We are very happy every year to read hundreds of applications from our Parent Group of the Year nominees. The stories really show just what the most successful groups have in common. Three traits jump out for me:

1. The best groups are likable, lighthearted, and fun. While they are doing important work, they know that they need to attract and keep volunteers in order to do that work well. They proactively work on their public image.

2. They focus on parent engagement. They understand that research powerfully supports the value of involvement for all schools and all kids, and they realize that growing involvement and school-parent connections is the number one role of the best parent groups. They think about and invest in parent engagement.

3. They fundraise less frequently. They often raise the most money, but they do so because they focus on just a few, carefully selected efforts and they execute those really well. Read my column on fundraising more effectively.

I hope you'll enter our Parent Group of the Year search yourself. The deadline is coming up on June 2. (Groups that enter by May 19 also have a chance to win an early entry prize.) Trust me, you don't have to be a supergroup beyond all compare to deserve the recognition. We have categories for single events, new groups, groups that are rebuilding, and more. And the recognition is a great way to build momentum for your group. Good luck!