by Emily Graham


As far as I’m concerned, school parent groups are magic. With a simple flyer, groups can turn candy into computers and pizza into playground components. A single email can make hand sanitizer or even volunteer tutors suddenly materialize at school. It’s not magic in the purest sense of the word—nobody says “hocus pocus” or waves a magic wand—but PTO and PTA parents truly do work wonders to make sure their schools have what they need.

Promoting parent involvement will always be the most important thing school parent groups do, but as long as school budgets remain tight, groups will need to raise money, too. Since parent groups must rely on volunteers (who are also working and raising children), it’s important for leaders to think about how to work smarter, not harder, to accomplish group goals.

Simply adding more fundraisers doesn’t always help bring in more money. Holding fundraisers too often can actually have the opposite effect: It wears out volunteers and exhausts supporters’ goodwill. And even the best-planned fundraiser can fall flat if students aren’t excited about it. That’s why it’s important to develop a fundraising strategy that makes sense for your school community.

There’s no one-size-fits-all fundraising strategy for parent groups, but here’s something all leaders should keep in mind: We fundraise to exist; we don’t exist to fundraise. Stay focused on what you’re raising money for, and your parent group will continue to make magic for schools (and students) well into the future.

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