If your PTA isn’t registered yet in the TOTEM electronic membership system, now is the time to get onboard!

You can set up the e-membership account from home – it’s easy, quick and free – all you need is the contact information for a few of your key officers (President, Treasurer, and Membership Chair) and your unit bank account information (so the membership dues can be deposited into your unit’s bank account).

Click here to learn more about TOTEM on the California State PTA website, then click here to get your PTA signed up. You can also contact if you have questions.

Let Everyone Know About PTA Perks

by Membership Services Commission

MEMBERSHIP TIP: Let Everyone Know About PTA Perks

PTA members get more perks than you may have realized! Membership in a Statewide and Nationwide organization comes with a lot of perks and bonuses.

Tell parents and teachers that, “besides being involved in a child’s life, you can get lots of extras from your PTA membership.” 

Our perks provide a great incentive for community members to join your PTA. Grandparents, alumni, and friends will also want to take advantage of these wonderful benefits.

Here are some other tried and true program ideas that can increase membership:

Be an Ambassador for the Arts by:

Hear from our Student Ambassadors & Reflections participants on how this worked in their schools.

Spearhead a virtual or physical spirit days, sponsored by your PTA, that will draw your community. Here’s an example flyer and hashtag a local PTA Council did for their students.

Try an online bingo night, online silent auction, or virtual chats with the Principal and teachers to help your families and communities connect in our new hybrid world.

Every PTA should be your kind of PTA

by Membership Services Commission 

Did you know anyone can be a member of the PTA? That’s right, from students (even elementary), to grandparents, alumni, school board members, and… Well, you get the picture. 

It is so important that your PTA reflects all of your community and is built of membership that is inclusive and supportive of every student you serve. 

That is just one of the reasons California State PTA President Carol Green’s theme this term is “Your KIND of PTA.” We want you to take the time to remember what PTA means to you. What it means for your children, students, and community and then to share that.

How to make your membership more inclusive:

  • Ask your neighbor to join PTA, remind them they don’t have to volunteer, but should know how appreciated their membership and support will be
  • Look for student involvement, male involvement, underrepresented families, and LGBTQIA+ involvement, and other ambassadors to spread your PTA mission
  • Ask School Board Members, Superintendents, and County Board of Education Members to support their local PTAs
  • Reach out to alumni networks and invite them to join and support the school and PTA who helped them be successful
  • Invite grandparents, uncles and aunts, and cousins to join PTA

Make everyone feel welcome and included in your KIND of PTA today! Volunteering isn’t for everyone, donating can be for everyone, but membership is a universal and essential gift we must give to all children and families.

Participate and WIN: 2021-2022 Membership Awards & Incentives

by Membership Services Commission

We’ve made the directions simple on your journey to a successful membership drive. Visit each checkpoint along the route to build a strong membership campaign for your PTA this year. 

Read the official rules, find deadlines, download the Membership Drive Map and fill out the application forms on our website.

Membership Drive Image

When you win with membership, we all win as one voice for all children in “Your KIND of PTA“. Let us know how you plan on achieving these goals within your community by tagging us on social media, and keep an eye on the California State PTA social media accounts for posts about you! We’re already looking forward to celebrating everyone’s great work on membership this year. And here are the nine checkpoints your route to successful membership should include.

1) Tell Us Your Theme and Goal

This is the first rest stop on your journey. Find a theme that will captivate your community!

Any PTA unit, council, or district that forwards their Membership theme for the 2021-2022 membership year by September 30, 2021, along with a membership goal that reflects an increase over their final membership total from 2020-2021 will be recognized on California State PTA social media platforms. Need some help? Check out our theme archive for ideas!

2) 100 in 100

This is your first milestone, and we hope you achieve even greater membership success on the road ahead!

All PTA units that forward a minimum of 100 members through channels by October 9, 2021, the 100th day of the 2021-2022 PTA term will receive a certificate and a special recognition ribbon for the 2022 California State PTA Convention.

3) Ready, Set, Remit

Stop, breathe, and submit your membership! We know sometimes the travels can be hard, but make sure you’re marking your place on the map to remind yourself how far you’ve gone.  

All PTA units that forward a minimum of 30 members through channels by October 30, 2021, will receive a certificate celebrating their success.

4) Connecting with Teachers, Administrators, and School Board Members

While you’re on the road you need help and support – get everyone involved for student success.

  • PTA Units:  Get 100% of your full-time credentialed teachers and administrators to join your unit as members and submit a completed Connecting with Teachers, Administrators, and School Board Members application form by January 31, 2022.  Your unit will be awarded a certificate, and be entered into a drawing to receive one of five free Convention registrations for the 2022 California State PTA Convention.    
  • PTA Councils:  Get 100% of your school board members to join PTA and submit a completed Connecting with School Boards application form by January 31, 2022, and your council will be awarded a certificate.
  • PTA Districts:  Get your county board of education superintendent and county board of education members to join PTA by January 31, 2022, and your PTA District will be awarded a certificate.

5) Founder’s Day Membership Challenge

Along your journey, it’s important to remember you’re not alone and we’re driving to continue a legacy.

PTA Founders’ Day is February 17.  Any unit that submits 17 new memberships for the month of February will earn a certificate.

6) Best in 5 Award

Make your road trip special and set a new record for your school.  

Any PTA unit, council or district that has a membership total by March 31, 2022, that is higher than any year-end total since the 2016-2017 membership year, will be awarded a certificate of recognition and will be entered into a drawing to receive one of five $200.00 awards. All units, councils, and districts that qualify for the Best in 5 Award will also receive a recognition ribbon at the 2022 California State PTA Convention.

7) Membership Marvel Award

California has a lot of things to marvel at along the road, make your PTA one of them. 

Any unit that increases its membership by 10% over its 2020-2021 membership total will earn the Membership Marvel Award.  Each unit board member will receive a Membership Marvel pin and each unit will receive a certificate of recognition.

8) Club 100 Award 

Road trips are more fun if everyone is invited, get everyone board, and see the results. 

Those units, councils, and districts that have a membership that is 100% or more of their school, council, or district student enrollment will be awarded the Club 100 Award and will receive a banner for their unit, council, or district to commemorate their success.  Club 100 Award winners will also receive a recognition ribbon at the 2022 California State PTA Convention, membership marvel pins for their board members, and be entered into a raffle to win a prize to be determined.

9) Community Connection Award

If we’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that our communities are strong and want to stand together – everyone can be a PTA/PTSA member. 

This award is given to units that have 10% or more of their membership comprised of non-traditional members such as business and community leaders who do not have children at the school.  (Parents, family members of students, teachers, and staff are considered traditional members for purposes of this award). Community Connection Award winners will receive a certificate of recognition.

PTA Tools Can Help You Exceed Your Membership Goals

by Membership Services Commission

School has started now, and we know just how easy it is to be overwhelmed by the commotion of getting your own students out the door and into the classroom. Because it can be just that hectic, we wanted to take some time to remind you of the great PTA Membership resources that are at your fingertips.

The Toolkit is an All Inclusive Way to Make Your PTA Grow in Membership

What are the best ways to get started you might ask?

Get Free Membership Training & Set Your Membership Goals!

Learn the Best Ways to Increase Membership – Create a Message that Matters

Grow Your KIND of PTA by Expanding Your Membership – Stay Inclusive

Be Creative with Membership! Make it Fun!

These are just some of the ways you can get started. Pick one or two from each section and you can set yourself up for membership success this year! 

Remember, the PTA mission is to positively impact the lives of all children and families. We know you are doing just that every time you ask anyone in your community to become a PTA member. They are doing the same when they say yes and join.

Electronic Membership Makes it Easy to Join PTA

by Membership Services Commission


A few years ago, at the request of our local leaders, California State PTA created the online membership system known as Totem. Since its unveiling, over 2,400 PTA units have joined Totem and over 250,000 electronic memberships have been successfully processed.

If your PTA hasn’t put membership online yet, learn how today at 

Totem Makes PTA Membership Easy 

A growing number of PTAs are enabling their members to join and renew their membership online. Electronic membership is a great addition to your membership toolbox. It gives you a fast, effective way to get your membership message out and an easy way to have people join.

In fact, even though last year was a horrible time for PTA membership, over 360 units actually INCREASED membership. Of those 360 units, over 70% of them were units that used the Totem electronic membership system.

Five  Ways To Promote Your Electronic Membership System

  • Be the first to use electronic membership to join your PTA – and share with the built-in social sharing links in your membership dashboard
  • Send the link to your board and get them all to set the example, and then have them share and tell their friends to join. This is a great opportunity for your board to understand the electronic membership system and to help spread the word around your community
  • Post the link on your PTA/PTSA website with a colorful button. Bright colors like yellow and orange are great to attract attention
  • Post the link on your social media telling people you joined, how easy it was to join, and ask others to join and spread the word. Use #JoinPTA and #PTA4Kids in all your social sharing.
  • Email your membership link to your whole school community including all your past PTA members. Ask your principal, ASB advisor, or another school official to include the link in the next all-school notice or newsletter

Resources for Getting Started with Totem and Keeping Membership Growing

Comprehensive information about Totem, along with instructions for getting started, is available at

Check out the Communication Commission’s archives of Social Media Kits – including Membership Drive Graphic (in the August 2020 section)

Involving Students Strengthens Your PTA

By Membership Services Commission 

Adding student members to your association and having students serve on your executive board is great for them and great for your PTA.  

PTA was established to be a powerful voice for all children. Having student and youth involvement in your PTA, or on your PTA board, brings an important and different perspective to your organization. It also helps students learn to speak for themselves in a safe, supportive environment. Who better to speak for students than students? 

Can students become PTA members? Yes!

Per the California State PTA Toolkit, “Any individual who subscribes to the purposes and basic policies of PTA becomes a member upon payment of dues.”  This includes students. Many of our units decide to become PTSAs to stress this focus on students. 

Go to the Involving Students section of the PTA toolkit for more tips on how to successfully engage students as active PTA members and leaders.

Student leaders suggest points to share

The student representatives on our California State PTA Board of Managers tell their fellow students about these advantages to joining PTA: 

  • Gain leadership experience you’ll use for the rest of your life
  • You have a voice in how your school can serve and affect you
  • Receive access to scholarships
  • Enjoy lots of member benefits and discounts
  • Share your ideas and let your voice be heard
  • Positively impact your community through service (most schools require community service hours in order to graduate)
  • Make a difference for your generation and the generations to come

When reaching out to students, be sure to stress the ways PTA membership helps students. This website section has more ideas for what to say.

PTA Membership: Teacher is Our Middle Name

By the Membership Services Commission

In the PTA universe, we know how important our teachers are! Having the teachers and administrators at your school join your PTA and participate in your programs is a great way to encourage children and families to join as well. A collaborative partnership among all the adults at the school is one of the best ways to strengthen communication between families and schools. 

So as you plan and promote your PTA membership campaign this back-to-school season, encouraging teachers to join PTA should be one of the focal points. (And don’t forget other school staff as well.)

We’ve put together a list of ideas and some helpful tools to help you get teachers on board. 

  • TALK with teachers about the value of PTA. Provide breakfast or a snack for teachers and use the opportunity to discuss the value of PTA at your school. Back-to-School night can also be a good opportunity to speak with both teachers and parents about supporting PTA.
  • SHARE information about PTA’s Continuing Education Scholarships. PTA offers scholarships to teachers, school nurses, counselors and volunteers to continue their education.
  • REMIND teachers and staff about PTA’s advocacy work. PTA is much more than a local fundraising group for your school –  we are an advocacy organization focused on student success!
  • ENLIST the support of your principal. A principal’s encouragement for teachers to join PTA can go a long way.
  • OFFER incentives to join. Award teachers and staff with a lunch or celebration when 100 percent teacher membership is reached, or offer teachers who join reimbursements for classroom supplies.

Questions about running your PTA membership campaign? Contact us at

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Tips and Tricks from the Great Membership Idea Exchange

Back in late July and early August we held a few Membership Idea Exchange Zoom calls. We were so excited to be joined by PTA leaders across the state — sharing their ideas and some of their struggles.

We took notes from each of the calls and here are some of our favorite ideas:


  • Building a Better Community
  • Stronger Together
  • I Matter Because (tie in to Reflections)
  • Superhero
  • Set Sail with the PTA- Pirate themed with bandanas or masks as membership incentives

General ideas:

  • Include a PTA membership as part of a spirit pack
  • Have the school mascot or a cool animal (like a llama) attend the Zoom meeting of the class who gets the most memberships.
  • Look at your membership list from last year and make sure you are asking those families to join again this year.
  • Every person who purchases a membership gets a coupon for a discount on spirit wear or other school event. 
  • Share the why– make sure you are letting families know all that your PTA does for the school and community.
  • Ask your principal to include PTA membership on their weekly calls and/or their newsletter.
  • Have a contest to see who can get a member from furthest away– this is much easier if you are using Totem!
  • Remind families that everyone can join– grandparents, siblings, friends, neighbors.  To that end, add lines onto your membership forms with those titles so they don’t forget.
  • Use your social media to advertise your membership drive. 
  • Ask school board members, superintendents, and other school district personnel to join the PTA.
  • Create a “Join PTA” slide that the teachers can use when they are doing parent presentations.
  • Remind families that membership doesn’t necessarily equal volunteering, but it does equal supporting our kids!

Farragut Drive Elementary School created a really fun video to encourage their parents to be in the Zoom Where It Happens. Check it out here: 

Finally we want to leave you with a quote from one of the leaders who was on this call: When you have nothing but uncertainty, you have nothing but possibility!  

We hope you will use these tips to have an amazing membership drive.

As always if you need us, we are an email away–

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Membership Campaign Ideas

As you begin to think about your fall membership campaign, your first orders of business are to select a theme and set a goal. These are often some of the most fun parts of your campaign, as you can be as creative as you would like to be!

You can find lots of great theme ideas on Pinterest, you can theme it to your school mascot, or theme it to something in popular culture (a movie, book, or character that appeals to the children at your site).

Your goal should be specific and attainable, for example set of a goal of getting at least one more membership than last year or one membership for every student in the school. Once you have your theme and goal you can begin to think about marketing, bulletin boards, and fliers.

Check the blog next week for more membership ideas!