Monday, October 5, 2015

9 Tips for Asking Parents to Donate to the Classroom

This year I've taken on a role that is new for me. I'm one of the Room Parents for my first grader along with two other moms. I'm looking forward to being involved more this year. Last year I was teaching 3 days a week at a charter school and had my baby sign language classes and story time programs the other two days of the week so there really wasn't room in my schedule to dedicate to being a Room Mom last year... and before that I still had a preschooler and was balancing growing my business. So this year, I finally get to do it! Yay!

And then came all the responsibilities.... nah, it's really not that bad.

One of the roles of the Room Parent is to make donation requests of the parents. It can be one of the uncomfortable parts, but only if you make it that way!

I wanted the request to be colorful. There's something subliminal about having bright happy colors when making a request. PLUS if the envelope is a hot pink or bright orange, it is not going to get lost in the mix. I happened to find these at Michael's for a whopping $1.66 for a set of 25. Of course it had to be 5 shy of what I needed, but seriously for this bargain price I ended up buying all 6 packs in stock. I plan to see if my other two kids' classrooms want help with their donation requests.

We decided as a threesome that parents probably prefer to give their money up front and not be bombarded with donation request at every turn. I think if this message is conveyed in the donation request letter that parents will appreciate that sentiment. Plus as Room Parents, we don't really want to make multiple requests throughout the year! Here's the letter we came up with... it's nothing fancy.... I was going to do some searching online for something clever, but this totally sufficed.

We also thought it would be well received if the kids were making a request with a hand written note. So I did come up with a short rhyme for that. The bonus is that it was an extra writing practice for them, and they could pick out the rhyming words. Plus copying something off the board is good practice as well. Feel free to steal this idea and call it your own! I think the parents enjoyed reading these hand written cards from their kids.

I know my son was especially excited to give me the card and prompted me to put money in the envelope right away so he could bring it back to his teacher... which ironically would be put in his folder and delivered back to me... but that's beside the point.

This is helping our kids become part of the process. Today was just the first day that money started to be returned but I think with the two week time frame provided we might just get 100% participation. At the end of our time frame I will report back to share if we got all the families to participate.

UPDATE: We had $295 sent in from parents. That means we have classroom parties and teacher gifts covered for the entire year. The parents won't continue to get emails with requests for money and the kids will have a great 1st grade filled with memory making activities!

1. Make it direct - parents appreciate that
2. Make it short - all parents are busy
3. Explain what the money will be used for - parents want to know
4. Make it colorful - the envelope will be easy to spot & less likely to get lost
5. Make one request for the whole year - makes everyone's lives easier
6. Give a dollar range - everyone is on a different budget
7. Give a deadline - 1 to 2 weeks so the request does not get forgotten
8. Get the kids involved - pulls at parents heart strings
9. Thank the parents - I know - this goes without saying

Well, there you have it! I'd love to know if you borrow some of these ideas and how it goes for you.

If you've been a Room Parent before and you have some tried and true tips in regards to requesting monetary donations from parents please share in the comments. Just like with the money we're asking parents to donate, "every little bit helps"!

The teacher let the kids decorate their cards how they saw fit. Owen had been to an assembly where the guy did yo-yo tricks to tell a story giving kids advice on being successful. I thought it was kinda cool that he incorporated the assembly into his note.

(Psst! Pin this!)

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