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4 Tips for Running a Successful PTA Membership Drive

August 30, 2021

4 Tips for Running a Successful PTA Membership Drive

Parent-Teacher Associations are a key part of the community building that happens in a school. By bringing together parents, teachers, and students to create an environment that is supportive and enriching, PTAs strengthen the culture of a school and help bring out school spirit. PTAs are most successful when the whole school community is involved and taking part in school affairs. That's why running a successful membership drive is so important.

A membership drive is an effective way to help you build up your base of supporters. Most often, a PTA will hold their annual membership drive at the start of a school year so parents can get involved in PTA activities throughout the rest of the year. When you're thinking about ways you can make your PTA membership drive unique and exciting, it can be helpful to hear what other PTAs across the country are doing with theirs. We asked PTAs to share their best ideas so you can use them for your membership drive to make it as successful as possible. Here are their top four tips:

Tip #1: Run promotions

Tons of PTAs use a promotion to encourage new signups during their membership drive. Promotions are a place where you can get super creative and even if you don't have a big budget, there are plenty of low-cost ideas that you can use!

  • "We are doing a giveaway for families that join. We have two $10 gift cards to local ice cream shops that were donated. Every family member that joins will be entered to win. We are also doing a giveaway for teachers and staff that join."
  • "We are offering magnets and free donuts."
  • "We do a "Membership Madness." We take classrooms each week and have them compete against each other. The class that can get the most memberships will move on to the next bracket all the way through to the end. The kids really get into it, especially encouraging all of their family members to join."
  • "If we reach our goal of the number of members, our school gets a popsicle party!"
  • "We are trying an early-bird sign up, as well as a raffle to win some donated prizes from local businesses in the area."
  • "We make a nice lunch or raffle electric pencil sharpeners or give some item for teachers to join the PTA at their first day back. We also give them a free field trip t-shirt when they buy their membership."
  • "Incentive for everyone: Free chocolate bar. Incentive for teachers: Free ream of colored paper and if all the teachers in their grade join, we pay the bus rental price for a field trip of their choosing."
  • "We've budgeted for a $50 gift card from Target for the teachers, a pizza party for the class with the most percentage of members who were able to obtain a backpack filled with school supplies to parents who signed up before a certain date."
  • "Our PTA offers packs of paper to our teachers, as well as "jean coupons." If we reach 100% of staff involvement, we spoil them with a treat day. For students, we give out homework passes and popsicle parties for highest class involvement and small gifts throughout the year at PTA-run events."
  • "We offered car magnets, pencils, license plate covers, etc., as swag for joining PTA."

Tip #2: Bundle memberships

Bundling memberships is a great way to get people excited and give them something extra when they join your PTA. Plus, it's a great way to make use of remaining spirit wear of swag you have leftover from previous fundraisers. You can clean out your old inventory and have all your members showing their school spirit!

  • "The more you buy, the more you save! Free PTA Member Car Magnet when you purchase four or more memberships."
  • "We had a pool party and charged $1 admission. We offered an optional $5 donation and included a PTA membership, a school water bottle (leftover stock from last year), and a raffle ticket (for leftover fundraiser prizes). We got more PTA memberships that year than the past three combined."
  • "We offer a deal for teachers to join PTA by offering a bundle with a spirit wear shirt and membership for a discount."
  • "We offer a variety of support "booster" levels with incentives like special bags, blankets, umbrellas, etc."
  • "Our school gave out car magnets this year with each membership at different registrations and really wanted to make sure we got them to our incoming new students/families."
  • "We like to offer a bundle: Buy a shirt, you're a member!"
  • "I asked a few teacher friends and they said they loved the year the PTA did the large golf umbrellas for $100 level membership swag."

Tip #3: Provide membership benefits

Giving a perk for being a member of the PTA is an excellent way to give people another reason to join, especially if the benefit is something that's really appealing to them. Having a variety of benefits to offer is even better, as you'll be able to give people a choice so they can select something that is most enticing to them.

  • "We offer three events during the year that are free with a PTA membership. We do a grandparents picnic in September, a movie night in January, and a bingo night in April or May. We let our families know that if they don't have membership, they can join the PTA for $5. It has helped us gain new members throughout the year."
  • "We give VIP carpool slots to anyone who joins the PTA before the beginning of the year."
  • "We give free entry to family fun events when two family members join."
  • "At our high school, we have been approved to give volunteering hours to those students and family members that join our PTSA. These volunteer hours may be used for the graduation requirements."

Tip #4: Make it easy to join

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to have a successful PTA membership drive is to make it easy for parents, teachers, and the entire school community to join your organization. An easy joining process sets the tone for what being a member will be like, and with people always having lots of things on their plate, you want to make sure you've simplified what it takes to join so it's clear, quick, and as effortless as possible.

  • "The principal includes a link to join in his weekly email, Facebook and Instagram, and set up a QR code for teachers to scan and join easily on their phones."
  • "I sent an email to all our past members encouraging them to "skip the line" at open house and join online."
  • "All executive board members have a link to join right in their email signatures, and we created a QR code to post at the school's entrance and throughout so folks can scan it, and it take them right to our online store to join!"
  • "Weekly, if not daily, reminders! Ask your school admin to send out messages on your behalf to all parents. Include a link to your membership store!"