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Dues or No Dues? Should you charge for membership?

12 years 2 months ago #160641 by Marty Anderson
Replied by Marty Anderson on topic Re:Dues or No Dues? Should you charge for membership?
Our PTA charges dues only because this is what the National and State PTA Organizations want. If it was left up to me we would not charge dues, I didn't know we could not charge dues.
12 years 2 months ago #160640 by Angela
Our PTO does charge a membership fee of 4.00 per family. With that being paid it is your ticket to get into all of thr PTO events that we hold throughout the year. Events such as movie night, bingo night,dances, and much more. We have a huge membership drive at the beginning of the year, and the money we collect helps PTO fund most of the request from teachers the first weeks of school. Membership fees also helps us not to have a huge fundraiser to get funds for our students. We do supply every member with a membership card so they can just show it at the events are to participate in PTO our meeting we do listen to no members ideas as well, no one is turned away.
12 years 2 months ago #160639 by
I'm glad this topic has been brought up. Our PTO asks for a $10 sign up fee which I paid but they never let members know when the meetings are and often cancel without notice! I have volunteered to work concessions at sports events only to discover the game was moved to a different venue or the people from PTO who have keys to open the concession booth made a decision not to show up, all this without so much as a phone call! So yes, I have plenty of reasons to question the validity of membership dues! Next year I plan to keep my volunteer work with PBS!
12 years 2 months ago #160638 by Miria

In the past we have had issues where say the parents of the cheerleaders wanted the PTO to purchase uniforms for the cheerleading squad. We are a small school and the squad is only 10 girls. Purchasing uniforms does not fit into our mission, but the parents came out and outnumbered the parents that come to every meeting faithfully and strive to put our funds to the best use for the greatest population. We do not charge dues as a fund raiser and do believe that every parent has a voice and a vote, but that as a PTO member there needs to be committment to the cause and the student body as a whole and not just committment to an individuals goal.
12 years 2 months ago #160637 by ldoornik
I belong to 2 PTAs and 1 PTO and am on the board of 1 of the PTAs and am president of the PTO. All 3 groups have membership dues. Most of the boards have a small carryover from one school year to the next, opting to give to the schools' wishlists instead of keeping it in the bank. Membership fees can help cover first of year costs.

All 3 boards also do not require membership to volunteer in the school and are not allowed to exclude groups of students from benefiting from funds raised and programs offered to the school. Membership is required to be an officer or committee chairperson. Our role is to enhance every child's learning environment regardless of their parents' participation.

Members do have a voice in the 2-3 general meetings we hold each year, but are continuously encouraged to come to each monthly meeting. Another major perk is the student directory published by each board. This is paid for and put together by each board and, as such, is offered only to members.

I don't know the numbers on the 2 PTAs, but the PTO has ~85% family membership each year. We always aim for 100%, but we are very happy with 85%. For us, we would not consider removing the dues each year.
12 years 2 months ago #160636 by Michelle
I am a member of both a PTA and a non-PTA parent group. As a PTA, we are required to charge membership dues, which is one of the reasons the PTO is opposed to becoming a PTA; they don't want that money "leaving" the school. I would argue, though, that you get your money's worth in support from the National and State PTA. One example is that treasurers receive a handbook on how to keep records, the laws on reporting to the IRS, sales tax and more. Every PTA is also required to audit their books once a year and send an audit report to the State PTA. Having been in a Cub Scout pack that was a victim of embezzlement, I am relieved to know that the PTA provides very clear instructions on how to oversee management of the organization's funds.

The PTO also charges dues, $15 per family. They spend money on the teachers, student groups and each individual student, but don't do a lot of fundraising. I see their point that holding a fundraiser would require the effort of volunteers, and those volunteers would likely be the same people who do everything already. By asking families to pay dues, they are essentially charging people for the privilege of NOT getting involved. We also can't agree on whether charging less money would get more families to join, and ultimately increase the incom. It is an interesting debate, and I think you're right that, once you've always done it that way, it's hard to change that culture.
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