as this enables you to build a plan of how you’re actually going to achieve it. Just remember your goal should be achievable within your timeframe and measurable against your plan. 

Assembling your Fundraising Team

You need a team in place to make it happen. And it always helps to have a mix of skills that complement each other. In your core team, you’ll need a little creativity to come up with the best event idea. You’ll need a meticulous planner who can scope out each and every element of the event to make sure you create an accurate timeline of everything you need to do. Someone to handle the finances is key, as is someone who can take care of the promotion and communications. 

When it comes to the event itself, a team of volunteers from across the teaching staff and parents will be vital. 

Choosing the Right Fundraising Event

Your goals will be one of the first factors in deciding your event. If you have big goals, you may want to go big with one event or plan multiple events. The facilities at the school will also play a part. Is there enough space to hold a summer fete? Is there a running track to use for a fun run? Does the hall have a stage that could accommodate a talent show? 

The school community is another factor to consider. Are the parents active with after school events? Could a quiz night work? Does the school have a history of sporting success? Could you run a sports themed event? There are plenty of PTA fundraising ideas to consider (link to article). 

Preparing for the Event

So, you’ve got your event idea and assembled your fundraising team. Now it’s time to start preparing for your event. 

Creating a Budget

Unfortunately, events tend to cost money to put on in the first place, before you start generating cash from donations. To make sure you don’t overspend, you need to create a detailed budget. 

The first step is to calculate the funds you have available to spend from the PTA coffers. This will dictate the scope of the event. The next is to create a spreadsheet of all your costs to put on the event. This will require a little research. You can look at past events and what was spent, but also reach out to suppliers and third parties to understand their costs. Take your time detailing everything you will need to spend funds on and working out as precise a cost as you can. It’s always important to have a contingency fund in place for unexpected costs, so make sure you set your budget higher than what you think your potential costs will be. 

Next, you can look at the scale of the potential funds you can raise. Again, past events will be helpful with this but you can also evaluate the estimated number of attendees for your event and the money you can make from ticket sales and donations on the day. 

Seeking Sponsorship and Donations

Sponsorship is a great way to boost your funds before your event even starts. If you’re running a school fair or fete for example, you can approach local businesses for sponsorship. 

Remember, you will need to tailor your approach to each individual business. Let them know what the event is, the importance of it to the school and what it could mean for their business. Is it about exposure with parents? Do they want to build a deeper connection with the school? For example, the local football academy could do well out of new players and new parent volunteers by sponsoring an element of the school fete. 

If you’re running a tombola, raffle or cake stand, you may need assistance from parents and local businesses. Again, you’ll need to approach businesses and detail the benefits of providing their time and sponsorship. With parents, it all comes down to communication. Give parents recurring reminders about the event in your ongoing weekly or monthly emails, and make them consider how they can help make your event a success. You never know, some of the parents may work for local businesses that have an existing relationship with the school or are able to provide the perfect stall for the event. 

Promoting your Event

Your regular email communications are key to promoting the event to parents. Make sure you keep it front and centre in your emails to keep building the buzz in the lead up to the event. You’ll want to be super clear on the date, what the event entails and where parents need to be and what they need to do. 

As the event gets closer, you’ll want to build some buzz with your promotion. Social media is ideal for this. You can do a countdown on your social media channels, highlight your fundraising goals and post pictures of past successful events. Posters up around the school for parents to see can also be helpful, as can posters in the local community aimed at those not affiliated with the school. You never know how much the local community might want to help out. 

Running the Event

On the day, you’ll want a slick operation that goes without a hitch. And you’ll want everyone to have fun too! 

Setting up for Success

The success of your event lies in the planning. You want everything set up well ahead of time. For a summer fair on a Saturday for example, you’ll need stalls, tents and various stations set up ideally the night before, if not early in the morning. 

Once everything is set up and in place, do a couple of walk arounds to check everything is in order. From the bunting to the stalls and the people in place, you want to really make an impression when the first people start to arrive. If you have any specialist equipment like a bouncy castle or football goals, you’ll need to check all is in working order and that the suppliers in charge are ready to go. 

As well as your core team, you’ll likely have a team of volunteers helping out on the day. Before the event, you’ll need to brief them on their roles, where they need to be and at what time. This should be done a couple of days in advance to make sure you have a bit of flexibility for any scheduling problems that may arise. 

Engaging Attendees

When people are through the door at your event, you need them to part with their cash. But they won’t do it if they’re not having fun, so it’s time to help them have fun. 

If you have games at your school fair, can you set a challenge of parents vs. kids? Can you ask families to complete challenges as a team for the best overall family score? 

If you’ve got a raffle or tombola, you’ll want attendees engaged about the prizes on offer. Yes, this comes down to the prizes themselves (your early work on securing donations should have helped) but you need to sell too. Send a couple of volunteers out around the event selling tickets and get them describing the amazing prizes on offer. You’ll also need to put your best prizes on display to showcase just how good they are too. 

The atmosphere of your event will also go a long way to boosting donations and bringing the fun. It’s the job of your team and your volunteers to make the rounds, to chat to people and make sure they’re getting involved with all you have on offer. 

Ensuring Smooth Cash Handling

For the people that are handling cash, you need to be meticulous in your planning. Each person that is handling cash will need a float at the start of the event, and must keep a record of the amount of their float. They must record any of the float that was spent and get receipts for any spending, such as on a pint of milk for example. They will also need to have a record of how much they took at the end of the event. 

Make sure people have somewhere suitable and safe to hold their cash. A box with a lid is ideal for an outdoor event, so the cash doesn’t blow away. Zipped money aprons are also perfect. Don’t leave children under 16 with responsibility for handling cash and make sure you never leave your cash unattended. 

After the Event

You’re all done. That’s another successful PTA fundraising event under your belt. But the work doesn’t stop there. 

Evaluating the Event

So, how did you do? First and foremost, the biggest thing to evaluate is how you did against your fundraising goals. You’ll want to look at the overall funds taken at the event, minus your costs and any other expenditure. This will give you your overall total. Comparing it against your fundraising target will give you an idea of the success of your event. 

A successful event isn’t just about the cash taken. Yes this is the ultimate goal, but you also want happy attendees that enjoyed the event and are looking forward to the next one. 

Feedback is essential to ensure you can improve any upcoming PTA events. After the event, you can speak to parents and attendees, but you’ll want some concrete evidence and feedback. For your next PTA email, consider sending out a short survey for parents to complete, asking them about the event, if they enjoyed it and if they have any comments and ideas about events in the future. This can be an extremely useful exercise when it comes to planning the next one. 

Thanking Participants and Supporters

PTA fundraising events wouldn’t get off the ground without volunteers, supporters and attendees, so you need to show your appreciation. For attendees, you can cover this off in your regular update email with parents. For your volunteers, you can thank them all for their time at your event de-brief after the event (if you hold one), but you can also consider thanking them personally in your PTA email to parents. 

For supporters in the local community and local businesses that donated, your social media channels are ideal for giving them a shout out. This also brings them an added element of PR, as well as at the event itself. If any local press attend, be sure to name check important supporters in the quotes you give to the press too. 

And for any people that truly went above and beyond, there’s nothing like a personal thank you and a small gift in recognition of their fantastic work. 

Sharing Success on Social Media

Post-event, you’ll want to shout about your success on social media. Whether you’re already active on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter, you should aim to keep your social media communication on the channels you normally use as that’s where your community will already be, and where they will be expecting updates. 

So, what should you post? Everyone wants to know how their efforts contributed to your fundraising targets. Make sure you post about your overall goal and how you have done in line with your target. If you smashed it, shout about it. If there’s work still to be done, say so and say you’ll have another fantastic event coming up soon. You’ll also want to post pictures and videos of people having fun at the event to show how great it was. Just remember to get permission from parents for any social media posts featuring the kids. 

You can also highlight the success stories of the event, including people who raised the most funds, volunteers that gave their time and supporters that went above and beyond. 

Incorporating Online Fundraising

Yes, your event is in-person, but it doesn’t mean you should ignore any online tools at your disposal. 

Promoting Online Donations with easyfundraising

At easyfundraising, we give you an easy way to supplement your in-person donations. All you need to do is register your cause on our website. It’s free and takes just a couple of minutes. Then your supporters can donate to your cause every time they shop with any of the 7,500+ online retailers that are registered with us. It doesn’t cost them anything more than they’re already spending, and it’s a super simple way to boost your PTA funds. 

You can also use our toolkit for some handy tips on how to promote your easyfundraising goals via email and social media. It’s a great way to engage with your supporters and to clock up some extra donations to boost the coffers of your fundraising event. Plenty of PTAs fundraise through us every single day. 

The Power of PTA Fundraising Events

PTA fundraising events can raise valuable funds for the school to help create the best possible learning environment for the children. And with the right planning, approach and execution, you can ensure your PTA event is a roaring success. Plus, with a little help from easyfundraising, you can boost your donations too.