While the majority of PTA activity may be focused on fundraising, the PTA plays a pivotal role in relationships between parents, staff and the wider community. A committee's work can also have a huge impact on raising the profile of the school and enriching pupils' experiences. By taking a step back, and focusing on the people rather than the fundraising, you can demonstrate the vital role your committee plays in the school and the community, and this can lead to increased involvement from a wider supporter base.
Give back to the community
Can your PTA share its resources with the community by creating a hub where people can come together? The simplest way to do this is by extending invitations to existing events. If you hold a regular event, such as a coffee morning, turn it into a community cafe once a month. If you have a Christmas or summer production, why not put on an extra performance for local people?
If you want to go further, think about communal facilities that may have been lost. If there's no longer a social space for a night out, how about holding a quiz night with a bar? If there's a lack of places for children to play, host a play group.
Practical events such as Internet safety talks are equally valuable, and could be given by a member of staff or a knowledgeable parent. If you have the resources, incorporate this with a learning session where older pupils can help visitors to improve their computer skills using the school's IT facilities.
Engage families and hard-to-reach parents
Not all families are able to participate in events that have a cost attached, meaning they may not be fully engaged in the school community. There are numerous events that can be run cheaply, or even for free! Host a picnic on the school field where guests bring their own refreshments, and provide toys and games for entertainment. Run a barbecue that simply covers costs, or hold a disco in the school hall where music is played over the school's sound system. These events get everyone together and having fun in a friendly environment with no obligations, encouraging everyone to join in.
Encourage pupil involvement
Pupils are the volunteers of tomorrow, so engage them in the PTA! This could be via a pupil committee that can support your fundraising on a regular basis, or an annual event involving more children, such as an enterprise scheme, where pupils can set up and run their own stall at the fair. This will teach pupils some important new skills and show them the link between fundraising and their learning - as well as getting them involved in the PTA in an active way!
There may be some event ideas that you've previously ruled out for being too costly and not big profit-makers, but a decision to break even can still be justified. Helping children to make memories through amazing events could have just as much impact as raising lots of money. Offering an ice rink, an inflatable obstacle course or a climbing wall may cost more to set up so may not make a huge profit, but they could give some children a valuable experience that they may not otherwise have been able to have.