How often should we send a newsletter?
Monthly is most common, but some schools do shorter weekly or biweekly newsletters. It's more important to have something to say in each issue than to publish them frequently. Also, always send out your newsletter at the same time so parents will start to expect it—every Wednesday, for example, or the first Monday of each month.
How big should it be?
In general, smaller is better. The object is to direct people's attention on the most important information, so don't clutter your newsletter with lots of unimportant or unrelated information.
Should we send an electronic newsletter?
Yes, if at all possible. You'll reach people who wouldn't otherwise read your newsletter. Ask the principal to include a line on the school's registration forms where parents can authorize their email address to be shared with the PTO.
Run photos of your events and activities. Keep in mind that you'll be reaching a lot of parents who don't currently participate. Show them through photos how fun and rewarding it can be to get involved with the PTO.
Brag—don't be shy! People want to be associated with success. Highlight your accomplishments in the newsletter, whether they are great events, things the PTO has purchased or done for the school, or efforts you've made to build community.
On each page, make the most important item stand out. Put it at the top of the page. Highlight it with an illustration or photo. Give it the biggest headline. People only spend a few seconds scanning a newsletter to decide whether to read it. Make sure your key items catch their eye.
Limit yourself to at most three fonts, and always use them for the same things: one font for regular text, one for headlines, and a third for special text that you want to stand out. Readability is the most important aspect of choosing a font.
Include a regular column of volunteer "help wanted" ads in your newsletter.
Sell ads the size of business cards to local companies and businesses.
Run short profiles of new officers to help parents put a face to the PTO.