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PTO and PTA Ideas for Back-to-School Events

women in PTO PTA meeting at back to school open house

PTO and PTA leaders know that connecting with new parents during back-to-school events is critical to building an organization that gets things done. After all, back-to-school season isn’t just a new start for the kids, but one for the parents as well. 

To that end, check out our round-up of PTO/PTA ideas for back-to-school nights to add something new to your events this year. 

Populate your bulletin board

If your organization doesn’t already have reserved bulletin board real estate near the main entrance or common space, ask for it. A bulletin board is a great way to showcase your accomplishments and needs. 

PTA and PTO bulletin board ideas include: 

  • A fun, creative Welcome Back sign for parents
  • The meeting schedule for the year
  • Easy-to-read section for key phone numbers, emails, social accounts, etc.
  • A scannable QR code connecting to the group’s main online page, site, account, and/or RaiseRight program or information
  • Highlights of last year’s accomplishments 
Cover the field 

Don’t dump a pile of flyers on a table and hope for the best—you need a PTO marketing game plan to get the word out, get parents involved, and meet your goals for the event or evening. Plan on: 

  • A well-organized table with signage, handouts, and other resources
  • Organization ambassadors to mingle and talk to people
  • Time to speak to the group on stage if a formal presentation is planned
  • A bulletin board
  • PTO/PTA name tags for all members present 
Focus on parents' needs 

Rather than starting with the time and effort you need from parents, put your best foot forward by sharing ways to help them. After all, one of the most valuable benefits of making connections is best practice sharing—helping those new to the school or district figure out all the little details that affect your schedule, budget, and children’s experience.

To that end, consider:

  • Checklists, such as products you need for certain activities, sports, or clubs
  • Mentoring connections for parents of children on high-performance paths
  • Savings tips for uniforms, equipment, school supplies, etc.
  • Key dates throughout the school year (school photos, performances, games, etc.)

Not to mention, family involvement is strongly connected to children’s academic achievement, and connecting with their PTO/PTA is critical to staying informed and involved. 

Clarify the ask 

What exactly do you want or need parents to do? Rather than a generic “join us” message, be prepared with specifics so you can get people plugged in on the spot based on their talents or availability. Consider providing: 

  • A summary PTO/PTA membership in general with the number and length of meetings
  • Sign-up sheets for specific, upcoming needs (fundraisers, tasks, committee membership, etc.)
  • Ways to participate remotely and on their own schedule for overbooked parents 
Highlight cost savings 

A common PTO/PTA goal is to raise funds for the school to provide additional resources or subsidize the costs of programs and activities. Consider how to present membership and participation as a cost-saving opportunity rather than a request for time and money. 

Does your group help lower fees or cover costs that would otherwise be required from family budgets? Consider a RaiseRight fundraising program that enables families to earn $1,000 or more annually—just through everyday purchases.

Schools enrolled with RaiseRight can either apply the earnings to programs at a group level (like booster clubs, band and music, or sports teams) or stream them directly back to the family to cover costs at the individual level (think tuition, supplies, or fees for field trips).

Know your numbers 

Figure out what’s needed at a big-picture level in addition to individual participation needs. Then, create and share a flyer that includes your financials and scope, including: 

  • Last year’s actual figures and this year’s goals
  • Income from fundraising events, campaigns, programs, grants, and donations
  • Budgeted breakdowns across the different programs, activities, or costs you support
  • Clarification of annual funding, one-off investments, and long-term goals
  • Pie charts to help visualize the breakdown of money 
Encourage families to join RaiseRight 

If your school isn’t already enrolled with RaiseRight, take this opportunity to learn more about how RaiseRight works so you can help fellow families save money on school expenses. 

RaiseRight is a year-round, passive fundraising program that allows organizations or families to earn up to 20% back through everyday purchases—think gas, groceries, dining out, clothing, or even travel.

Rather than using cash or credit, simply buy and use gift cards to pay for expenses. With hundreds of national, regional, and local brands available, RaiseRight fundraising is suitable for everyone, no matter their lifestyle or shopping habits. 

Earnings are deposited to your school’s fundraising account, and families don’t need to take any other action besides buying, using, or reloading gift cards with RaiseRight’s easy-to-use app.

Ready to start earning?

Here are some next steps to get the ball rolling:

  1. See why RaiseRight is the #1 fundraising idea for schools and PTOs/PTAs.
  2. Learn more about how RaiseRight works.
  3. Download The RaiseRight Fundraising Playbook and share it with others in your organization.
  4. Start a free program by completing a short, online enrollment form.  

Happy fundraising!