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Determining your fundraising goals is one of the most important steps in school fundraising. Having clear goals - including what funds will be used for and how much you need - makes it much easier for PTAs/PTOs to plan and execute their fundraising events.

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So how exactly do you figure out what to raise funds for and how much to raise? The best approach is to actually talk to the people who are most familiar with school needs: teachers, administration, other school staff, and even families. These core members of the school community have valuable insight into where funds are needed most.

This article will outline the ins and outs of using surveys to determine school fundraising goals. We’ll cover why PTA surveys work, good PTA survey questions for teachers, staff, and families, the best ways to distribute and collect your PTA surveys, and more.

Why use PTA surveys?

Why are PTA surveys for teachers, administrators, and other members of the school community such valuable tools for PTAs/PTOs? Here are just a few reasons:

They’re effective.

Fundraising takes a lot of planning and volunteer hours, but part of what makes it so fun and meaningful is seeing the results. Surveys help you make the most of your fundraising efforts by giving you a laser focus on what the school really needs so that you can raise funds for it. By incorporating insights from the people who are in the field every day, you’ll not only save yourself a lot of guesswork but also ensure that your fundraising efforts don’t go to waste.

They’re efficient.

With technology these days, it’s never been easier to create, send , and collect surveys. There are dozens of free online survey tools that let you easily create surveys that respondents can access anywhere, any time. Many of these tools allow you to view responses as charts and graphs so that you can gather insights more quickly.

Of course, you can also always print hard copies and distribute them face-to-face. While this process may require more time and effort - and may not be feasible while COVID-19 is a threat - it can provide an opportunity for you to meet face-to-face with teachers and staff and strengthen the relationship between the PTA/PTO and the school at large.

They foster collaboration and community.

On the note of community, surveys are a great way to strengthen the bonds between PTAs/PTOs and everyone else who makes the school world go ‘round. Teachers, administration, other staff, and (if you choose) parents and families will appreciate the chance to have their voices heard about the school’s needs. It may even encourage respondents to volunteer later on down the road.

Who are PTA surveys for?

The short answer is: anyone who has knowledge about school needs and/or an interest in those needs being met. You can create PTA survey questions for teachers, administrators, staff such as counselors, nurses, librarians, cafeteria workers, etc., and even parents and families.

Just know that you will need to tailor PTA survey questions to the intended audience, meaning you may need to create different PTA surveys for teachers, admin, families, etc. You’ll also need to make sure you have the time and volunteer power to read through all the responses and incorporate them into your fundraising goals.

PTA survey questions for teachers, admin, and staff

Use PTA surveys for teachers and other staff to ask about:

  • The top 3-5 areas of need for funds (e.g., STEM programs, beautification projects, etc.)
  • Specific areas of need for respondent’s particular class, department, or job duties
  • Respondents’ likes and interests (this can inform PTA efforts for Teacher Appreciation projects)
  • Respondents’ favorite fundraisers in previous years
  • Feedback about any fundraisers that were not effective

PTA survey questions for families

Surveys for parents and families provide a great opportunity to gauge not only what parents see as the students’ biggest needs but also interest in volunteering and the skills parents might bring. Consider asking:

  • What top 3-5 fundraising areas do parents think should be prioritized for their children (e.g., STEM programs, beautification projects, etc.)
  • What fundraisers parents participated in or enjoyed most in previous years
  • Parents’ interest in and availability for volunteering

Tips for conducting your PTA surveys

  1. Create a survey committee. When done right, surveys are an invaluable tool, but success requires efficiency and clarity. Assign a handful of people who will be dedicated specifically to creating, disseminating, and reviewing the surveys.
  2. Distribute your surveys early enough in the planning cycle that respondents have enough time to return them, and you have enough time to read through the responses, well before your goal-setting meeting. Depending on your PTA/PTO calendar, you may want to distribute surveys over the summer.
  3. Set a clear response deadline and follow up accordingly. There’s nothing worse than putting effort into a great survey and getting no responses. Don’t go overboard, but do set a clear deadline for respondents and send out a few follow-up emails leading up to the deadline to encourage responses.
  4. Make surveys easy to use. Beyond reminding people, another great way to get people to fill out surveys is to make them simple. Only include the most essential PTA survey questions, and if using an online survey tool, make sure the platform is user-friendly and has few to no technical bugs.
  5. Plan when and how you will use the responses. Dedicate a significant portion of your goal-setting meeting (or set aside time beforehand) to reviewing and compiling survey results. There’s nothing worse than asking people to complete your survey and then not using the information they provide. Plus, when you take action based on survey results the respondents feel that the time they invested into the survey was time well spent. 

Fundraising made easy

The best fundraisers are a collaborative effort. That’s why we’re dedicated to working with schools as a team, bringing our fundraising expertise and passion to the table in whatever way schools need. Learn more about how our school fundraising solutions help you bring in more money with a lot less work and have fun along the way.

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