Back to School for Grown Ups


This eBook is for parent committees preparing to make the most of the start of the school year. We have ideas and inspiration for welcoming and engaging families.

The Fundraising Whisperer's Guide to:

Back to School


parent committee inspiration guide







Rolling out the

Welcome Mat



FAQs aka

'Dummies Guide'

Open Days and


09 03 04

Welcome Packs



What to Include in your

Welcome Pack

First Day of School


05 06

Pinterest Inspo



Welcome Gifts and


Welcome Events


'Just One Thing' Letter


09 21

Direct Digital Publications Pty Ltd

1300 653 305 |

(c) 2017


'Back to School' is often a missed opportunity for parent committees. After all, you have kids

going back to school too - who has the time to welcome a whole community??

It is such an important first impression, though, that we wanted to make it easier for you. We

are pleased to present this comprehensive guide full of ideas on how school parent committees

can best engage with their families. We hope you find it useful!!

Mandy Weidmann

Mandy Weidmann is Australia’s ‘Fundraising Whisperer’ – publisher of the Fundraising

Directory and author of the Practical Fundraising Handbook for School and Club Volunteers.

Mandy believes that parent volunteers shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time and is

passionate about providing resources to make fundraising easier (and more fun).

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Rolling out the Welcome Mat

There are many and varied reasons that parents will choose your school. But as a parent

association you need to bear in mind that one of these reasons could potentially be their

first impressions of your community. Your association, and the way you present

yourself, can influence perceptions greatly.

No matter what form your open day takes, your committee should most definitely have a

presence there. I believe that a lot of parent associations are taking advantage of this

opportunity, but in my mind, it's a non-negotiable to be there and be seen.

From written information packs to welcome speeches to ‘meet and greet’ sessions, take

every chance you get to spruik the pro’s of getting involved. This will improve your chances

of expanding your volunteer army. New families are often keen to get involved but don’t

want to feel pressured into volunteering, so above all else, be welcoming and


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FAQ's aka 'Dummies Guide'

Create a ‘Dummies Guide’ or ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ for

school families and share all that knowledge. This is a

fantastic thing to build a sense of community at your school!

All parents new to a school or club (and even some who have

been around a while!) have questions about how things work,

what to do, who does what, where things are etc. This guide is

best distributed by the start of a fresh year, preferably at the

end of the year prior.

The benefits of a Dummies Guide include:

New families get all the 'inside secrets' and feel more

comfortable from the start

You get to sell your benefits or reinforce the important

contribution made by the P&C, meaning families are more

likely to be receptive to support you

New families are aware of how they can get involved/

volunteer from the start

New parents are aware of the philosophy and culture before

they start at the school

New families get to know your fundraising calendar (if it

has been decided)

Expectations are clear from the very beginning for everyone

By including a personal 'Who's Who' of your committee, new

families will already know some of your faces

As you plan to create your dummies guide, it is important to

invite contributions from the all who may wish to

communicate anything important, for example your school


It is also a great idea to send a quick survey out to your

existing families, simply ask them what they wish they knew

when they first joined your community. You will be surprised

by the responses.

If you create a substantial document, you can get it properly

designed and printed and then sell sponsorship/ advertising in

it! Awesome!

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Open Days and Orientation

These are a prime opportunity to make your committee known

to new families. You’re not going to attract new members if no

one knows who you are so it’s really important that you have a

presence at your open day and/or orientation day.

1. Make your committee members easily identifiable - This

can be done with customised t-shirts or hats but if your

budget doesn’t stretch that far, nominate a particular colour

shirt for your members to wear (possibly one of your school

colours) or give them name-tags or a lanyard with their name

and ‘P&C member’ or ‘P&F member’ on it.

2. Mingle - Don’t just plonk yourselves and your information

on a table in the corner and chat with each other. This could

be perceived by new parents in a negative way. Get amongst it

and have your team mingle with parents and staff. Your

committee will look a whole lot more approachable and

parents can ask questions without feeling intimidated and

needing to join on the spot.

3. Facebook live/Video – Due to work and other life

commitments, there will be some parents who can’t make it on

the day. Parents will often follow the Facebook page of a

potential school to ‘test the waters’ and Facebook live is an

easy way to be able to connect with those who can’t be there.

You can provide a ‘virtual’ tour of the school, all you need is

your phone and you can showcase activities that are

happening as well as giving additional information and the

opportunity for questions to be asked and answered on the

spot. Or record a school tour video and upload it later.

4. Welcome packs – rather than having a whole pile of

random pieces of paper to give out. Look at combining

everything together into a ‘welcome pack’, such as the

'Dummies Guide' referred to in the previous page, that

families can sit down with a cuppa later on and digest.

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'Welcome Pack' Preparation

As a committee, there is so much you want to share

with your potential new members, but you don’t

want to be pressuring or overwhelming anyone

before the new school year even kicks off. Before

you put your welcome pack together, think about

the information that you want to give to families

and how you would like to present it. Here are

some helpful hints to get you started:

1. Make it visual – You would know yourself that

starting at a new school can sometimes be an

overwhelming experience and trying to take

everything in can be difficult. Keep your material

informative but visual and easy to read. Using

things like bullet points, icons or colour coding can

be helpful.

2. Go digital – You’ve probably already got digital

versions of all your materials, so make them

publicly available and easily accessible in digital

format as well as paper. Then if a parent loses the

paper version, it’s not the end of the world.

Availability on the school website or school

Facebook page is probably your best option.

3. Market your committee – Your committee works

hard all year so don’t under-sell yourselves. Talk to

new families about the goals you’ve reached as well

as your current goals and the projects that your

committee has completed. Having photos of past

projects is a great idea. This helps to show new

parents that your committee IS making a

difference. All parents want the best for their kids

and seeing what you have achieved could be all the

enticement a ‘newbie’ needs to jump on board!

4. Sponsorship – Talk to local businesses about

sponsoring your back to school activities. Create a

range of sponsorship packages for this purpose.

5. Don't forget the littlies - All that talking and

listening can be quite boring for the littlies who get

dragged along to these events - whether it is for

them or not. It can be quite affordable to get some

promotional items, either printed or labelled with

your school logo. Add some bubbles, crayons and a

colouring in page so that they can have fun too.

This is also perfect if you want to appeal to

prospective preppies.

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Knowing that you don’t want to overload families

with too much information, we’re going to look at

presentation and the things that you should

definitely include in your school welcome pack.

We’ll also talk about a few little optional extras that

can add a welcoming touch for new families. So,

let’s get started.


It’s probably a good idea to consult with the school

to decide on your method of presentation. Perhaps

you can split the cost of printing and supplies for

your school welcome pack with the school. Things

to consider:

Will a folder be big enough?

Do you have school merchandise that you’d like

to give to new families (a mug, a ruler, a pen, a

drink bottle etc.) and how much room will it


Every student needs a library bag right? Can

your committee afford to supply a velcro sealed

library bag for new students?

Would it be more fun to have a ‘showbag’ feel to

it? Re-useable shopping bags or gift bags are an

inexpensive option which you could even have

printed with the school name and logo.

Once you’ve decided on how you will present your

school's welcome pack, start finding suppliers or

printers if necessary.

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What to Include

Welcome letter

In the school welcome pack this will more than likely be a

letter from the principal or it could be a joint effort between

the principal and parent committee president. Make it warm

and friendly. You want parents to know that you and the

principal are approachable and all part of the same team.

Creating community spirit from the start is what will make

your fundraising in the coming years even more successful.

Talk about what they will find in their welcome pack and let

them know all the ways to stay informed and keep up to date

with what’s happening at the school – newsletter, Facebook,

emails and school apps. Don’t make your letter a ‘novel’

though. Ain’t nobody got time for that! ;-)

Contact information

List the essential names and contact numbers of both the

school and the parent committee for easy reference. Maybe

laminate these and pop a magnet on the back so parents can

stick it on the fridge.

Calendar of events

Have you already booked events in for the following year? In

conjunction with the school, create a list of dates to help you

put a calendar of events together. Include all your fundraisers

(of course!), school holidays, sports carnivals, pupil free days,

public holidays, committee meeting dates (if you know them

already), school photo day etc. The earlier parents can lock

dates into their diaries, the better.

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What to Include

Mission statement

Tell new families about your committee and what it means and

the many ways that you contribute to making your school

great. Talk about what your past achievements have been and

what your future goals are too.

Membership/Volunteer form

The most important inclusion in your welcome pack! If your

school requires all members to have a blue card, make sure

you include an application form for this too. You want to make

it as easy as possible for new families to join.

Volunteer opportunities

If you’ve already got your fundraising activities locked in for

the following year, give some thought to the jobs (big and

small) that will be required for these events. Customising your

own version of our ‘Just One Thing’ letter (turn to page 19 -

quickly!!!) will help and this can be really helpful for new

families who want to be involved to see what fits in with the

time that they can offer.

Does your committee run the tuckshop, uniform shop, OSHC?

Talk about the requirements for these and include a roster if


Something Special

To add a little something extra special you can include a gift

or poem. You might include an item of school merchandise, a

bottle of customised water, a lollypop with a tag saying

‘looking forward to a “sweet” year with you’ or a packet of

microwave popcorn with a tag saying ‘Thanks for POPPING in!

See you on the first day of school’. Pinterest is a great source

for all sorts of idea like this. Your gift could even be as simple

as a Kit Kat and a teabag.

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First Day of School

Whether you’re a first timer or you’ve done it all

before, the first day of school is a big day for us

and our kids. It usually leaves us walking out of the

school gate thinking about where the years have

gone and when our kids got so big! No matter what

grade they’re in, it’s a milestone and a celebration.

And what goes hand in hand with a celebration?

Decorating the school

As a committee, we want to make sure that our

school is a welcoming place. A place that both new

families and ‘old’ ones love to call ‘their’ school.

You never know, decorating the school could

become a yearly tradition for you. It’s up to you

(and your resources) whether you want to go crazy

all over the school, just at a token effort at the

entry gates or the office. Here are a few easy ideas

to brighten up the first day at school.

Chalk Walk

Have you got a boring old concrete path leading into

your school? With only the expense of some chunky

chalk and a bit of imagination you can customise

your own welcome via a school chalk walk and keep

your fingers crossed it doesn’t rain!


Your committee might like to invest in a large vinyl

‘welcome to our school’ banner that can be hung on

the school fence or outside the office. This can be

used each year and if you wanted to add the year

make sure it can be updated easily. There are also

different styles of customised flag or teardrop

banners that come with a stand which can be quite

eye catching. Perhaps you already have an

electronic sign outside your school that you can add

a special message to.

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First Day of School

Classroom door decorations

If you’re a bit creative and energetic, a nice idea is

designing ‘welcome’ classroom door decorations for

each class. Teachers may be able to help with these

too and there are lots of ideas on Pinterest for these.


Balloons are ALWAYS a great idea for celebrations

and you can have them in your school colours or

sports house colours or for an additional cost, have

the balloons printed with your school logo or ‘first

day of school 2019’.

Pool Noodle Pencils

I came across these and thought they looked great.

As a bonus, they’re easy and inexpensive to make too!

All you need are some yellow and red pool noodles

that you can cut up and some silver duct tape. You

can have You can use the same idea to make crayons

too which would be great for a kindy or pre-school.

First-day photos

If you’re anything like me, in all the craziness of

making sure the kids have everything ready to go

and getting them to school on time, there’s been

more than one occasion that I’ve neglected to take

first day back at school photos. You’ll probably find

that as they get older they don’t want to be in a

photo anyway.

Offering first day photos for preps or even for each

classroom can add some more excitement to the

day and give those parents (like me!) who run out

of time at home a bit of relief. There are photos

booths, frames and, borrowing an idea from above,

chalk designs that are simple to put together. You’d

be surprised how plastic table cloths, a bit of

bunting and a few school related props can make

an inexpensive photo booth! For the older kids you

can set up a selfie station and let them snap away.

Just make sure that you have a discussion with the

school to see what they have already planned as

some schools/teachers are all over this!

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Back to School Inspo

Make Pinterest your best friend! It is LOADED with cute and (best of all) easy to make ideas for

‘welcome’ gifts. These are some of our favourites:

If you’re putting a ‘show bag’ together for your open day, how about including a small bottle of

bubble mixture with a tag attached saying ‘We’re BUBBLING with excitement for you to join our

school’, or a pencil with a ‘You’re just “write” for our school’ tag attached or even a pack of

microwave popcorn with a note saying ‘Thanks for POPPING in! See you on the first day of school’.

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At your parent committee stall on open day, have a big bowl of mints with a sign saying ‘Thank you

for your commit-“mint”, Involve-“mint” and Encourage-“mint” in your child’s education. Here’s a

little something for your Enjoy-“mint”.

You could also have a jar of 'parent wishes'. Give parents a piece of paper for them to write down

what their wish is for their child for the coming year and put it in the jar. This information could be

invaluable not only for the committee, but the for teachers and staff as well.

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Welcome Gifts and Poems

Starting school or kindergarten for the first time is

very exciting for little people. They have often been

anticipating the event for months, eagerly trying on

uniforms and imagining how 'grown up' they are going

to feel.

It's also an exciting time for the big people.

This idea is to offer a small welcome gift or card with

a simple welcome poem attached. You can then insert

a short letter to parents explaining the role of the

P&C/P&F/ Parents Committee. In this letter, you can

extend an invitation to come and explore ways to get

involved once they have settled their little ones into


There's no specific call to action on your letter - the

idea is simply to provide a lovely welcome to your new

families and let them know they have stumbled onto a

great community and there will be ample opportunity

for them to get involved when they are ready.

I have written a poem to demonstrate what I mean - I

hereby give you permission to use all or parts of it and

improve upon it for your own school or kindergarten

:-). For my school, we customised the wording to

reference our school, plus we baked gingerbread

people and attached our special poem with a ribbon

(school colours of course!).

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Mandy's Welcome Poem

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Welcome Events

When the madness of the first day is all over and

everybody’s had a chance to soak it all in, you’ll

probably reflect on the many introductions that

will have been made but you won’t always

remember all the names. Most parents love to get

know the other parents in their class but may not

always be around at drop off and pick up. Holding a

whole of school community event at the beginning

of the year is a great opportunity for new and

current parents to socialise and often make long

lasting friendships.

Ideas for community welcome events:

Welcome morning tea – This is an event that many

schools hold on the first day of school after drop

off or during that first week. It might also be called

'Tears and Tissues' or 'Boohoo or Yahoo' morning

tea. A morning tea is easy to organise and doesn’t

need to be elaborate. Get a coffee van or coffee cart

in for a treat or drag out the urn so people can help

themselves. Add some cakes, bikkies and a few

sandwiches and you’re good to go.

Welcome picnic or BBQ – Again, this is not a

difficult event to put together, especially if you

make it a simple sausage sizzle or BYO picnic. Hold

it on the school oval (if you have one) or a nice local

park. Playground to keep the kids busy? Tick! You

can put on some simple games or other

entertainment such as a band too or hire a jumping

castle. (Pro tip: If you’re doing a sausage sizzle, ask

for RSVP’s so you have a good idea of how many

sausages you’ll need to order.) You might even be

able to combine this with a disco or some games

for the adults (think Minute to Win It/Human

Hungry Hippos) after a conversation with the

school's safety officer/Principal to make sure it is

all ok. There's nothing like a good chuckle and a bit

of fun to break the ice.

Movie night – Indoor or outdoor, this is a great

social night. Ask people to BYO chairs or blankets

and you’ll need to organise a license for viewing

your movie. A movie night can be combined with

your picnic or BBQ as well and then you can turn it

into a fundraiser as well by charging a movie entry

(say $5 per person) and selling popcorn and drinks.

This will help cover the cost of your license fee too!

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Welcome Events

Social events like these create a definite sense

of community which is the best starting point

for your future fundraising.

And don't forget facebook, email groups and

other social media as a tool to welcome and

build community.

We’d love to hear your Back to School success

stories for the first day of school too. Let us

know what works for you! Get in touch at :-)


PS Don't forget to turn the page - you'll totally

want to take a look at the 'Just One Thing'

letter template we've included here :-)

If you liked this eBook, you'll LOVE the

Practical Fundraising Handbook for School

and Club Volunteers. Find out more at

B A C K T O S C H O O L : F O R G R O W N U P S | 2 0

'Just One Thing' Letter

Here is the fabulous (and very popular) ‘Just One Thing’ letter sent in by a volunteer in

the Fundraising Directory family and you are free to take it and customise it for your

own purposes. Our research tells us that it is likely to have first been created by the

ever fabulous Carmel Nash from the Queensland P&F Association. Thanks Carmel!!!

“Just One Thing 2022”

Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends

You are invited to participate in our “Just One Thing” campaign for 2022. We hope to build on the success

we had in 2021, and give all (school name) families a chance to be involved in our school community. We

would especially encourage families which are new to the area to get involved. Volunteering at the College

is a great way to meet people and make friends.

We have over 412 families attending (school name), over 60 of them new to the College this year, and we

would be grateful if every family would nominate to do “just one thing” throughout the year. Apart from

building up our community, a successful campaign will make a significant contribution to our College’s

financial position, and help to keep our school fees as low as possible.

Below and on the next page is a list of “Things” that we would appreciate your assistance with. Please tick

just one box (or more if you wish) and place your contact details at the bottom of the page. Please return to

the office as soon as possible, so that we can collate the responses, and when the time comes someone from

the school or P&F will be in contact with you regarding your participation.

Last year’s list will not be carried over, so please fill in this form if you are available to help, even if you

filled in a form last year.

Yours Sincerely

President – Parents and Friends Association

College Principal



* Attend Parents and Friends Meetings (2nd Tues of the month, 7pm, Library)

* Attend School Board Meetings (fourth Tuesday of the month, 7:00pm-8:30pm)

* Attend Finance Committee Meetings (once per term 5:30pm-6:30pm)

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'Just One Thing' Letter



* Assist with the annual book fair


* Help in the Tuckshop

* Participate in Cake Roster

Vocational program

* I can offer a student work experience

* I can offer a student school-based training


* I have a skill, hobby or interest that I can share with classes as part of their Integrated Curriculum or

Pastoral Care units


Sports and Swimming Days

* Assist with Sporting Carnivals and Activities

Improving our Grounds

* Participate in a working bee – usually conducted once per year on a Saturday morning

* Participate in special projects such as paving, tree planting, etc. (assisting groundsmen)

School Events

* Help cook BBQ Help serve soft drinks, chips, tea, coffee etc.


Fundraising /Social Committee

* Help investigate and organise new fundraising opportunities and social events.

Spring Fair – held in October – our major fundraiser and a great community event (we have a fair


* Class parent representative to work with the teacher to organise a class stall. Class_____________

* Member of Spring Fair Organising Committee

* Assist in the organisation of a stall at the Spring Fair (working with Spring Fair Convenor)

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'Just One Thing' Letter

Dodgers - a monster raffle with over 35 prizes run in conjunction with the Spring Fair

* Dodger Coordinator – responsible for the organisation of the raffle, prizes etc

* Member of Dodger Committee – assist with ticket issue, counting of monies etc

Chocolate Drive

* Chocolate Drive Coordinator

* Assist with issuing and collecting chocolates, counting of monies etc

General Fundraising Activities

* Assist with the organisation of raffles (Easter, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Christmas)

* Member of Race Day Organising Committee

* Member of Quiz Night Organising Committee

* Member of the Mother’s Day Craft Stall Committee (help make crafts and sell on the day)

Other ways I would like to assist include


Family Name:_______________________________

Parent Names:_________________________________

Eldest child’s name:____________________________________________


Other Child/ren at School and


Home Phone:_______________________________

Mobile Phone:_________________________________

Work Phone:________________________________

Email *:______________________________________

* Email addresses will only be used within the school community to organise events, but if you have any

privacy concerns, please leave this blank.

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