Double-whammy: PTA fundraising hit by Covid and cost-of-living crisis

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

The amount of money being raised by school PTAs continues to fall despite volunteers putting in more hours.

Figures published by Parentkind show that the impact of the pandemic on PTA fundraising and activities continues to be felt. Not only that, but PTAs are now being hit by the cost-of-living crisis, making it harder for families and well-wishers to donate.

Parentkind represents around 13,000 PTAs in schools across the country and its new figures – published in its PTA impact report 2022 – show that its members raised an estimated £60.8m in 2021. This compares to £79m in 2020 and £121m in pre-pandemic 2019.

The report estimates that PTAs lost, on average, £4,367 in income in the 2020/21 school year as traditional fundraising events were cancelled due to school closures and coronavirus restrictions.

More than half of its PTAs (56%) said that virtual events at the height of the pandemic were less successful than in-person events, and only 10% said they were more successful. Many parent groups are uncertain about holding virtual events in future, the report warns.

Pre-pandemic, the Christmas Fair was usually the most successful event for PTAs, but in 2020/21 raffles topped the list.

PTAs have also been putting in the hours. According to the report, parent volunteers gave more volunteering hours this last year than compared to previous years.

They now average more than eight hours per week, up from 6.5 hours in 2019. Parent volunteers said that their primary roles in contributing to school life were:

  • Raising funds or other resources for their school (72%).
  • Holding events and other activities to build the school community (63%)
  • Enhancing communication between parents and school (66%)
  • Helping parents to have a voice at school (70%).

Parentkind held its second annual National PTA Week last month. CEO John Jolly said that across the last four years, their PTA members have raised £369m.

He added: “Although PTA revenues are understandably down on pre-pandemic levels, it hasn’t been for want of trying. Committee members are volunteering even more of their time now than they were before the pandemic. Across all our members, we’ve seen an increase of almost two million hours' worth of volunteering time compared to 2020.”

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