18 September 2019
It’s that time of year again when every PTA is trying to get new recruits on board. If you’re finding it daunting you’re not alone, recruiting new volunteers can feel a bit like swimming through treacle. It’s important to approach the task with a positive attitude, so to keep your morale high, we’ve put together our top tips for recruiting new PTA members:
Make a plan for recruiting new people that involves more than just sending a pleading note home from school. Use methods such as social media, newsletters and posters. Perhaps most important is word of mouth, so ask existing PTA members, staff and even governors to spread the word within their networks.
People can get the impression that the PTA is a clique of mums, avoid this by showing the diversity of your group and approaching non-traditional potential volunteers. Try to spread the word among dads, grandparents and extended family, that the PTA isn’t just for mums. Don’t forget, grandparents tend to have more time on their hands so they can make great contributors.
Use the first term of the school year to reach out to families of children who are new to the school. People who have recently moved to the area may be particularly open to the idea of joining the PTA as a way of making new friends.
Perhaps most importantly, people need a reason to join the PTA so tell them what’s in it for them. Explain how the PTA will benefit them and their child, as well as helping the school. The benefits could include making friends, learning new skills, showing your child that you are interested in their education, and helping to buy equipment that will directly benefit your child.
Hold an event such an informal Coffee & Cake morning/evening where people can meet PTA members and ask questions about what’s involved. This will give you a chance to meet a pool of potential volunteers. Make sure you get their contact details so you can invite them to future meetings, and get them to join your Facebook group. If you don’t have a Facebook group, consider starting one today!
When looking for new volunteers, don’t just recruit from parents and families. Remember there are lots of other people involved in the school who might be interested in joining or supporting the PTA. Think about trying to involve teachers, teaching assistants, admin staff, catering staff and cleaners. You never know who might step up.
Get to know the background and talents of potential new members. Look out for people who are well connected in the local community or who have useful skills such as finance, marketing, art/design, baking or digital media. You could even advertise for specific roles within the PTA, or for people who have a skill that’s lacking within the current membership.
Be honest about what the PTA does and what’s involved. Explain how often the meetings are and for how long, how many events are involved and any other responsibilities. If people come into it with their eyes open, they’re more likely to stick with it. Some people don’t have the time or motivation to make a regular commitment to PTA meetings; give them the option to volunteer on a one-off or occasional basis if that’s what suits them.
When new people come to their first meeting or event, make sure they feel welcome and have a good experience. Avoid disagreements and conflict, and foster a positive atmosphere. Whilst it’s important to get through the necessary business at PTA meetings, make sure you allow friendly chat and humour. Try to build an element of fun into the PTA by having social gatherings that don’t involve PTA business.
Good communication with potential and existing PTA members is crucial. If you say you are going to follow-up with someone make sure you do it, and ensure people know how to reach you too. Even better would be to recruit or appoint someone to take a lead on communications. Tone of voice is important in written and verbal communications, keep your tone friendly, and avoid the temptation to nag people.
Now you’re equipped with our top tips for finding new PTA members, so good luck with your recruitment campaign. We’re sure you have lots of great ideas of your own too, so please follow our Facebook page and give us your PTA recruitment tips.
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