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Come and talk to me about the dreaded PTA!

(30 Posts)
GoofyIsACow Wed 24-Feb-16 19:39:44

Ok, so I have recently got involved with the PTA at DC's school. Everything we organise to fundraise is supported by the same 8/9 people, meaning basically us 8/9 people fund the pta and all it pays for.
The whole school (very small, well under 100 pupils) went on a school trip last year, tickets were funded by the pta.
So basically over the course of the year the same 8/9 people have paid money/spent time and therefore paid for the whole school to go!

I am not bashing the people who don't volunteer, people are busy, i get that.

My question is, is there an alternative to the traditional and much hated pta set up? Is there another way to raise funds? Where people will actually get involved and give?

Because basically we may as well just bill each parent for every single trip, transport to swimming, resource etc. We may as well just pay for our own children and sod everyone else, saves time and effort!

Do any of you know of or operate a totally radical method of pta-ing?

Thanks in advance

dylsmimi Wed 24-Feb-16 19:45:10

I'm not sure what you mean by the same 8-9 people? Is it just those on the pta?
What events are being run?
Our events are a big bbq which is a huge amount of work for the pta but very popular and we do gain funds from it
Also popular and great fundraisers are school discos and a Christmas raffle.
So all events are organised by the pta then if needed other parents help volunteer and staff and then tickets are sold to parents/ families etc for the raffle and parents for the discos
We don't fund things like school trips but the 'nice extras' so books at Christmas, outside equipment extra activities etc
Hope this helps

dylsmimi Wed 24-Feb-16 19:46:34

We make it clear that if we don't have enough volunteers then things don't run
As a pta member you give time not money - any expenses are claimed back although I'm sure we all don't all claim back all receipts but we should / could do

MadSprocker Wed 24-Feb-16 19:48:48

I think this is actually the case for most PTAs, and the reason our one folded.

EskSmith Wed 24-Feb-16 19:54:36

I get what the op is saying. The PTA organise events and the PTA parents are the only ones that really comtribute/attend. I think the key is to try to recruit more people to the PTA. You probably also need to look at your events and why they are not appealing. I would send out a questionnaire to all parents this can highlight what the PTA funds that you need more volunteers and ask for ideas of events that people would like to see.
Ultimately you can't make people join I , you have to make them want to.

KERALA1 Wed 24-Feb-16 19:57:55

Just stop bothering - flogging a dead horse. The funniest thing is watching people complain when "they" aren't running the events/providing the services anymore.

I couldn't be arsed to sell second hand uniform any more (involved me lugging round loads of old clothes for about £30 profit for the school). One lady vociferously complained so I suggested she take it over <tumbleweed silence ensued>

GoofyIsACow Wed 24-Feb-16 19:58:57

The pta is made up of five parents and then teachers. On top of that there are three or four other parents (who were previously on the pta but their children leave this year and have stepped back)

We have organised an event for tomorrow night, there are around 35 tickets sold. They are more or less made up of those people and our families!

We do cinema nights which are well attended and one big fair in the summer which is ok too.

I suppose what i mean is (having been involved with a pta at previous school and preschool too) i know this is an issue and i wondered if there was a new revolutionary way others were doing it!?

GoofyIsACow Wed 24-Feb-16 20:01:04

The questionnaire is something I think we will do, thankyou for that.


BackforGood Wed 24-Feb-16 20:07:03

It's always the way with any group you belong to though - the Scouts / Guides, the Church, the swimming club or rugby club or football or netball team.
You can resent it
not do it
just accept it and get on with it.

Lots of schools do just directly ask parents to pay for many of the things you mention.

It depends what you think the point is of something like a PTA though - as others have said, the social benefits of some events (BBQ mentioned, or quiz nights, or a dinner dance, or a cheese and wine 'welcome' do for new parents, etc) might be worth a lot more than just the money raised.

Also, the dc learning to organise / run a stall at a fete might be something that is a benefit in itself, again, more than the money that stall raises.

I've read on MN of PTAs that hold an event like a bonfire / fireworks night - again, more about putting on the occasion for the community to enjoy than to raise funds. Same, to some extent with the fetes.

If it's the moneyside that is important though, you could set up a "50:50" club, so you get continuous income throughout the year, with little work once it's all set up in the first year - just recruiting new parents each year to suit turnover....... or organise a big raffle draw with donated prizes of meals out or days out or a free hair do etc, then give every family a set number of books to try to sell - a lot of people would rather buy them, than give time.

admission Wed 24-Feb-16 20:18:30

There is a point with any organisation where it evolves or it dies. It would appear that your PTA is not evolving so that other parents come on board and support, so the answer is that it dies.
If it dies then the school events that you are currently supporting financially have to stand on their own two feet and all parents put their hands in their pockets or they just do not happen. May be when they do not happen the parental body will recognise the worth of the PTA rather than just assume somebody else is doing it all.

onlywhenyouleave Wed 24-Feb-16 20:19:53

I am an active member of our PTA and, whilst it is quite a time commitment, I don't spend anymore than other non-PTA parents.

Our events are generally well attended so we raise income that way.

Another thing that we do is have non- uniform days in exchange for a low-priced 'prize' which we then use at the event. So for example, we have asked for a pound shop gift in exchange for not wearing uniform which gave us 250 prizes for a lucky dip stall at the fair - charge £1 a go and even with a guaranteed win, you have made £250.

We also run Easter egg bingo and ask for an Easter egg in exchange for non-uniform which then gives us 250 eggs as prizes.

Have asked for a chocolate prize which went for a tombola stall.

GoofyIsACow Wed 24-Feb-16 20:24:23

Thankyou all, I think there have been the same faces for a while so maybe a shake up is necessary.

I think the social events involving the parents are actually the ones that fall flat! The ones for the children seem to be the winners!

GoofyIsACow Wed 24-Feb-16 20:25:29

Ooh onlywhen that is a great idea! Thankyou!

LtGreggs Wed 24-Feb-16 20:38:03

I thinks it's normal (in the real world) that a small group organise, but not inevitable that a small group attend / contribute funds.

We run 2/3 main fundraising events each year - one major (eg summer fair), one or two others (eg we have a family disco each feb) and then anything else anyone will sort as extras (eg the bloody Xmas cards) or as events that are fun but don't really raise money. Our fundraising events manage to be inclusive (I think) because they have a fair portion of kiddy stuff (tuck shop, chocolate tombola, face painting etc) that is low cost/price plus some stuff that is pretty much pure money raising aimed at adults (raffle, silent auction, lucky squares etc). There are mechanisms by which the better off families can give larger amounts of £ while keeping it easy for all to join in the event, iyswim. (Our school catchment is very mixed socio-economically)

Alternatively, you can have a serious think about just saying to all parents at start of year - we want to raise £X000 this year, that's about £Y per child, please hand the cash in to the office... Every time we are begging for volunteers I wish we had just tried the latter!

anotherdayanothersquabble Wed 24-Feb-16 20:42:54

Ask local businesses to sponsor the school. Our local solicitors were quite happy to sponsor a flyer for an event which they also printed, easy £250!

Also some other local businesses sponsored stall prizes which saved us buying them.

Discounted tickets to local events sold to parents at discount plus £1.50, parents get a deal, event fill their seats, PTA get funds, wins all round!

Giving things people they want is easier than asking them to pay for something they don't need. Also bringing money in from outside of the school is also easier than asking parents.

KERALA1 Wed 24-Feb-16 20:56:38

I have personally netted £12500 by applying for grants. I now consider myself exempt from donating cakes to the cake sales

anotherdayanothersquabble Wed 24-Feb-16 21:05:37

I used to count everything in fairy cakes, £12,500 is 50,000 fairy cakes!! What a result!

LtGreggs Wed 24-Feb-16 21:08:13

That's fantastic.

I sometimes get great ideas about how if I actually did the PTA as a job, I would make us kick ass smile smile

It passes in a couple of minutes smile

GoofyIsACow Wed 24-Feb-16 21:10:06

KERALA shock i could retire from ptaing until dcs are in yr6 if i did that!! I need to look into that!

KERALA1 Wed 24-Feb-16 21:32:07

Currently applying for £30k grant.

Sprink Thu 25-Feb-16 15:51:24

For adult events, Quiz Nights are the most successful for us. Any attempts at wine tastings, adult 80s disco, or spring ball brought in significantly less attendance/funds.

I think our adults just want to sit down, buy drinks from a bar, and chat a bit (without the hoo ha of new/special outfits). Lazy feckers. wink

noramum Thu 25-Feb-16 16:19:07

Apart from the Summer fair and the Firework night all events are mainly for the children. We do a quiz night but that is not a huge event. I think people have to pay for babysitter etc in addition to tickets so a lot may not attend due to this.

Yes, the PTA is a small number of people but most parents pay for the children's event. That means 3 discos, 2-3 movie nights and a Christmas afternoon per school year.

We also have cake sales, around 1x month which brings £60-80 each time.

I tried to volunteer but mostly was told to come but then there was nothing to do. Hm. Not really inviting.

mrtwitsglasseye Thu 25-Feb-16 23:02:42

I would pay not to have anything to do with the PTA. I wish they just asked for a contribution at the beginning of the year and did away with the school fair etc. So many parents say the same. Mind you, our PTA are horrible, cliquey, exclusive and think they run the school. So I'd be overjoyed to see the committee fold.

lizzytee Fri 26-Feb-16 15:04:47

Kerala tell me more! I would love to know about what kind of sources you're looking at.

Lurking PTA treasurer here blush

ClaudetteWyms Fri 26-Feb-16 17:21:25

You PTA don't sound very nice mrtwitsglasseye but ours is not like that. We do struggle to get enough volunteers for events though, so watching with interest...

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