It's becoming clear that the novel coronavirus, or covid-19, is going to disrupt all our lives in some way. And if you are responsible for fundraising for your school PTA, you may be wondering what this means for your charitable organisation.
Whether your school closes or not, there is likely to be an impact. This may be from restrictions on large gatherings, so events in the upcoming months may have to be postponed or cancelled altogether.
So what can you do to prepare, or what alternative fundraising could still go ahead? Could we prevent 2020 being a washout for much-needed charitable efforts, and help members of your community at the same time?
Cancellations across the nations
We're seeing many cancellations of large charity sporting events, such as the London marathon, to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, much smaller-scale events outside such as a sponsored cycle may still be able to go ahead if you have enough healthy participants, and depending on government guidance.
Sponsored events can bring in funding from beyond the immediate school community, contributing a lot to your annual fundraising. Make sure you take precautions like hand-washing and 'social distancing' even if your event goes ahead.
It's likely though that any indoor events that you have planned will be cancelled. If you've planned your fundraiser through PlanSocial and used the online ticket sales function, you will be able to see who has bought tickets so issuing refunds will be much more straightforward.
If families have to stay at home, this could be tough for both children and parents! Some parents are having to take time off work to care for young children. If social gatherings are banned for any length of time or a coronavirus quarantine situation arises, parents will be glad of some activities to distract bored kids to keep occupied.
How about encouraging some home crafts that could be sold at school at a later date? From friendship bracelets and knitted Easter egg cosies, to handmade cards and gift boxes. Keep in touch with other parents though to share ideas, but also to help them feel part of your school community.
Seed-planting in the spring is also an ideal way to get a plant sale later on in the year. As well as growing a range of flowering plants, vegetable seeds such as tomatoes, peppers, climbing beans, courgettes and many more, can be sown indoors to be brought outside when it's warmer. Use your PlanSocial hub to put together a list of tasks and ideas for parents who can choose from a list and keep in touch.
Make virtual a reality
Virtual fundraising is becoming more popular – see how creative you can be! If coronavirus is keeping people at home, what about setting up an online auction? You can auction real prizes or 'promises' that parents can donate.
Or try an online game or challenge. £1 to get a virtual 'spin the wheel' – just take a video of each wheel spin, or live broadcast it on social media and send prizes through the post to the lucky winners.
Online donations can also bring in much-needed funds for your school even during the current crisis.
There are some real worries that coronavirus could isolate many people in communities, and impact on local businesses.
You may not realise this, but sadly many families rely on the school meals to feed their children. Use your fab PTA organising skills to pull everyone together for these families in this time of need, for example requesting donations for a food drive from those who have more than they need. Use your communication channels to encourage thoughtfulness and mutual support, helping others feel less alone when faced with headlines over panic-buying.
Support local businesses
Throw a much-needed lifeline to local businesses, and raise money for your PTA at the same time. Hold a 'community takeaway night' to support your local restaurants: run a campaign to encourage takeaway orders on a particular night and ask the restaurants for a small percentage (say 5%) in return as a donation for promoting a bulk order. Depending on how big your school is, you can run this over the course of a week. Your local business owners will thank you for your thoughtful support in this difficult time.
There's much uncertainty around coronavirus and what the implications may be, and it may be a long time until your PTA fundraising gets back to normal. But that doesn't mean everything has to stop, and who knows? As well as showing resilience and innovation to your kids, you may be surprised to find new ideas and connections out of difficult times. Stay safe and healthy, folks!
PlanSocial provides private community hubs for schools. Sell tickets and collect online donations. It makes organising events super-easy and inclusive by allowing volunteers to pick out specific, manageable tasks. Start a hub for your school community in 2 minutes.