How to build a Parent Group
It all begins through a group of parent’s getting together with a desire to help their children’s education while supporting their school. Ask your school administrator for help to build a parent organization by distributing flyers to other parents and also to provide a room in your school for meetings. You can start with just a few parents, but building up to 25 or more helps generate more ideas and the ability to form committees to work on specific projects. Most parent groups start small and continually grow.
You can call it a PTO or Booster Club but it’s important to adopt a set of bylaws that will provide the framework for your organization. Bylaws will define the role of the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer and outline the goals of the organization. Parents will elect the officers for typically for two year terms. (Click to see sample set of bylaws.)
Parents usually schedule meetings monthly throughout the school year taking a break for the summer months.
It’s easier to build a successful parent organization by scheduling a few ‘fun’ family activities throughout the year. Skating parties, bowling, laser tag, Christmas caroling, picnics, a 4th of July parade marching with school banners and square dances at school for parents and students are just a few ideas. Include your children in these activities to help create a sense of community. A series of ‘family dinner’ events several times a year will also help create a unity of purpose with the parents and children.
Fund Raisers Help Support Students and Your School
To be truly effective it’s important to organize fundraisers. Most retailers are looking for additional sales and are willing to offer schools a percentage of sales if parents buy their products. Work with retailers like Burger King, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Target, Walmart and local supermarkets. Ask the manager if they offer a program for school families who eat or shop at their establishment on a certain day or specific times. (Example: Friday evening between 5:00 – 8:00 pm) Retailers often offer 15-20% of their sales on a predetermined program.
Some parent groups have used fundraisers to sell chocolate bars and frozen food from companies. For ideas, go to your computer and Google ‘School fundraising ideas’.
You can also raise money with food auctions such as, ‘Make It--Bake It--Buy It’. Gifts can also be auctioned. Ask local retailers to help your school by making donations for your school auction. Contact local florists, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. for items to auction. Local merchants often like to help their neighborhood schools. It’s good for their business.
Also, parents can work with school administrators to apply for grants.
Ways You Can Help Your Children & School While Building Your Parent Group
Use the money from fundraisers to pay for student field trips, help buy school books other supplies or sport uniforms. Help support your class sponsored student trips to other cities. Parents can volunteer to help in school classrooms and organize a ‘Teacher Appreciation’ event by hosting a lunch in the schools teacher break room.