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How to and Should we start a PTO Website

11 years 8 months ago #161636 by Irish196
Thank you everyone for your comments and help. We are still in the process of explaining to the adminsitration why we need our own website. They do not want us to have one and want us to run everything by both the prinicpal and the IT person before they allow it on the school website. This bascially means nothing will ever get up in a timely manner. It almost seems like they do not want parents to know anything-- as if they are too wrapped up guessing about what is going on, they wont have time to complain.

Ugh.
11 years 8 months ago #161630 by Rose H
Thanks for the post, Trisa. I had trouble using the link in your post, but then was able to access your website with this link:

www.cvespto.org/cve/index.cfm


The page looks great! And, not to get off on a different topic, but i LOVE your group's idea of auctioning off 2 spots to bypass the carpool at your upcoming silent auction!

Thanks,
Rose C
Community Manager.
11 years 8 months ago #161620 by Trisa
I started a PTO website with our school last year and it was one of the best decisions we ever made. We use paperlesspto.com, and use it in so many ways. We have over 500 families now registered on the site, we send out weekly emails to inform parents of the upcoming weekly activities, our calendar is loaded, we can send email blasts to various groups and track opens, we load sponsors, the availability for e-commerce is on the site, and so much more.

Our families seem to really enjoy the site. It is very informative and we do not have to rely on anybody from the school to load and/or change information. I HIGHLY recommend each PTO/PTA subscribe to a website of some sort. Please feel free to check out our website at www.cvespto.org.
11 years 8 months ago #161591 by webmaster
Hi Irish196,

I am the webmaster for the Oak Hills Elementary PTO. I redesigned our website last November when I took over as webmaster. I've got a second grader now and a 2 year old. Our website is www.oakhillspto.org.

There are a number of different ways you can go about this depending on what resources you have among your parent base. As Texasbeth mentioned, Wordpress is a really good base to start your website. It is fairly easy but you would need someone with a little web savvy to set it up.

Our PTO website is a wordpress site, but I have a lot more web experience and I've tweaked this one to no end. It is a side hobby of mine so I love to do it. Once a wordpress site is setup, it is pretty easy to maintain and to add new content.

With a wordpress site, basically it is your own site that you own. So you need a domain name (i.e. yourschool.com) and a hosting company to host your site. Fortunately I have found a company who provides free hosting and a free domain name for non-profits. You just need to provide them with your 501.C.3 letter from the Feds. Here is the link to Dreamhost. wiki.dreamhost.com/Non-profit_Discount

Wordpress itself is also free as are the themes (the look of your site). The biggest hurdle is getting it set up.


The other options that have been mentioned here are decent too if you don't have a webmaster to set things up. My-pta.com seems pretty good. The only thing is that in the end, you don't own the site and the content and if for some reason the company stops providing the service, then all your work could be gone. I'm not saying this will happen, but I just like to make sure I always have control over the site and it's content. It takes a long time to generate the content (just look at our site) It took months to write and tweak the site to get it where it is. But it is definitely worth it.

Google also provides a free website service, http:///www.sites.google.com/ This is fairly easy to set up but again you aren't in complete control and eventually if you do get a parent with web know how, it is somewhat difficult to move the site to your own platform like wordpress.

Our parents absolutely love being able to get all the info about the PTO and the school all in one place. It has increased our revenue and brought us more volunteers as well.

Hope this makes some sense.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Jason
11 years 8 months ago #161586 by Rose H
Hi LSSHP,

Good point about the principal. It's a good idea to keep the principal informed. We have to walk that line between maintaining independence as a parent group and working with the administration. It's not so much a matter of seeking permission, but working together with them as professionally as possible. Thanks for bringing that up.

Rose C.
11 years 8 months ago #161584 by LSSHP
I'm a big fan of Weebly for building websites--no website experience needed. We just redid ours this year through them. We pay $3/month for it, but they have a free version as well that would probably be just fine.

Kind of curious about the principal not allowing you to have a Facebook page; sounds like she wouldn't like a separate website, either. They're not really that different from each other.
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