Parent groups are as different as the schools they serve. If you’ve had kids in more than one school, you’ve already seen how two PTOs can have very different priorities and traditions. But have you ever wondered how your PTO or PTA compares with others across the country?

In October 2015, we surveyed parent group leaders about their group’s size, budget, spending priorities, and more. We have surveyed parent group leaders about their practices every two years since 2011. For 2015, we conducted two leader surveys: 1,006 people responded to a survey on fundraising practices, and 1,113 answered a survey on parent group spending.

One thing we’ve learned is that parent groups may look different from the outside, but many of them face the same challenges. When the national economy struggles, parent group leaders feel more pressure to raise money and help out at school.

Another thing we’ve learned is that while much has changed during the past six years, parent group budgets have largely stayed steady. The majority of groups surveyed worked with budgets of $15,000 or less in all cases (60 percent in 2011, 54 percent in 2013, and 58 percent in 2015). Read on for a closer look at how parent groups raise and spend their money.

By the Numbers


Groups run a variety of fundraisers to meet their goals



Here's how, on average, groups plan to spend their money this school year


What's Changed Through the Years

Thinking Big