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The Secret to Getting Parents Involved in PTO

The one question that I hear all the time is how in the heck to get parents involved?

Now to you, being the fearless PTO leader you are, this is an honest question.  

You really want to know what to do to bring more parents in to be actively involved.  

Because for you, there is no question.  

Of course you are going to be involved.  

Of course you’re going to volunteer.  

Because that’s just what you do!  

Not being involved really isn’t an option!

It’s a mystery to me a lot of the time as to why more parents aren’t involved.  There’s a whole lotta reasons, and the vast majority of them are out of your control.

It’s time to stop wondering why they aren’t involved in PTO and start planning a way to position your group to bring on new volunteers.

You see, there are a few types of people in this world, and yes, this is a gross generalization, but I’m gonna go there anyway, so just work with me:

1.  The leaders
2.  The immediate joiners
3.  The reluctant volunteer parents
4.  The never-ever-gonna-be-involved parents

Some of these types of people are in this video:

The Power of Being First

How to start a movement | Derek Sivers

This first time I saw this video was during a strategic planning stakeholder session a few years ago when my school district was drafting a strategic plan.  

See, I’m totally a do-er and totally involved!  But because you are so brilliant, you already knew that!

Anyhow, this video gave me goosebumps.  

I was so, so, so inspired!  

I hope it does the same for you.  Because getting that first follower is what it’s all about.

You see, the first guy to get up there- I bet he didn’t even know what he was doing.  

He probably wasn’t trying to start anything.

He was just having a good time and was super in the moment.  

But he had so much fun, it wasn’t long before others joined in!

The Lesson for all PTO/PTAs

You most certainly have to do the same thing: make your group fun!

No one, not even Selfless Sally is going to help out with PTO stuff if it’s not fun.  


It’s just not going to be a sustainable thing for her.  

If it’s not fun, she may even revert to being one of those never-ever-gonna-volunteer-parents.  

And that would be a shame!

How to Make It Fun

Ok, you’re ready to add in the fun.


No gossip.  

Treat people with respect.  

Add in chocolate or wine when and where appropriate!

Act like the adult you are and hold others to this same standard as well.  

Recognize (and rejoice) in the fact that y’all are not moving mountains.  

You’re simply trying to make the school a better place.  

Be ridiculously welcoming.

And then ask

And once your group is fun, step it up a notch and ask parents to join you!

Now I bet you’re thinking that everyone should just want to join naturally, without prompting.  

But as I’ve discussed above, that’s not how it works.

To get parents to sign up, you need to ask them more than you expect.  

And not only will you need to ask them on the regular, but you’ll need to ask more than once and in different ways, especially if your asks aren’t converting.

That’s the harsh truth.

Watch this for more help

The Secret to Getting Parents Involved

Over to you!

Did you get goosebumps from the How to Start a Movement video?

Even More Help

If your group is really struggling to attract or keep volunteers coming back again and again, then it’s time to kick it up a notch and get some time tested guidance!  

That’s exactly what you’ll find in the Membership Master Plan for Parent Engagement.

In addition to the normal planner pages, you’d expect to find, there are dozens of pages with specific strategies and methods for boosting not only membership, but parent engagement and involvement.  

After all, your group needs active volunteers and not just members who’ve paid dues, right?SaveSaveSaveSave

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