Tips to Make PTA Membership Drives Successful

Connexeo - 02/08/2018

Membership is the lifeblood of any PTA or PTO, and the growing divisions among educational levels increase the importance of constant membership drives.

With the K-5 or K-6 elementary school model changing in many districts to pre-K-2 primary and 3-5 intermediate levels, student turnover, and therefore PTA turnover, occurs more often before middle and high school. While association membership software can help PTAs share membership lists with the organizations at the next level of the feeder system, PTAs must find creative ways to reach parents.

Here are some ways PTAs can enhance their activities to attract new and returning members:

          • Make sure all members know that membership is annual, not continuous, and take steps early to ensure members eligible to return renew early.
          • Send membership information in the fall, when parents are involved with the new school year, and not the spring, when it’s more likely to fall through the cracks. Put these notices on colored paper so it stands out.
          • Have membership applications at every school or PTA event. And print them in Spanish and/or any language that is prominent in the neighborhood.
          • Build a website with a membership form included and see if the school and district websites will add a link to it.
          • Have a PTA officer speak at every event possible to highlight the advantages of membership and hand out applications.
          • Procure buy-in from school administrators. The principal can be a great advocate for membership.
          • Make receipt of the school directory dependent on PTA membership.

Make sure PTA membership events are fun and transmit the message of how vital the organization is in school.

                  • Hold a social event at the beginning of the school year, whether it be a barbecue or an ice cream social. The price of admission could be membership.
                  • Organize a school-year kickoff event at which families can purchase school supplies, spirit wear and PTA membership. Have a gift-card drawing for those who join at the event.
                  • Give away a turkey at Thanksgiving and enter all members into the drawing.
                  • Have a movie night to promote membership and provide some quality parent-child time.
                  • Do a fundraising 5K run that will further bond the PTA with the community and, perhaps, gain members from the community at large.

Also of value is ensuring the school community understands that the PTA is vitally ingrained in the success of the school.

                      • Make sure to publicize the PTA’s financial contribution to assemblies, field trips, education resources and the like. Post the information (and pictures) on the website and write an article about it for the monthly newsletter.
                      • Recognize – in person, on the website and in the newsletter – every member who has volunteered for an event. People like to be acknowledged.
                      • Forge a relationship with the reporter/editor of your community newspaper, and send them pictures and articles of PTA and school activities.
                      • Speak at staff meetings to encourage 100% staff participation.
                      • Communicate inside the school: Design event banners, see if you can use the school’s marquee board, create a membership-level thermometer to show number of members.

Parents and teachers aren’t the only people who can join PTAs. Reach out into the community:

                        • Ask the mayor, city councilors and state legislators representing the neighborhood and prominent community merchants to join the organization.

Finally, make sure internal systems are in place to ensure maximum success for membership drives:

                          • Elect a membership chair or vice president of membership whose primary assignment is building membership.
                          • Have the proper association membership software in place so you can track participation, renewals and dues payments.






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