The Fundraising Whisperer's Guide to:
Back to School
FOR GROWN UPS
parent committee inspiration guide
ORIENTATION DAY | 1ST DAY | WELCOME EVENTS | 'JUST ONE THING' LETTER
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What to Include in your
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Welcome Gifts and
'Just One Thing' Letter
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'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 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
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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
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
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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
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
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! ;-)
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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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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
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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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
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
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'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.
President – Parents and Friends Association
COMMITTEES, MEETINGS AND BOARDS
* 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
HELPING AROUND THE SCHOOL
* Assist with the annual book fair
* Help in the Tuckshop
* Participate in Cake Roster
* 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)
* 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 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
Eldest child’s name:____________________________________________
Other Child/ren at School and
* 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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