Business in the Spotlight: PTA Events
Tell us a bit about yourself?
In 2012 I was asked by the head teacher and good friend to help out at the BBQ at the school’s PTA fireworks display. Ravenscote Junior School PTA put on a huge display each year and that evening, myself and a few other guys cooked over 800 sausages and 800 burgers to the masses. This was my first taste of volunteering, and I quickly found myself attending PTA meetings – which, to be honest, really wasn’t my thing at all. During the first few meetings, I quickly identified areas where the organisation was struggling, firstly with event ticketing and secondly recruiting and organising volunteers for all their events. The fireworks display is a huge event that generates anything from £15 – £25k profit each year and the PTA previously took orders for tickets through the school office and a network of parents that had children in feeder / other local schools. Money and tickets had gone missing, so I suggested moving into selling their event tickets online. I spent some time investigating suitable solutions and decided that with my background as a web developer it would be best to create my own solution that would give us full control over fees and how we pass these on the customer.
Within a few months we had a prototype up and running and started selling event tickets online in June 2013 using PayPal as the payment gateway because back then, their fees were the lowest on the market for charities and non-profits. That November we sold our first fireworks display exclusively online and took over £13k in pre-sales for tickets and BBQ vouchers.
The website had made a massive difference to all aspects of the school community including
- the school as their office staff were no longer having to deal with ticketing enquiries and handling money for PTA events
- the teachers who no longer had to take the money from the children and pass to the school office
- the PTA itself who didn’t have to spend hours going through all the ticket requests, packaging up tickets and ensuring they get back to the parents (via the school office and teachers)
- the parents who could book event tickets any time of the day or night
By the August 2014, the Ravenscote website had been adapted so it could be sold to other PTA’s under the PTA Events brand. We had a 6 month beta period with approximately 20 PTA’s who helped to further develop the platform we have today.
In Jan 2015 we went limited and started selling the platform to other organisations. However, our goal had always been to give away our platform for FREE and generate revenue through other channels. In November 2016 we were in a position where we could offer our platform for FREE to PTA’s backed by national and local advertising and also started offering our platform to other organisations under the “Clubs Hub” brand.
What is your company all about?
PTA Events is an event management, e-ticketing, booking, auction, volunteer recruitment and communication platform for Parent Teacher Associations, amateur clubs, charities and non-profits.
Our platform is loved by our clients as it massively reduces the burden of running their charitable organisations and clubs. With our FREE platform, we generate revenue through local and national advertising. Alternatively, our clients can be in full control of their own adverts or run ad-free for a fee of £299.99 per annum.
Our vision is to add more functionality that facilitates the way these organisations work, reduce fees and to continue to provide a FREE platform and to ensure that more children can benefit from extra funds raised through school PTA’s.
How important is what you do?
Being able to offer a FREE platform that facilitates the way these organisations work and know that they are raising more money for their charities gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction and is extremely important. In May 2017, we passed the £1 million mark for total ticket/product sales on the platform which is an incredible achievement for a small company. That’s £1 million that’s gone back into the school communities to advance the education of the pupils by providing and assisting in the provision of facilities for education which are not usually provided by the local education authority. That has made a huge difference! Here’s a snapshot of how active our platform has been in the last two years.
- Over 650 organisations have used PTA Events since Jan 2015
- 5,600 + events planned
- 16,500 + volunteers recruited
- 40,000 + registered users
- 80,000 + orders
- 220,000 emails sent
- 200,000 tickets sold
- £1,000,000 total ticket sales
What kind of do you think people make great entrepreneurs?
This is a free question to do what you want with it really and change it to fit your needs – so please change it to what suits you! Talk about what is important to you personally and to you as a business.
You need to be 100% dedicated, have complete belief in your product, the utmost resilience and determination to achieve. There will always be knockbacks and times when you might think it’s not worth pursuing anymore but you just need to keep going. Over the last 5 years, I’ve worked tirelessly building a platform to take to market on top of having a full-time day job, 3 children and a wife.
Our growth has predominantly been through word of mouth and some simple Facebook adverts. We wouldn’t be in the position we are today without our clients shouting to their friends and family about how good how the platform is. I believe that over the next few years – with word of mouth being the principle growth channel – the PTA Events / Clubs Hub platform will go continue to go through a tremendous period of growth helping more organisations to raise more money which ultimately leads to a better educational experience for our children.