Tips for Pitching a Fundraising Idea to a School PTA

If you've ever been to a school PTA meeting, you probably know how difficult the committee can be when it comes to their purse strings. The PTA is often responsible for a school's financial well being.

If there are football uniforms to purchase or instruments to purchase for the school band, the PTA will try to raise the necessary funds to help them out.

The PTA also has to adhere to many financial and fundraising policies and procedures, so it's no wonder they can be so picky with their fundraising ideas. However that doesn't mean they will totally blow you off if you come to them with a good idea. Remember all good ideas look better when presented in a professional manner.

Use these simple tips to get your fundraising idea noticed by the PTA:

Face-to-Face Time

When it comes to asking for money or time we all know that making the effort to meet face to face is key. This will also give the PTA a chance to ask you questions that you can answer right away. If you meet in person, chances are your request won't get lost in a stack of unopened or forgotten requests and junk mail.

Make a Clear and Concise Plan

Are you raising money for cheerleading uniforms or for the chess club to go on an out of region competition? Well say so, and also be prepared to layout the reason and the need in detail.

Over-Estimate Time and Money

Have you ever heard the saying “always ask for MORE than you need and you might get what you really need?” Sure, it might be easier to get their initial OK if you go to them asking for peanuts, but then if you come back with higher needs – such as more volunteers, more fundraising products and more – eeek – money, be prepared for them to slam the door on you.

In your proposal outline your needs for the charity event honestly and clearly. That way no one is surprised by the sudden need for more! Also ask for a specific dollar amount from the PTA, don't let them decide what to give you only to find out later that it's not enough to throw your event.

Reflect the PTA's Goals

In order to gain the PTA's approval for your fundraiser, you must think like a PTA member. Make the school the main focus. That is after all the main goal of the PTA, to benefit the school. Therefore aim your fundraiser at specifics – your daughter/son's teams, school trips, school-focused activities.

Remind Them of Your Past Contributions

If you are an active parent in your child's school's fundraising activities, you already speak the PTA's language. Remind them that you've volunteered or sponsored last month's bake sale or car wash.

And express enjoyment in volunteering and seeing the school benefit (e.g., “I really enjoyed the opportunity to sponsor or volunteer for you for the event.” Then ask them if they will do the same for you?

Show them you are Already Organized

The PTA members have enough on their plates without having to organize yet another fundraiser that they didn't have on their calendars. So show them you are organized and that you've already thought this event through by doing the following:

  • Prepare a detailed fundraising plan
  • Draw up a sample fundraising letter
  • Provide envelopes with stamps that you can send out the letter in
  • Create sample pledge forms
  • Create a list of potential people whom you can ask for money/sponsorships
  • Start the fundraising by adding your own check and approaching family and friends to get the fundraising ball rolling
  • Pin point potential volunteers by reaching out to other parents ahead of time
  • Talk to the people you do business with to ask for potential sponsorships
  • Poll the school to ask kids if they are interested in the event
  • Be open and flexible with your fundraising plan
  • Reassure the PTA that you are approaching them for their expertise
  • Ensure your fundraising idea is unique (not run of the mill)
  • Try to find events with no products, that way the PTA won't be required to put up a lot of upfront cash to run the fundraiser

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