Ask any PTO what they need and their first answer will be more money, followed shortly by more volunteers.
And there’s good reason for both of these answers! While there are over 60,000 PTOs in the United States alone, parent engagement and involvement in groups has shrunken.
There are less volunteers doing the work of PTOs.
But you probably already knew that since you’re still reading this article!
What you want to know is how to reverse that trend and get more parents involved in your PTO, right?
You’re looking for parent engagement tips to blow your mind!
Alrighty then, let’s have at it!
Before we can get into how to get more parent involvement, let’s talk about some of the reason why parents aren’t involved in the first place.
No One’s Ever Asked
I know that seems pretty strange to say that parents haven’t been asked, but it’s true!
I’ll bet you a chocolate bar that you’ve not asked.
But Christina! That’s totally not true.
I’ve asked parents at my school to get involved.
I’ve sent home flyers and I’ve sent out emails.
I even made super cute graphics and shared them on my PTO’s Facebook page and then on my page.
How the heck can parents claim they’ve not been asked?
Yes, you’ve listed off a ton of ways that you used to communicate the opportunity for involvement and probably the need as well.
But you’ve probably not personally asked the parents to join, amiright?
The world of PTO is personal.
It takes a group of committed individuals working together to make all the good work PTOs do happen.
Since you’re working in small groups, you’re working with Claire and Charlie.
Not some unnamed people who you don’t know.
So you have to get personal with the ask too!
I know you’re not going to be able to personally invite each and every parent to join, but what if you asked just a few?
Not instead of what you’re already doing, but in addition?
You see, there are a bunch of parents that will never join or help out at all because no one has ever asked them.
They just need that personal ask to make them feel wanted.
So no, you don’t need engraved invitations to make the ask, but do carve out some time to ask people.
Talk to them when you’re waiting at the flagpole to pick up your kids from school.
Ask when you run into them at the grocery store.
Chat un-involved parents up on the soccer field sidelines.
You’ll find that parents are a lot more willing to get involved when you ask them personally!
Is your group hot mess city?
There are a few ways your PTO could be a hot mess.
First, you could be disorganized and have poor communication.
Second, your members could be catty and cliquey.
Neither of those things makes for a fun group. Parents will feel it and run far, far away from your PTO.
N.o.b.o.d.y. in their right mind will get involved in a group that is a hot mess, so get your stuff together, now!
Does your PTO have fun together, or is it all work and no play?
Definitely make sure that you are building in some social time to your PTO plans.
If parents only see you working, then they’ll assume that being part of your PTO means that they’ll be endlessly counting out carnival tickets.
That’s for sure no fun! The new name of the game for your PTO is less meetings and more socializing.
Meetings are boring
The next reason why PTOs are no fun are the meetings.
Yes, meetings are absolutely necessary for a PTO to exist and get business done.
But there are a bunch of alternatives to the traditional PTO meeting.
Plus, unless your PTO has magical qualities, then I’m guessing not many parents actually come to PTO meetings.
And that’s because for more PTOs the meetings are way too long with people talking way too much.
There is a semi-magical meeting length time that you should aim for.
And that’s an hour, maybe an hour and fifteen minutes
To get meetings down to an hour, you have to go in with a plan and follow it.
You can’t just make it up as you go along.
That’s exactly how two-hour meeting happens.
Who has time for a two-hour meeting?
Not me, missy.
I’m guessing you’re not a fan of those kind of meetings either.
Make it personal.
Make the ask!
Need step by step parent involvement guidance?
If you’ve read this post and you’re still feeling like you need a more concrete plan to help get more parents involved, then I have just that!
I’ve put together a 3 part step by step parent involvement and engagement system.
It’s called the A.C.E. system and it’s simple and easy to follow and implement.
And of course, it’s effective at getting more parent involvement in your PTO and school!
In addition to the detailed parent involvement system guidance, there’s also fully editable membership flyers and letter templates beyond anything you’ve ever seen:
- 5 Myths Facts about PTO Flyer
- 5 Great Reasons to be Part of PTO Flyer
- Back to School Parent Letter
- Community Organization Support Request Letter
- Member Welcome Letter
- PTO Membership Form Template
- New Family Welcome Letter
- Why You Should Join the PTO Flyer
All available in the Parent Involvement Success Kit!
Want even more parent involvement tips?
There’s no faster way to organize your entire PTO and simultaneously give all leaders the resources they need than the Success Kit for PTO and PTA Groups!