Building Your PTA Communications Plan this Year

commsguide1This year’s fully digital PTA Back-to-School KIT is full of resources and tips for building and sustaining your local PTA unit. As a PTA leader, it is critical that you regularly keep your members informed of the work your PTA is doing and how they can get involved. In our Communications Quick Reference Guide PTA has detailed plans and suggestions on everything from leading meetings to sharing messages with fellow PTA members, school staff and adminsitrators, and community members. As you build PTA programs this school year, develop great working relationships with reporters and media personalities. The media can be a valuable partner in sharing your story, and we encourage you to reach out using our sample media advisories and tips to get started.

Social media is a powerful tool for individuals to share ideas and content and facilitate a conversation. It also is fast, free, and easy to get started. From Facebook to Twitter, there are many platforms for you to quickly showcase your PTA at its best and receive feedback from friends, colleagues, and the broader community. We know that many of you take photos highlighting your many events, projects, and initiatives. Consider rolling these images into a photo collage summary using one of many FREE and user friendly video services like Animoto or pay a small fee for other services like Roxio’s PhotoShow. When using social media, be sure to foster transparent, honest, and knowledgeable dialogue to build engagement and interest in your program. Also remember that photography and videography convey the excitement of your events and are great channels to feature your events, but be sure to use photo release forms to obtain a photo subjects’ permission for use in promotional materials. For further guidance or ideas to increase your following online, review our social media policy to help establish your PTAs online boundaries.

Consistent branding and a uniform presence for National PTA and all PTA produced material is key. Our branding guidelines are imperative and have helped to establish PTA as a leader on advocacy for children. Speak with a consistent message and have a credible voice to serve as a media spokesperson or representative from your Unit. As a PTA officer, spend some time with your PTA leaders in the coming weeks developing your communications strategy to promote and share your PTA success this school year. Effective communication is key to promoting your programs to a variety of groups and building support from the community.

Membership Monday: A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

Grindstone PTA 2012-13 from Grindstone PTA on Vimeo.

A few days ago our National Field Services team shared a video with us highlighting an excellent best practice story. They were right! Within minutes, all the computers in the membership department were running the Grindstone Elementary PTA slideshow. The music filled our offices and the photos reminded us of the work we do each day for every child.

The caption for the video reads: This is Grindstone PTA’s 2012-13 recap video. This video showcases everything we do, our students smiling faces and our wonderful volunteers. In the world of membership recruitment and retention, we believe this caption translates to: Our PTA has value! Our PTA makes a difference in the lives of your children! Join our PTA TODAY!

Often times we are asked by parents to explain the benefits of PTA. What a perfect way to not only explain what your PTA does but capture its work in action. Pictures are worth a thousand words and the smiles of children are certainly worth more new members.

This video summary by Grindstone, created using Vimeo is the perfect annual report. We know that many of you take photos highlighting your many events, projects, and initiatives. Consider rolling these images into a photo collage summary using one of many FREE and user friendly video services like Animoto or pay a small fee for other services like Roxio’s PhotoShow.

Whether you choose to use pictures or words to convey the value of your PTA, the true best practice here is to be sure you know the value you bring to your schools, communities, and children. Continue to tell the story! Be able to clearly explain this value in a clear and informative way. If you build it, they will come.

 


Felisha Battle if the Director of Membership Marketing at National PTA

Glynn County Council PTA is Today’s PTA in Action

Glynn County Council PTA is Today’s PTA in action! Longtime PTA member and now Council President, Amanda Kirkland is spearheading the PTA Membership Bowl on Tuesday, July 30th from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Glynn County Stadium, which she hopes will not only grow membership but change the communities perception of PTA and inspire increased parental involvement this school year. National PTA President Otha Thornton says this is exactly the type of event that he hopes to see taking place all across the country.



PTA Rally Aims To Win Members
; Goal Is To Get Parents Involved In Education

By SARAH LUNDGREN

Courtesy of The Brunswick News

07062013_A01_ImageAmanda Kirkland found herself with a problem: Her children’s school had stopped funding a program, and she wanted to know why. A quick chat with the principal and five years later, she is leading other parents to make changes in their children’s schools.

“The principal said that the school budget and time constraints just couldn’t support the project anymore. But, she had said the PTA may be able to take it on, and she thought I was just the right parent to see it through,” Kirkland explained of that first meeting. “She empowered me to be a part of the solution.”

An active PTA member since, and now president of the Glynn County PTA Council

for public schools, Kirkland knows the importance of parental involvement in a child’s education.

The Glynn County PTA Council serves as a liaison between the state PTA and PTAs at each of the 16 Glynn County public schools, but Kirkland says there’s been something missing for a long time: broad parental involvement.

“Honestly, I think people have lost faith in the PTA and how it can contribute to our community. Most people associate the PTA with fundraising and playground equipment. We do those things, but our main objective is advocacy,” she said. Seeking to change that perception, Kirkland has spearheaded a community-wide event set for July 30 – the inaugural PTA Membership Bowl from 5 to 8 p.m. at Glynn County Stadium. This won’t be like any cookies and punch meeting in a school cafeteria. Drawings, giveaways, dunk booths, bounce houses and other activities will be part of it. Bands, cheerleaders and high school sports teams will be on hand, as well.

“This was an out-of-the-box idea, and we’ve never done anything like it before,” she said. “Our goal for this event is twofold: we’d like to see more community members join the PTA and, in turn, empower more parents to take an active role in their child or children’s education.”So far, Kirkland says response from the community has been excellent. The Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce has signed on as co-sponsor, hoping to encourage businesses and organizations to join in.

“One of the key support efforts we have is supporting educational activities,” chamber President Woody Woodside said. “In order to have a strong work force maintained in the community, for current and future purposes, you have to have trained students, you have to encourage them to do well. “Parental involvement is probably the greatest way to get them engaged. (Parental involvement) affects everything, from grades in school to, hopefully, cutting down on dropout rates. We’re excited to be involved and encouraging people to come out.”

Kirkland says businesses can partner with the event and donations are welcome. Kirkland and other PTA members are available to speak to community groups that are interested. “Also, we need to get the word out to get families excited about the event. The school system is so excited about this event that it has planned a bus route to help get families to the event. The event is completely free, so all families will need to do is show up,” she said.

The most important part, however, is the opportunity for parents, grandparents and guardians to meet with school PTA leaders to find out how to get involved. Whether a person is a parent of a school-age child or not, Kirkland says empowering families and community members to advocate for children makes a huge difference.


Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics.