Just Ask Membership Blog

Is Your PTA an ATM for Your School?

Have you ever felt that your PTA was an ATM for your school principal and teachers? Have you ever felt like your principal thought your PTA budges was his or her discretionary spending fund? Do you get requests from teachers and school staff to fund certain projects and items that really ought to be part of the school budget? You’re not alone. PTAs frequently turn over their funds to school administration for such basics as books, equipment, and maintenance, not to mention extras, such as playground equipment and vending machines. The customs that have developed between PTAs and schools have blurred the line about what PTAs are; what vision, mission, and purposes we follow; and how our funds should be used. Vision, mission, and purposes PTA’s vision is making every child’s potential a reality. PTA’s mission is to be A powerful voice for all children A relevant resource for families and communities A strong advocate for the education and well-being of every child PTA’s purposes, or historical goals are as follows: To promote the welfare of the children and youth in home, school, community, and place of worship To raise the standards of home life To secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth To bring into closer relation the home and the school, that parents and teachers may cooperate intelligently in the education of children and youth To develop between educators and the general public such united efforts as will secure for all children and youth the highest advantages in physical, mental, social, and spiritual education How PTAs work The national PTA organization is...

PTA Election Do’s & Don’t

With the school board elections and potential ballot initiatives, it’s important you and your members are aware of the laws around what your PTA can and cannot do. 1) PTAs CANNOT support/endorse/oppose candidates. This is IRS law. If your PTA endorses a candidate you not only jeopardize your PTA’s non-profit status but the non-profit status of every PTA in Colorado. 2) PTAs CAN support or oppose ballot issues. If your PTA wishes to take a position to support or oppose a ballot initiative you must have a majority vote of your membership (not just your Board) and you must give your membership fair notice that the vote will take place (7-10 days). 501(c)(3) Status and Law. Because PTA is a 501c3 non-profit corporation, the IRS does not allow PTA to support candidates. It is legal for PTAs to inform voters of an election and list ALL the candidates who are running. PTAs may hold candidate forums, as long as ALL candidates are invited. Advocating for an Initiative. Colorado PTA prefers that local units help ballot issue campaigns by providing volunteer assistance with such things as literature distribution, yard signs, phone calling, etc., rather than making monetary contributions. Voter registration drives are encouraged. Campaign Donations. The IRS does not allow local units to contribute more than “an insubstantial amount” of their gross revenue to ballot issue campaigns or lobbying. This is generally viewed as being between 2% and 5% of gross revenue. (Please note that this refers to the total amount given to all ballot issues and lobbying throughout the year.) Because all local units are part of the Colorado...

Membership Stratagies

Parent Engagement is what PTA does. Share with teachers and staff that PTA helps to fulfill the Family Engagement mandated by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Talk about how PTA’s work benefits not only the children but the teachers as well. Remember to ask your teachers and staff to join; let them know that PTA is more than a local fundraising group for their school. It is an association focused on the education, safety, and well-being of children.
Getting Teachers Involved!
  • Arrange to provide a breakfast for teachers prior to the start of the school year. Use this breakfast as an opportunity to talk to the teachers about the value and importance of joining your PTA.
  • Award teachers and staff with a party or lunch when 100% teacher and staff membership is reached.
  • Request a bulletin board or showcase at your school to display current information about PTA activities.
  • Use back to school nights as an opportunity to speak with both teachers and parents about the importance of joining PTA. Prepare a short presentation. Be sure to have the permission of your principal.
  • Include PTA materials in information packets given to teachers and staff at the start of each school year.
  • Enlist the support of your principal. A principal’s encouragement to join can go a long way.
  • Print out personal invitations asking teachers and staff to join and include a membership envelope. Remind them that for the cost of a few coffees at Starbucks they can support our national organization of more than four million members!
Member BenefitsAs members join, make sure they know about their member benefits. You can create your own benefits at your local unit too!
PTA Booth/TableSet up a PTA table at all your school events, especially open houses and back to school nights!
Market Your PTAPosters/flyers/brochures showing past accomplishments show the community the value PTA provides. Visibility is a key to success.
Membership ProfileEncourage your members to "create a profile."
Set Goals!Set a goal for your membership. Why not try to recruit 10% more members than last year? The Colorado PTA also has a Membership Challenge & Award Program that you could qualify for by increasing your membership
ThemesGenerate excitement by developing a theme for the year: Some examples:
  • Up, up, and away – member names can be placed on balloon shapes – celebrate success with a balloon release at the end of the year.
  • Batter Up – member names can go on bat and ball shapes – celebrate with an assembly with a professional baseball player (or a high school baseball hero).
  • Shoot for the Stars – celebrate success with space related assembly.
  • A Membership Tree
Every Child In Focus!The National PTA has developed an Every Child in Focus. Each month spotlights the educational challenges
surrounding a particular group
and helps to foster family-school partnerships.
Membership Mondays
  • Membership Monday (Field Edition) – Sharing PTA membership success stories and keeping you informed of new National PTA membership initiatives.
  • Membership Monday (Diversity Edition) – Highlighting ways to engage, recruit, and champion diversity in PTA.
  • Members Monday (Technical Edition) – Introducing ways to navigate the technical aspects of membership (data, how-to, standard procedures, etc.).
  • Ask Membership! Monday – Answering your most popular questions from the field.
Focus on Inclusivity!
  • Provide translation at PTA sponsored events. Title I funds are available for parent engagement (Ask your district for more information.
  • Provide dinner or snacks. Perhaps host a potluck and encourage families to bring a traditional family dish.
  • Provide child care. Invite high school Student Council or National Honor Society students to provide activities for the children, making sure to have adult supervision. Your PTA could make a donation to the Student Council or NHS at the end of the year.
  • Provide a program on a relevant issue to your school or community, not connected with a PTA business meeting.
Preparing Your Membership Year

It is important to start your membership year prepared to recruit, engage and renew membership. National PTA Provides Membership Recruitment Plans in their Back-to-School Kit.

If yours is a school-based unit, send membership forms and Backpack Bundle fliers home with first-day packets and have a membership table at all orientation and back-to-school events.

Download this helpful Membership Application!

Membership Quick Reference Guide

Today’s PTA is dedicated to empowering parents to make a difference in the education, health, and safety of America’s children. This Membership Reference Guide shares tips to increase membership, including tracking and retaining members, bolstering diversity and inclusiveness, and marketing PTA membership.

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Membership Question?

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The primary reason for developing membership in the PTA is to build an informed team of individuals to work on behalf of all children and youth. A PTA membership that is willing to get involved is a valuable resource for starting and maintaining programs and projects to benefit children and the community.

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