After nine months as the Chair of our local PTA I think I am finally finding my feet. It’s been an exciting and challenging time, particularly when the charity has been established for a long time and run in an excellent fashion previously. I initially spent some time understanding how things worked and what I could bring to the role and how things might be changed a little - this was important to me as I felt I needed to establish myself in my own right and try and bring some of my personal attributes to the position. Change is often difficult, but I have reflected on some of the things that have helped us begin to work through it.
Funding and spending strategy
One of the first things I did was to develop a funding and spending strategy. I quickly became aware that while most of our fundraising efforts were great for community engagement and tremendous fun, they didn’t raise huge amounts of money relative to the time and effort invested in them. It also was obvious that we were asking the same group of people to contribute to our events in terms of organisation and donations. I therefore started to also look at applying for grant funding from businesses and charities to run alongside our more usual fundraising activities. We have now a parent on board who actively seeks out potential funding and is developing expertise in how to successfully apply for grants. We have already secured a significant amount of funding from a local business.
Alongside funding, the second element of the strategy was spending and trying to align it both with our planned income and school priorities. We have worked closely with the head teacher to really get down to what the school needs and what would add most value. More generally we have divided up spending pots between curriculum, environmental and inclusion (where we will give funds to parents of children who may otherwise be excluded from school activities).
Connecting parents to the school
What I’ve discovered over the past few months is that it’s important to bear in mind what the PTA is for and that is as much about connecting parents to the school and broader community engagement as it is about fundraising. This may seem a simple point, but it has proved important when I have felt things have begun to veer off track at times.
Actively engaging parents
Another important lesson I’ve learnt is about networking as widely as possible and engaging people that have different skills to bring to PTA activities over and above our fundraising work. It pays to think about the people you need and to go out and actively engage with them.
Our end of summer term AGM will be an important time to reflect and take stock of what we have achieved over the year, we will of course also be using it as a fundraising social event.
I’ve found these past few months incredibly rewarding and it has helped me to understand the challenges our school faces in maintaining a high standard of education for its pupils. I hope to keep Parentkind regularly informed about our progress over the coming months.
Read Steven's first blog about starting his PTA journey In the driving seat now...
If you'd like to share your PTA experience with us, please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.