For parent groups like PTAs, PTOs, PFCs and Booster Clubs, tradition is as ingrained as the permanent marker on the chair in study hall. From weekly group meetings to annual fundraisers, these are things students, parents and teachers look forward to each year.
But this year, more than ever, we can’t do what we’ve always done. This translates to many areas of our lives, obviously. How many times have you walked into the store and had to go back to your car for your mask? It’s hard to break tradition, but it’s best for everyone’s health and safety if we modify things temporarily.
For Some Events, the Show Can Go On
In many cases, you can still hold your traditional fundraisers and events, maybe with some minor modifications.
- Bike to School Day → It’s on!
- Picture Day → Masks required until photos are snapped.
- Picnics → Maintain social distancing or wear masks; Provide hand washing stations and/or hand sanitizer.
- Parade → It’s on! Or, try a reverse parade where the viewers drive through to see the floats/displays.
- Fall Festival → If this is outdoors, continue the festivities with masks, sanitizer and social distancing encouraged.
- Field Days → Again, if outdoors, use your best judgement for safety protocols.
Maintaining Traditional Events with Modifications
Even though in-person school may be in session, tradition alone isn’t a good reason to risk the health of your students. Some events can still take place with more dramatic adjustments in venue, safety protocols and more.
- Group Meetings → Go virtual when possible. For in-person meetings, maintain social distancing or wear masks; Provide hand washing stations and/or hand sanitizer.
- Talent Show → Virtual Talent Show
- School Fun Run → Virtual Run/Walk
- Guest Speakers → Virtual Guest Speakers
- Assemblies and Pep Rallies → Hold them outdoors or go virtual
- Book Fair → Limit entries using a time slot sign-up, maintain social distancing and wear masks.
- Science / Math Night → Virtual Science/Math Night
- Movie Night → Go virtual or host a drive-in movie.
- Auctions → Go virtual.
- Career Day → Virtual Career Day
- Health & Wellness Week → Incorporate events throughout the school and online.
- Concert → Virtual Concerts
- Multicultural Celebrations → Incorporate events and collateral throughout the school with some virtual incorporation.
- Graduation Day → We’ll have to see what Spring brings. But more than likely we’ll be looking at virtual or outdoor distanced graduation celebrations in 2021.
Hold on These Annual Event Types
And then there’s the events that should just be canceled for this year. In particular, ones that involve food, close proximity and at-risk persons can wait until the COVID risk is much, much lower.
- Potluck Dinners → Maybe next year.
- Game Night → Maybe next year.
- Family Fun Night → Maybe next year.
- Grandparents Day → Maybe next year.
- Thanksgiving Feast → Maybe next year.
Diversification in Your Fundraising Efforts
In addition to shaking up your annual PTA traditions due to COVID, it’s a good idea to diversify your fundraising events. This helps create stability and keeps you from being overly dependent on any one fundraising effort or tool to raise money throughout the school year. In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket! A good diversified fundraising stream means having a mix of events, activities and giving strategies at different times of year. As we’ve experienced with COVID, things can change unexpectedly and put your group in jeopardy. Here are some helpful links, tips and tools as you diversify your fundraising efforts and shake up your annual traditions:
- 100 items to sell in an online fundraiser
- Nonprofit mobile credit card processing
- 10 virtual fundraising ideas
- Online fundraising tools for nonprofits