If it feels like fewer people actively volunteer with your group than they did a few years ago, you're not alone. PTO Today reader surveys show that the percentage of school parent groups with more than 30 volunteers has steadily declined, from 21% in 2013 to 8% in 2019. The majority of groups in a November 2019 PTO Today reader survey—80%—have 20 or fewer volunteers.

PTO Today has conducted the survey every two years since 2011. The 2019 survey asked leaders about their parent group's plans for the 2019-20 school year. Leaders from 896 schools participated. Keep reading for more about what parent groups look like and the ways they support their schools.

Key Areas of Support: Money and Time

45% of leaders feel their group has been expected to offer more financial support in the 2019-20 school year than in the previous school year.

38% of leaders feel their group has been expected to offer more volunteer support in the 2019-20 school year than in the previous school year.

 

Fundraising Facts

93% of groups hold a fall fundraiser (13% increase in groups holding fall fundraisers from 2017 to 2019).

How fall fundraisers performed:
50% of groups' profits up from previous year
26% of groups' profits about the same both years
24% of groups' profits down from previous year

 

What Parent Groups Look Like

80% of groups have 20 or fewer volunteers

Fewer groups have a large volunteer base (30-plus people)
21% = 2013
14% = 2015
9% = 2017
8% = 2019

Most groups have budgets of $15,000 or less
31% = $5,001-$15,000
25% = $25,000+
20% = $15,001-$25,000
10% = $25,001-$35,000
13% = $35,000+

76% of groups prepare an annual budget

 

Planned Spending

33% of groups expect to increase spending on family events
32% of groups say they will sped more on student enrichment
25% of groups expect to increase spending on teaching aids and classroom supplies
25% of groups expect to spend more on school equipment or renovations

 

How Parent Groups Spend Money

Leaders told us these are their top priorities
49%: how many students and/or staff will benefit
29%: how well it fits with the group's mission and goals
10%: how urgent the need is
6%: doing the same thing that's been done in the past
4%: whether it supports the administration's academic goals
2%: other

 

Budget Breakdown

On average, here's how much parent groups plan to spend this school year:
$3,939 student enrichment (assemblies, (assemblies, field trips, author visits)
$3,740 school equipment or renovations (including playgrounds)
$3,114 teaching aids and classroom supplies
$2,369 technology purchases (hardware and software)
$1,795 family events
$1,216 teacher and staff appreciation
$721 principal’s discretionary fund

 

Biggest Budget Changes

Family events down 14% on average
Student enrichment down 13% on average
Teacher and staff appreciation up 9% on average