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Dues or No Dues? Should you charge for membership?

12 years 2 months ago #160635 by April
Our PTO previously had dues of $5 or $10, but we have always had a hard time getting people involved. This year, we decided not to charge dues because we didn't want anything to be a deterrent for parents participating. I never quite understood why you would pay to be a volunteer, either...not really a valid concept to me.

I know some schools use membership as a "status" with varying levels of membership like silver, gold, and platinum and the family gets "perks" like spirit items, stickers for their cars, etc depending on their level of membership. Our school demographic doesn't necessarily allow for that so it wasn't something we considered.
12 years 2 months ago - 12 years 2 months ago #160634 by Rockne
Interesting stuff. Thanks. Miria -- I'm particularly inyerested in your comment:


"We charge dues of $1. Everyone that wants to be a VOTING member has to pay
$1 at the beginning of the year or when they join the PTO. If you pay a dollar
at a meeting you can not vote until the next meeting. This saves the PTO from
groups who have an agenda coming out in force to a meeting to vote for a
specific item. It is not expensive and we don't do it to raise money. People
that do not want to pay the dollar can attend meetings and have input, but can
not vote."


My question is what do you guys think the upside of this is? It creates a tracking need I(some volunteer must run this, right?) and the perception that parents need to pay to belong/vote at their own kids' school. All for $1 each. Seems odd to me.

Would love to hear more of your group's thoughts on it.

Tim

PTO Today Founder
12 years 2 months ago #160633 by Tiffany
My parent group is a PTA, not a PTO; as such we have various state organization requirements to meet. The membership fees we collect from our parents mostly go to the state organization (we have to send a certain amount of money per member). There fore I have a hard time seeing how simply not collecting for membership would work in that model. We could under no circumstances fund our organizational membership for every parent in the school.
12 years 2 months ago #160632 by Kathy
We are a small rural community and made the decision six years ago that we would rather have five hours of someone's time vs. $5.00. There are already a lot of requests for money from the schools that are a real additional burden to the demographics in our schools. We did not want to have a perception that only those who can pay are important to the PTO. It is a fine line... we have focused on having one big fundraising fun event and other things like the opportunity to purchase a school directory that helps cover that gap of not charging for dues. I think there are several factors to consider - school demographics, perception and how the PTO markets itself that have to be considered when the dues question arises.
12 years 2 months ago #160631 by Miria
We charge dues of $1. Everyone that wants to be a VOTING member has to pay $1 at the beginning of the year or when they join the PTO. If you pay a dollar at a meeting you can not vote until the next meeting. This saves the PTO from groups who have an agenda coming out in force to a meeting to vote for a specific item. It is not expensive and we don't do it to raise money. People that do not want to pay the dollar can attend meetings and have input, but can not vote.
12 years 2 months ago #160579 by Kerri
Our organization asks for dues and we get very good response. On our PTO sign up sheets that go out at the beginning of the year, we ask for $10.00 membership dues, or they can do a $5.00 dues and sign up to help out with one or more of our events. Most parent want to help out and this gives those who don't feel that they have the time, the chance to make them feel that they are at least helping out monetarily. We are a small school and at the top of my head, I believe we made around $350.00 dollars from membership alone. Not bad in my book.

We had a tough time trying to decide to do it too. Our main complaint was, if they don't sign up does that mean they can't come to a meeting? The answer is, of course they can come to a meeting. The dues just gives them more "ownership" in the organization of sorts.
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