Learn the basics of back to school events in this guide.

Back to School Events – Nonprofit Catalog

As summer draws to a close and the curtains open on the school year, both students and staff are eager to reconnect with one another. Hosting a back to school event creates an ideal opportunity to gather everyone together and raise school funds to support another productive year.

Back to school events can come in many forms, so there is plenty of flexibility to choose the most suitable event for your goals and budget. When it comes to planning one, prioritize offering an enjoyable experience for attendees and maximizing fundraising efforts for your school.

What are back to school events?

Back to school events are social functions usually held at the beginning of a school year to celebrate students’ return from the summer break. These can be tailored to the student population, exclusive to school staff, or even open to the local community. To have everything ready by the time students start their classes, back to school events require prior planning and preparation.

There is a wide range of exciting events suitable for schools of all sizes and students of all ages. By taking the time to align your planning committee on your objectives and budget, you can narrow down the list to find a back to school fundraiser idea that works for your school.

How do I organize a back to school event?

Since back to school events tend to be larger scale and involve attendees from diverse backgrounds and interests, it’s important to think ahead to ensure you plan an engaging and successful event. By agreeing on a concrete plan, you can kick off the new school year on a positive and productive note.

Use these following steps as a guide for hosting a successful back to school event:

This image lists the steps for organizing a back to school event discussed in the content below.
  1. Establish a planning committee. There is an abundance of fundraising event ideas to wrap up the summer break and usher in the school year. To efficiently sift through these, it’s crucial to establish a planning committee dedicated to managing the event from start to finish. Gather feedback from school board members and staff to determine what options work best for your school.
  2. Set event goals and priorities. Your committee should gather and review your school’s fundraising objectives. This information will be helpful in deciding which type of event to host. You should also keep these priorities in mind as you move forward with arrangements and planning.
  3. Determine your resources. As you get a more solid idea of the location and type of event you’re arranging, start thinking about potential associated costs. How much time and resources can your school devote to a successful back to school event? Set a budget and use it to stay on track as you move toward your goals.
  4. Spread the word. A significant step in preparing for any event involves making sure that people know about it. The more people you reach, the greater your attendance rate will be. Use methods such as email communications, flyers, and social media to get students, staff, parents, and community members excited about the upcoming function. This is also an opportune time to seek out any volunteers to help out on event day.
  5. Host your event. Once everything is planned and ready to go, it’s time to host your event. Be sure to use this occasion to cultivate school spirit, connect with parents, and encourage attendees to support your school.

Hosting a successful back to school event can be beneficial for both your school and event attendees alike. All it takes is some thoughtful planning to get started.

What are popular event fundraising ideas?

With so many possibilities, it can get a little time-consuming to look into all the event ideas your school could consider. Learning more about popular back to school fundraising events can provide a helpful jumping-off point.

Offer students and parents some fun and enjoyable ways to show their school spirit with these following ideas:

  • Raffles
  • Book Fairs and Readathons
  • Movie Night
  • Game Night
  • Trivia Night
  • School Carnival
  • Fun Run or Walkathon

You can even incentivize attendance and participation from invited guests by organizing games and prizes at your event.

A memorable back to school event can provide an added boost of enthusiasm for students as they begin their fall semester. Ensure a positive and productive start to the school year for both your school and your students with one of these engaging ideas.

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Why is Read Across America Important? – Read Across America Week is another ideal time for raising money for students’ education and encouraging them to learn. This article will help you get started with hosting a Read-a-Thon.

Nonprofit Event Planning – Thoughtful planning is essential for providing a solid foundation for any event. Learn more about effective event planning in this guide.

This article discusses the purpose and importance of community software.

Community Software — Nonprofit Catalog

Spreadsheets, paper forms, and disconnected online sign-ups can make any community member shy away from filling out another registration form. Sadly, this means that many unique community events lack the right management system to realize their full potential. Without an organized management system, even the best marketing efforts are stunted by a slow registration process.

Community software resolves the problem of chaotic registration by inviting community members to sign up via innovative software. This solution is perfect for any organization looking to implement a cleaner, more centralized sign-up process. Let’s tackle some community software basics. 

What is community software?

Community software provides a painless sign-up process for individuals and families attending events and programs hosted by parks and recreation centers, aquatic centers, sports leagues, and schools. It’s a streamlined system that makes all memberships, classes, and registrations readily accessible through one account. 

This means that community members only need to fill out their information once to sign up for multiple programs. For instance, if all applicable organizations are housed within the software,  an individual could register for a recreational soccer league, art class, and fundraising 5K by only registering one time. 

Additionally, platforms like CommunityPass offer specialized features that help your organization stay consistent with the latest community updates. Customizable reports, facility management, and simplified payment processing are a few of the tools that can help your organization enhance its online platform. 

Community Software Features

When all of your organization’s registration data are stored in a centralized location, you can speed up the sign-up process while gathering new information. Here are some potential community software features to leverage: 

  • Online Registration and Purchases. Community software conveniently allows individuals to register for multiple events from various organizations. Your organization can offer tickets and branded merchandise for community members to purchase as well.
  • Facility Management and Calendar. Manage your organization’s schedule with built-in systems like facility requests and recurring reservations. Delegate tasks and empower your staff by keeping a clean calendar. 
  • Activity Management. Regulate all aspects of your planned activities from attendance to pick-ups and any changes in between. Community software keeps all activity updates in one place so that your organization can focus on running your activity smoothly the day-of.
  • Online Payment Methods. Offer a variety of payment methods for community members to use while observing PCI (payment card industry) regulations. Online payment processing simplifies the registration process for customers and makes it easier for organizations to manage registration funds and refund requests.
  • Reporting. Use pre-made report templates or use community software to create your own report to evaluate your organization. Customizable reporting can provide valuable statistics to assess factors like financial health and attendance rate.

All of these features can translate into saved money and increased attendance for your organization. In other words, faster sign-ups mean more sign-ups. 

What can community software do for your organization?

Now that we’ve covered some of the perks community software provides community members, what are some more specific, organizational advantages of using community software? Your organization can use this tool to: 

  • Free up your staff’s time. If your software is managing your incoming registration forms, you can free up your staff’s time to focus on your mission. You can use more staff to focus on big-picture campaign planning instead of the minutia of registration management.
  • Attract new members. Now that regular members are accounted for and enjoying their memberships, focus your organization’s time on community outreach. Discover gaps in attendance rates and create promotional opportunities to reach new members.
  • Target your marketing efforts. Use data and reporting to discover your target audience. Send unlimited SMS to targeted contact lists to streamline your communication efforts for faster results. 
  • Elevate basic operations. Are there areas within your organization that could use a tune-up? Optimize your base-level operations by hiring for new positions or reconstructing existing management flows.
  • Increase individual donations. Community software includes a donation button in your registration form so that participants can easily become donors. Tax write-offs are also available for donors to implement. 

Community software makes registration more readily accessible by transforming loose items like tickets, registrations, memberships, passes, and ID cards into trackable data. This way, your organization can reap the benefits of centralized management and community members can enjoy efficient sign-ups. 

Additional Resources