Question: What does a PTO all do besides fundraising?

I am trying to get a PTO set up for our school district. I was under the impression that the PTO's main "job" is to hold fundraisers. I keep reading that fundraising shouldn't be your number one goal. So what else do we need to be looking at doing? Thanks, Jessie

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Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
Hi Jessie -- You're right, parent groups are probably best known for fundraising. And in these times of shrinking school budgets, that function has taken on increased importance in many communities. But successful PTOs don't live to fundraise, they fundraise to live. In other words, they focus on building the kind of school community where teachers and students can do their best work. That means running family events, like a reading night or pot luck supper. Helping teachers and office staff with administrative work. Organizing a painting or landscaping party. In our Events & Programs archives you'll find stories of PTOs that created a family reading challenge to help boost literacy scores, created an Ellis Island simulation to bring a social studies unit to life, organized a CSI science night to help get kids excited about science...and lots more. What you can accomplish is as diverse as the needs of your school. The number one thing I'd suggest is to focus your group on connecting with parents. Research shows that when parents get involved in their children's education, the children do better in school and the school as a whole becomes more successful. Plus, by getting parents to feel a connection with the school and your group, you'll be able to accomplish much more than you would by trying to do everything with a handful of dedicated officers. And here's the thing -- by focusing on involvement rather than fundraising, you'll actually have much better fundraising results in the long run. People who feel connected to the school will be more likely to support it with their dollars. Check out the story 7 Steps To Grow Involvement for more on this topic and some more depth on how to build a successful PTO. Good luck!

Community Advice

winfrey writes:
Our PTA help teachers get items the school may not be able to afford. We hold "fun" things for the students to do, Poetry Night, Movie NIght admittance was a can good to donate to food bank. We have a fmaily dance . We provide 5th grade lucheon for students and families for promotion/graduation. Ice cream Social at the beginning of school year, Multicultural potluck dinner. Fied Day, Doughnuts w/ dad Muffins w/Mom but fundraisers help fund all these events, hope this helps.

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