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How to Motivate Parents for PTO Fundraising

How to Motivate Parents for PTO Fundraising

The most treasured volunteers in a school are the parents volunteering in the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). They give their time, talent, and leadership to school initiatives. One of their most vital roles is to be the driving force behind PTO fundraising campaigns.

Parents are busy ensuring their children are supported, loved, and doing well in school. Carpools, after-school activities, and homework are enough to make a busy parent’s mind spin. So, if you’re fortunate enough to get a parent who wants to be an active PTO participant, you’ve hit the jackpot.

Therefore, a school’s staff and team members must ensure they are maximizing the skills and time of each parent who raises their hand to participate in PTO fundraising campaigns. With that idea in mind, we’ve outlined some key ideas to motivate parents and inspire them to give their time and skills.

Welcome Parents Warmly

First impressions matter, and that’s also the case with parent volunteers. Be welcoming by providing coffee, pastries, and social interaction before or after your PTO meetings. Host some planning committee meetings at private homes so everyone can bring drinks or food to share. Make it a social event, and you’ll get some new parents looking for social gathering opportunities.

Put together a Welcome Packet with information about the school and key leadership members of the PTO. Include the mission and activities that are already planned for the year ahead and the big ‘why’ that the PTO is working together to bring awareness and funding to the school. Capture stories of students and how their days have been affected by the work of the PTO. Illustrate not only the importance of the organization but also how students are influenced by the funds raised and volunteer time given.

Discover Their Strengths

Once a parent has joined the PTO, make a point to reach out to them one-on-one. Maybe it’s by email or phone, but the goal is to make personal contact with the new volunteer. You want to get to know them and why they have chosen to volunteer. What level of involvement can they commit to?

Ask questions and listen to their responses. Take notes because this is a crucial step in identifying where the parent is best suited to fit into the PTO structure. You want to uncover their strengths, time commitments, passions, and willingness to participate. You want to suggest placement in the organization that best suits their characteristics and strengths. The more they feel a sense of winning and acceptance, the more likely they will stay involved and create the momentum you seek from a volunteer.

Make the Case for Participation

When it comes to PTO fundraising campaigns, the case for why funds are needed is a critical moment for parent volunteers and their buy-in. People are motivated for different reasons. People need to be inspired to know where they’re going, what they’re going after, and why their work, time, and effort will make a difference.

Do you have a fundraising goal for the year? Do you have participation goals? Share them. Do you have several events that entail different levels of strategy and participation? Outline them. Is the money that needs to be raised going toward a specific program? Paint the picture.

The more people understand what needs to be done and why they need to do it, the more likely you will have buy-in and participation from parent volunteers.

Celebrate the Wins and Give Thanks

After a successful PTO fundraising campaign, volunteers must be celebrated, acknowledged, and thanked. An important step in this part of the relationship is ensuring that the team and staff of the school track the volunteers, their participation level, and the amount of money raised.

A great way to track this data is through peer-to-peer fundraising software that allows you to track the donor and the student who has a relationship with the donor. This software works for Fun Runs, service campaigns, school sales contests, and the best PTO fundraisers. The parent volunteer may be a donor, but they also can be the lead relationship to other key donors. The team will want to track that relationship to ensure everyone is thanked for their gifts and participation in the campaign.

Conclusions on Motivating PTO Volunteers

A key to success in ensuring that parent volunteers not only stay involved but also successfully help to fundraise for a PTO is by treating them the way that they would like to be treated. It’s as simple and beautiful as that.


About Heather

Heather Filipowicz, CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive), has over 15 years of nonprofit fundraising and management experience. She successfully raised millions of dollars for various nonprofits in the Buffalo, NY community. Now, she resides in Tampa, FL where she is a writer, blogger, yogi and Mom.

See other posts from Heather