While it’s important to make sure your kids are off to a great start at school, it’s also important to make sure your parent organization is as well. We’ve discussed ways to use different apps to make your groups run more efficiently, but what about ways to get the greater community involved in your fundraising endeavors?
Of course you’ll be sending home flyers with the children enrolled in the schools, so their parents will become aware of upcoming fundraisers or events, and sure you may post on your PTA or PTO Facebook group so that members or involved parents know what’s going on. But how are you going to reach folks who don’t have children enrolled in the school system, or whose children have moved on to Middle School but who may still be interested in an upcoming community event?
That’s where the beauty of social media comes in.
Facebook is a great tool for keeping in touch with family and friends, but did you know it’s also a great tool for reaching out to your local community? Not only are most adults (and for that matter, anyone over the age of 13) active on Facebook, but there are some great functions of the system that will allow your parent organization to truly flourish. Here, we’ll examine three functions of Facebook that will provide your parent group with a great way to grow your audience and inform community members of upcoming events.
Your parent organization probably has a Facebook page, but for residents of your city that don’t have children in your particular school, or even in the school district at all, they may not ever think to “Like” it. You may want to consider creating a separate Facebook page with a name like “Smithsville Community Events” or “Springfield Town Calendar.” From there you can post any and all activities that may be of interest to community members without children in the school district (many residents would still love to support your bake sale or car wash – they just need to know it’s happening!).
You can also speak with the other PTO or PTA groups in town (if your town has multiple elementary or middle schools, for example) or someone in your city’s government and make this a collaborative effort. That way, town residents will know everything that’s happening in town and your organizations (from PTOs and PTAs to the Parks Department and Animal Shelters) can support each other by cross-promoting events on school communications, or just being careful not to schedule an event on the same day.
Okay, so you know what a Facebook Page is – but what is a Facebook Group? Groups are a great way to create and encourage community engagement. Groups can also be made “private,” with members requiring approval to join, or “public” so that anyone can see the conversations happening within.
Many organizations operate both a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group. Pages are typically where news and bulletins are posted, but Groups are where a lot of the discussion happens (especially when the group is private). Within these groups you can solicit ideas and feedback from community members, and encourage the development of… well, the community!
Here’s where we might lose you a little bit. We know, we know. “We’re in the business of fundraising, not fund spending,” you’re saying. And we get that! But sometimes you’ve got to spend money to make money. By setting up some inexpensive and carefully targeted campaigns on Facebook, you can get the word out about your next fundraising event quickly and easily. Let’s say, for example, you’re hosting a pasta dinner with proceeds going toward a new playground. Wouldn’t it be great if more people than just the parents of the students currently enrolled attended and donated? After all, if the parents of the students are the only ones buying tickets, then you might as well just ask them to pay for the playground themselves. But if you advertise the event to everyone between the ages of 25 and 65 in your particular town, then you increase the reach of your event by leaps and bounds. And you do do that on a budget of as little as $5 per day!
Of course, once you’re selling tickets to these events – or accepting payment for a carwash – you can use Pay4SchoolStuff.com to process the payments, provide email receipts, and print all of the reporting necessary to measure just how successful your event is!
What are some of your favorite social media tips for advertising and running successful events? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!