Need some help thinking of some out of the box places to promote your PTO events to boost involvement from school families, community members, or both?
Just think how fantastic it would be to have a well attended event, whether it be a school dance, PTO meeting, Color Run fundraiser, or Reflections Art Show!
Quick wracking your brain to come up with publicity ideas because here are a bunch of places to consider posting information about your next PTO event (in no particular order!):
- School newsletter – Ask your Principal for the publishing schedule and ask to have upcoming PTO events, fundraisers and meetings included in each edition.
- PTO Newsletter – Start a newsletter to feature volunteer opportunities, showcase how the PTO gives back to the school community and remind parents why PTO is for them!
- PTO Social Media Pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)- Simply posting on the social platforms does NOT mean anyone will actually see your posts. Organic reach is pretty low (as in about 1% of your page/profile followers will actually see your posts!)
- PTO website – Carve out a corner on the internet to promote PTO happenings.
- School Website – Ask for a page on the school’s website to promote current PTO programs, volunteer opportunities and more. See if they’ll link out to your PTO’s website.
- Teacher’s Lounge – Add a few flyers to the main table. Invest in a few T stands* to make the information more visible and swap out the information regularly.
- Above copy machines in school – Post flyers and information on the wall behind the copiers for a can’t miss message!
- Morning announcements at school – Craft attention getting and clever messages to engage students and teachers alike.
- City e-newsletter – Contact your City Hall and ask for PTO information to be included in the newsletters. This is fantastic way to engage alumni!
- PTO Facebook Group – Facebook Groups have a much higher organic reach rate than Facebook Pages, so be sure to announce events and fundraisers here too. Save time by scheduling the messages to go out so you don’t have to worry about posting each day.
- Community Facebook pages – As long as the group rules permit, post PTO information here. Community members will give support (and money!) if you ask.
- Local Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook Groups- Group rules about what can be posted vary, but definitely seek out this venue to spread the word.
- Nextdoor Community Page- Jump on this platform to share about your PTO’s fundraisers and events.
- School Bulletin boards – Use this free real estate and decorate a board at the beginning of the year and then keep it updated throughout the year.
- School Marque – Whether your school has a digital or old school, slap up the individual letters, don’t overlook this method of promoting your PTO’s meetings, fundraisers and events.
- City Facebook Page – Ask the social media manager for your community to post your PTO news on this platform too.
- City Hall and Community Center – Don’t forget to add flyers to the bulletin boards and both of these neighborhood centers. Both get a lot of foot traffic, so leverage that fact!
- YMCA- Another great place to partner with! Regularly post PTO information here too.
- Board of Education – Don’t overlook the opportunity to post here too, especially since new student registrations often take place in person here.
- Local businesses (think: shoe store, nail salon, pizza shop, preschools, etc.) – See if they’ll post information about your PTO’s fundraiser or program near the cash registers so everyone who comes in will see.
- Business with a community bulletin board (Grocery store, Panera, Dave’s Cosmic Subs, etc.)- Be sure to follow each location’s policies about what can be posted, but don’t miss this free mini-billboard!
Why are so many places on this list?
You night be thinking that it’s overkill to publicize each PTO event at all of these places, and you’re totally right! But especially if your PTO is having trouble attracting or retaining members and volunteers, then you really need to cast a wider net and consider consistently posting information at a combination of these places.
No one will see everything posting you make and if they do, it’ll stand out to them and will increase the likelihood they act. Research has shown that it takes 5-12 exposures for people to remember an ad, so publicizing your PTO event isn’t any different. That’s why it’s important to use multi-prong approach to getting the word about, especially for your most important events.
When you’re hard at work planning an event, it’s sometimes hard to see the big picture. You’re so familiar with the events, it’s hard to think that everyone else isn’t similarly aware.
But the sad truth is that they’re not always paying attention, and unfortunately, the same occasionally even goes for parents attending PTO meetings! Zoning out during meetings is a real thing, so it’s a good idea to not only use a combination of these ideas to broadcast the event details and make it hard to miss!
PTO PR the Right Way
A smart publicity plan involves prioritizing which events will be promoted outside of the school and when it makes more sense to keep things within the inner circle of your school families.
Not all PTO events are appropriate for inviting community members to get involved, but there are many times when it shouldn’t just be school families and staff participating.
Take for example a fun run or fundraiser. Both are better when more people are involved! For the fun run, that’s the sort of event that is even more fun with more participants and it can be a great way to build community spirit as well as awareness about your school.
It’s a semi-similar situation for fundraisers. More participants means more money raised for your PTO and school, so that’s a definite win and well worth the time involved to encourage community participation too. A smart fundraiser is one that appeals to a broad audience.
I talk about the publicity suggestions for spreading the word about your PTO’s events, programs and fundraisers in this video:
Over to you!
How many of these places are you already using to publicize PTO events?
Hope this post sparks some ideas about even more places you could post information about your next PTO event so you get greater participation from school families and community members, alike!
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