Lots of you PTA folk are now thinking about planning your summer event — for most schools this is the BIG fundraiser of the year, so of course you want to get it right and make sure everyone has a fantastic time (no pressure then!).
If you are still mulling over ideas, here are five of the most popular ways to keep the troops happy:
1. Old-School Summer Fair or Fete
This is a versatile event that can be themed easily — popular ideas are Country Fair, Wild West, World Carnival and US themed. Although you’ve got to turn a profit, try to keep parents happy by getting a balance between money-spinning stalls and free activities to occupy the kids.
You could source a lot of your stall stock, as well as food and supplies, from parent donations. Some schools have a non-uniform donation day and allocate each year group a different item to donate – such as chocolates and sweets, tins of beans and hotdogs, cuddly toys for pet stall and jolly jars.
(Be sure to remind people the day before and first thing in the morning on Donation Day — they’ll be glad of a timely nudge!)
Also make sure you get lots of helpers lined up to help sort through the donations right after school drop-off — that can take ages otherwise.
You can list specific donations and amounts needed online on PTAsocial, so parents can simply tick a box to say what they are bringing. This gives you an idea of numbers, and you can also message those donors easily at the right moment!
Some schools ask each class to run their own stall at the fair. Class reps can then take control of organising their class volunteers for the stall. In junior and secondary schools, the children can even get stuck in organising and run the stalls themselves. We’ve already told you about some fun stall ideas — come rain or shine.
PTAsocial tip: we find that if you break up your volunteering tasks into smaller chunks you can encourage more volunteers. People are much more likely to chip in if they only have to “work” for 30 minutes, especially if they can choose the time and even see who else is helping. View a quick demo of PTAsocial's handy event organiser here.
2. Roll up, roll up for the Circus!
Everyone loves a Circus (erm unless you are a coulrophobic!)
You can book a circus to visit your school, so all you have to do is sell tickets. Numbers are normally strict and the margins can be tight, so have a brainstorm with your committee about how you can add to the fun and profits.
Why not put on circus-themed activities before the show, or during the interval? You could set up a hoopla stall, a juggling workshop, clown face- painting, sell clown noses, drinks, popcorn and sweetie bags.
Some schools have sold pre-ordered lunch boxes which means you can gets lots of prep done in advance. Or you could run a BBQ – just don’t forget the veggie option! Check out loads of yummy BBQ recipe ideas and delicious side-salads on our Pinterest boards.
3. Family Fun Day – fresh air, fun & frolics!
This is a great way to get the sport-mad menfolk involved. (Still too much PTA stuff being left to the Mums — let’s get more Dads joining in!)
Put on fun activities like obstacle courses, target practice, a fun run, mini football matches, penalty shoot out, aerobics, zumba, dance classes and mini-golf. Have a look at hundreds of suggestions for games and outdoor fundraising ideas on our Pinterest boards. You could also look to hire in bouncy castles, inflatable slides etc or even go for It’s-a-Knockout style competitions.
4. Organise a music festival!
Think you’re up to setting up your own Bestival or Glastonbury? Well, perhaps not on the same scale, but what would be more fun than live outdoor entertainment right here in your school? If nothing else, it’s just an unmissable opportunity to embarrass the kids with some bodacious Dad-dancing, world class Air Guitar moves and shameless handbag-circling manoeuvres!
This is a brilliant way to showcase talented local musicians, who are keen to perform to a friendly crowd. Ask your school parents if they are musicians, scour local pubs for signs advertising local bands, and use twitter and facebook to find them. If you need any inspiration, read about CavFest, run by Cavendish Primary School in Manchester, who raised a phenomenal £12k in one day!
In any case, you don’t need a country pile to pull this off, this can be done indoors or out. As long as you have a big hall for the music and some classrooms for other activities such as facepainting, a sweets stall, tattoo parlour, chill out room or even a junk modelling ‘make-a-hat’ room.
Lastly you could think about fundraising merchandise to sell you can brand with your PTA name as a souvenir of the event — perhaps T-shirts, small posters, or even have print-out posters celebrating the event that the kids can paint and frame themselves. Enjoy creating lasting memories!
5. Have a Summer Camp-Out
Camping has seen a huge rise in popularity in recent years, and it’s so much more fun to do it with friends.
A camp-out at school is the perfect opportunity for newbies to give it a go, with lots of seasoned veterans about to ahem…show them the ropes. (Sorry couldn’t resist.) Also with the kids playing with their class-mates in a safe and familiar environment, it can be incredibly relaxing for the mums and dads, and lovely chance to get to know other parents better.
You don’t have to lay on all the activities we mentioned above, but some relaxed outdoor games, building-a-den activities, lawn games like croquet, rounders, a bit of footy. You could arrange some special sports like archery to try something new.
Foodwise, an afternoon BBQ or a big cauldron of chill would go down a treat in the evening. A few hot choccies and marshmallows are always welcome as the temperature descends as night falls, and a fry-up in the morning is a scrumptious wake-up call.
You can charge for family tickets in advance to include the food and activities, and don’t forget to get your volunteer rota up online to make sure everyone knows that everybody is expected to pitch in and help a little. It’s such a fun and relaxed way to raise some funds and bring the community together to discover and spread the joy of the great outdoors!
Over to you!
PTAsocial’s easy-to-use digital tools empower PTAs and school parent associations like yours to efficiently plan inclusive school community events, radically broaden your volunteer based and raise more funds. View a quick demo of PTAsocial here.
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