Your PTA will need to hold an Annual General Meeting once a year, to vote in new committee members and plan for the fundraising year ahead, so the date will largely depend on when the last AGM was held. Many committees hold theirs at the beginning or end of a school year, so previous events can be reviewed and new volunteers recruited.
It’s best practice to give all members 21 days notice of the meeting date, this should also give the Chair and Treasurer time to prep any necessary reports, and for you to spread the word among those potential new volunteers!
You might want to stick to the familiar setting of school for your AGM (this is usually your first glimpse inside the forbidden world of the school staff room!) or maybe somewhere less formal like a local pub or café would work instead? And also consider the demographic of the school community – would a day time meeting be well attended, or perhaps an evening would be best for working parents (and teachers!)
Or how to get them on board and keep them there!
One of the main challenges faced by PTAs is recruitment, and an AGM is a great opportunity to extend a warm invitation to parents, carers, grandparents (and maybe even ex-pupils of the school) to come along and see that the PTA is not as scary as it might sound!
You could choose to hold the meeting before or after a social event like a bingo night or disco, so you have a ready-made captive audience. Or entice new members along with the promise of some tasty treats – maybe some tea and cake, or even cheese and wine! And let them know in advance what to expect; how long the meeting will last and the important stuff you’ll be covering. There are some more great tips and ideas here on our blog
If there are any “New Starters” evenings or events at the beginning of term, this is the perfect opportunity to meet those new families and let them know about your fantastic PTA. They’ll really appreciate the personal approach and may find the notion of coming along to a meeting much less daunting! And if you can gain the support of the teaching staff they can also help spread the word for you.
Be seen - everywhere!
• Attractive posters in every classroom window and high-traffic areas of the school – these could be designed by pupils
• On the school newsletter (a direct message from the Head can work wonders, or a friendly welcoming paragraph from the Chair or committee as a whole – try and include a photo too!)
• Regular reminders of the time, date and location via social media or school text alerts.
There are some great ideas here on our blog about what to say to attract new volunteers.
Put a copy of the agenda on the school website too, so that newbies will have a good idea of what to expect. Include a map of the school if the location of the meeting is on site, new parents may only be familiar with their child’s classroom and have no idea where the staff room is!
If you’re looking to fill vacancies at the AGM, organise a reply slip for parents to fill in so they can express their interest in any roles in advance. They’ll probably want to know what the job will entail and how much time they’ll be expected to dedicate to volunteering (fear of the unknown is what stops many people getting stuck in!)
There are some great “roles and responsibilities” PDFs on www.governancepages.org.uk, as well as helpful advice and information about running a voluntary organisation.
AGM hints and tips
New term = new start!
An AGM is a great time to evaluate and take stock – learn lessons from what worked last year, and wipe the slate clean if things didn’t go according to plan! Be open to any suggestions that new volunteers or committee members might have (even if you’ve heard them a thousand times before!) and put your positive head on – wear a smile and remember to be welcoming and encouraging!
If you’re already using PTAsocial, make sure you tell new parents how to join! Let them know how quick and easy it is to browse upcoming events and get involved without having to over-commit. You could also knock up a leaflet explaining how to register to hand out along with the meeting agenda when they arrive.
And when you’re planning your fundraising events for the year ahead, don’t forget to check out our handy event guides here
AND when you create a new event in PTAsocial, you can pick a template from our list for inspiration and guidance – how brilliant is that?!
When you’re out shopping for meeting refreshments, grab a roll of sticky labels and use them as name badges at the AGM. There’s nothing worse for a PTA virgin than being in a room full of strangers who all seem to know each other already, while they can’t distinguish the parents from the teachers!
Have a copy of your PTA’s constitution to hand, in case of any queries or disputes. A copy of last year’s accounts should also be available for anyone that wants to see them.
Get a simple sign-up sheet going that can be passed around while the meeting is in progress so you can track who came along, and grab their contact details at the same time.
If you don’t already have them, consider recruiting class reps! Many PTAs appoint them to filter information from the PTA to the parents, spreading the word about upcoming events and making the committee more accessible for those who might be reluctant about volunteering. They could be your “secret weapon” when it comes to communication! Aim to have two parent representatives for each class – it’s a great role for a pair of friends (or an opportunity for two new mums/dads to get acquainted!) Read more about the important role of class reps here.
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