COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our lives. Daily routines have been interrupted since March. Trips canceled. Events postponed. Playdates are a challenge if they occur at all.
Our parent organizations are no exception. PTAs/PTOs have had to pivot and rethink events, meetings, and fundraisers. Yet it’s still crucial to connect with and support children and families during this unprecedented time.
We are so impressed with how our parent organization customers have found new and creative ways to connect and reimagine beloved events. We had the opportunity to chat with Marcy Comer, member of the Heritage Week Committee at Eanes Elementary School. They took their Heritage Festival online with the use of Membership Toolkit’s Newsletter Editor, creating Call-to-Action links to bring families to their site which had great content and embedded videos.
What prompted the idea for your Virtual Heritage Festival?
In years past, a group of parents led by Carolyn Grant advocated for, organized, and produced an in-person event that was just… spectacular. The feedback from the teachers was that they wanted more time. It’s hard to imagine covering the entire continent of Europe in just 3 minutes, isn’t it? This year, it was more important than ever to bring the topic of diversity to the forefront and celebrate the rich cultural fabric of our school’s families. We came up with the idea to source content directly from the families, and we had so many, we were able to drip content over the course of a week. 2 birds, 1 stone!
How was it received by the community/how much participation did you have?
Both the community and school leadership were very happy with the outcome. Both art and music teachers worked with kids in-person and remote to submit incredible content. The inclusive nature of inviting content creation from everyone had an impact on overall sentiment. In the end, we had content created representing more than 15 countries. Viewers of the video content alone spent more than 21 total hours watching the videos!
What Membership Toolkit features were most useful for your Festival? What results did you achieve?
The website and email features were most critical for aggregating content and driving engagement. In addition to the more than 21 total hours of video watching, we had 150+ unique viewers which is 30%+ of our total student population.
What are some tips you have for other organizations interested in having a Virtual Heritage Festival?
User-generated content will guarantee content engagement as it naturally assures a wider network to source traffic. It’s also very genuine and helps avoid cultural appropriation issues. Different types of content also makes a difference. We had video presentations, hand drawn animatics, music compilation videos, artwork galleries, recipes, and so much more. Dripping content over an extended period seemed to help as well, it made it easier to catch families’ attention.
The wonderful community of parents and teachers that make up Eanes Elementary PTO have risen to the challenge of connecting with their students and families in different ways. Comer says, “This year has been quite unique, and we’ve been challenged (in a good way) to re-imagine our normal student and fundraising events so that they are COVID safe. Due in large part to our highly engaged and committed community, we’ve been able to maintain the normal level of supplies for teachers and add things like PPE and outside classroom equipment.”
Way to go EEPTO!