One of the most common questions asked by our members is "how to raise awareness of your PTA to parents and the best ways to get them involved?" I’ve been recently doing some research and the most important thing PTAs can do, is to be more visible. While conducting my research I found some PTAs with no online presence at all and others with beautiful pages or websites but are missing the most important thing which is sharing how to get in touch or involved, and instead they rely on the school to pass on any enquiries.
As you aren’t holding events at the minute, now is a really good time to think about your online presence. Here are a few great ways to do this:
1. Talk to the school about the PTA having a page on the school website. These usually sit in the Parents or Community section. Make sure this page tells the members about the fabulous events you hold, what you’ve raised funds for and how these benefit the children at the school. Tell your members who the committee are, include photos if you can so members recognise them around the school. Even if the school won’t let you have your own page, maybe they could include a link to a PTA website or Facebook page. The most important thing to include is to tell your members how to get in touch with you and how they can get involved with events.
2. If you choose to set up your own website, put a call out to your members - maybe one of them has experience with this. They may not want to help run a stall at an event, but this could play to their strengths.
3. Have a PTA email address. Using the school email address places the responsibility on the school staff, when really it would be quicker and easier for the PTA committee to respond to directly. You could have one email address for the PTA, or one per committee member e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org
4. As a member of Parentkind, you have access to the PTA Events platform, which can be used for all sorts of things to help you communicate with your members, as well as when you organise events. You can use this for newsletters, document storage, email updates, volunteer management.
5. Consider having a skills questionnaire so your members can let you know what they are good at and you know who to approach for specific tasks, like the web development suggestion, you may find someone who has health and safety experience who can help with risk assessments, first aid qualifications or Food Hygiene certificates. If people know you don’t expect too much of them, they may be more inclined to get involved.
6. Have a closed Facebook page. I know some schools are reluctant for PTAs to do this in case it turns into an area where they discuss school issues or complain about the school, but if you introduce policies for use and the committee moderate the page and make sure any posts like this either aren’t approved or if they get on the page they are removed, this should reassure the school you are only using it for PTA related issues. Plus it’s the PTA’s Facebook page and the school can’t actually tell you, that you can’t do it – you just need to be able to reassure them it’s being used properly. See more here.
7. If you haven’t already got one ask the school if you can have a notice board at the school to promote your activities and events. We have some templates for posters you can use (online too) here.
If you’ve got any bright ideas of your own that you’d like to share with us, please either contact us on email@example.com or post it on our PTA Hangout on Facebook - we love to hear ideas that have worked for our members.