One Voice Illinois

How Do You Increase Your PTA’s Membership? Just Ask!

In a PTA survey, 49% of respondents said the reason people don’t join PTA is that no one asked them to. The way we ask people to join needs to be personal, powerful, and meaningful. Yet, even with the passion we have for PTA’s Mission, asking other people to join can seem daunting.

Why is it difficult to ask parents to join? Fear. The fear of hearing “no”; fear that asking will strain friendships; fear that a “no” is failure. If the person you ask to join PTA says “no,” you have not failed. You have simply provided that person with an opportunity to help children that he or she has chosen not to take advantage of right now. Be sure to ask again sometime—the answer might be “yes.” And it’s those “yes” responses we receive each year and the ways in which communities nationwide benefit from parent involvement that make asking all the more worthwhile. To help those involved in PTA membership drives and recruitment activities overcome their fears, this article provides practical tips and the know-how for making “the ask” easier and more successful.

Reasons for Asking

You are asking for a good cause. By asking someone to join PTA, you are empowering that person to help make a difference in his or her child’s life. Surveys show that, in general, children of involved parents have better school experiences, higher grades and test scores, fewer disciplinary problems, and more supportive teachers. One of the best ways parents can be involved and show their support for their children is by joining PTA.

PTA is the most recognized school organization. A 2007 survey by L.C. Williams and Associates found that 94 percent of adults are aware of PTA and more than 91 percent have positive impressions of PTA. People understand what PTAs do for schools and are more inclined to join a recognized school organization than to join an unfamiliar one. The audience probably expects you to ask. It’s no secret that PTA success is based on membership. So it’s logical that someone from PTA would ask parents, school administrators, and community members to consider joining. If people expect you to ask them to join and you don’t, they might think they are not needed or are not welcome. People involved with children’s education expect to be invited to join PTA, so go ahead and ask!

Methods of Asking

Overcome objections.

Most objections to joining PTA fall into one of four areas:

Here are some suggestions for responding to those objections.

People like to join organizations that make a difference in the lives of others, are educational and beneficial to the community, allow them to network with successful people, and provide opportunities to have fun. Highlight that your members have opportunities to mix with diverse individuals through local PTA activities. Emphasize once again that for parents the number one benefit of PTA membership is the ability to help their children. For many parents, that is reason enough to join.

 

Source: National PTA Membership Recruitment and Retention Manual