PTA Leaders

Great Membership Idea Exchange: Tips & FAQs

PTA leaders from throughout the state answered local membership questions and shared their tips and tricks in The Great Leadership Exchange. You can find the highlights, FAQs and their tips here: 

Q: Are there any Membership Incentives or rewards for the current year ?
A: Yes there are! Drive through California on our Membership Drive and win! Learn more here.

Q: What are some common/reasonable goals?  (i.e. participation from 90% of all parents, to have 30% participation from PTA members at all school meetings, etc.?)
A: Setting goals for your unit helps you work smarter in planning and organizing the PTA year. It supplies a road map to keep you on track as board members with shared priorities to focus on, achieve and evaluate collectively. Three, basic types of goals to consider are:

  1. Short-range Goals: Accomplished now (starting today and within two weeks);
  2. Intermediate Goals: Accomplished in the interim between short- and long-range goals;
  3. Long-range Goals: Accomplished by the term’s end.

Q: What have you found to be the most effective promotional channel? (i.e. email, phone, flyers, social media…?)
A: In many areas we find in-person and social media to be very effective. A lot of our schools send membership envelopes home with the kids and staff. A great idea is to survey your parents or talk to your Principal about what they have found to be the most effective way to communicate and begin there. Work smarter, not harder.

Q: Do parents get California State PTA membership cards?
A: Great question! Yes, every member receives a membership card. This way they are eligible for the great perks and events you may host throughout the community. We encourage you to use Totem to access and provide eMembership cards. (Learn how by joining Totem today!)

Another option is using this template to print Membership cards that should’ve been distributed through your Council or District PTA. If you are not sure who that contact, ask your President. Your unit should have received membership cards based on last year’s membership. (Your District President can order cards for you in English and Spanish and with Totem, you get one on your phone.)

Q: How do we encourage student involvement and student membership?
A: A high school in my council has a student club which helps them in getting many students to join. For teachers, have students ask their teachers to join. Give students the voice to advocate.

Q: Do you have any recommendations on how to reach parents that are mostly non-English speakers?
A: Ask your Principal to see if there are school district resources to help you translate your materials in order to reach non-English speakers. Invite members of the community that may speak that language to help you translate resources

Q: What if we can’t get on campus to reach our parents?
A: One option is to place posters around the drop-off area with a QR code to join. Be sure to share some of the things your PTA has done (i.e. PTSA sponsors the Student of the Month program — join today!)

High Schools can use the Annual Report (it is the answer to “Why PTA?”). Use it as your Brag Sheet to share what you did for the school last year with a flyer for your plans in the upcoming year. Many High School and Middle School PTA/PTSA’s use their Grad Night Program as an incentive to join by offering a discount to school activities if they are PTA members. You can also collaborate with ASB and have students and staff join PTSA.

Don’t forget there are PTA Scholarships for Graduating High School Seniors. They need proof of membership! Learn more here

Q: Do you have any event or membership incentive ideas?
A: Some of the ideas and tips shared that have worked for others were:

  • Hosting a kinder playdate and welcome back breakfast for the teachers
  • Set up welcome tables at each entrance on the first day of school. (A great way to meet new people and personally invite them to join.)
  • Send a welcome packet home with every student
  • Host a Kona Ice Truck Social 
  • For school’s that require uniforms, set up goals and when they are reached offer a perk such as a free dress day
  • Promote a theme day if a goal is reached (i.e. a Star Wars Dress Up Day or a theme that goes along with your mascot)
  • Maybe you can set a challenge that if a membership goal is reached you can slime the PTA President or Principal (of course you’ll want to be sure to get their buy-in)!
  • Offer a teacher grant to teachers that join
  • Invite your community to help kick-off your membership campaign (i.e. a local baseball team, local fire or police department)

Q: If a PTA member is also a local business is there a conflict if they donate school supplies to be passed out as an incentive?
A: Not at all! Just be careful to Thank “Joe Smith” for his generous donation and not “Joe’s cafe”. Learn more about thanking and sponsoring vs endorsing here. There is no conflict for businesses to donate (the only potential conflict arises if they are profiting, i.e. selling stuff at the school). Remember, the PTA never endorses a business, they just thank them for their support.

Q: How can I make flyers and social media posts more easily?
A: Try to get started with amazing templated for fliers, social media posts and interactive marketing materials! They have a free version and a non-profit version if you can use your Letter of Determination (LOD). Your President can request it from to then use in your application.

See the recording of the Great Membership Idea Exchange here.