Many schools have a base of “die-hard” PTA fans. These are the parents who keep renewing their membership in the PTA year after year, with little or no prompting. But the base of die-hard fans simply isn’t big enough to sustain your PTA membership.
The good news: If you provide enough value, many more people would join your PTA.
Tip #1: Provide strong financial benefits for joining the PTA:
- Try to arrange discounts from local businesses (e.g., pizza parlor or ice cream shop) for PTA members.
- Set up discounts on your online store for your PTA members.
- Create small “perks” for PTA members at every school or PTA event (free popcorn at a movie night, an extra free scoop of ice cream at a school carnival, etc.)
Tip #2: Provide non-financial benefits such as information and feeling of belonging.
Keep your school community informed and “in the loop”:
- Post a school calendar online.
- Provide information about school-wide events such as concerts, sporting events, fundraisers.
- Invite everyone to general PTA meetings.
- Publish a monthly newsletter with updates on past and upcoming events.
Instead of using an email distribution list, consider using an online communication portal such as SimplyCircle to keep the communication flow going. It sends your communications via email, but also creates a calendar of all the events (complete with automatic reminders to maximize participation), and a permanent and private archive of all updates, documents and photos that you share.
Tip #3: Make everyone feel included and feel like part of the community.
If you have a large Spanish-speaking community, make sure to provide all of your information both in English and in Spanish.
Sponsor events such as New Family Orientation or Ice Cream Social–let people get to know each other in a casual, fun setting.
Organize Community Service events and give back to your broader community.
Emphasize that by becoming a member of the PTA, they get a voice and voting rights in decisions affecting their school and their children.
Tip #4: Make people feel valued and appreciated, and let them express their appreciation of others.
Thank your school volunteers in a creative and unique way, like calling them out by name in a school newspaper or sending them handwritten thank you notes from the students.
Don’t forget to organize a Teacher Appreciation event, which gives parents an opportunity to thank their child’s amazing teachers for all the great work they do.
Dr. Elena Krasnoperova is the Founder and CEO of SimplyCircle, a popular parent portal for classrooms, PTAs, schools and other parent communities. She is a mother of two children in elementary school, and an active member of the PTA.
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