An Essential Guide to Running The Best School PTO PTA Membership Drive
Behind every successful school organization, are its amazing members. Members and volunteers are the lifeblood parent organizations and associations. They help to fulfill your mission, provide helping hands, offer financial support and make the organization run smoothly! Because of this, increasing membership should be the top goal for any School PTO or PTA group.
Holding an annual membership and/or sponsorship drive is a great way to accomplish these goals. Below we have outlined some creative ideas and best practices for your school PTO or PTA group to use! To encourage parents to join, many school PTO and PTA groups hold an annual membership drive around the same time as back to school. This works great as many parents are excited about the new school year and may be more prone to signing up! There are also many events going on this time of year that you can run a membership drive simultaneously to get in front of the eyes of many parents, grandparents, family friends and other guests. These events can include meet the teacher night, back to school picnics, school carnivals or ice cream socials!
You can even run a themed membership drive that compliments the event where you will be setting up the membership drive. For example running an ice cream themed membership drive during a back to school ice cream social is a fun and captivating way to encourage parents and others to get involved and learn about your school PTO PTA group!
See our great list of AWESOME SCHOOL PTO/PTA MEMBERSHIP DRIVE THEME IDEAS!
The first step in recruiting volunteers and members is to communicate how joining the PTO or PTA group benefits families, children, school and even themselves! The overall benefits can include enriching your child’s education, supporting teachers and staff, and the opportunity to become more involved in the school while making friends and social connections. Additionally, supporting a parent group through membership and assisting with fundraising efforts can also result in more tangible benefits for your child’s school. This can include providing new computers for the computer lab, a new free breakfast program or safer playground equipment.
At events, it is helpful to have extroverted volunteers who are willing to ask people to join the PTA and who can clearly explain the membership benefits as well as the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY of what the PTO does! Someone who is full of energy and excited about the group's mission is perfect to brag up the group - this energy is contagious and people will more likely be open to joining!
2. Explain the Who, What, Where, When and Why!
WHO should join?
Your potential members can involve many different groups of people. Don’t forget to include parents, extended families (such as grandparents, aunts and uncles), teachers, faculty staff, and community members. Be sure to make them aware that they are eligible to join the school PTO or PTA!
WHAT does your school group or organization do?
It's tempting to assume that everyone already knows what you do, but that's not always the care. Be sure to answer the following:
* Your organization’s mission (perhaps with a formal mission statement)
* List of board member names with corresponding contact information
* Specific past accomplishments and goals your group has achieved
* Be a myth buster - explain that just by joining you are not required to volunteer and fundraise
WHERE can new members sign up?
* Where do you go to join? Make it easy! Parents will be more likely to sign up on the spot if you have forms available or if you have a place online (guiding them to click on QR code to save the website in their phone makes it more likely they will revisit the idea!)
* If online sign-up is not an option, let interested potential members know where to find membership or sponsorship donation forms. Keep some in the front office and at each event.
* Use Back-to-School events and other social school events such as fundraisers and dances as continued opportunities for parents to sign-up.
Inform potential members about where meetings or events will be held for the year. This should also be listed on your website and it's a good idea to hang reminder flyers around school with this information as well!
WHEN is your membership drive?
What is the exact date range for your membership drive? Year-long membership drives can sometimes backfire. Instead of creating immediate urgency, it can become background noise and easily forgotten about. New members should always be welcome into the group, but setting a specific membership date period will help you reach your goals faster. Potential members will be more likely to respond to deadlines and incentives.
WHY should people get involved?
Most people will need to know why they should join and what’s in it for them?
* How does it help students? the community? the school? members as individuals?
* What does your organization do that people will deeply care about?
* What are the goals for the year and how will you address them?
(new technology? new playground equipment? teacher appreciation events?)
3. Answer all the Above Questions Easily & Visually with a Display Table!
This is HUGE when trying to recruit volunteers and financial sponsors to join your cause. People want to feel confident that their time and money is being put to good use. Making your school PTO or PTA group seem as friendly, organized, fun and well-planned as possible will help to achieve these goals and people may be more open to joining or donating!
What items should you include on your display table or booth?
Our school membership drive toolkit is an amazing resource for any school PTO or PTA Group! We have taken all the work out for you - simply enter in your school colors and logos to these templates and you have an amazing membership display table ready to go! Think of these templates as an investment in your group and a way to brand your organization to look professional. Potential members want to be a part of something wonderful and a first impression is everything! It all starts here with setting up a membership display booth that gives the image of organization and quickly and clearly answers their questions and entices them to be a part of something special!
We even have tips on how you can continue using these items through-out the school year to continuously attract and recruit more sponsors and volunteers beyond back to school night!
When setting up your display, it's important to think "attention grabbing" and include bright colors and imagery. You can use simple items from the dollar store such as table cloths, tissue paper, wrapping paper, confetti, balloons and other small props to add color to your display. You will also want to make sure to have a jar with lots of pens and you can include colorful pen toppers to those as well - and to ensure people don't walk away with them! Here are some other items that are essential to include!
A perfect way to capture the eyes of people walking by, is our "TEAM - Together everyone achieves more" school volunteer recruitment sign. It is designed specifically to address the "who, what, where and why" of joining the school PTO group. Tidylady Printables offers this template in various sizes to use as a handout or to print large as a poster. We have also designed it specifically so you can change all the colors to your organizations as well as upload your own logo/mascot images. This can be a huge time-saving tool by answering people's questions prior to them asking you so you can instead focus on getting them signed up as members, volunteers or sponsorship donors!
It's a fact that in today's busy world not everyone has extra time. Maybe a potential parent volunteer has kids at two different schools and needs to rush out quick during your back to school night to head out to a different location, but wants to learn more about joining the school PTO or PTA group and doesn't have time to chat. Offer him or her an easily solution by providing a QR code they can snap quick which leads them to your organization's website where they can find all the information including the group's mission statement, why their help is important, how to donate, how to sign up to volunteer, important dates and more.
Pro Tip: Printing this in the flyer size and using it as a binder cover and displaying doubles as both a cheap, sturdy frame as well as a place to store extra paperwork (such as welcome letters and handouts.) It also serves as a place to collect and store membership and sponsorship forms. A practical and easy way to stay organized during your back to school membership drive!
3. Membership Form and Sponsorship Forms
These are absolutely essential to include! If you have an interested person, get them to sign up by providing financial commitments and contact information so you can follow up with them. No membership drive is complete without having tons of these forms printed on multiple clipboards to have ready for people to fill out. Make sure to have lots of pens at your table too!
You can change the colors on all these forms as well as upload your own school logo images to brand your school PTO group and keep the membership drive table looking cohesive and professional!
4. An Informational Sign - What Exactly Does the PTO Do?
What feels obvious to you and your group members, may not be so obvious to others who aren't a part of it (yet!) It may seem like common sense that your school PTO or PTA group exists to provide betterment and enrichment to the overall academic and social atmosphere of the school, but not everyone knows this. Being transparent and very detailed about EXACTLY what your group does, why it's important, what is spends money on specifically, goals for the upcoming school year, mission statements and more will make people feel more comfortable spending their dollars and time contributing to your organization.
When a person commits and gives something to your group, be it time or money, by filling out a membership or sponsorship form, you will want to give something back in return. Think of it as a gesture to cement the deal and feels official to your new school volunteer or sponsor. You can achieve this with a meaningful, personalized and well written welcome letter full of great information that they can access at anytime. Our template is perfect for this, providing an outline of ways you can connect right away from the start - a photo and custom message from the PTO or PTA president, your organization's mission statement, school year goals, important contacts, dates and more!
6. Name Tags
An excellent way to help promote an outgoing approachable demeanor, these cute matching name tags let potential donors and sponsors know who they need to talk to about joining. Make your display atmosphere more casual and fun while giving people valuable information that's easy to read such as group member's names, role in the organization as well as how long they've been a part of it.
These name tag templates are available only with the purchase of the THIS PTO MEMBERSHIP DRIVE RECRUITMENT SET You only need to edit and print on full sheet labels (also called sticker paper) and voila, you have instant name tags! An easy way to have all members of the group coordinate and a much cheaper option that ordering matching t-shirts!!
7. A Guessing Jar or Raffle Prize Basket
This is a fun incentive to get people both looking at your table as well as interacting with it. A jar of candies, who can pass that by? Offer a way for people to get curious and participate. Have them either guess how many candies or enter to win something (such as a themed raffle basket) our bonus template is great for communicating exactly what you'd like so you can get as much attention as possible at your table!
PRO TIP: You can have the raffle or candy guess winner announced at the first PTO meeting of the year and they must be present to win! Doing this will hopefully increase attendance!
8. Fundraiser Goal Thermometer
A great way to motivate potential financial donors and sponsors, is our school donations fundraiser goal thermometer poster. This visually appealing tool is an amazing way to help people see that their individual contributions matter towards the overall big picture goal. Color the goal poster with marker or crayons, otherwise you can laminate and use dry erase markers to use every year during donation and membership drives!
Pro Tip: If you're running out of room on your display table this poster can be displayed loud and proud on a standing easel next to the table! It's out of the way, yet easy to access when you need to color it some more after receiving donations!
How to keep using these items (ie: get your full money's worth) out of this set even after the initial back to school night membership drive is over?
Not every potential volunteer or financial donor will be present at your back to school night membership drive. That's why it's important to stay in front of people during the entire school year too! There are many easy ways you can continue to get volunteers and financial support with this ice cream recruitment kit, and you don't even have to be present to do it, here's how:
1. Make sure you have BOTH membership and sponsorship forms available at your school office, in a downloadable format online on your school website, and at every event (such as school dances, fundraisers and festivals) that your PTO or PTA group sponsors during the school year. Our templates allow you to edit and download as a pdf so you can include them as downloadable files for people to access at anytime from your website!
2. Hang the QR Code Poster on bulletin boards at your school, as well as your local library and community center. If there is a popular coffee shop or restaurant hangout nearby ask if you can advertise there as well!
QR codes are amazing for busy parents, teachers and other potential volunteers, members and donors. Maybe they are interested but don't have time to read all the information right then and there. They can quickly snap the code and save in their phone to review later. This will up your chances of someone actually taking action to join your organization instead of simply walking past, reading, thinking about becoming interested and then forgetting to do anything about it.
3. Put all the welcome packet information onto your website so anyone can access it at any point - including by scanning the QR Code. This includes a photo and mission statement from the president, fundraising goals, organization's mission statement, important meeting dates, upcoming school events and more
4. If your fundraising goal hasn't been reached during the back to school membership drive, afterwards you can hang the goal thermometer poster in the school office, school cafeteria or school entryway where there is a lot of visitor foot traffic. Maybe they weren't able to donate right away, and now they can. Maybe you only have a couple hundred dollars left to go and they feel motivated that they can really help now! Either way you want to stay in the front of the minds of potential donors and using this tool to visually motivate is a great way to do just that!
Back-to-School Night Membership Drive Dos and Don’ts
Do Make sure your table is visually appealing, organized and includes bright colors and imagery that explains the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY of your group. Picking a fun recruitment drive theme set is great for this, otherwise using your school colors and logo is always a great option!
Don't sit down at the table, standing up and being at eye-level with people passing by will make you feel more approachable and engaging
Do have your most positive, extroverted and engaging group members talk up the PTO and explain the benefits of joining.
Don’t forget to include all the important components of a school PTO or PTA membership drive display table. This includes hanging a poster or banner, including a QR Code, an informational sign and clipboards with membership forms and sponsorship forms
Do make sure group members are easy to locate, wearing matching name tags is a great way to accomplish this!
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