Here are a tips that our presidents found useful for engaging parent members in the PA/PTA:
Communication, Communication, Communication – use different methods (email, website, flyers, backpacked notes, phone calls) but focus on those that work for best for your community. Make sure to communicate clearly and consistently. Also, make information available in multiple languages as needed.
Always have a sign in sheet. Gather as much contact information from families so you can reach them and follow up to enlist their help.
Share your contact information. Contact information for all PA/PTA officers is required by CR-660, but it should be readily available and included on all communications so that parents know where to reach out if they need help.
Say “Thank you.” You really can’t thank volunteers enough.
Share your schedule. Alert parents early about events so that they can put on their calendars and fit them into their busy schedules.
Offer Alternatives. Schedule events/meetings at different times (evenings, mornings, weekends) so that no one is excluded because of the schedule.
Make volunteering easy. Provide lots of different ways parents can get involved. Identify jobs that can be done at home or after working hours. Break big jobs into smaller ones or set up committees to share work. Let parents know that getting involved doesn’t have to turn into a never-ending commitment.
Ask for specific help and follow up when parents volunteer or sign up.
Have fun. People want to be part of a group that has fun while accomplishing its goals. Be upbeat and stress the positive.
Focus on Community. Not everything should be about fundraising.
Welcome Change. Be open to new ideas and contributions from newcomers.
Partner with the school. Enlist the help of the principal or parent coordinator. A strong partnership with your school administration will help support your goals.