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Dues or No Dues? Should you charge for membership?

11 years 11 months ago #161384 by MelanieR
We eliminated dues at the start of the 2011-2012 year. After reviewing the previous year, we found that no one really paid the $1 due, in fact I wasn't even aware it existed until after I was elected to the board.
Unfortunately, we have such a low participation rate at our meetings, there really didn't seem to be a point. This year I am now the President (was Secretary last year) and participation/involvement will be a huge goal for me this year. I work full time, so I simply can't run all of the events/fundraisers/etc with just myself and the two other board members. Parents are amazing people, but even we are limited by the number of hours in a day! :)
11 years 11 months ago #161347 by Rose H
Hi Summer!

The issue of encouraging teachers to participate is a big one!

Check out this other thread on the Message Baord:

There are some great ideas in that thread, including doing a survey to the staff to find out what they'd like to do, asking for a volunteer from each grade level, and, this one is interesting--asking teachers to do a 2-hour power pledge like many groups do with parents. (Here's our like to the power pledge:

One person had a very interesting comment about how we often wonder how teachers can join our group instead of noting that it is their group as well. Worth consideration, yes?

I think making an appeal at a faculty meeting could help as well. Teachers really do bring a lot to the table when it comes to PTOs. They have a viewpoint that many of us don't have and we can learn quite a bit from them.

Good luck!

Rose C.
Community Manager
11 years 11 months ago #161344 by summer
Our school has a $5 fee for members but we were kicking around an idea to give free membership for teachers or some how trying to encourage more teachers to be involved that way they would encourage more parents possibly???? any thoughts???
11 years 11 months ago #161289 by ceciliaky

I agree that there should Not be a charge to become a member.
It was always done before I came on. This school year we asked for a $10.00 donation but stated it was voluntary & just about everyone who sent in a slip included the $10.00 donation. (Over 450 members)
It is more important to us to collect the parents email address & get them in the know!

we're going to a no dues model this year -- what's the trick to getting email address/contact info? Do you send a "membership" form home with kids, just as you would if you did charge dues? I'm a little stumped on this.
12 years 3 months ago - 12 years 3 months ago #160707 by JHB
I've belonged to both types one that charged and one that didn't. I actually think the dues version worked better if 1) the dues were low and 2) everyone was included in events/activities - dues paying or not.

Frankly, the financial side of collecting dues was probably the lowest benefit (although funds never hurt!). For us the real benefits came that:

** Because we had a membership drive, we had to MARKET our group. In the one where everyone was a member, this part was skipped. During the membership drive we got people interested and involved.
** The membership drive included a classroom contest to see which class got the highest % of members. That got the kids involved.
** People felt more committed and connected
** It does provide a bit more startup funds.

Later, when the class phone directory came out (published by the PTO), members got it for free. Other's had to buy it - for about the same cost of the membership (so why not just join?).

We had much better parent participation in the dues paying group.

All that being said, once the membership drive was over - the only difference in a member/non member was the ability to hold an office and to vote in a general election. As far as day to day activities, everyone was included. We served the entire school and all families. When it came time to participate in an event or recruit volunteers, "membership" had no bearing.
12 years 3 months ago #160680 by Barbara Woodard
Replied by Barbara Woodard on topic Re:Dues or No Dues? Should you charge for membership?
I think it's worth a try. Wow, it would be some change in the organization; however, I may implement it with the board members and vote on it there first. Grateful that we do have funds to roll over to the next school year will make it better, I hope. Anyway, I'm a believer in change so I think this no dues will open the hearts of parents to volunteer.
We have a snack sale twice out of the month and the sale always brings a profit for the organization. The funds that the children are spending to buy snacks are from their parents. So this is another avenue to have parents pay dues. Sometimes more than the traditional amount asked. I'm GRATEFUL. : )
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