With just a few weeks left until the end of another academic year, your PTA is probably looking forward to winding down for the summer. But, before you put down your diaries, kick off your sandals and relax with a glass of Pimms, there is one more thing you to consider… what are your plans for the new kids starters in September, and just as importantly, their grown-ups?
That’s right. Alongside a new intake of happy, excited new kids to invite to your events is an army of parents, grandparents and carers who could swell the ranks of your PTA and help make your fundraising bigger and better than ever before!
So, how are you going to capture this amazing potential pool of volunteers and get them involved in your PTA? The very first thing that you should do is provide each new family with a Welcome Pack.
What is a Welcome Pack?
A welcome pack is often the first contact that parents will have with a PTA. It provides a great opportunity to explain who you are and what you do, without coming across too full on.
Starting school can be nerve-wracking for many parents who, as well as worrying about their child, may also be daunted about standing on a playground with a load of parents that they don’t know. A welcome pack also gives them the benefit of being able to read it in the comfort of their own home, without feeling pressured into attending a meeting.
Look out for our welcome pack at Back to School Night tomorrow. Find out how to join Westwood PTA and our exciting programs for 2014-15.— Westwood PTA (@westwoodpta) August 25, 2014
What should be included?
Here are some of the key components that should be incorporated in your PTA Welcome Pack.
The most important part of your pack should be a welcome letter. Keep it short, friendly and welcoming, and give a brief overview of the information that can be found in the welcome pack. Don’t forget to invite parents to contact you with any questions or suggestions that they may have.
You might be tempted to remain anonymous and sign of as “The PTA Committee” but frankly, it comes across as rather intangible and woolly. A name (and ideally a face to go with it) is much more personal, warm and – well – welcoming!
List of key dates
One of the biggest challenges a school and PTA faces is good communication. Whether at the start or end of the year, or anywhere in between, school life is always busy. One of the main complaints heard in schools is that there is a lack of notice of events.
By giving parents a list of key dates in advance, you can boost participation rates, give them time to plan and organise their schedules and make serious headway in the biggest challenge of all – keeping parents happy!
Not only can you schedule as many of your PTA meetings as possible, you can also include term dates and regular events, such as sports day if the school has planned them in advance.
Something that Broadoak PTA has figured out for sure:
Your PTA goals
A new parent may never have encountered a PTA before, so it is important to explain why you do what you do, and what you hope to achieve. As well as this overview, you can offer some more specific information, such as what funds have been spent on previously, and any particular purchases that you are hoping to make this academic year.
How to contact you
If you want people to volunteer with your PTA then they need to know how to contact you! A list of the names, email addresses (and if you want to, phone numbers) of the people with key positions within your PTA is a great start.
You should also provide a list of resources where parents can find updates throughout each term. This could include your website, social media pages and even the location of your traditional noticeboard.
Check out the bright colours on Mayfield Primary School PTA’s noticeboard
Check out loads more fabulous bulletin board ideas on our Pinterest board:
How they can find out more online
If your PTA is well-represented online with a great website, active Facebook page or Twitter account – this is a great way to get newbies more engaged in your community. You might ask them to sign up to your PTA mailing list.
Of course we may be biased, but a free PTAsocial account is all you need to get them signed up, browsing your events, volunteering to help with something small (or big!) and of course buying tickets in advance for your next event.
An informative but easy-to-read welcome pack is a fantastic way of introducing your PTA to new parents, and a stepping stone to inviting them to their first meeting or event.
Over to you...
Has your PTA put together a welcome pack for parents? We would love to see what you have included and hear how successful your packs have been.
PTAsocial makes organising events super-easy and inclusive by allowing volunteers to pick out a specific, manageable task. It’s completely free, so just start an account for your school right now in 2 minutes.