Advocate for Quality Physical Education at Your Child’s School

Physical ActivityCo-authored by Georgi Roberts, MS.

Students learn long division and WWII history, but do they know how to properly nourish their bodies and maintain healthy fitness levels? As a parent, you are in the prime position to advocate for your child’s overall health and well-being during the school day.

Quality physical education (QPE) programs are essential to students’ well-being and quality of life. When school QPE programs are supported by knowledgeable teachers and caring staff and parents, BIG CHANGES can happen in the lives of students.

QPE, and physical activity throughout the school day, gives students the opportunity to improve their health and develop lifelong healthy habits. Recent studies show that students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance (e.g., memory), and classroom behaviors (e.g., on-task behavior) that help them perform better academically. There is much to be said about keeping fit!

FITNESSGRAM, the national health-related fitness assessment adopted by the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, is designed to teach students how their fitness impacts their quality of life. Through the program they learn how to take care of their bodies by developing healthy lifestyle habits, like monitoring fitness levels and setting health-related S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed) goals.

Students’ FITNESSGRAM scores should be used to help them assess their own fitness and set goals for improvement. Scores are individual and private, and should only be shared with the student and parent. Parents may even share and discuss their child’s FITNESSGRAM report with their pediatrician so he or she is aware of the child’s health-related fitness levels. Scores should not be used for grading students or evaluating teachers, but instead to guide instruction in physical education class and create interventions where needed to help improve a student’s health.

Quality physical and health education prepares children to take care of their bodies for a lifetime. The goal is for students to develop regular routines that improve fitness and help students learn to make healthy choices that yield lifelong wellness.

You CAN make a difference. Get to know your child’s physical education teacher and offer your support. You can join the School Health Advisory Council or Campus Advisory Committee. Maybe even schedule a meeting with the Principal or a school board member to discuss the value of a healthy school environment. How do you plan on making your child’s school a healthier place?

 

About the Authors:

Dolly Lambdin, EdD is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin and the current President of the Society of Health and Physical Educators (aka SHAPE America). She is a member of the FITNESSGRAM Scientific Advisory Board and has 16 years teaching experience in public and private schools grades K-8 and 37 years in teacher preparation at the university level. Among her many accolades, she was awarded the Elizabeth Shatto Massey Distinguished Fellow in Teacher Education honor in 2009.

Georgi Roberts, MS is the Director of Health and Physical Education at Fort Worth Independent School District and a member of the FITNESSGRAM Scientific Advisory Board. She served on a national committee in 2013-2014 to create the second edition of the National Physical Education Standards and Student Outcomes adding grade-level expectations. Most recently she was awarded the “Joy of Effort” by SHAPE America, and in 2013, she was awarded the “Honor Award” from TAHPERD, recognizing her excellence in teaching and contributions to research, professional literature, and leadership in the professions of HPERD. 

 

 

How to Safely Celebrate this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving SafetyIf Thanksgiving’s about anything, it’s food. Whether your holiday table features the traditional turkey-and-mashed-potatoes fare or any one of endless cultural and health-related variations on that theme, American kitchens are busy places on the fourth Thursday in November. Amid the hustle and bustle of chopping and stirring, basting and baking, take time to ensure a safe holiday. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.  But, as the pantheon of holiday disaster stories illustrates, there are plenty of other mishaps we’d all be grateful to avoid. Below are a few simple tips to help you celebrate safely:

  1. Never leave any food cooking on the stove unattended even for a moment. Stay in the kitchen and keep an eye on the food on your cooktop.
  2. When using your oven continue to check on your food. Your turkey will be cooking for hours, but someone must remain in the home to make these frequent checks.  Keep kids three feet away from the stove.
  3. Use the back burners of the stove and turn all pot handles towards the wall.
  4. A tip for the littlest ones: Never give your child pots and pans to play with, even if he or she is playing on the floor.  Your child will get confused and may not know the difference between a pan on the hot stove and one she is playing with on the floor.
  5. Beware of cross-contamination when cooking. Never thaw a turkey or any meat on your countertop.  Turkey, chicken or meat should be thawed in a refrigerator, inside its original packaging, or on a plate or in a microwave oven.
  6. If you thaw turkey in a microwave, you will need to cook it right away. Turkey should also be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  7. Countertops, cutting boards, knives and other utensils should be cleaned thoroughly after use with hot soapy water and be sure to keep all knives and potentially sharp utensils away from kids.
  8. Keep a multipurpose dry-chemical fire extinguisher in the kitchen. This is one that can put out both electrical and grease fires.
  9. If you haven’t changed the batteries in your smoke detectors, be sure to do so and test them to be sure they are working. Several smoke alarms have been recalled over the past few months.  Check the website for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to see if yours was recalled.
  10. Last, enjoy the day with your friends and family!

To learn more about holiday safety along with food and product recalls during this season go to The National Youth and Consumer Safety Council’s website at www.thesafetycouncil.org.

 

Jamie is currently the Executive Director of The Safety Institute. The Safety Institute examines areas of injury prevention and product safety across a broad spectrum.  The Institute bases its plans and priorities on issues that require greater study and emphasis, as well as those which may be underserved by other organizations and advocates.  Jamie authored two parenting and safety books, The Baby Rules: The Insiders Guide to Raising Your Parents and The Consumer Reports Guide to Childproofing and Safety and successfully fought for safety legislation on Capitol Hill.

Ambitious Transition

Ambitious TransitionRaising the bar” for competitive high jumpers reduces the number of athletes who make it over the bar on their first try. Just so, “raising the academic bar” will result, at first, in fewer students who are designated as proficient. Expectations are higher but we can be confident that as the teachers become more adept at teaching to higher standards and as students adjust to a more in depth approach, the scores will climb and our students will benefit from aiming higher.

Education standards are a set of minimum skills and understanding that students should reach at each grade level of school. They are not a “ceiling;” teachers can teach beyond these standards. They are the minimum proficiencies that our children should attain, carefully paced so that each year’s academic expectations are realistic and build step by step to reach college and career readiness by 12th grade.

In the years of transition, parents have an important role. You may be asking: “What can I do as a parent to help my child succeed now that the education standards are more rigorous?” Here are some recommendations:

  1. Read with your child – especially the young ones. They learn to love reading by hearing your voice reading. Listen to them read. Sharing the stories they love is a great way to bond.
  2. Expect persistence. Kids can accomplish amazing things. Think back to when they were learning to walk. They fell down but tried again and again. Expect that same tenacity and encourage them, as you did then. Remind them how much they practice to perfect a dance move, a sports maneuver, a musical skill, a winning computer game strategy, whatever they work hard at. Reward persistence—it is even more important than getting the right answer.
  3. Take an interest in their studies and monitor their homework. Listen to them explain what they are learning. They will learn more by showing you how to balance chemical equations than if you show them how to balance chemical equations.
  4. Become a partner with their teachers. Find out what the course expectations are for your child and how you can support them. Then share with the teacher your observations, concerns, and the education goals that you and your child have set.
  5. Become familiar with helpful resources. PTA has great Parent Guides to the math and English language arts standards. Find them at http://www.PTA.org/parents/content.cfm?ItemNumber=2910. Education Nation also has great parent resources, found at ParentToolkit.com.

Lastly, enjoy every stage of your children’s lives and remind them how lucky they are to have you for a parent!

 

Cover Your Ears: A Journey to Healthier Lifestyles

A couple of years ago, when I was attending our PTA meetings I would often hear, “April, cover your ears,” when the conversation was talking about candy or other junk food at our events. Our PTA Board and members knew I worked on projects related to nutrition and physical activity as part of my work with the Healthy By Design Coalition. Over time, this has evolved and other health champions have emerged and it’s only occasionally that I’m asked to cover my ears at our meetings.

IMG_2086Our school’s journey to health actually began with our past-president when she undertook a personal journey to health and fitness. She implemented family fitness nights as one of our PTA activities. Our PTA has been supportive of physical activity and fitness including the purchase of volleyball equipment for the gym and smaller equipment such as balls for recess and PE.

Last year I served on the PTA board as secretary and began to push for healthier food options at our events. This year as president, I submitted a proposal for the Healthy Lifestyles: Energy Balance 101 grant to help us expand our healthy events including incorporating nutrition into our Family Health Night. We have successfully incorporated healthier options into other events such as our family movie night. While we still offer popcorn and candy at movie night, we also offer fresh fruit such as apples or grapes. During our movie nights in September and October, we sold out of over 12 pounds of grapes and still had leftover candy. Other Board members are now helping to plan what we will offer as a healthy option for movie nights. It’s no longer a question of “will we offer it”, but “what will we offer”.

IMG_2121These successes may seem small, but culture change doesn’t happen overnight. As more of our local PTA membership and leadership embrace health, it makes it easier to add to the small successes and push for additional incremental change. Just last month, one of the board members said to me, “I think we should continue to offer healthier options and have health events even if we don’t have grant funds.” To me, this was success because this was said by someone who two years ago was telling me to cover my ears.

You don’t have to be a health expert to add Healthy Lifestyles to your local PTA work. Start small and advocate that a healthier option be available anytime food is served. It doesn’t mean you have to get rid of the junk entirely, but make sure there are options available. Be prepared at first to be asked to cover your ears, but eventually you’ll want to keep them open to hear others also begin to advocate for healthy lifestyles for your school.

April Keippel, Bitterroot Elementary PTA President, is a member of the School Health Advisory Council and Billings Action for Healthy Kids. She serves as the co-lead for Healthy By Design’s Health Equity workgroup which encourages people to make the healthy choice every day including 5 fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, 1 hour of physical activity and n0 sugary drinks, more water.

 

Reviewing the Stats: How Parents Fare with Online Safety Efforts

FOSIOn November 12, I had the pleasure of attending the Family Online Safety Institute’s (FOSI) annual conference themed “Redefining Online Safety.” Technology today is dramatically different than it was just a short time ago. Virtually everything is done online or via smartphones and/or tablets. And when it comes to youth, their eyes are always fixed on a screen.

Because of this, FOSI works to ensure that while our young people are online, they are being smart and safe. Recently FOSI conducted research that was shared at the conference by Hart Research Associates to find out just how involved parents are in what their children are doing on their devices.

They used three focus groups of Towson, Md., parents, who have children ages 6-17. The groups were broken down to segments of parents with children ages 6-9, 10-13 and 14-17. The samples were taken in both English and Spanish and, in each aspect of the research, children of participating parents had to use the internet and have access to technology devices.

The findings were very interesting. Of the children who are connected, they are heavily connected. 58% of all parents say their children personally have three or more technological devices (computer, video game console, cell phone, tablet or MP3 player). That’s quite a bit of networking. In regards to cell phone usage, the surveys revealed that 63% of children have a smartphone while 25% have a feature phone. It’s also noted that the average age at which children get their own cell phone is 11 years old.

Overall, most parents are relatively confident in their ability to manage their child’s technology use with 26% saying that they are “very confident.” Of that percentage, most were parents of children age 6-9. That goes to show that as kids get older, the less management a parent feels they need to have of their child’s online and phone activities.

The most important matter is the issue of safety. Only 37% feel that their child is “very safe” online, while 56% believe their child is only “somewhat safe.” Even so, the majority of parents surveyed (53%) think that the potential benefits outweigh the potential harms of online use, while 42% believe there is an equal balance between the two and 5% think the harms outweigh the benefits.

The silver lining in these numbers is that parents do talk to their children about both the positives and negatives of online activity. Of the parents surveyed, 65%say they talk to their kids regularly whenever they think it is appropriate. This is the key to ensuring they stay safe and are developing safe online communication habits.

Overall, although the age of technology users is getting younger, parents are optimistic and comfortable with their child being connected. Keeping up with the advances and keeping the lines of communication open about proper usage and staying informed are the keys to ensuring the development of good digital parenting.

To view the full research results and statistics, visit https://www.fosi.org/policy-research/parenting-digital-age/.

 

Growing Into Healthy Lifestyles

Garden Harvest

Garden Harvest From the Edible Educational Garden

The Lakeland School District has been focusing on healthy lifestyles for a number of years now—focusing on balanced menus, encouraging healthy snack choices, and working with those who have food allergies to provide viable options.

At Van Cortlandtville, the PTA has served as a main communicator to encourage healthy choices and work with the school community to create an environment which makes being healthy a way of life, not just moments in time. Our PTA Executive Board consists of only 4 members and a  small number of deeply committed volunteers. However, we have tremendous support from our amazing administration and faculty and an enjoyable  working relationship.  Our district motto is, “Together, we are better” and we are!

The PTA helped create an outdoor garden and worked closely with cub scouts to build a pumpkin patch and butterfly bush garden, which you can see in the courtyard each day. It is a visible reminder that what students and our community do each day grows. Good choices become like a beautiful, bountiful garden.

Our curriculum uses the garden at each grade level; planting, tending and harvesting throughout the year. The PTA supports an Edible Educational Garden, Creative Café and Outside Classroom, as well as a garden club. The harvesting each fall leads to a special meal shared by all in the cafeteria. What a joy it is to watch our children feast on their own food, grown in their home away from home backyard.

This year Van Cortlandtville was recognized as a School of Excellence because of the way it creates a community both with the school families and within the community itself. Though there are many things that we have done and do, Our garden is one of the best examples because it would not have been possible without the help of local community businesses, families, teachers and students. Honestly, the School of Excellence work was tremendous but worth the effort.  We tackled the application process in steps and had no idea ultimately where we would wind up.  National PTA advised us each step of the way providing goals and deadlines. Yes, it was more work but it’s truly something to be proud of for our entire school.

Our PTA also knows that healthy minds are needed as well as healthy bodies. We work hard to create an atmosphere that feels safe and welcoming throughout the year. Van Cort’s character education assemblies and programs such as DARE give students confidence to be themselves. We start that welcome feeling before our students are officially kindergartners by holding orientation and presentations for incoming families. The VCPTA began organizing a summer bus run full of activities to help students and parents feel welcomed, meet the VCPTA board, their teachers and other students. When planning family events and celebrations, a healthy choice food option is always available.  We also have an extensive offering of courses and activities for after school programs to further engage students and enrich their time at Van Cortlandtville. We hope you’ll take a moment to visit our website.

Carole Henkin currently serves as president of the Van Cortlandtville Elementary School PTA. She has come back to her hometown to raise her two boys with her husband Raphael after a successful international business career on the west coast.

 

Raising Awareness on Healthy Lifestyles

Do you want to raise awareness of healthy lifestyles for your students at school and home? Do you know that healthy lifestyles and healthy choices often lead to increased student success?  Do you want to be guided by the National PTA standards and help make all families feel welcome while communicating effectively, supporting student success, and collaborating with the community?  San Pablo Elementary found success in meeting all of these objectives by incorporating the National School of Excellence program.  You too can achieve such success!

MDaniel_1San Pablo Elementary School is northeast Florida’s only Health & Fitness Magnet School and already had several health and safety programs in place. As a PTA, we wanted to increase our participation moving forward. As the planning phase began, our team brainstormed programs that would focus on healthy choices including healthy eating, exercise, and healthy lifestyles at home.  The three major programs selected as areas of focus were a garden program, a free district wide track meet, and a family fitness night.

  1. Garden Program and Taste of the Rainbow – San Pablo was able to start a vegetable garden through a grant from Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program. Students plant and harvest vegetables and herbs from grade level garden beds while learning about healthy food, nutrition, and how their food is grown. This year we added the “Taste of the Rainbow”, a lunchtime garden tasting program incorporating fun learning games and quizzes to ramp up the learning experience.
  2. San Pablo All Elementary Open Track Meet – San Pablo invited all elementary students in our school district to participate in a free, professionally timed (funded by a grant from a local running club) track meet. We also invited local health vendors and business partners to hold a health fair during the track meet to help entertain and educate the athletes during their down time.
  3. Family Fitness Night – San Pablo collaborated with the local fitness community to put on an interactive, fun, and educational family fitness night. We had local vendors from Karate and Zumba studios along with PTA volunteers who offered the families twenty-minute interactive demonstration/ classes. The evening wrapped up with families learning how to make a healthy snack together and sharing it as part of the night.

MDaniel_2The programs shown above are just a sampling of the work accomplished by the San Pablo PTA enhancing the overall health of our children. Additionally, the PTA also organized a walkathon and 5K, ran an early morning fitness class free of charge for all children, and helped to support our annual hearing and vision screening.  These activities were all inexpensive to implement, most were free to our families, and were guided by the National PTA standards with a laser focus on welcoming all families, communicating effectively, supporting student success, and collaborating with the community.

With some volunteer elbow grease and good ideas, you can help guide your children down a healthier path as well. Take the first step; the benefits your school and community will reap are worth the effort!

MDaniel and DaughtersMelissa Daniel is a proud PTA mom of 3 girls – a fourth grader and 2nd grade twins.  She is the immediate past president of the San Pablo Elementary PTA in Jacksonville, FL. San Pablo Elementary is a 2014 School of Excellence recipient. Currently, Melissa serves as the treasurer for her elementary school and as the Legislative Chair of the Duval County Council of PTAs.

Stop Oversharing: Teens & Identity Theft

College-ID-Theft-Image-LifeLock-PTA- smallLifeLock is a financial sponsor of National PTA, and has been invited to submit a blog post as part of their engagement with PTA. National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service, and no endorsement is implied by this content.

My first job out of college was a tech position at a tiny boarding school in upstate New York. I spent most of my time in the computer lab overseeing classes of students doing online research or taking the occasional email break. This was before the over-sharing days of Facebook and Twitter, but even then I had to monitor and educate our students about the dangers of chat rooms, making sure they knew who was at the other end of their email, and not downloading files from unknown sources.

It always surprised me that so many of our students grew up with computers in their homes, and yet knew very little about using them responsibly. But then, I suppose, things haven’t changed much. Today’s teens have grown up with social media and smartphones. They know there’s a risk involved in using both. But how many of them truly understand those risks, or take appropriate steps to help avoid them?

Turns out, not as many as we’d like to think. In a 2013 survey, LifeLock found that 77% of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 overshare personal information online.* That may not be a big surprise. We know social media can lead to oversharing – but the telling part of this survey was that of those same teens, only 11% thought they were oversharing.**

Another study, by the Family Online Safety Institute, found that 43% of teens haven’t set up privacy settings on all of their online or social networking accounts, and 1 in 3 teens have shared their log-in information with someone other than their parents or guardians.

Of course, social media isn’t the only way an identity thief can get your information, and teens are just as vulnerable to conventional means of identity theft—stolen mail, data breaches, etc. So what can we do to help teens protect themselves? The most important thing: talk to them. They can’t protect themselves against what they don’t understand.

Back in September I provided some useful tips on helping protect yourself from identity theft. Those can work for teens too. Of course, teens face some unique threats, such as when we send them off to college (or to small, private boarding schools). Thankfully, the Identity Theft Resource Center has some easy steps they can take to help protect themselves. And if you’re looking for ways to address online safety, head over to ShareAwesomeNow.org. You’ll find a number of useful resources and conversation starters.

Our generation is still learning about identity theft. But with a little advice from us, hopefully our teens won’t have to.

Jaramy Conners is the Corporate Communications Manager at LifeLock.

* Based on the responses of 700 US teenagers surveyed by LifeLock, June 2013.

** Ibid.

 

 

NEA and National PTA Encourage Nation to Celebrate American Education Week

With co-author Lily Eskelsen GarciaOtha_Headshot_SM

American Education Week (AEW) is celebrated each year during the last full week before Thanksgiving. This year, AEW will be celebrated November 14-20. Founded by the National Education Association (NEA) and The American Legion in 1921, with the U.S. Department of Education joining in 1922, AEW was created in response to 25 percent of World War I draftees being illiterate and nine percent deemed physically unfit to serve their country.

In its resolution, NEA called for “an educational week… observed in all communities annually for the purpose of informing the public of the accomplishments and needs of the public schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs.”

Today, American Education Week is co-sponsored by National PTA and 11 other national education organizations. The theme for this year’s celebration is Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility, a renewed call to all citizens—parents, teachers, education support professionals, elected officials, community leaders, and yes, students—to make our schools great for all Americans.

As part of the weeklong celebration, Tuesday, Nov. 18 has been designated “Parents Day” to encourage parents to visit their child’s school and spotlight the importance of family engagement in education.

While the nation and our public education system have changed a lot since 1921, one factor—family engagement—remains critical to student achievement. Ongoing research shows that family engagement in schools improves student achievement, reduces absenteeism, and restores parents’ confidence in their children’s education. Students with involved parents or other caregivers earn higher grades and test scores, have better social skills, and show improved behavior.

Becoming active in a school’s parent group is an important way to increase involvement. Involvement also encompasses:

  • Setting goals with children and fostering achievement of those goals;
  • Accessing and using children’s academic scores to ensure they’re on track;
  • Frequently viewing the parent portal (or whichever tool their school uses);
  • Developing a relationship with children’s teachers and keeping in touch with them often; and
  • Advocating for improvements in the school building and with local school boards and state and federal government to ensure schools have the resources they need to provide a world class education to every student.

The most significant type of involvement is what parents do at home. By monitoring, supporting and advocating, parents can be engaged in ways that ensure that their children have every opportunity for success.

As the leaders of the nation’s largest education and child advocacy associations, we have seen firsthand the positive impact of family engagement on student success and school improvement. We encourage all parents to take an active role in their children’s education on “Parents Day” and all year round.

Great schools are a basic right and our shared responsibility. To all parents and families, “thank you” for being part of the education team. Find out more on how parents and families can contribute to student success by visiting: http://www.nea.org/parents and http://www.pta.org/.


Otha Thornton is president of National PTA. Lily Eskelsen Garcia is president of the National Education Association.

9 Tips to Better Fundraising

Schwans2Schwan’s Cares is a financial sponsor of National PTA, and has been invited to submit a blog post as part of their engagement with PTA. National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service, and no endorsement is implied by this content.

Although fundraising is not at the heart of PTA’s mission, raising money nevertheless is essential to funding all the things you and your PTA want to accomplish in support of that mission. So, how can you and your PTA be more effective at fundraising? Schwan’s Cares offers these 9 simple tips.

Since launching Schwan’s Cares, we’ve had the chance to help many PTAs with their funding needs. Along the way, we’ve learned a few tricks to increase enthusiasm, participation, and, of course, total funds raised.

1. Choose your target audience carefully.

You will need help with fundraising. Choose key people in the school and community to be your lead supporters – your “key fundraisers.” They could be the PTA executive committee members, teachers, school administration, or well-liked community leaders. These are the folks who enthusiastically will get the word out and drive ongoing awareness of your fundraiser to tons of people. The more key fundraisers you can get involved, the more total people you’ll reach and then the more funds you’ll potentially raise!

2. Friendly Competition.

We know…. competition isn’t always something that’s top of mind when it comes to elementary schools, BUT it can be fun and more engaging if your school would consider having classrooms or grades compete for the most money raised. Consider a reward to the winning classroom of a no-homework night, in-class party with a movie and air-popped popcorn, a “smart snack” compliant frozen treat for each student, extra playground time, or even a pie in the principal’s face as another fun idea.

3. Kick Off Event.

Starting out, it can seem overwhelming and defeating to try to convince busy parents, friends and neighbors to help you fundraise. Isn’t everyone fundraising all the time for something in all areas of the community? So why not hold a fun event in the school gym or playground to inform families of what you’re doing? If a big event seems tough, consider carving out a prominent place at the open house, carnival, parent/teacher conferences, etc. to inform supporters of the fundraiser. It’s a perfect place to announce your friendly competition too!

4. Tell a personal, compelling, emotional story.

Many people know schools need funding but also think the funds can come from someone else. Make your fundraising campaign personal by detailing exactly what you’re looking to fund. New playground equipment, iPads for every classroom, smart boards, backpacks, you get the picture. If people can visualize what will be purchased and, just as importantly, how it will improve the learning, enrichment, or social-emotional experience for children as a result, they’ll be much more likely to give and give generously.

5. Choose your medium(s) carefully.

For online fundraising – email and video are king. Nothing tells a story better than video and pictures. So if you can, focus on using video and pictures to craft a personal message asking for support. As a PTA, consider crafting a video for the overall fundraiser (what it’s for, what your goal is, how it will impact the kids) that can easily be used/shared by your individual fundraisers. Then reach out via email or private message (PM) to make the “ask” of everyone you know. Certainly with family members and close acquaintances, you can ask over the phone or when you are with them face to face, too. If you choose to use other mediums; be conscious of word wrapping and character limits on what will show up and not show up. This is especially true of Facebook and Twitter posts.

6. Reach out at the right time and BCC.

The best time to send out your message is when your supporters will most likely be willing and able to consume it. So know your audience, when they have free time, and when you can most likely grab their attention. Please use BCC. Nothing is more impersonal than a laundry list of recipients and people generally are sensitive about their email address being publicized/shared without prior permission.

7. Be persistent.

Don’t give up after one ask. Use your list to keep track of supporters and keep after those who haven’t supported yet. Sometimes it takes a (gentle) nudge to get people to do what you want.

8. Gratitude.

This ties into the point above. It’s a good idea to send messages to the group thanking those who’ve supported your PTA – and asking those who haven’t to please give. Only do this every few days or every week – a daily update just makes you potentially annoying.

9. Close the loop.

This is key to the success of your future fundraiser! Be sure to let people know the impact of their support on you and your school. Share a story after your goal has been attained to make your supporters feel part of your accomplishment and the good it has done. One great way to close the loop is to capture and share a short (1-2 minute) video/photos of the children actively enjoying their new technology, playground, or books and having the children say a happy thank you to the camera.* Then simply send that video to everyone with a little thank you note. Next time you need to raise funds, your previous supporters will be the most likely to contribute again!

* Note: Be very careful to have permission before capturing/sharing any images of students. Not all parents are comfortable with this. Check with your school principal if you aren’t sure how to handle this; there typically is a media release on file (or not) for each student.

Ready to put these tips to work?

Visit schwans-cares.com today to sign up quickly and easily for your PTA for a no-hassle online fundraising campaign.

 


 About Schwan’s Cares, an official National PTA Member Benefit Provider

Since 1952, Schwan’s Home Delivery has helped families share delicious, home-style meals. We offer home delivery of over 350 foods – all made with premium ingredients and requiring simple prep.

With Schwan’s Cares, your PTA supporters enjoy all our delicious foods, and your organization earns for an entire year. 20% – 40% back on every purchase during your 45-day fundraising campaign, and 5% back on every purchase for the rest of the year. You manage your fundraiser entirely online, your supporters order online or by phone, and we deliver to their door. You’ll never need to deliver food or collect money. It’s a win-win for PTAs to use!