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Dues or No Dues? Should you charge for membership?

12 years 2 months ago #160672 by Melanie803
We are a Home and School Association (HASA) and we do charge dues: $20 per year per family. The money allows the organization to provide each family who pays with a free school directory and a free yearbook. However, ALL parents are members of HASA and ALL have voting rights. The only thing dues allows us is the ability to provide the 2 items for free to those who have paid. Families do have the option of being included in the directory, or not, whether they pay dues or not, and there are additional yearbooks available for sale so siblings can have their own.

Our school has 2 fundraisers a year, that support HASA, and we have various activities for the children and families throughout the year. We do use many volunteers, but have issues getting parents to the 3 "big" HASA General Assembly meetings each year! All are encouraged to attend the monthly Board meetings, and we communicate like crazy via email and "backpack express". We, as a Board, do not feel that charging dues helps or hinders our participation. But, that could also be one of the advantages of being in a parochial school - there are a majority of parents who want to be involved and the faith based arena tends to have a more stable family base.

Interesting discussion - both sides present viable concerns and benefits!
12 years 2 months ago #160670 by LHWinCO
As a PTA, our group enjoys several benefits of membership in both Colorado and National PTA. We charge minimum dues - $6.50/yr. Whether they've paid dues or not, no parent is denied the right to attend meetings or volunteer in any capacity. However, in order to vote at meetings or hold office, a parent/teacher must pay dues. So far, this hasn't been an issue at our school. We decided to affiliate with National PTA when we were no longer able to operate under the umbrella of our school district's education foundation's 501(c)3 and did not have the leadership to form our own non-profit. Prior to affiliating with PTA, we did not charge dues.
12 years 2 months ago #160668 by Cristy
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!
12 years 2 months ago #160663 by redmarmie
Our community association does not charge dues. Two things intrigue me though. One is the concept that the member would take more ownership if they paid to be a part of the group and two, paying a minimal fee for the right to vote. We do neither. We encourage all parents to come. We even encourage them all to vote. The more that show, the merrier. If they come out in droves to support an issue, it only means to us that parents are showing an interest and have passion over something and it makes us all that more determined to find a compromise we all can live with. I think paying for a right to vote, is control, a way to guarantee something will go the PTO's way or controlling the outcome of an issue. In our organization, our job is to help provide enrichment and social activities through fundraising activities. Of course, it is just my opinion.
12 years 2 months ago #160662 by Anonymous
This past September is the first year that our parent group has not collected dues, having made a change to our bylaws the previous year. Our welcome letter said that dues were not required, but any donation would gratefully be accepted. Ironically, we collected more, per person, than we would have at the previous $2 fee. Our bylaws now state that if you have a student in the school, you are automatically a member. I really think that's the ay it should be in a volunteer organization.
12 years 2 months ago #160659 by sculptor
We stopped collecting dues this year and it was one of the best decisions we've made. Everyone feels more included, we don't have to ask if they're a member before taking a vote, no dues and membership info to keep track of. And it was a very small part of our income, we haven't missed it a bit.
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