Lunch Calendar Added To Directory App

Hi Everyone.

The latest release of the Paperless PTO Directory App (version 14.15.4) includes a new feature that will allow you to quickly view the upcoming lunch schedule for your students.  Simply tap on the Lunches icon from the home page of the app and you will be presented with a chronological view of the lunches that you have ordered from your group’s Paperless PTO website.

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The new lunches icon has been placed to the right of the alerts icon.

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See how you can quickly view the upcoming lunches that have been ordered for your children.










The view will show by date, each of your students, what they have ordered and how many they have ordered.  The first day will be the next lunch serving date.

Next up for this feature will be an automated alert that will remind you of the upcoming week’s lunches.  This will be rolled out in version 14.15.5 which is scheduled for release in March of 2015.

If you do not use the Paperless PTO Directory App or do not have a smart phone, you can always find a lunch report in calendar format on your group’s Paperless PTO website.  Click on Calendar Lunch Report which is found under the My Info menu heading.

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School Directory App – How To Quickly Set It Up

Hi Everyone.

With the launch of the Paperless PTO School Directory App only days away, I wanted to share the first of many instructional videos regarding the new app.  We are planning to roll out the app and the necessary upgrades to your website on Saturday, June 28th. Once the roll out and upgrade are complete, you will be able to download the app from Google Play and the iTunes store.

As a reminder, the app can only be activated with a registration key that is generated from your Paperless PTO website.  This registration key is created when a visitor adds the School Directory App item for sale to their shopping cart and then completes the order by paying for it.

I have been able to put together the first instructional video on how this happens.  You will also learn how to include the app in your membership dues and see how to sell it separately as an individual item for sale.

Stay tuned as there will be a long line of more videos coming.  Any questions?  Be sure to submit them below.


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Paperless PTO Announces Bulk Discounted Rates For School Directory App

The 2014-2015 version of the School Directory App from the Paperless PTO is now being offered at discounted rates to schools and parent teacher organizations when purchased in bulk quantities.

Greetings, parents, teachers and school administrators! I am once again happy to report that you can now save as much as 70% when you purchase the mobile school directory app in large volumes.

Registration keys are needed to activate the School Directory App on your Android, iPhone, iPad or similar device.  In most cases, one registration key will activate one device.  With your Paperless PTO website you can purchase the registration keys individually or you can buy them in quantities of 250, 500, 750 or 1,000.

Here is a snapshot of the new discounted pricing structure of our mobile School Directory App:


How It Works

Our School Directory App can only be activated on a smart phone, tablet or similar device with a registration key that is issued from your Paperless PTO website. In most cases, one registration key will activate one device.  Therefore, the cost per device depends on the number of registration keys you will need for your group.  Registration keys can now be purchased both individually or in large quantities. To further clarify, here is an example of each:

  • Individual Registration Keys – as the website administrator you will have an item for sale on your Paperless PTO website for the School Directory App registration key. If you set the price at $10 and a parent purchases a single registration key for the smart phone app, your group will be charged $2.50 for that registration key.   The parent can then activate the School Directory App on 1 device with that registration key. Your group’s net gain on the purchase is $7.50. Now, if a parent purchases 2 registration keys, your group is charged $5.00 and your net gain on the purchase is $15.00. The parent can then activate the mobile app on 2 devices.
  • Bulk Registration Keys – if your group was to purchase 500 registration keys in advance, the charge to your group would be $550. This results in a discount rate of $1.10 per device which is a savings of a whopping 56%. If you wind up selling all 500 of those registration keys to your parents at $10 per key, you group’s net gain is $4,450. Meanwhile, your Paperless PTO website will assign the registration keys to your parents and the smart phone School Directory App will then be activated on up to 500 devices.

The immediate benefit of our pricing structure is that your group will only pay for the number of devices that will use the School Directory App. Even better is the fact that your group can set your own price and generate a nice revenue stream each year.

Compare our School Directory App plans to see which one will benefit your group the most.

Do you have any questions?  If so, reply to this post below and we will follow up and make sure you understand completely.

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School Directory App Preview

Hello, fellow parents and PTO administrators.

Have you heard?  Version 14-15.1 of the Paperless PTO School Directory App is due for release in June of 2014.  Here is a snapshot of the new look of the home page:

School Directory App

School Directory App

This is a very exciting time for us folks that continue to build our Paperless PTO program.  The School Directory App is has been greatly improved over the last several months and has become much more than a simple directory app.  It is a mobile extension of your website.  Since you use the Paperless PTO as your web hosting provider, your website will always be in sync with your school directory app.  Changes made to your website are immediately reflected in the app.  And changes made to the app immediately appear on your website.  This will give your families and your board members on the go access to all of the important details regarding your parent teacher organization and your school.

Have you noticed the version number?  It is set to 14-15.1 which means this next release is number 1 for the school year 2014-2015.  The app will continually evolve as there are so many features of the website that the app will mirror.  We expect version 14-15.2 to be released by September of 2014 with even more features.

Stay tuned for more posts, instructional videos and how to guides that will help you to learn all you need to know about the School Directory App and how easy it is to keep in sync with your website.

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School Directory App Conquers Spam

The iPhone and Android versions of the School Directory App have put to rest the issue of email blasts being blocked by spam filters and junk mail folders. Fellow parents, teachers and school administrators, I am relieved to tell you that you can now have a 100% delivery rate for all of your email blasts. No message will ever be blocked again.

School Directory App Email Blasts

The School Directory App has a guaranteed 100% delivery rate of your email blasts.  Spam filters and junk folders are no longer a concern.

One of the more frustrating tasks to overcome for all website administrators has always been hearing from your members that they are not receiving your email blasts. Even more frustrating has been trying to figure out why.   With so much email moving across the internet every day, internet service providers have been employing mail filter software that is supposed to separate the real email from the junk email. The problem with these filtering programs is that they cannot accurately determine what should be delivered versus what should be blocked. The result is often what has come to be described as false positives. This means that a genuine email that has the truest intentions of keeping someone informed of something they truly want to be informed of is flagged as junk email. The result is that the intended recipient never receives it and they wind up being left out of the loop that they really want to be included in.

To the rescue, is the School Directory App which is included in your Paperless PTO website hosting plan. The app runs on both the iphone and android smart phones.  The minute your website administrator sends an email blast to their members, it immediately appears in their School Directory App. And it will appear in the directory app of 100% of its intended recipients. Even if the recipient’s ISP has prevented the email from appearing in their inbox, it will still appear in their directory app.

Even better, the email blast can show up in the app with an alert. Alerts are a new feature of the email blast which is set with a start date and an end date. This means that the alert will show up in the app during this period and will be visible until the smart phone holder views or dismisses it. If they do not view or dismiss the alert, it will no longer appear after the end date that was set for the alert.

School Directory App Alerts

Alerts created for your email blasts will appear in the school directory app

If you haven’t tried it yet, you can learn more about how our e-commerce website and smart phone app builder work together.  You will quickly realize how to create an effective mobile version of your website that will give your parents, teachers and school administrators on the go access to all of the information they need.

Finally – spam is back to being a mystery meat!

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Love it or hate it: The World Wide Web is the latest tool for fundraising

From shopping to banking, everything is online these days. The entire world is on the World Wide Web and if you don’t utilize it for raising funds for your school, you would probably miss a major chunk of the audience whom who would not be able to catch offline. Internet has changed the way parent teacher organizations used to raise money for the development of the educational institutes. This newest strategy has been very successful and convenient for the fundraisers as well as the public. This is the reason why an increasing number of parent teacher organizations are for online fundraising programs.

The way you communicate with your audience decides your success rate. If you want to be successful, you have to reach your potential customers and spread the right message among them. Nothing can beat the online medium for spreading your message. Use the social media such as Facebook, MySpace, and twitter to tell people about your upcoming events, deadlines, meeting times, etc. You can also use internet to direct people to your website. The best part is that you can find everybody online. These sites are much easier to use on Smartphones and allow you to link back to your website. You get more traffic from the online sites than the offline sources. This is because; people are more likely to click on your link when they see it online rather than reading it in a flyer.

For effectively using the social media, you must post your PTO details there. Tweet about the weekly meeting schedule, ask people to vote for the products that they would like to buy, talk about any changes in your  overall working process. The core idea is that you have to keep your audience engaged.  You can also talk about your school, the recent changes that the school has made, future plans, etc. When you give valuable information to people, they are more likely to get attracted towards you.

Go completely online. Replace the conventional school newsletters, flyers, etc. with e-mailers. You can boost about your eco-friendly concept and let people know that you seriously care about the school as well as the entire earth. In your email, request them to forward the mails to others so that the fundraising event can get more participation.

Sell your products online. Promote your fundraising program and ask people to place their orders on your website. Brief them about the delivery details, payment method, etc. You can also show them some samples physically so that they take interest in your products. This will be helpful for people who don’t move out of their house for some reason or couldn’t participate in your program due to scheduling conflict. By giving them an option to shop online, you will give them a flexibility to shop anytime they want. Not only for raising funds, social media sites are also useful for recruiting the volunteers and motivating the students.

Online tools are great for PTOs and PTAs to reach a large number of people within a short time and gain the profit they require.

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Fundraising Basics for First Time Fundraising Coordinators

The job of a fundraising coordinator is the epicenter of the fundraising industry. He /she is the one who drives the overall functions of the organization such as organizing fundraising events, soliciting major donors, grant writing, organizing and managing annual campaigns, public relations and advertising, and much more. The parent teacher organizations strive on this member’s efficiency and expertise. Although proficient, first-time fundraising coordinators always face some challenges in handling their job responsibility. Here are some basic guidelines that will help them in managing their overall responsibility.

  • You must take the help from the last year’s coordinator. Ask him to explain the bookkeeping process to you.  Seek all details about the previous campaigns to get an idea of what worked and what didn’t. The more you understand about the PTO’s functioning and the community’s involvement, the easier it will be for you to manage things.

  • Fundraising is a serious job; therefore, don’t try to do everything by yourself. Meet the volunteers, examine their capabilities and interests; and delegate the tasks accordingly.

  • Be judicious while deciding the fundraising project. Do not choose a product just because many of your PTO’s members suggested. Do your own research and find out how much money you can raise with it. If you feel that the product is not worth taking up for your project, explain your PTO about it, discuss with them and make a logical decision.

  • Buying large quantities of products for your fundraiser can be risky. Always analyze how much and how quickly you can sell them and decide the quantity accordingly. Do not order your products till you are not sure about the quantity that you will be able to sell.

  • Being the leader, you are responsible for the performance of the team. Therefore, make sure you take good care of your volunteers. Do not make them overwork and keep motivating them repeatedly so that they keep up their efficiency. The job of fundraising coordinator is quite stressful but always be calm while making decisions or talking to people. Your wrong behavior may upset them, thereby spoiling the team spirit.  Distribute the work evenly and keep rotating the tasks periodically so that no one gets bored.

  • Creativity is essential everywhere, even for fundraising. Do not limit yourself to the conventional ideas that are in use for generations, even if they are successful. Whether it’s about product selection or about publicity campaign, bring freshness to your organization by implementing creative ideas.

  • Everyone likes to be appreciated and rewarded. Even if you are not paying heavily to the volunteers for their selfless effort, you must always recognize their work and give them small rewards and prizes. Praise them if they accomplish any particular milestone so that they are motivated.

  • Have a lot of social activities so that the volunteers as well as the members can have some group fun along with serious business.

  • Be available for people always so that you can help the volunteers who may need your help anytime. Share your personal information with your organization and be prompt to help everyone.

For being a successful fundraising coordinator, you have to be a good team leader and keep motivating your people towards a common goal.

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How to Choose the Right Product for Your Fundraising Group

When it comes to choosing the fundraising products, there are endless options for parent teacher organizations to sell. From familiar items such as candies and cookie dough to exceptional options such as home cleaning kit and flower bulbs; PTOs have been experimenting with anything and everything they feel would interest their audience. While many of them have been relying on the conventional ideas, majority of them has started feeling the need of some innovations. Just because you are a non-profit organization, people will not buy anything you will sell. They would prefer to spend money on something they need and not something they are buying just to help you. While some products have been successful for some PTOs, others have failed using the same items. This is because not all products are perfect for everyone. Here are some guidelines on how you must select your fundraising products.

How to choose the right product for your fundraising group

  • To begin with, ask you PTO members to suggest some innovative ideas that they think would work. Talk to people and seek their suggestion about the products they would like to see or sell. You may also get in touch with other PTOs and inquire about the products they have sold in the past and the response they got for them. This will give you a better idea about the products that you may want to choose. Your fundraising partner will give you the best advice. They are the experts in this industry and know what to sell and how to sell. Get in touch with a couple of fundraising companies and check out their product portfolio. If you have any item/items in mind, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your organization. You never know which idea could work for you.

  • Don’t choose a product just because it was suggested by many people or because it was a big hit when some other PTO chose it. Do your homework properly. Make a tentative list of products that were suggested by people and let people vote for them. When you involve your team in the selection process, they feel more involved and motivated.
Make a tentative list of products
  • Always choose a product that appeals your audience. Study the profiles of your donors to find out what kind of products are they willing to buy. This is where most organizations fail when they choose really unfitting products for their fundraising programs.

  • Your products will be the face of your organization; therefore, you must sell something that pleases people. Always choose quality over price. If you sell substandard stuff, maybe you will win this time but from coming years, no one will trust you. People don’t mind paying slightly more but in lieu of it, they need good quality products.

  • Take up a realistic approach while deciding the price of the products. Even if you are selling something that people really want but if you price it high, there will be very few people who will be willing to buy your stuffs. Even though you are on your charitable mission, no one will be willing to pay beyond the standard price of the products.

Since your products will represent your organization, make sure you choose something that matches your group’s mission.

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Knockout ideas for having a successful fundraising program

Parent teacher organizations have been sprouted in every school and have come forward to resolve their financial issues. There are endless numbers of these fundraising programs being organized across the United States and the majority of these programs rely on product sales. Although you have a very specific and genuine cause, have you ever wondered why people should even bother to pay attention to your fundraising program? Here are some knockout ideas that will help you to boost your fundraising profits.

Knockout ideas for having a successful fundraising program

Don’t just sell anything; sell something that people want

In most instances, the products are the same things that are being sold by every third fundraiser. People have got tired of these products and no more want to spend a single penny on them. Product catalogs therefore, need a serious makeover. You must get out of the cocoon that is limiting you to cookie dough and wrapping papers. Sell something useful and of course, is different from what has been sold by 10 other fundraisers. People will be more interested in buying flower bulbs than buying wraps. Do not limit yourself to the cheap products. Even if you sell something expensive, people will not mind buying it, provided you are selling something that they want; however, at a cheaper price than they would get at their nearby store.

Popularize your cause and not your products:  

Once you have decided your product, you need to build excitement for your program before and during the sale. You have to take the same approach that the retailers choose. Banners, hoardings, and newsletters certainly work but people are even bored of these conventional publicity strategies. The more innovation you do to popularize your program, the better will be your visibility.  Make sure that you spread the buzz around your cause and not your products. Tell people that you are half way to a new playground rather half through $10,000. This will build a better brand image for your PTO and will help you in long run.

Sell your Ideas

Admit your fault and move on:

We all learn from our mistakes. If your last fundraiser was a bust, don’t hesitate to apologize. Tell them that you regret about the bad quality stuff they got or the late delivery of the products. You have to win back disgruntled customers and the best way to do this is to admit your mistakes. People will appreciate this. Don’t shy away from stating the specific problem and how this time, you will be handlings those loopholes. Experts suggest that you should not wait till you next fundraising program; rather you must make a public announcement and apologize right after you discovered your errors. You can even have a private message sent to everyone who bought products from you.

Customer is king:

Your fundraising program depends on the same set of people of your community. Therefore, make sure you treat your customers well. Once your fundraising sale is done, send a thank you card to the customers and tell them how valuable their contributions were for your success. Make them feel important and they will become your repeat customers.

Customer is king

There are no success mantras for being a successful fundraiser; you just have to approach the retailer’s way.

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PTO bylaws: Some valuation suggestions

Bylaws are the general rules that parent-teacher organizations follow for their day to day operations. Each PTO is independent so do their bylaws; however, there are certain guidelines that are similar for every organizations. These guidelines are about how the PTOs should be structured and operated. If you are one of those parents who want to start a PTO for the development of the children and the school, here are few things that you must know about drafting the bylaws.

Always have an electronic copy of the bylaws: It is very important that your bylaws are written in editable electronic format. Once your preliminary work is done, type your rules and regulations on a computer and store it electronically. This will make it easier for you to share the copies with the officers by just mailing them. Whenever there is any revision, you can just edit the document and email it to the members. You don’t have to bother about keeping the paper file safely, as all you need to do when your file is lost is to print a copy again.  Being paperless has many advantages and you must promote this eco-friendly concept.

Keep your bylaws simple:

Never draft rules that are complicated and hard to understand. Your bylaws should be simple and written in plain English so that they sound logical. There is no need to hire an attorney; however, if you have a volunteer who want to help you at no fee, you may get them reviewed.

Focus on the content part of the bylaw:

When drafting your regulations, make sure that you cover all the important area such as the formal name of your PTO, purpose of forming the group, membership requirements, voting procedure, meeting procedure, financial policies, amendment procedure, etc. Make sure that all the articles and the sections are well-defined and there are no loopholes. When you have already drafted your bylaws, sit together with your leadership team to review your proposal.

Changing policies are simpler than you thought:

Most officers worry a lot when they realize that they need a change in their bylaws. Making a change in the governing rules of the PTO is not as difficult as perceived by people. This process is governed by Robert’s rules of Order according to which, if the organization has given an advance notice about the change, a simple majority vote will work. Without an advance notice, a two-third majority is required for making any amendment.

Keep revising your bylaws:

As and when your group grows, you must revise your bylaws and see if they are complementing your goals. Whenever you feel the need of a change, go for it as per the procedure mentioned in the document itself. Experts recommend reviewing your bylaws every three years.

Draft a conflict of interest policy:

This is a very important policy that you must draft so that you can file for federal recognition and as a tax-exempt charity. The IRS recommends that you must have a detailed policy for this. You must draft this policy even of you have no plans to file 501 (c) (3) status as of now.

Have a well-crafted set of rules that is respected by the entire group.

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