6 ways to persuade parents to attend the class coffee morning

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Do you know why it's so important to get parents along to the class coffee? It's because that's how you'll easily recruit willing volunteers to help you with the larger school fundraising events later in the year!

You can probably deal with smaller events with the help of your core parent association team. Most PTAs in the UK have at least seven core members. But when faced with your larger events, you need the help of many more.

Spend some time finding a wider group of willing volunteers now so that you can plan your event in the knowledge that help will be on hand.

It’s not just about fundraising either. Government research shows that parental involvement has a significant effect on pupil achievement throughout the years of schooling. The school and the parents all have crucial roles to play and the impact is greater if parents and schools work in partnership.

As the PTA or a class rep, you can help pull the parent community together. It doesn’t have to be tricky. It can all start with a coffee. Here are some tips to encourage your parents to come along.

1 . Use the class rep collective
We recommend a class coffee every half term, for every class. How amazing would it be if each class rep could help find three or four willing volunteers in their class, simply by getting to know them and finding out how they would be happy to help!

If you are a class rep, you can organise your class coffee morning on Classlist in a couple of clicks.  Have you thought about joining up with other class reps in your year group to co-host the event? Some classes can be more sociable than others. If so, joining up in this way can be a good idea.

‘We have year reps instead of class reps as some classes are better at socialising than others and we don’t want people to feel left out.’
St Teresa’s, Effingham

2. Write a great event listing
To give yourself the best chance of parents RSVPing take a bit of time on the invite. Use a short catchy name for your headline, making sure you include full information about the event, adding a location and ‘getting visual’. You can use Canva (a free online tool) to easily create your images.

3. Hook parents in
Charity days are a great hook for enticing parents to partake in a cuppa. They are quick to organise too with ready-made packs to download.

Or, go for a slight twist on the traditional coffee morning. How about a Turkish Coffee morning, a Chai Tea Chatter, or a Tea Tasting to test if they know their Oolong from their Chocolate Tea?

4. Meet at a time people can make
Choose your time so that most people can make it. Friday is often a good day to catch parents working part-time. Meeting just before pick up also works – so everyone gets their jobs out of the way first. Evening events are better for working parents so consider wooing them with wine to an evening parent social.

5. Don’t be a clique
There is nothing more off-putting for parents than thinking there is clique to which they aren’t really welcome. Make sure everyone feels welcome to come to your PTA or class coffee – mentioning it in person or through a direct parent-to-parent message is a good way to let parents that don’t normally attend these events know they are welcome. And, encourage any takers to RSVP online so everyone can see who is going.

6. Location, location, location
Try and meet somewhere local to the school. Is there a coffee shop close by? Can you meet at someone’s house that lives near the school for the personal touch? Or, a pub that would be grateful for some afternoon trade – many will reserve you an area.

Now you’ve got all the parents together…

Take the chance to gather ideas for future events and get feedback on last year’s – it helps get buy-in.

Find out a bit about them. Are they are mum at home looking to use their design skills? (A potential candidate to help create event flyers). Do they love fashion? (That’s a tick for the upcoming school fashion show). Do they like baking? (Remember this for the cake sale). Do they love organising events?

Help parents stay connected after the event. With coffee and cake consumed, and wine glasses clinked – make sure parents know how to stay in touch after the event. Firstly, check they know how to contact you! If you are using Classlist, drop new people a personal message online to help them remember who you are! Parents can also use Classlist to keep in contact with any new parents they meet at the event.

As well as getting everyone together for some fun and a bit of a natter, all this will stand you in good stead for when you need to do the hands-up-to-help hustle ahead of the summer fair!

References

DFES Research:

– Desforges, C (2003) The Impact of Parental Involvement, Parental Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievement and Adjustment. DfES Research Report 433.

– Williams,B,Williams,J & Ullman,A (2002) Parental Involvement in Education: DfES Research Report 332.

– Eventbrite, 8 ways to make a great event listing 


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