Meet Christina
Cleveland, Ohio

PTA Board Member, PTO Expert & Organizing Guru

HOW SHE USES CHEDDAR UP

  • Greenview Upper Elementary PTA
  • Family PTA events
  • PTA Fundraiser
  • PTA Membership
  • Yearbook Sales
  • Spirit Wear
  • Community donations for families in need
  • 6th Grade Jump Party

FAVORITE CHEDDAR UP FEATURES

CHEDDAR UP USER SINCE

2015

MEMBERS IN HER PTO/PTA SUPER STAR LEADER GROUP

7,700+

Christina Hidek is an attorney turned PTA volunteer and expert. She’s the dream volunteer who everyone wants on their PTA. Christina’s also a Professional Organizer. And as if that wasn’t enough…Christina is also the creator of PTO Answers, a platform that takes the stress out of volunteering and inspires a community of thousands to run stronger PTOs, giving them tools and templates in which to do so. As an efficiency afficionado, Cheddar Up has been in Christina’s bag of PTO leader tricks for quite some time.

Not only are you a PTO leader…you’re a PTO thought leader! Tell us how that came to be.

I’ve been a PTO volunteer for about a decade. When I first got involved, I went looking for resources and I didn’t find what I needed. It forced me to create a lot of tools myself which, quite frankly, took a lot of time. I realized as a volunteer, that’s a lot of collective time if every volunteer is reinventing the wheel like I had to do. So I figured I’d help them!

I’m a systems person, because when I’m not “PTO-ing”, I’m a professional organizer. So the first thing I created was a President’s Planner that includes all the forms and templates that someone needs right out of the gate. Because let’s be honest, nobody’s genius is doing the grunt work of creating forms.

It sounds like we speak the same “efficiency” language. Is this why you were initially drawn to Cheddar Up?

YES! The value of Cheddar Up is remarkably similar. Everyone knows that collecting payments and information from a group is a pain…and that using checks and paper forms is not sustainable. The fact that Cheddar Up has solved and simplified these mundane tasks that trip people up with flexible technology is a game changer! Cheddar Up saves leaders’ time and helps them collect more money…more efficiently. If you know about Cheddar Up, then you should be using it all the time.

I’ve found that it’s easy for PTO leaders to be intimidated by technology. That’s oftentimes why they want to stick with what they know. But once they see how easy Cheddar Up is to use—no matter what their tech skills may be—they realize that Cheddar Up solves problems they didn’t even know they had! That’s the ah-ha moment.

How were you first introduced to Cheddar Up?

Cheddar Up was first brought to my attention via its partnership with Ohio PTA. Since I’m not a numbers person (never a treasurer!), I didn’t initially find a direct application for it. But as I took on other roles that involved events and money collecting—the alignment made sense and I was quick to dig in.

What ways have you found to use Cheddar Up for your PTAs?

I was looking to cut out the busy work of money collecting because it was nonsense! Most recently, we used Cheddar Up to collect for a district-wide event. We were able to set up a Cheddar Up page in literally minutes…and delightfully…the vast majority of people chose to pay with Cheddar Up. It saved our volunteers so much time. No longer did they have to run around town picking up checks or worry about misplacing something. Not only was the administration of the event easier (the actual money collection), but having access to instant, always-there data and information—at our fingertips—was something volunteers weren’t used to and loved

“The platform is so flexible. I can use it to collect for an event…a donation…even to set up an online store. In fact, that is one way my PTA uses it–to sell spirit wear online. Cheddar Up’s ability to track item inventory so we avoid overselling is just what we need.”

club dues

What are some Cheddar Up features you appreciate?

I like the flexibility to either pass fees on to the payer, or to absorb them as the organizer. The ability to flip the switch back and forth depending upon what’s being collected is really convenient.

I also really appreciate the ease of use. I feel confident having anyone on our team set up Cheddar up collection pages because I know they can do it. I also appreciate that the platform is so flexible. I can use it to collect for an event…a donation…even to set up an online store. In fact, that is one way my PTA uses it—to sell spirit wear online. Cheddar Up’s ability to track item inventory so we avoid overselling is just what we need.

Do you find yourself recommending Cheddar Up to other PTO leaders? If so, why?

Yes! As the founder of PTO Answers, I’m in a position to share my advice and expertise as it relates to PTO volunteering. I tell people about Cheddar Up because I feel like the role as a PTO leader is big enough. There’s plenty to do…you don’t need to be running around town to deliver or pick up checks or collect information. Technology has advanced. Cheddar Up is here to help avoid all that and make life easier. And that frees up time to do more important, value-add activities. Anytime I find a tool that enables that—I recommend it!

“We share the link for whatever we’re collecting for and minutes later I start receiving notifications on the Cheddar Up mobile app that payments are coming in. That’s fun! ”

Has Cheddar Up helped you collect faster or more?

Yes, it’s innate. We share the link for whatever we’re collecting for and minutes later I start receiving notifications on the Cheddar Up mobile app that payments are coming in. That’s fun! The real-time feedback is gratifying…especially when compared to the alternative, which is SLOW and involves paper and data entry. Real-time payments are also positive reinforcement for our team. If people are instantly paying, we’re doing something right.

How have you been able to measure your success with Cheddar Up?

Mainly through increased participation numbers, ease and direct parent and community feedback. When parents say things like, “Christina, you are saving me time, because I literally would have had to go to the bank!”, that’s a great indication that Cheddar Up is working.

Every time there’s a hiccup or glitch, it’s related to someone who opted to write a check or fill out a form. There’s never an issue with our online payments. Cheddar Up just saves so much mental anguish and busy work.

Last, you’re a long-time volunteer. What motivates you to keep doing it?

You’re right, I have been doing this for a while. It’s hard to believe my kids are already in 6th and 9th grades! At the core, I really enjoy volunteering. It gives me a sense of community that I don’t think I’d get otherwise.

It also allows me the opportunity to interact with and get to know teachers and administrators better. I’m on a first name basis with our superintendent, for example. And that helps me make a greater impact, whether it’s helping to improve something or just the ability to share my point of view.

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