Associations Offer Back-to-School Support

From original research to reused content to promotions, numerous groups are helping members, teachers, and parents kick off the school year.

Classes are back in session, or soon will be, and associations have been busy helping members, parents, teachers, and students prepare for them. From fundraisers to data to tips, here are some of the resources and initiatives associations have been offering:

Data-driven insights. For 20 years, the National Retail Federation has been delivering annual reports on back-to-school shopping trends. This year, NRF reports that spending for the new school year will reach a record high of $41.5 billion, with back-to-college shopping hitting a record $91 billion. Electronics account for the largest share of the back-to-school jump in sales—in fact, sales of clothing and shoes are trending slightly down. But more buyers are using their debit cards instead of credit cards, NRF reports, suggesting that more spending doesn’t necessarily mean more debt. 

Partnering to promote. This year, the Food Industry Association has partnered with the youth nonprofit Junior Achievement and a foundation operated by the grocery retailer SpartanNash to run fundraisers at its participating stores. The goal of the fundraiser is to promote the food industry in particular, while also supporting JA’s programs around financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Through September 3, customers at select SpartanNash stores will be prompted to make donations at the checkout lane.

Guidance for teachers. The National Education Association has drawn up a list of seven tips for teachers as the school year begins. The prevailing theme: Teachers should stress less about their lesson plans and pay closer attention to the emotional concerns of students, and develop some good self-care habits as well. The article also directly solicits the advice of member teachers about their own goals and tips. 

Building strength in numbers. The Learning First Alliance, a coalition of associations focused on public education, is kicking off the school year with a campaign called #HerefortheKids, designed to bring attention to the importance and impact of public schools. LFA has produced a toolkit with social media suggestions and recommended talking points so participating groups can stay on message. The campaign runs through October 13.

Guidance on serious issues at a glance. The School Social Work Association of America has gathered a host of resources about not only the association’s work but also about some of the most challenging classroom issues, from ways to support LGBTQ+ students and recommendations for discussing tragedies. The page also includes a list of essential items for school social workers. 

Curating support for newbies. The National Association for Music Education offers an excellent example of reusing older content and making it newly relevant. NAfME is helping launch the 2023 school year with a page designed for first-year teachers, using previous webinars, articles ,and blog posts to respond to common issues and concerns.

(Rafa Jodar/iStock)

Mark Athitakis

By Mark Athitakis

Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor for Associations Now, has written on nonprofits, the arts, and leadership for a variety of publications. He is a coauthor of The Dumbest Moments in Business History and hopes you never qualify for the sequel. MORE

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