Community Service Ideas for PTOs and PTAs

Community Service Ideas for PTOs


Supporting Families in Need

The desire to help is a heartwarming response when a family is in need, but your group should consider several issues before stepping forward.

First, when you decide to help an individual or a family, you’re setting a precedent for your group. How will you decide in the future who receives help and who doesn’t? You might want to be extra generous the first time an issue like this comes up, but will you have the resources and the desire the second, third, and fourth times a situation arises? It’s difficult to say no in these situations.

Think about a policy decision in advance rather than simply reacting to an individual event. One approach is to create a fund that’s administered by the school social worker, the principal, or the school administrative director. They’re in the best position to know which families and students need help. This approach also helps put aside any concerns about conflicts of interest if, for example, the person who needs help is one of your officers. (Giving a significant amount of money directly to an officer is a no-no under IRS regulations.)

Some groups designate a committee and small budget, such as a “sunshine fund,” that can be used for token donations for unexpected events like an illness or death. Some parent groups will hold a collection for a family as a separate initiative that doesn’t get combined with the existing PTO bank account, or they’ll hold a separate fundraiser specifically for a family in need.

The key is to avoid having to decide subjectively whether one family’s need is more significant than another’s. Preserve your funds for your primary goal—helping the school and the students as a whole—while also showing support for community members in need.

Inside the Ultimate Guide to Community Service Ideas for PTOs and PTAs:

Planning a Community Service Project
Important points to consider, including where help is needed, volunteer load, and timing.

17 Ways PTOs and PTAs Can Make a Difference
Community service projects for kids and families, including classroom project ideas

Project Ideas by Season
A handy list if you want to pick a project for each season or to see when a community service effort you have in mind might work best.

National Service Celebrations
If you want to be part of something bigger, consider scheduling your project during a national community service observance.

Rev Up Your Donation Collections
Helpful tips, whether you’re collecting specific items like food, shoes, or pet supplies or are using a more general collection effort like box tops or coins.

Downloadable Tools
Lists of service project ideas, customizable flyers, and clip art images to help promote your community service project.

Facebook graphics
Draw attention to your Facebook posts about upcoming community service efforts.

Still have questions? Call us at 800-644-3561; we’re here to help.