Organizing and running a PTA membership campaign can be fun and easy! California State PTA has a variety of resources to help you build PTA membership at your school.
During the back-to-school season, we’ll be sharing weekly “Membership Monday” e-blasts with PTA presidents, membership leaders and communications officers featuring tips, training and resources to help you build membership and promote the value of PTA.
Building Membership and Marketing Your PTA: http://capta.org/pta-leaders/run-your-pta/building-membership/
- Customizable Marketing Tool – insert your school’s pictures!
- Local Marketing Plan template worksheet
- Local Membership Goal setting template worksheet
- Messaging that Works
- Membership Envelopes and Cards (including template for printing hard-copy cards)
- Membership Videos
- Logos, banners and more
- Member Perks information
- Membership Themes
Please note: California State PTA’s membership year runs from July 1 to June 30.
Each PTA must remit dues monthly. Please refer to your council and/or district PTA for due dates. Councils and districts set their own due dates in order to meet California State PTA deadlines. When sending in your remittance to your council and/or district PTA, please allow additional time for them to process and mail checks to the state PTA office.
Remittances of “per capita” should be forwarded by every PTA at least monthly, and sent to your council and/or district PTA. “Per capita” means per-person dues and is the portion of membership dues not belong to your PTA. The unit (school) PTA remits to the council PTA (if in council). The council PTA remits to the district PTA. The district PTA remits to California State PTA, which remits to National PTA.*
*Local PTAs that use the electronic membership system powered by TOTEM will have a dual system – remitting through channels for traditional membership, and automatic remittance through the TOTEM system.
Membership Awards and Incentives
Ready, Set…Remit! Award: 30 members due in the state PTA office Oct. 30
Certificates from California State PTA will be distributed to each unit PTA that remits per capita dues for 30 or more members, through PTA channels, to arrive in the California State PTA office by October 30. No application required.
Look for more challenges and incentives on the California State PTA website this fall.
New awards will be announced in August after our first California State PTA Board of Managers meeting.
Be sure to share your membership success stories with us on our social media accounts, and here: https://capta.org/resource/pta_success_story_submission_form/
For more information on these awards and applications, visit
Every quarter California State PTA offers members a new selection of money-saving deals and offers from our sponsors and partners.
Electronic Membership Systems and FAQs
We are excited about the progress our online membership system has made, making joining and renewing PTA membership at the local level easier.
More than 1,000 local PTAs have processed more than 70,000 memberships using our online membership system. So consider this your invitation to get started.
Visit bit.ly/starttotem to see TOTEM for yourself!
1. What is the electronic membership system?
- The electronic membership system is an electronic platform that allows people to join PTA at their local unit online.
- The system (Totem) was developed specifically for California State PTA and it collects the dues payment, provides a receipt and an electronic membership card, and simultaneously distributes the per-capita dues payments among the various levels of PTA.
- The electronic membership card can be stored on a smartphone and has the potential to link to member perks.
- The system allows for automatic membership renewals on July 1 and many other features.
2. What are some of the benefits to a local PTA?
- Local PTAs will be able to let members join online with a credit or debit card at no cost to the PTA.
- Local PTA leaders and members will be able to invite friends and family to join with a just a click.
- The system will reduce the need to print out forms, collect checks and make trips to the bank.
- Membership campaigns will be able to utilize social media, school all calls, email blasts and other electronic forms of communication to increase awareness and membership.
- Local PTAs that use TOTEM are included on the California State PTA website and state publications and materials direct people to the site to join.
- Anyone anywhere will be able to join any PTA that participates in the program.
3. How can I get my council or unit started?
- For more information on getting started, visit the following page: bit.ly/starttotem
- If you are ready to go, you can request to start the process by using this form: bit.ly/totemsignup
4. How do members know their credit card information is secure?
- The electronic membership system (Totem) uses Stripe, a well-known and well- regarded payment processing system. The storage of card data will comply with the Payment Card
Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). Stripe has been audited by an independent PCI Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) and is certified as a PCI Level 1 Service Provider. This is the most stringent level of certification available in the payment industry.
- We will not store any credit card information on our California State PTA servers.
5. How much will this cost?
- There is no cost for a local unit to use the system.
- Each member that joins using the electronic membership system will pay a $1 convenience fee per membership. This will cover all the processing fees, and other costs of the system. This
dollar will be paid by the member and it is added on to the membership dues so it will not reduce the portion of dues deposited in the local PTA unit bank account.
- This may save local PTA units money if they are currently mailing membership cards or paying bank fees on cash and check deposits.
- Members still have the option to join with cash, check or any other payment system used by a local PTA.
6. How will local PTA unit leaders know who the members are?
- The electronic membership system will generate a list of members, which local leaders can access and keep track of members.
- The leaders can manually enter other members (those who paid with cash or check) into the system
- Leaders can also download the list to an Excel spreadsheet to be used with any membership tracking system or communication they like.
7. Can members still join at a Back to School table?
- Of course! Members can join on their smart phones by following the unique link or QR code at the back to school table or they can join with a check or cash the way they have in the past.
- Some PTAs offer a small incentive for members who join before the back-to-school night and show their membership.
8. Can I enter and manage members who join with check or cash? Will the members receive an electronic membership card?
- Yes. As long as the local PTA is participating in the electronic system, and the member is willing to give an email address, the PTA leaders will be able to manually upload members’ names and emails into the system, and the member will receive the PTA electronic membership card and appear on the membership list.
9. Can I use the system if my unit has different dues and membership levels?
- Yes, units who have different dues structures will be able to enter that information into the system.
10. How will a member search for the PTA they would like to join?
- Local PTAs using TOTEM have a unique link to just their PTA and by clicking on that link people will be able to join that particular PTA.
- Anyone going to the California State PTA website will be directed to the closest PTA through geo‐location, so they do not have to scroll through a long list of PTAs.
- They can also start typing in the name of the PTA and the widget on the website will find your PTA.
11. What are the steps PTA leaders will complete to connect and verify a bank account?
- The electronic membership system will use a two-factor authentication to connect a bank account.
- There is a visible record for the user who create or modify any account information.
- The electronic membership system requires a second authorized leader to confirm new account information.
The system will be available to all PTAs in California as long as they are in good standing, able to provide basic banking information, and agree to participate in the program.
For further questions, you may also reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PTA for Your Child: Membership Campaign Toolkit and Checklist
The PTA For Your Child messaging and collateral materials are designed to support your current membership outreach strategy via the activities and communication channels you are already using to recruit new members and renewals. To kick-start your planning, we’ve outlined a campaign implementation checklist for you to build into the first 30 days of annual recruitment and to use throughout the year.
- View the Training Webinar: Participate in the PTA For Your Child membership campaign training webinar for further details about the campaign. This training webinar is available on National PTA’s website.
- Read Through the Campaign Toolkit: Thoroughly review this toolkit and accompanying PowerPoint templates so you can understand how to incorporate the campaign messaging and visuals into all membership communications for your school community.
- Inform and Educate the Executive Board: Share and review the membership campaign with the full executive board.
- Update Your Website: Update the language about membership and add a clickable JOIN NOW button on your PTA website using the graphics provided with this toolkit. This should link directly to your member registration page.
- Make Joining Easy: Add membership language and a JOIN PTA link to all social media platforms, and hyperlink social media images directly to your member registration page.
- Create a Membership Communications Schedule: Develop a weekly communications schedule of 1-3 social media posts and/or listserv posts per week in the first 30 days.
- Vary the Visuals: Use a variety of the campaign’s social media images, alternating the PTA For Your Child and “No Wrong Way To PTA” images to engage followers.
- Directly Solicit Families: Send out the “Sample Membership Ask Email/Letter” and then follow-up with those who join using the “Sample Thank You Email/Letter.”
- Use Consistent Branding: Clearly and consistently brand all membership appeals and relevant PTA events with the campaign visuals. This includes using the campaign hashtags in all social media posts related to membership recruitment.
- Ask, Ask, Ask: Don’t stop soliciting members after the school year is underway. Be sure to include messaging and the benefits and impact of PTA membership in communications throughout the year.
Click here to download a PDF version of this toolkit.