How to be the best PTO Fundraising Chair

pto fundraising chair duties

New to the role of Fundraising Chair and wondering what the heck is involved?

This post will walk you through exactly what to do and also highlight some mistakes to avoid!

Set a goal

Before you do anything else, work with the PTO President and Treasurer to set a fundraising goal for the year.

Without a goal, it’s hard to know if you’re successful enough.

The good news is that you don’t need to make this number up.

Take a look at your PTO’s budget and it’ll be clear what level you need to reach.

Make a Plan to Reach the Goal

Once you have your annual fundraising goal set, you’ll need to map out a plan to reach that goal.

How much money do you think you can make from the fundraisers you’re thinking of having?

Will you need to have multiple fundraisers or will one be enough?

Remember to check the profit margin and be reasonable about who many families will participate.

Don’t expect 100% participation because that’s not going to happen.

Don’t try to fix what’s not broken

Here’s what a successful fundraiser looks like:

  • Meets or exceeds your fundraising goal
  • Is easy to manage from a time perspective
  • Doesn’t drive the Fundraising Chair or other PTO volunteers crazy
  • Has a good level of participation from school families

If your PTO has a successful fundraiser that’s worked for years, don’t reinvent the wheel just because you can.

Fix what’s stale

On the other hand, don’t be afraid to fix what’s stale!

How to tell if something’s stale?

You’ll clearly be able to see if something is still working or not by taking a look at the numbers.

You can tell if it is still working if you’re still making about the same amount of income with the similar participation levels as in the recent past.

But if participation levels off or income dips for a fundraiser that’s been run several times, then it’s probably time to change things up.

If you don’t have the information in your fundraiser binder already, ask your Treasurer for the fundraising numbers for the past few years.

Reach the goal

Now that you have your fundraising goal and planning all laid out, the work of executing the fundraiser is next.

The dirty little secret of school fundraising is that it’s not a “build it and they will come sort of thing.”

You can’t just send some the fundraising packets, and then sit back and wait for the orders to start rolling in!

Instead, you have to prepare the students and families for the event by doing some advance promotion of the fundraiser.

Maybe you tease details at the PTO meetings before the fundraiser is slated to begin by passing around a few catalogs.

Perhaps you write some announcements about the prizes up for grabs to get students excited.

Once the packets are sent home, then you’ll need to keep the fundraiser top of mind by continuing to keep people excited by doing the same sorts of things you did pre-kickoff.

Adapt if necessary

After your first major fundraiser, take a look at your profits and gauge whether that’s enough to get to you to goal.

If not and you have another fundraiser planned that you anticipate you can bridge the gap with, then you’re probably all set.

But if you’re already done with your planned fundraisers, then it’s time to squeeze in another fundraiser or adjust your PTO’s budgeted expenses to match income levels.

Get some help

As the Fundraising Chair, you are responsible for the planning and execution of the fundraising for your PTO.

That doesn’t mean that you alone are responsible for doing all of the work alone.

You should absolutely be roping in some other volunteers to help you see through your plans!

Not only is spreading the work around plain smart, it’s also a way to give volunteers a taste of what’s really involved.

This’ll make it easier to get them involved as leaders going forward!

Even more guidance

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive step-by-step plan to help make your job as Fundraising Chair even easier, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Fundraising Formula Kit I’ve put together for you.

It’s got all of the resources you’ll need as Fundraising Chair:

  • A comprehensive timeline starting 6 months out and going past the delivery date for everything to do to ensure success
  • Ready to go sign up sheets to ensure you’ll have help throughout the year
  • Printable worksheets to keep you on track so you don’t miss anything
  • And more!

Need help getting organized as Fundraising Chair?

If you’re tired of having to flip through a disorganized mess of papers to find what you really need, it’s time for a change!

Get organized in mere minute with this printable Fundraising Chair Binder Kit!

Posted in Fundraisers, PTO Officers and Leaders.

2 Comments

  1. Love this and so timely! As a newly minted Large Fundraising VP I am researching like crazy to flush out some ideas. I think we’re going to have 2 major event type fundraisers- a read-a-thon or fun run type in the fall and a carnival with silent auction component in the spring. Trying to figure out timing of everything is tricky! Depending on our budget we might try to squeeze in a catalog sale but I think it wouldn’t be until Spring and I’m not sure how well that typically works. Any suggestions of a third fundraising venture that won’t overtax our parents? We will also have small fundraising efforts through things like Box Tops and Spirit Nights but that will fall to the Small Fundraising Chair.

    • Karen, thanks for the lovely feedback! The easiest things to raise money from selling are things families would already buy or do. We did discount tickets to a family fun center one night this past April and despite a bungled roll out (communication was a huge issue for us) made $600 with not so much effort. Look to see what’s in your area for those natural opportunities! I think catalog sales can go well- depends on the product and your community. Since you’re at a new school, is there an opportunity with Spirit Wear?

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