Perfect planning 4: the handover
In the summer 2016 issue of PTA+ Magazine,
Australian fundraising expert Mandy Weidmann reveals the benefits
of evaluating your events.
To avoid a total vacuum when a key individual leaves, all
successful PTAs need a documented handover manual in place. Without
wash-up notes, so much energy and time will need to go into
reinventing the wheel next year - before the event organisers can
even begin to raise money and make a difference.
Ideally, your entire team will be committed to putting together
handover notes. At the very least, if you have one person who is
passionate about making certain that knowledge is not lost, then
task that person with gathering feedback for all activities.
When it comes to tasks that require particular skills,
volunteers may (because of their training or work background) come
'readymade'. Others learn on the job. The knack of matching a task
to a volunteer's skill set is a happy challenge.
Consider sending key volunteers on courses to achieve
certificates in First Aid or Food Safety and Hygiene. When key
people leave, new volunteers are often reluctant to take on their
workload. By outlining what has been done in the past, people can
simply choose to follow it rather than having to come up with a
whole new plan themselves.
Handover records are an intrinsic part of good and successful
fundraising. Not only do they save time in terms of learning the
ropes, they will let you know how much stock to order next time,
where to buy it from and how many volunteers are needed.
Once a handover is done the first time, your committee will have
a blueprint that can be used for every event in the future. By
following some simple tips, every successive handover will be
Tying up loose ends
Until all the money is collected, unsold stock returned,
expenses reimbursed, and invoices paid, you have neither an
accurate profit figure nor accurate wash-up notes. Ensure that
results are shared with your community and sponsors. This
effectively closes the loop. The 'feel good' resulting from an
initiative's success is invaluable for encouraging supporters,
sponsors, and volunteers to look forward to the next event.
Going for goal
The most obvious measure of success in fundraising is whether
you achieve your financial target. If not, you need to determine
how you could have done better.
- Were the timelines realistic?
- Were they followed?
- Did everyone understand their roles?
- Were they able to fulfill their roles?
- Could anything have been organised differently?
- Could time and effort have been used more effectively?
- Was the goal set too high?
- Was the goal based on possible, rather than probable,
- Was communcation as good as it could have been?
An attainable goal can be calcuated based on the size of your
school, the number of volunteers you have and the success of
previous fundraisers. Some things, however, are out of our control
- even the best-planned summer fair can be devastated by bad
weather, for example.
What could we have done better?
Get your core group of volunteers together to work through the
event - start at the beginning and go right through to the
clean-up. Often, the wrap-up provides fresh ideas that can be used
in the future. Questions for your team to consider include:
- Did everyone get the message?
- Who didn't participate and why?
- Did the prizes make a difference to uptake?
- Who were our champions (eg, helpers, supporters or sponsors)?
How can we encourage more of this?
- How much/what would we order next time? What was left over or
what items sold out quickly? Can leftovers be stored/returned?
- Could we have attracted more sponsorship or donations?
- Would we use the same suppliers again and if not, why not?
As part of your analysis, track participation rates. If most of
those taking part were from KS1, consider how to motivate and
engage older pupils next time.
If you have scrutinised the results and feel that response was
poor, step back and consider whether the event or its price may
have been the issue. Consider asking parents for feedback via a
survey - a free online survey tool such as Survey Monkey can make this simple.
Ask 'What could we do differently next year?' and, 'Was the
quality of products good and the price satisfactory?'. Consider
offering supporters an incentive by putting completed forms into a
prize draw. Aim to get a sponsor to donate a prize for this.
Seek opinions from the Headteacher and any businesses that
provided donations. At the very least, send them an email sharing
the preliminary results and asking for suggestions on how things
could be done differently. Can teachers seek and compile a feedback
form from pupils on behalf of the PTA?
Putting it on paper
Make sure your wash-up report includes every ounce of
information that someone running it for the first time might
- Contact names, phone numbers, and email addresses of suppliers,
sponsors and volunteers
- Equipment required, stock and disposable items needed
- Quantities of supplies you used or would recommend
- Sale prices, costs, profits and any recommended changes to
pricing in the future
- Successes and failures - both are equally important!
Now that you've written your wash- up document, you need to
store it safely so that future organisers can benefit from it. The
report needs to be presented in a meeting and lodged in the
Your hard work needs to be kept for future coordinators,
therefore any supporting documentation also needs to be passed on,
- Newsletter content
- Order forms/invoices
- Sponsorship requests/letters
- Media releases and press contacts
- Thank you letter templates.
Maintain a folder that is kept in a central location, ideally
within the school, or sign up to a storage facility such as Google
Docs or Dropbox. The key to 'cloud' or web storage
is to make certain that the right people have appropriate access
and file-saving protocols. Used properly, web storage is a fabulous
option for retaining and sharing information.
Are you ready to do it all over again? The difference is that
next time you'll have the benefit of experience, plenty of
knowledge and helpful hints. Go crazy with your ideas; be
inventive, creative, and above all, evolve, improve and enjoy your
About our expert
Mandy Weidmann is the fundraising coordinator at her children's
school, so understands fully the everyday challenges and triumphs
of working with other volunteers to raise funds for a good cause.
As a small business owner she knows how important it is to have a
great plan in place! Mandy is author of The Practical Fundraising
Handbook and publisher of the Australian Fundraising Directory, as
well as being a qualified lawyer and mother of five children - she
knows all about managing chaos!
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