Ten Tips for Launching a Successful Membership Campaign
1. Develop a recruitment team (membership committee) and formulate a goal. Work together with your PTA board to establish a team goal and individual goals, and be sure to assign specific responsibilities and completion dates. Make sure the goal is reasonable and attainable ,though challenging. While seeking new members, be sure someone on the team works on member retention or getting previous members to renew.
2. Target potential members. Define your objective (what you want to accomplish), your strategy (a plan of action to achieve what you want to accomplish), and your methods (the tactics you are going to use to implement your plan) to target potential members effectively. Consider recruiting members at back-to-school night, at the first game or performance of the school year, by knocking on doors of parents who are uninvolved in the school, by going to other groups in the community and asking people to join, etc. Pick strategies and methods that will fit your individual strengths, comfort level, budget, time, and expertise.
3. Make everyone feel welcome. Develop a plan for teaching new members about PTA and for making them feel as though they are part of the organization. A regular orientation evening with new and old members is an effective way to introduce new members. Suggest that all members check out the PTA basics e-learning course on www.pta.org. It’s great way for new members to learn about PTA and for long-time members to gain a fresh look at their association.
4. Include Everyone. Make your recruitment plan reflect the diversity of your school community. Make sure that the materials you produce take into account the background and interests of those you are targeting to join, and that they are available in the languages families speak at home. Consider, too, having a translator present at meetings and other events, and assigning buddies to new members, especially those who may face language or cultural barriers.
5. Make use of key resources. Recruitment will be easier if you use trusted resources. See the Utah PTA website, www.utahpta.org, under Membership for copies of our brochures and ideas. Use the Membership Handbook as well as the Utah PTA State Handbook and this bi-monthly “Perspectives” publication. See the national PTA’s website, www.pta.org and their “Get Involved for Your Child, Join PTA” brochure, PTA Quick-Reference Guide, register for your Back-to-School kit and see many other PTA resources that are in print and on-line. Don’t forget that people are resources, too! Contact your council, region, state, or national PTA officers for resources, information, and guidance.
6. Sell the value of PTA membership. Recruiting new members goes hand-in-hand with making sure they find value in PTA and renew their membership. Keep members motivated through on-going communication, opportunities to volunteer, and recognition. Emphasize to new members what they get for their membership dues; for example, access to articles, newsletters, and publications from state and national PTA, exclusive membership benefits and sponsorship information, including discounts, special offers, and promotions from state and national PTA sponsors, free e-learning courses on subjects such as time management and conflict resolutions, as well as courses on PTA basics and access to join the Member to Member network, the grass roots advocacy system providing direct contact by state PTA members with members of state and national legislatures. However, the number one benefit that PTA members receive from PTA membership is the ability to help their own and other children.
7. Collaborate with and learn from others. 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 other people and provide opportunities to have fun. Tap into the expertise of individual parents, teachers, and business people and let them showcase their talents through local PTA activities.
8. Assist with service-learning initiatives. In some schools, community service and citizenship education has evolved into formal service-learning for students. Through these programs, students participate in individual and group volunteer service activities. As a PTA, sponsor activities to help educate children and increase awareness of your local PTA. For example, plan a day of planting trees, picking up litter, or volunteering to do something to build a better community. You will benefit through community service, and your students will learn important lessons.
9. Implement your PTA’s membership recruitment and retention plan. Plans are worthless unless they are put into practice. Be sure to schedule your recruitment and retention activities throughout the year, and particularly at events such as “Back-to-School” in the fall and at the start of the New Year, in January. Assign a specific person to be in charge of coordinating the different events, but involve all of your members. Every event your PTA holds is a chance to have more people join, so always have your sign-up sheets and information ready!
10. Evaluate and adjust accordingly. Continuously seek feedback from team members on issues such as how many new members they are recruiting, how they are helping these new members acclimate to PTA and get involved, and how many members are staying active. Regardless of whether the evaluation is done through a formal survey or informal communication, it should be systematic, recorded and used to adjust and improve the Membership plan’s strategy.
(Article adapted from Steps to an Effective Member Recruitment Plan from National PTA)