While many traditional PTA fundraising activities may not be taking place this term, there are some that can still go ahead. A Christmas card project is ideal, because pupils can produce their own card designs at home or at school. The cards are then professionally printed and sold to parents at a profit for the PTA. When researching suppliers, ask if they offer a completely online service.
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If you think you might like to run a Christmas card fundraiser this year, speak with the school as early as possible to work out how it might fit into the school's new normal - artwork may all have to be completed in school or parents may be able to send designs directly or through the PTA. Be sure to explain the benefits and stress the positive impact on both the children and the PTA coffers. Christmas card projects can also provide educational opportunities, opening up the potential for art, English, history and religious studies, and the project as a whole can create a helpful focus to bring the school community together again.
Cards need to be created, printed and delivered in time for parents to write and post them, meaning a turnaround time of about six weeks. It's best to register now to ensure there's time to get the cards back well before Christmas.
Christmas card suppliers will each have their own procedures in place to tackle the current situation. Some are offering to collect artwork from, and deliver it to, a nominated organiser's home address, which is ideal if your school is wholly or partially closed. Visit our supplier database to find the company that best suits your needs and that works with your school's current situation.
Once the PTA has registered with a supplier, the children will need to create their artwork on the order forms provided. This can be done at home or in school. Parents decide how many cards they want to order, and most companies allow buyers to pay online, meaning you don't have to worry about handling money.
Once created, the artwork is either sent free-of-charge by courier or post, or uploaded to a website, depending on your supplier. When printed, cards will be dispatched back to you to distribute to parents. Collecting in and handing out orders is an aspect that will need to be carefully considered to ensure contact between people is limited. Work with your school and their risk assessments to discern how best to handle this. However you distribute and collect your artwork, the correct level of social distancing should be adhered to at all times. Make use of gloves and face coverings where necessary to ensure safety. If pupils are still at home, letterboxes and doorstep drops are a way to avoid person-to-person contact.
Tell your PTA story
One of the best ways to promote your PTA is through past successes, so why not incorporate them into your Christmas cards? Ask children to create designs around some of the best buys of the past couple of years. If you purchased a playground, how about Santa on a climbing frame? If you've funded a new library, perhaps some elves reading books. The same approach can work if you're currently fundraising for something specific.
Promote to parents
People have understandably become more careful about spending this year, so it may be more difficult to get parents on board. When advertising the project, make it clear that Christmas cards are an opportunity for them to show support to the school through something they'll buy anyway. Remind parents that your big fundraisers haven't gone ahead this year and that all your profits go directly to the school. Emphasise to parents and carers how much their families will enjoy receiving something special from children they may not have seen for a while.
If you have a social media presence, ask parents to post photos of their children's designs as a show and tell. For a more competitive version, run a contest with categories such as 'best use of colour' and 'funniest card'. Invite everyone to take part rather than only those who will be purchasing cards. This will ensure families who may not have the funds to buy cards can still enjoy the activity.
An ideal learning resource
Christmas card making is the perfect prompt to study a range of subjects. Here are some ideas that can be adapted to school and home.
Art - Mixed media can be used on your cards (check individual suppliers for specifics) meaning projects can be adapted to any age, ability and topic. If children are creating their artwork at home, they may have limited access to art materials. Pupils could design their card in a way that reflects a style they're studying, such as Pointillism or Cubism. Tate Kids is full of artists to explore and artwork inspiration.
English - Encourage children to write short poems or even Haikus that they can copy out inside their printed cards. It could be about their year, what they've been learning over the past few months, or what they're looking forward to. Find resources at the Children's Poetry Archive or the Book Trust.
History - Making cards is a fantastic prompt to learn about the postal system. The Royal Mail has an educational website with resources on the history of the Royal Mail, stamps and even a card-making lesson plan. Make use of BBC Bitesize too, to learn about different eras such as Victorian, Edwardian and World War II, asking children to write their cards as if they were living in these times to understand how correspondence has changed.
For more information
- Visit our supplier database for a list of Christmas card printing companies.