Raising More – Using Your Community Links & Skills

PTAs Community
02 June 2021
Kerry-Jane Packman
Kerry-Jane Packman is Executive Director of Programmes, Membership and Charitable Services and an accomplished fundraiser with over 20 years’ experience of working within the charity sector driving successful funding operations and generating income from multiple sources. 
With National PTA Week 2021 fast approaching, I have a spent some time reflecting on the impact that our PTA members have on schools with the money they raise being invaluable.

Over 2019, our PTA members collectively raised over £121 million across the country; proving how passionate they are about their children’s education and supporting their school.

However, the pandemic has hit many PTAs hard but this has not always affected their ability to effectively fundraise and adapt to other ways of fundraising. 

With this in mind, and with more far more years under my belt than I care to admit as a professional fundraiser, I thought it might be helpful to share my experience and tips to help you look at other ways to fundraise.

By channelling some of your PTA committee’s energy and skills into other opportunities, and using your community for support, there are many more ways to generate returns in the long term.

Here are my top tips to get you started:

1. Create Buy In

Sell your PTA committee’s worth to the community by not only telling them, but showing them, what you do and how they can support you in your ventures.
It’s important to ask yourselves the following questions and prepare the answers in order to be successful — do your local community know who your PTA are and why you exist? Do they know what you do and have you communicated this clearly? Can you demonstrate the difference you’ve made with facts, stories or images? Do your local community know exactly what you need the funds for? And why should they support you rather than another charity?

By connecting with your local community, you give them a sense of ownership and help them to feel more involved. They are more likely to act as ambassadors for your PTA if they have a greater understanding of your worth.

2. Know Your Local Community

Think about your local community in broader terms; not just as individuals who will attend your events, but also as funders who are looking to back organisations in a particular geographic area, or because of a shared interest.

Why not approach companies for sponsorship as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives or research Trusts and Foundations who have local funding schemes?
Dip your toe into making applications. This can sound very daunting, but once you have written a few applications it will get easier.

Furthermore, a successful application could make a big difference, so have a go – you’ve nothing to lose!

3. Who Knows Who Matters?

There is a saying that it’s not what you know but who you know’. Of course you need to know what you’re talking about, but who you know is in many ways far more valuable.

Mapping out your human networks within your PTA committee may well show a large and diverse network of people and organisations that will be able to bring their own benefits to your fundraising. Remember though, it’s not always in the most obvious networks that the perfect link can appear from. It’s sometimes the people that are outside of your immediate circle that are more likely to facilitate your next fundraising event.

Once you have formed relationships, make sure you keep up the good work to maintain them. How well you know and communicate with them will determine how successful your applications or pitches will be.