School waves goodbye to the paper trail thanks to PTA Events

16 September, 2019
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Key summary

In a bid to simplify communication with the school community to promote school fundraising events and tickets sales, Little Hallingbury’s PTA researched various online platforms and messaging tools. When PTA Chair, Robyn Bond, came across PTA Events that could do all of this, and more, she signed up immediately and they have never looked back.


Robyn shares her experiences of using the online platform along with some tips for getting started…

Robyn is in her second year of being Chair of Little Hallingbury’s active PTA, which is made up of a busy group of parents who run numerous fundraising events throughout the year.

“We have the most incredible team of parents who give up their time and efforts to help plan, organise and run our PTA events,” says Robyn. “However, we have a large proportion of working parents, and many of them aren’t around to do the school run, which makes it difficult to share information.

“With the advent of the GDPR, it was becoming more of a challenge for us to communicate effectively with parents, as schools have to be cautious about what information they share, so will understandably err on the side of caution.”

Robyn tells us that she came across the PTA Events platform whilst researching suitable options: “I initially came across the link on a PTA Facebook group where other committees were praising PTA Events and how it had simplified their administration. So, after reading through some queries and responses, it seemed like the perfect fit for us.

“We were often faced with the frustrating challenges of photocopying paper slips to put in book bags (most of which never made it home), tracking payment of cash versus cheque, giving change and then having to find the time to go to the bank to make deposits. Not to mention trying to organise parents who could commit to helping at events, but only at specific times. By going online we felt we could create a central place for parents to sign up to specific volunteer tasks/timeslots, buy tickets to fundraising events online, as well as advertise future events that they could browse through in their own time.”

To get everyone on board, Robyn says that she suggested the committee trial PTA Events with ‘dummy events’ prior to going ‘live’ and slowly build up from there.

“Our first ‘live’ event was a Popcorn Party where parents could buy tickets online, as well as enter specific comments such as which adult would be collecting the children, or details of food allergies. When I was able to produce a complete attendees list with one single click I knew that PTA Events was a winner!”

Robyn says that they continued to promote PTA Events to the whole school community: “We spent a couple of weeks encouraging parents to sign-up by ensuring that the PTA Events link was prominent in our PTA and School newsletters, shared with each year group via our existing WhatsApp groups, and on the school’s Facebook page. We backed this up with a physical presence in the playground with sign-up sheets at pick-up and drop-off.

“Almost immediately, we had many parents engaging with the platform, which gave us the confidence to build on our strong start. In order to maintain momentum and interest, we also started to add things like branded school tracksuits which we sell during quiet periods via the Platform too.”

I can’t heap enough praise on PTA Events. It’s completely transformed the way we operate – for the better! In particular, five-step administrative processes have become two-step processes, which is invaluable for time-poor committee members who are full-time workers.

little hallingbury PTARobyn tells us that using PTA Events for the past nine months has hugely contributed to their fundraising total of £16k for the academic year.

“We’re a very small school which relies heavily on the funds raised by the PTA, and we’re now in a position where we’re spending far less time on the administration surrounding fundraising events and can focus on the actual event specifics, which is imperative to parents with busy working lives. Virtually all of the school’s parents are using the platform to sign their children up for fundraising events - and they can use the site to volunteer too.

“The paper trail has virtually gone and we have only received positive feedback from parents about being able to make payments online rather than scratching for coins or finding chequebooks! I can’t emphasise enough the positive impact it’s had on our committee, and the wonderful feedback we’ve received from parents, too.”

 

A PTA Events platform is now a Parentkind member benefit - find out how to sign up.

Robyn’s tips:

  • Keep the site dynamic and always stay one step ahead when it comes to advertising future events, so that parents know what’s coming up
  • Once you have an event setup on the site, it’s really simply to copy the format for the following year rather than having to start all over again
  • Think about fundraising activities that would have been difficult to organise – but which can raise substantial sums – such as our circus tickets at the school summer fair. You are also able to automatically apply discounts (e.g. sibling discounts)
  • It’s easy for parents to pass on information about their children when signing up to events (allergies and other personal info)
  • Consider selling additional items like school branded tracksuits.

Fact File
  • PTA name: Little Hallingbury PTA
  • School name: Little Hallingbury CofE Primary School
  • Age range: 4 - 11
  • Country: England
  • School type: Primary School
  • Size: 138

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