by Shannon Mastey
Parents play a huge role in school fundraisers. They provide transportation, supervise kids, and help raise funds. Despite their importance, communication with parents can be a challenge. Educators interact with parents much more infrequently than they interact with their students, and messages to parents don’t always get communicated. Given a parent’s role as organizer, can be troublesome for both the fundraiser and the parent-teacher relationship.
Fixing this disconnect is key for happy parents and a smooth fundraiser. When the line of communication between parent and teacher gets muddled (or doesn’t exist in the first place), the parent has no way of knowing the goings-on of the fundraiser. This, fortunately, is an easy problem to solve. Nearly everyone is reachable by text or email nowadays, and so make sure you are using your school’s communication platforms and apps to provide parents with regular updates.
Parents with several children also frequently face the multi-fundraiser issue. Schools in a district often run fundraisers at the same time between schools – this creates a sticky situation for parents who have to delegate fundraising between kids. How do they decide which child can ask which house for money and mediate the dispute afterwards? To avoid putting parents in this stressful and frustrating situation, try to time your fundraiser so it isn’t taking place at the same time as others. This isn’t always a possibility, but if your fundraiser doesn’t have to be at a certain time then consider being flexible with timing.
Another issue for parents is the timing of the fundraiser itself. Parents complain that some school fundraisers are handed out one day and due in only two weeks, with no prior announcement of the fundraiser. This makes it difficult (if not impossible) for parents to plan their schedules in a way that allows them to participate with their children. To alleviate this struggle, consider making a timeline for the fundraiser weeks or months in advance. A timeline doesn’t need to explain every detail of the fundraiser; it can be as small as an explanation of when fundraising starts and when funds are due.
A lot of these issues can be mitigated with a solid social media presence. Having an easily accessible webpage gives parents the opportunity to find most, if not all, of the information they need about your fundraiser. You can keep parents updated on the progress of your fundraiser by linking the project’s Classmunity page on your account. Fundraising is a lot of work on both your end and the parents’. If you take a few steps to make things easier before the fundraiser even starts, everyone’s workload will drop dramatically; hopefully some of these tips will give you ideas. Good luck!