Archive for the 'Publicity' Category

Awesome Example of a PTO Gettin’ After It

I think it’s easier to find examples of parent-teacher organizations that are missing opportunities, rather than taking advantage of them.

However, when I actually find an instance of a PTO or a PTA doing something original and effective, I get really excited. And I want to write about it.

So, today, in the Hudson Hub Times Online, I found a short news blurb about an event the Hudson PTO held on November 9 and will hold again on November 16. Here is the blurb:

Have coffee with PTO

The Hudson PTO will offer all-new PTO Coffee Days at the Hudson Panera on Nov. 9 and 16 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. PTO members will answer questions, welcome feedback, and sign up existing Giant Eagle and Heinen’s Rewards cards in the PTO Rewards Program. In addition to rewards cards, visitors can learn how to support the Hudson schools by shopping online at favorite stores. They will learn how to get involved and details on upcoming PTO events and volunteer opportunities. For more information, call PTO President Becky Hinkle or visit

Wow. I love it! Here are a few things that really stand out to me.

1. The PTO is going to the people, rather than expecting people to come to them.

2. They are doing the work to sign people up for the grocery rewards cards, which is always an obstacle for people joining these programs. continue reading

School Fliers for only $5!

Ok, this isn’t going to be a long post with lots of information, but it’s something I really wanted to pass on to you readers.

I came across a web site called  It’s a site where people offer to perform a service or sell you a product, for the flat fee of $5.  Hence, the name- “fiverr”. (Don’t know why it’s spelled with two “r’s” but it is.)

Anyway, a lot of the stuff that’s advertised on the site is weird and not necessarily useful for a school fundraiser, but I did see a few people willing to make fliers, posters, banners, or any kind of advertisement for only $5!  This is something I have always been terrible with, so to find someone with talent willing to be artistically creative for that price definitely catches my attention.

Now, I’ve never used this service, so I can’t attest to the quality of the service myself, however, there are reviews for each provider, which should be helpful in making a decision.  For instance, in the screen shot below, you can see that this designer has a 99% approval rate.  66 people approved, while only one person did not.  For $5 that seems like a pretty good bet.  But, be sure to check it out for yourself.

Here’s a screen shot of what I’m talking about.



Chocolate Fundraiser is Out, Beer & Wine Fundraiser is In!

Back in March of this year, I wrote a blog post here that talked about the dangers of including alcohol for adults at a school fundraiser. I wrote that alcohol can add an unpredictable element to your event, which could possibly spoil what you and your team worked so hard to create.

It’s not that I’m against alcohol in any way personally, it’s just that some people get carried away with drinking, and these few individuals can ruin the event for the rest of the audience. That can negatively impact your school’s reputation as a fundraising entity and make your job much harder.

As evidence, I included in my blog an excerpt from a news article that reported on a school auction that included alcohol sales, and some parents got drunk and started to swear loudly at each other, and they came to blows.

Today, however, I came across an article in the Times & Transcript online paper from New Brunswick, Canada, that highlights a local elementary school that has decided to hold an Oktoberfest Beer Garden fundraiser just for parents. No children would be allowed to attend.

According to the article, the planners of this event have done everything by the book. For example,

…the (Home & School) association has moved very cautiously to plan a positive, adults-only event. The fire inspector has been in to certify appropriate maximum numbers for such an event, the event is being limited to four hours, the special event liquor license limits the number of drinks that can be served, taxicabs and volunteer designated drivers will be available, and the event is scheduled to start more than six hours after the last student group, a basketball team, leaves the school that Saturday.

There has been some resistance to this idea, however. One parent thinks that the event should have been scheduled at an area tavern, instead of in the school building itself.

The organizers of the event did look into that possibility, but there would have been a financial price to pay for renting the facility, as well as other costs that would be avoided by holding it at the school. One organizer was quoted as saying, “that they looked at hosting it off-site, but the use of the gymnasium instead of a rented space will allow the event to pay for itself and be a fundraiser.” continue reading

An Awesome Idea to Generate Buzz for your School Fundraiser. Everyone will be talking about it!

Here is a neat idea to generate excitement in anticipation of your school’s next big fundraiser.

This idea comes from an article I read about a fundraiser held at the University of Maryland. However, with a few minor tweaks, it can be utilized in a middle or high school setting, as well.

Here’s the excerpt from the article:

Student organizers launched an “Ask Ryan” campaign last semester, where they chalked the phrase all over campus sidewalks, leaving students to wonder who Ryan was.

A few days later, those working with [the fundraising group] wore shirts that read, “I’m Ryan,” to get curious students to ask about the event.

So, for the cost of a box of sidewalk chalk or a few sheets of poster board, plus some cheap t-shirts you could really create some buzz in your school about your upcoming dance-a-thon, carnival, or auction- whatever event your school is holding.

Of course, the people who are organizing the “Ask Ryan” campaign will need to keep their information totally to themselves for the few days the buzz is growing.

And when they put up the poster boards or write “Ask Ryan” on blackboards, white boards, bulletin boards, bathroom mirrors, etc, they’ll need to do it before school starts, so no one sees them do it. Of course, the school administration should be informed, so they don’t accuse some poor kid actually named Ryan of vandalism.

This is a great way to get word of mouth advertising going for your event. And in this day and age where kids are hit with so many marketing messages each day, anything that will legitimately catch their attention and pique their curiosity is golden.

Photo by: o5com

Does Your PTA Have a Visible Presence at Your School? Part II

Yesterday, I wrote about the necessity for your schools parent-teacher organization to have a visible presence in the school itself. I mentioned how my own kids’ elementary school does NOT have a strong, visible presence, and I think that negatively affects their fundraising capacity.

So, what would I suggest then?

First of all, the PTO bulletin board should be updated regularly. I know this is a hassle, but it is a primary communications tool and shouldn’t be ignored. Think of it as a 3 dimensional Facebook page. Heck, a creative person could even decorate it as such. That would catch people’s eye when they walked bye for sure.

On the bulletin board, there should be a list of the schools fundraising priorities for the year. These are the things the PTO will be raising money for between September and June, and perhaps into the summer, as well.

Click here to enroll in Jim Berigan’s FREE year-long school fundraising e-Course!

There should also be a printed calendar of what fundraisers the PTO will hold and when. I would even suggest listing the financial goal next to each fundraising event or sale.

In addition to these two items, I would further suggest that there is a clear explanation of the school’s passive fundraising campaign. Clearly state what kinds of items you are collecting, such as ink cartridges, soup labels, box tops, cell phone, or grocery receipts. Explain where the collection point is for each item and also what your goal is for the year. Be specific- 5,000 soup labels will get us “such and such” equipment. I would even create a mini-thermometer that you can color in to track the collection’s progress. continue reading