You might be wondering what data has to do with membership. The answer to that question is… everything! Data collection is a critical component of membership recruitment, engagement and retention. Having current and accurate data for your members gives you the ability to provide crucial information, PTA member benefits and tools and resources.
What information should your PTA collect? The best thing to do is start with the basics.
- Names: This is an obvious one, but many PTAs go beyond collecting just the name of the member. They also ask for the name(s) of the student(s), teacher’s name, and other parents or guardians as well. Having names of individuals gives your PTA the ability to personalize messages and membership cards.
- Email addresses: While not every member will have an email, many will. National PTA membership survey results stated 80% of PTA members prefer information delivered to them by email. PTA meeting reminders, new member discounts and upcoming events are just a few things that are easy to share with your local PTA members by email.
- Mailing Addresses: Your PTA might not mail information often, but knowing where your PTA members reside can be quite helpful. For example, if the majority of your membership lives in a certain zip code, deciding to host your next PTA meeting in that area to offer convenience can be a valuable engagement tool. Likewise, this information can help you determine new areas of the community to recruit PTA members.
- Phone Numbers: This is another basic piece of data offering powerful membership engagement. Imagine the potential of a personal phone call or automated call to your local PTA members asking them to renew their membership or attend an upcoming event.
The best way to collect these basic data points is on your membership application. Individuals are more likely to provide more information at the point of joining than if asked later.
Here are a few fields beyond basic data gathering taken from nationwide PTA membership applications that you may also find helpful:
- Volunteer/Participation – Find out PTA members’ willingness to volunteer for committee and board roles, programs or events.
- Special Interest/Talent – Asking this question could help your PTA create engagement by matching people to roles and tasks they love to do!
- Suggestions/Ideas – Many new members are eager to provide input and have great ideas.
- Primary Language/Bilingual – Knowing the primary language your members speak is crucial to engagement and key to communication. Finding out if there are bilingual or multilingual members can help support your translation efforts.
Kwana Ingram is Membership Services Specialist for National PTA.