PTAs always have a difficult time finding new members. The traditional ways of holding an Open House or Family Picnic no longer have the desired effect. The pandemic has made reaching out to parents more complicated, and PTAs have been forced to become comfortable with online membership tools they may not understand.
Membership is crucial to a PTA. Without it, many of the goals your organization hopes to accomplish will fall to the wayside. This article provides PTAs with membership drive ideas and a few best practices to help along the way.
The current pandemic has changed life for all of us. PTA membership has been affected as more organizations use online tools like social media to reach parents. As PTAs look for ways to connect with parents, creativity and personal relationships become vital. The following ideas can be included with in-person and online membership drives.
Parents are interested in supporting their children’s education, but parenting is expensive! It can feel like schools continuously ask for money. One way to change that belief is by giving parents discounts for shopping and child-friendly events.
PTAs, in association with the school, can provide parents with discounts in school stores and work with local businesses to offer discounts at stores like Target, Home Depot, and Walmart. Every little bit helps when you’re a parent.
Have a look at Donald Leonetti Elementary School PTO’s membership campaign page where they briefly disclose the prizes and incentives that students will receive in exchange for their parents’ memberships.
Pro tip: Add membership tiers to your membership form, briefly mentioning the benefits/incentives that members will be receiving for each amount. Your members will appreciate that since they can have a look at the form to decide which tier to go for. The above form is a good example. Although, we recommend that you have a membership-specific form for utmost effectiveness. On Donorbox, nonprofits can create as many tiers as they want and start a campaign for their monthly/annual membership program for free.
PTAs often forget the “Teacher” part when searching for members and ignore a potential member group. Parents have no closer connection with the school than the teachers.
Including teachers in PTA membership drives may help convince parents to learn more and join PTA events. Teachers should be one of the first groups PTAs should target for membership. Find ways to connect with teachers personally.
Parents are not the only ones that benefit from the work of a PTA or PTO. Children are the future, and communities rely on having a solid education system. Many businesses are aware of this fact. While some companies already support student groups through sponsorships, these businesses can also become long-term members of your PTA and continue their support in big and small ways.
Including a corporate membership option in your donation form can help make people aware of this option and encourage more community involvement.
The below PTO sponsorship form can be the perfect reference for you to create your membership form tiers for corporate partnerships. Each suggested amount below explains the benefits for sponsors thus making it compact and easy to understand.
Parents have connections with other parents, businesses, and community members. Organizations that find ways to excite parents enough to share the PTA and its work with their friends will see an increase in membership. By making it a contest, you may get more parents to promote the organization to their community. Find an exciting prize and see which parent can get the most members to join. Older students can also be an excellent source for new members.
Creating a classroom contest for students to find new members may open opportunities that have been overlooked. Students may convince their parents, grandparents, and other community members to join the PTA and help them achieve their educational goals.
PTAs regularly build relationships with mothers, but fathers are not always their first choice. PTAs can counter this story by holding ‘Fathers Only’ events that give them a chance to spend time with their children and see the results of their efforts in real-time.
One way to do this is by holding an event where Dads and kids accomplish specific tasks in exchange for tickets. At the end of the night, Families can exchange their tickets for prizes. During the event, PTAs can find ways to talk to dads about different ways they can help their children through PTA membership.
It’s easier to re-connect with current members than to find new ones, yet more often, PTAs ignore their current members when searching for new ones. Your donor database is an excellent tool to keep track of your members and find ways to strengthen relationships.
Reach out to lapsed members and ask them if they’d like to renew their membership. If they had the chance earlier and didn’t, try to know what may have been the reason.
Donorbox offers PTAs the option to keep notes on why parents (members) joined the organization and track how they reacted to different outreach efforts in the past. Such communication notes will help build member relationships for the long term.
Nothing is more powerful than a child’s testimonial. Your PTA has helped more than one child reach their potential and given them a future previously thought impossible. Add testimonials from these children to your website and social media accounts to entice membership. If possible, include a picture to help people feel a stronger connection.
For only the cost of a coffee, you can be a member.
Many schools have struggled to provide materials and equipment to their students. It is a well-known fact that parents have covered many of these costs for their students for decades.
Becker Elementary highlights this fact on their page by comparing the cost of membership to your daily cup of coffee. With that comparison, it is hard to complain.
Your membership can change the life of a child. This type of marketing has been successful for nonprofits for years, and your PTA can use this to encourage more parents and community members to join your efforts. By including the success stories of students, you can let parents see real-world results and get excited by the possibilities.
You can also give specific examples of your PTO’s work on the ground. That way people feel connected to the organization and its efforts.
One of the more obvious sources for membership support is the school itself. Schools already have relationships with parents for obvious reasons and may have an easier time encouraging parents to join the PTA at the beginning of the year.
Work with the school’s principal and staff to find ways to connect with parents and share how PTA membership can help their children.
A successful membership drive starts with a solid plan and a passionate team. The following tips provide PTAs with a step-by-step process to hold effective membership drives.
Before starting any membership drive, your PTA should create a plan to ensure its success. SMART Goals lay out specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based goals to help your PTA. By creating a realistic plan, your organization will better see the results you desire.
Once you begin your membership drive, you can track how close you are to meeting the goals and see where to make changes.
One of the first committees your PTA should develop is a membership committee responsible for finding and onboarding new members. When building this committee, you should find ways to include various ages, sexes, and career levels. This variety will help the committee reach a larger section of the population.
Pro tip: Leave most of the membership drive decisions to the committee once it’s formed. Allowing the committee to take a leadership role ensures long-term involvement and a more personal connection with the PTA and its successes.
By providing proof of what your organization has accomplished, you give parents and community members a reason to join your PTA.
Your mission is a great place to start! PTAs are built to strengthen parents’ relationships with the schools. The goal is to help parents play a more significant role in their child’s education. Has your PTA found ways to meet this goal? Don’t be afraid to share all the ways you are seeing parents play a part in the school and children’s education.
How often have you clicked away from a website because it was confusing or too much trouble? Your PTA may be having the same problem. When trying to convince parents to join, do you have an online form that takes only a few minutes to fill out? Do parents have to jump through hoops to get the information they want? Does your membership page include a phone number people can call to ask questions?
Create an online membership form all parents can use and understand. With Donorbox, that becomes very easy. Creating your membership campaign takes only a few minutes and it’s free to get started. Provide multiple currency options, add tiers, let them pay via custom amounts, collect members’ information, and more. Learn more about creating a membership campaign on Donorbox here.
If your membership drive has been successful, you have found a host of new members excited to get started. Recognizing these new members and thanking them for joining will help them feel like part of the community.
PTAs can add a “Thank you to Our Newest Members” post on their social media accounts. Instead of a vague thank you, your organization can tag all new members and let their online community know they have joined.
A recognition wall is another way PTAs can identify members. Since PTAs change membership regularly, it’s best to create a virtual recognition wall to honor them. With Donorbox, you can add a recognition wall to your memberships page by simply checking a box on the dashboard.
Thanks to social media, PTAs are finding new and creative ways to reach parents and find new members. Including committees, staff, and the school in membership drives gives PTAs a better chance of finding a varied membership base.
Online tools like Donorbox help PTAs collect essential information on members and strengthen relationships with a dedicated membership campaign. Visit our website to learn more about our features.
If your PTA wants more online fundraising tips and resources, here’s our blog. Do sign up for our newsletter to receive regular insights.