Here’s a run-down of 10 simple ways to get parents involved and enthused about volunteering for the PTA…
1. Explain the options
Don’t assume people know how to get involved with the PTA. Ask the head if you can have an eye-catching poster up in the school / sent home with each child at the start of each year. You want one that contains:
- A picture of the Chair (so everyone knows who they are).
- PTA contact details.
- A list of all the different ways parents can get involved: very hands-on (being a Class Rep); minimal time commitment (make a one-off donation to funds); everything in between (heading events; baking cakes; writing the newsletter etc).
- A line that says, ‘We’d love to hear from you – please get in touch’.
Top Tip: Want a list of who’s who on the PTA? Simply check out the My School Page on Classlist – if your school is using the Classlist app.
2. Start small
When parents build strong relationships with one another it usually leads to greater participation with broader school activities (like the PTA). To support that bonding, ask each Class Rep to take on mini-PTA projects, like making decorations for a Halloween disco. Invite as many parents as possible to help, either at someone’s house or in the pub. This gives the group a task to bond over (and helps the PTA).
3. Keep it personal
Every time a new child starts at your school put a letter into his/ her bags welcoming the family and asking the parents to a coffee morning/ evening. Getting to know parents makes it much easier to ask them for help when the next PTA event rolls round.
Top Tip: At schools using Classlist, new parents can be included in the class conversation straight away.
4. Say “yes”
Make it a policy that if anyone approaches you with a fundraising idea and is willing to take the lead on it, they’ll get the full support of the PTA. They win. You win. The school wins.
5. Make it easy
A quick and easy way to reach all the parents in a school is to go online. Classlist is a free app that lets you:
- Collect and maintain accurate contact details for all the parents in your school.
- Set up chats about school/ PTA events/ lost uniform/ homework.
- Put up requests for volunteers.
- Sell tickets for events.
- Send newsletters and emails.
- Use listings to sell second-hand uniform.
- Create an inclusive online community, where everyone can find out what’s going on.
6. Ask for input
PTAs usually ask teachers how they would like any funds spent. Ask parents too. It will make them feel included and more motivated to raise money.
7. Use visuals
People notice images and talk about things that make them laugh. Create fun posters that illustrate how close you’re getting to achieving your fundraising goal. A skinny teddy bear that gets fatter as the money builds?
8. Share the feedback
One of the rewards of fundraising is seeing how people benefit from the money you’ve brought in. Share that joy! If you’ve created a new playground, the children could write notes to their parents, explaining why it’s so great. That feedback provides an instant motivation for parents to contribute funds to the next project.
Top Tip: Use Classlist to organise your paid events and you can easily track the amount raised by looking at your dashboard.
9. Encourage “nominations”
All sorts of skills come in handy to the PTA – so encourage parents to nominate the skills of other parents. (Much easier than asking people to say what they’re good at themselves). Then you can go to the nominee and say that you’ve been told how great they are at design/ dancing/ wine-tasting – would they be up for creating a poster/ running a sponsored dance session/ holding a wine-tasting night?
Top Tip: Create your own willing volunteers group on Classlist – parents can join if they want to help out in some way.
10. Show your appreciation
It’s the ultimate in simplicity, but a note thanking people for their help buys a lot of good will (and raises the likelihood of parents volunteering again).
Top Tip: Thank your volunteers with a post on Classlist. It will inspire others to help too.