Tell us about your school
Easingwold School & Sixth Form is a secondary school with nearly 1000 students. Easingwold is a small market town in North Yorkshire, approximately 10 miles north of York. Many of the students come from Easingwold itself, and from the surrounding villages.
What have you done so far to fundraise as a PTA?
We regularly provide refreshments at school events, such as the termly music concerts, and Open Evenings for prospective students. We usually hold a Christmas or Easter raffle which is one of our biggest fundraisers. We also organise a social evening annually for parents with live music, food, bar and Silent Auction.
How did you organise PTA events before PTAsocial? What were the main issues your PTA struggled with?
Most of the planning for events is done at the committee meetings, and previously it was a case of getting out our diaries and committing then and there to all the jobs that needed doing. These always fell to the same few people, and as a result we were very limited with how many events we could contemplate each year. One of our biggest problems was, and still is, getting any new people to come along to meetings.
Have things improved since you started using PTAsocial? Tell us how.
We are still fairly new to PTAsocial, and although we haven’t yet seen any new faces at meetings, we have had offers of help for various different events from people who have never been to a meeting. It has been really helpful to have been able to communicate to a wider circle of parents who have shown an interest in what we do by signing up. We are finding that people are willing to help with jobs that don’t involve any long term commitment, such as baking cakes for a refreshments stand, or putting up posters to advertise an event. If we can rely on a few more people to help with these things, we will hopefully be able to increase the number and variety of events we run in the future.
Has it been helpful for the committee? (Made their jobs any easier, less hassle?)
I think everyone on the committee feels encouraged by the thought that we now have a new way of connecting with parents at our school. Previously, all our communications have been one way only, through emails via the school. It is too easy for parents to read them, and promptly forget all about it. PTAsocial offers a two way communication channel, which means that people are more likely to act on what they have just read and get involved.
Has it been convenient for parents? What was their reaction? (Any new volunteers as a result?)
I think some parents are still very wary about signing up, and worry that they are going to roped into lots of jobs they don’t have time for. The feedback from the ones who have signed up though, is very positive. I think many of the parents of new starters feel it is a way of keeping in touch with what’s going on in school.
You recently trialled selling event tickets online within PTAsocial. How did it compare with selling paper tickets?
Being able to sell tickets online via PTAsocial was a massive step forward for the organisation of our most recent fundraising event. For a start we saved on the cost of printing tickets which helped to offset the charges we paid to Paypal for their service. The biggest gain, however, was the ease of organisation, and distribution of tickets. Previously, committee members have all taken 10 or so tickets and it has been their responsibility to try to sell them. It involves continuous phone calls, emails, texts, etc. to keep a track of where all the tickets have got to, and how many have been sold!
With PTAsocial’s new ticket purchase facility, everyone can see at a glance how many have been sold, who’s going, and the money goes straight into our PTAs bank account! No one has to run in and out of school collecting cash and cheques, and then make bank deposits. It is definitely the way forward!
Would you recommend PTAsocial to other schools?
Absolutely! PTAsocial offers a new approach to running a PTA, that is desperately needed, especially by secondary school PTAs which are rapidly disappearing around the country. People lead increasingly busy lives, and although many would like to lend an occasional hand, most are worried about getting drawn into more than they can manage. PTAsocial offers the solution to this problem, by enabling tasks to be broken down so more people can get involved and offer whatever suits them.