Yesterday, our school ran its fifth Bag2school collection.
For those of you who are not familiar with this organisation, it’s worth looking into as an easy and effective fundraising activity. Our schools make around £1000 a year from recycling unwanted textiles, but we have over 600 pupils and should be able to make more. Many smaller schools do.
The problem is, we have no place to store bags, so people are required to bring their filled bags to school on the morning of the collection. The success of a collection is wholly dependant on people remembering to do this, or rather, on us successfully reminding them.
Our school largely relies on newsletters to communicate with its parents. Every child gets a paper copy of every letter in their bag, which means in my case I get 4 copies of a lot of them. You’d think I would be the most organised parent in the school, but sadly this is not the case. So, for parents like me, who know there was or should have been a newsletter, but can’t find it, our schools also put their letters up on their websites as PDFs.
That’s fine for parents looking for information, but what’s the best way to reach parents who take no notice of newsletters?
Because before a bag collection, we send home two written reminders, the kids come home with a bag to fill and this time around we sent them home with stickers as well.
But each time we run a Bag2school collection, I have people approaching me asking what all the bags are for. Or they say ‘Oh, is it today? I’ve got some clothes that I could have donated!’ Some ask if they can drop their bags off tomorrow, or later on that day. It’s so frustrating.
These are probably the same parents who regularly send their children to school in uniform when it’s mufti day, without a can for harvest festival and unprepared for any school trips their class may be going on. It’s obvious that a high percentage of parents do not check their child’s school bag for letters, or if they do, they don’t read them.
Our school has an unofficial Facebook page which has proved very useful for reminders and questions about school events, but of course, not everyone is on Facebook.
I have heard stories of other school who use email or text messaging to communicate with their parents. This would require a lot of time and effort to set up, and I wonder about the expense. It would be nice not to be drowning in paper though.
If anyone has children at a school who uses a method like this to send you information, is it any good?