With the best planning in the world there are almost always unexpected issues to deal with on the day of any PTA event… but with a bit of planning you can head off the worst.
1. A problem with the venue
Many PTA events are held on the school premises – but not all. And, even then there might be an unforeseen problem that arises at the school.
How to avoid it: Talk to the school and venue about the likelihood of problems, and have a back-up solution in mind. Make sure you have contact details of alternative venues such as the village hall. Also, consider how you’d get change of venue information out to the families attending – luckily if you are using Classlist then it’s just a quick message posted out to the whole school.
2. One of your suppliers cancels
The moment when the DJ for the school disco rings to say he’s not going to make it, or your mobile caterer pulls out and you have parents or families turning up ready to be fed, is one to be avoided if at all possible.
How to avoid it: Make sure you have a contract in place and make contact with them leading up to the event to confirm everything is still in place – ideally by phone so you can pick up on any early signs. Sometimes things happen on the day that can’t be avoided so if all else fails put a call out for help on Classlist – it’s amazing what people can pull together at the last minute when they know help is needed.
3. Bad weather
Often considered more of a problem for summer events, but snow and heavy rain can cause unexpected problems too.
How to avoid it: If your event is outside or has outside elements it’s really important to have in mind an appropriate indoor space you could use in the event of rain, or ways to create temporary covered areas so that there is still space for everyone to attend safely. Always check the forecast a couple of days before the event. In the event that snow is expected get a team of parents at the ready for snow clearance, speak to the school to understand what you would need to do to ensure healthy and safety for the event, and quickly let families know of any changes to the event format or safety instructions on Classlist.
4. Forgetting to get the right permissions
People don’t see all the paperwork that goes into organising PTA events, for example, if you are serving alcohol you will need an alcohol license. You may also need insurance and other event permits.
How to avoid it: At the beginning of each school year check through the permits you’ll need for the year and apply for them then – if you leave it until near the event you may not get them in time.
5. Other events
One big reason for events not going ahead is competing events – especially in a small community.
How to avoid it: Make sure you send out invites early and then ask round to check in with different year groups to head off any clashes. Ticketing your event online is a good tactic as then people are committed to coming. And, make sure your event is sounds like it will be fun. For example, if it’s a fair, are there things for the parents and all ages of children to look forward to?
Good luck with your PTA events. Our last tip is to make sure that on the day you’ve allocated out roles to everyone else apart from yourself – so that you are free to deal with whatever issue raises it’s head.