Back-to-school time probably isn’t high on most leaders’ priority lists during spring. With the busyness of the season and dozens of tasks to get done before the last day of school, it’s hard to think ahead to what you’ll be doing months from now. But if you take some time now to give thought to a few back-to-school tasks, you can help get your group up and running in no time in fall.

1. Figure out if there’s money in the budget that you can carry over to kick off the next school year.

Think about what you’ll need. Would you like to host a morning coffee to greet new parents? Will you be running your own back-to-school event or setting up a PTO table at the school’s back-to-school night? How about doing welcome packets for parents?

You don’t need all the details now, but you do need to ballpark how much money you’ll need. If funds are looking scarce, consider doing a quick and super simple fundraiser, like a restaurant night, before school ends.

Challenge accepted! Concrete steps for a great start to the school year

2. Get your first fundraiser on the calendar.

Make sure you’re squared away with your fundraising rep if you’re using a service provider. If possible, don’t hold your first fundraiser in the first few weeks of school—a fundraiser right out of the gate can turn off parents. Instead, you want to start your year with a social event, not one designed to raise money.

3. Think about how you can be a resource to parents as school starts up.

How about putting together a list of parent resources in the area, including information on parenting groups, recreational facilities, and library hours? Work on this now before organizations switch to summer hours, when it might be harder to track down information.

If your school isn’t using TeacherLists for school supply lists yet, ask the principal to consider it. Taking supply lists digital makes it easier for teachers to update and more convenient for parents to shop.

Back to School Supply Shopping Cartoon

4. Sign up to get freebies for parents.

Our free Back2School program is a great way for your group to present itself as friendly and professional. As a Back2School program participant, you’ll get a variety of product samples and coupons to share with families. Parents love getting the freebies, and it’s a great way for your group to make a good first impression.

5. Send out a parent survey.

Ask parents for honest feedback about the programs your group ran and how they liked working with you. All feedback is good—even negative!—because it helps you make positive changes for next year. Create the parent survey before the close of the year so that impressions are still fresh in everyone’s minds.