How to get parents to not ignore PTO events with clipboard and flowers

How to Get Parents to NOT Ignore PTO Events

Look, I know I’m being a little cheeky with the title of this blog post, but in all seriousness, you’re working too hard as a PTO volunteer to have parents ignore PTO events.   You’re putting in a ton of time to put together wonderful programs and events and it’d be a real shame if no one came to them, right?

In this post, I’ll go through pitfalls to avoid so that you’re working towards having the entire school show up for events instead of parents ignoring PTO events.

Mistake #1: Give late notice of the event

In this day and age when there’s so much information flying around and families are busier than ever, they need lots of notice.  Start promoting the PTO event early and often.  Make sure it’s on the PTO calendar of events.

Make sure everyone has that calendar and that it’s kept up to date by your Communications Chair.  Don’t have one?  Get one!

Promote the event on the PTO Facebook page, in the PTO Facebook group, on the school marquee, during announcements, n a Remind message, in the PTO newsletter, posters up at school, etc.  If it’s an event community members can attend, see if your city will publish an announcement in their newsletter or on their Facebook page.  Basically, promote the event everywhere you can think of!

The bigger the event, the earlier you’ll want to start promoting it.  Ideally, start promoting bigger events a few months out and smaller events at least two weeks out.   As the event date approaches, increase event promotion frequency.

Don’t assume parents have seen previous posts, especially with Facebook posts.  Facebook has become a pay to play platform and boosted posts and ads for events reach a lot of page followers, but posts that don’t have money spent on them don’t.


Mistake #2: Not telling teachers

Teachers can’t help if they don’t know about the events.  Most teachers will remind students and families about PTO programs if they know about the events!

Remember to give teachers and school staff even more notice about the events than parents.  Go the extra step of asking them to remind their students about the events.  Many will happily oblige!

You can do this without jumping through a lot of hoops pretty easily!  I made a video about it with even more tips about the best ways to communicate with teachers.


Mistake #3: Hard to Read Flyers

*Stepping onto soapbox* I’m going to come out and say it, but there are a heckuvalot really bad, really hard to read flyers out there trying to promote PTO events and programs.  And they get ignored too often.

If the flyer is too busy and hard to read, people won’t.  They just won’t.

What makes a busy and hard to read flyer?  Too many fonts.  Not enough white space.  Too many graphics.  Bad color combinations.

The solution for bad flyers is to find someone in your PTO who knows how to create eye catching and easy on the eyes flyers.  If you don’t have anyone in your group who is good at designing flyers, then check out the flyer templates available in the PTO Answers Shop.  

Mistake #4: Sticking with the same old, same old

Parents stop showing up for events when the same events and programs are put on year after year, again and again.  Gah!  Nobody likes old and stale!

I’m not suggesting that you should be reinventing the wheel every year, but your PTO should be keeping things fresh with something new every year.  Something as small as tweaking the theme, or time of year of the event can make a positive difference that keeps people coming back for more.

Want even more?

For even more tips about how to not get parents to ignore PTO events, watch this!

How to Get Parents to NOT Ignore PTO Events or PTA Events

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