It is time to start moving toward our future. For many, that will mean electing new board members organizing fundraising opportunities. Our purpose is to provide assistance to the school staff and students, and while that may look different then it has in the past, it is still a critical component of our school’s community and resources.
2020 has taught us to think outside the box. This summer we looked differently at our vacations, summer BBQs, and the activities we enroll our children in. It is time we take that creativity and move it into our PTO and Booster groups to provide the best experiences we can for our school communities. Our budgets may not be as big as we have had in the last few years, but that should not stop you from making the effort with the budget and resources you have.
Prioritize your goals for this year. You may need to pivot from your normal first quarter planning. Does your group want to boost morale, encourage community engagement, or raise funds for the expenses that still inevitably fall to our organizations, or all of the above? Form smaller committees to focus on each goal you set.
Show teachers you appreciate them and boost their morale by providing individual treats delivered to their classroom. Let them know you appreciate their willingness to learn new things, that you know they are doing their best to keep our students educated and engaged, and that you are there to support them.
Community engagement occurs when people feel a connection. Give students the opportunity to share similar experiences, through spirit weeks or celebrations. Use your social media posts to share positive happenings from staff. Organize video meetings or post video messages to parents so they are getting the information you need them to hear in multiple forms. Try lots of different things and see what your community responds to.
Fundraising is always important despite online learning. Determine what your fundraising goals are and share that information with your community. Then look at whether your normal fundraising opportunities will allow something different. Spirit wear can still be sold online. Ask your local restaurants if you can fundraise through gift cards or take-out orders or delivery over a week to avoid crowding. Be open to the fact that other fundraising opportunities may make more sense for your group this year. Maybe a drive in movie or crowd funding is a new idea for your group.
Finally, do not hesitate to reach out to other PTO or Booster groups. We are all volunteers who strive to make CUSD the best district in the state. We are not in competition with each other and if you hear of a good idea, please share it.