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Cover story


what they might do because they know they have some money coming in – so it would work for a PTA with ongoing commitments.


Spread the word ‘People like to give to a cause that’s


close to their hearts, making the PTA well placed to attract strong support in the local community,’ says Lisa Morrell. To do this, you need to be in regular contact and demonstrate how the children benefi t from your fundraising. ‘If you’re not sure how to reach


people, ask them where they spend time online. Do they prefer a text message, the school newsletter or an app for parents? Make it easy for people to donate by providing an obvious button on your website, or by signing up to an online donation platform,’ she says. Helen Meade agrees. ‘We share


an evaluation of every project in a way that’s easy to understand. Testimonials are great if you can get them, or share images on social media of something you’ve provided for the children. Use a photo if possible, as people respond well to images, especially as parents can’t come into school at the moment.’


Get more help ‘We get a huge amount of our


new volunteers through existing helpers,’ says Stephen Hill, head of volunteering at Parkinson’s UK.


‘Ask them to share the need with friends and family and encourage them to help out too. Some people have an exact skillset they want to bring; others want a day off from their jobs and will be happy performing small, easy tasks. People tend to be skills-rich but time-poor.’ He continues: ‘Before you ask,


think about what a reasonable commitment looks like. Follow that through in the way you recruit volunteers – explain that some jobs can be done in just a few hours a week – or from home – with little requirement to attend meetings.’


Write a role description When you’re talking to people, tell


them exactly what’s needed and the impact it will have on both the PTA and the children. ‘In my experience, there’s no loss of appetite for volunteering but it needs to be structured in a way that works.’ Since reopening, few schools have


allowed external visitors and PTA volunteering needs have changed. ‘While a PTA doesn’t need to have in-depth explanations of every job, it may be helpful to write down some pointers and create a few role descriptions,’ says Stephen Hill. Explain how the role works and


what support they will get. Make sure they know how long it will take, what measures are in place for social distancing and who they can call if they have a question. The fewer obstacles you present, the more you make it easy for people to say yes. ‘Read through your role descriptions and see if they excite you. If they don’t, ask yourself how you can introduce more fun into the position.’ Helen Meade begins with three


basic roles to give people an idea of what needs doing, but in a small charity, fl exibility is also key. ‘Be open to offers,’ she advises. ‘In 2019, we were approached by someone who runs a music venue in London. She had recently relocated to Lewes and wanted to put on live bands, which isn’t something we’d ever done. But she brought a wealth of experience with her and we were able to attract a well-known singer


who performed a sell-out show. Since March, we haven’t been able to run events, but she’s now helping us adapt our building to hold small wedding receptions, once that’s allowed.’


Reach out to new people ‘Hold informal, open sessions on


Zoom, with no commitment, where people can come along and chat to regular volunteers,’ says Stephen Hill. When it’s possible again, organise a face-to-face drop-in. Encourage volunteers to tell the story of how they became involved and how that has grown. Don’t be afraid to tell funny


stories and tales of failure. Explain that we may sometimes fail, but we fail together. Allow people to ask questions publicly and privately. ‘The purpose of the meet-up is to make people feel the right things before they take action. Make your community appear fun, attractive and inspiring – something people want to be part of,’ he says. ‘When someone begins a journey


with your charity and you look after them and nurture them, it becomes a partnership,’ says Helen Meade. ‘People’s situations change as their children become more independent. So make sure you provide a clear pathway for those who want to get more involved.’


Find out more


Jane Redman shares her go-to resources... ● Fundraising Chat Facebook group: A support group for charity fundraisers – facebook.com/groups/FundraisingChat ● Bright Spot Fundraising: Rob Woods has podcasts, webinars and a useful download on fundraising in a pandemic at brightspotfundraising.co.uk/power- through-the-pandemic ● The Charity Event Specialists: Follow Jane Curtis on her events blog at thecharityeventspecialists.com/blog ● Chartered Institute of Fundraising: Forming a fundraising strategy in a pandemic – ciof.org.uk/events-and-training/ resources/from-response-to-recovery


pta.co.uk SPRING 2021 23


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