Millennials and mobile are two peas in a pod. But who are we kidding? It’s not just millennials who are glued to their phones -- according to a global mobile consumer survey, the average American checks his or her phone approximately 47 times throughout the day. And citizens collectively scroll through their smartphones nearly 8 billion times per day! There’s no reason why more of those views can’t be all about your PTA. Great things happen when your members are engaged or actively involved in your PTA, including increases in fundraising revenue, advocacy action, and membership growth. Level up on your engagement efforts by taking these steps to connect with your members on mobile.
1. Engage on social media
Nearly 80 percent of social media time is spent on mobile devices, and Facebook dominates all other networks in engagement. The biggest takeaway from this is to be effective when engaging your audience. Want them to like, comment on, and share your PTA’s social posts? It’s a two-way street – you’ve got to be the first one to give. If you don’t have time to engage on social media, consider appointing a volunteer who’s up for the task – and make sure that person uses Facebook.
2. Text them
We’re not talking about starting an annoying chain text where you send a group text to a giant list of recipients, one person replies to the entire group, and everyone’s battery gets drained. (If you’ve never experienced being on the receiving end of one of those, count yourself lucky.) When done properly, sending mass text messages is a highly effective way of getting a short message to your members. Text messages have an open rate of 98 percent! When you do send texts to your members, make it count – otherwise they’ll just unsubscribe from your announcements.
3. Make your content easy to view on mobile
Responsive web design is an approach to designing web sites that allows them to look good on any size screen. So whether your users view your donation page on a 13-inch laptop or a 5-inch smart phone, it still functions as it should and looks great. Because mobile usage has become more prominent, responsive design is considered an industry best practice. You don’t have to be a developer or know HTML these days. memberplanet’s donation campaigns, online forms, group sites, and event pages are all optimized for mobile viewing.
4. Use a mobile app
Engaging your members on the go (the whole point of mobile) is even simpler with memberplanet’s mobile app, which makes it easy to send group text messages, share donation campaigns and event pages, collect payments, and access membership cards in a few taps. It’s free to download from the App Store and Google Play. Members can view their own membership cards offline via the mobile app, as well as receive your latest updates through the news feed.
Ready to get started? Log in and start engaging.
PTA Simplified is a series of tips for PTA and PTO leaders to get the most out of managing their volunteer members and growing their membership all year long.
Email marketing is one of the best tools you’ve got for PTA networking and announcements. Not only is email an effective way of reaching your members and supporters, volunteers are more likely to engage with your PTA if they are invested and connected to your initiatives. Our email features make it easy to send and track mass communications and email newsletters using templates, so you can stay connected with your members.
To create an email, follow the steps below:
On the left navigation bar, hover over Emails, then in the submenu, click on Send an Email.
Step 1: Basic information
Fill out the required basic information fields, then click Next.
Campaign Name refers to the title by which you’ll refer to this email in your records. It only shows up in your Manage Emails tab under this name, which is not visible to members. Sender address will auto-populate if you’ve previously entered this information in the member info tab.
Note: The address entered in this section will automatically appear in the lower left corner of your email. You are legally required to include a valid postal address.
Step 2: Recipients
Admins can choose to send emails to all members and/or contacts. Moreover, you can send to specific members, add new recipients manually, or from a previously-created contact list, all with only a few clicks.
If you wish to choose your recipients at a later time, you can skip this step by clicking Next.
1. Choose one of the five ways to add recipients:
Note: You can only add members from one page at a time using this method. Make sure you click Save & Close before moving on to a new page of members.
Note: Newly added people in this section are categorized as contacts, not members.
2. Click the Save button
3. Select Next
1. Click inside the template window to bring up the Editor Tool
2. Use the editor to add and format your content
Note: If you’re using a template with image placeholders, you can double click the images to replace them with an image from your computer.
3. Preview your email creation progress by selecting either the View as Web Page or Send Me a Test Copy function
You have more options to customize your email:
Step 5: Review
Once completed, review your email elements to ensure all the elements, such as recipients and links to social sites, were successfully added.
Click the Save This Email as a Template button if you’d like to reuse it. All you’ll have to do is update content specifics, but the design and general elements remain.
Step 6: Delivery
1. Choose one of the delivery options:
2. Click Finish to complete and send your email newsletter
Our email builder has all of the tools you need to create engaging content. Keeping in touch with members is a great way to boost participation, make announcements between meetings, and organize your group.
PTA Simplified is a series of tips for PTA and PTO leaders to get the most out of managing their volunteer members and growing their membership all year long.
Discovering email marketing is like finding out your kid won first place in the school science fair — and got a scholarship because of it! Not only would it have any parent or teacher beaming with pride, it’s news they’d want to share with family, neighbors, and even the grocery clerk. Email marketing simplifies PTA communication in a way that’s engaging, effective, and budget friendly. If you’re not all in with email, you’re missing out big time.
Email spurs your members to act
Email is a powerful tool deliver a message that incites action. You can include a lot of great information (member spotlights, past event photos, and the like), but don’t forget to include clickable calls to action so your members can actually do something with the info you’re providing. Here are some topics you might include in your PTA newsletter coupled with an appropriate call to action and link.
Say goodbye to printing costs
Go green by cutting out printing costs. Instead of printing out a couple hundred flyers, why not send an email newsletter that can cover a range of topics? (And who has time to hand out flyers these days?) No funds are needed for postage, paper, ink or other print materials. Some organizations pay an extra fee each month for a service that allows them to send mass emails, but – here’s a kicker – mass emailing is already included for free in your memberplanet account! Spend your budget on more important things.
Track and target your messages
Another huge benefit of email marketing is the tracking capabilities. Lucky for you, this feature, which can be quite pricey with other email providers, is free with your memberplanet account. We recommend tracking these key metrics:
An average open rate for nonprofits and charities: 30.88%
An average click rate for nonprofits and charities: 4.31%
A decent bounce rate across all sectors: 2.5%
Once you have an idea of these three metrics for the emails you’re sending, you can further target your message to your specific audience. memberplanet provides open rate, clicks, and bounces – great email marketing tools at your disposal so you can measure how effective your messages are. To further target your emails to recipients based on the data collected on the platform (member levels, event RSVP, donation level, etc.), check out our Smart List feature.
Log in and take advantage of the email tools at your fingertips.
The email newsletter is the oak tree of inter-unit communications: ageless yet vital, regardless of iteration. Volunteer leaders have been stuck in the past turning out boring, repetitive newsletters that are more trash fodder than drivers of member engagement. Have no fear — fresh ideas are here! Take advantage of these tips to refresh your online newsletter, and reinvigorate your members’ connection with your PTA and all the things it accomplishes.
1. Make it personal and impactful
Content is, and will always be, king. However, if your content doesn’t resonate with your member’s desires and interests, then it will never be more than a pauper. PTA volunteer leaders looking to boost interest among their members need to deliver content that speaks to them. memberplanet’s newsletter templates make it easy to include impact stories and member highlights. Instead of just mentioning a member’s successful contributions at your next meeting, try highlighting them in your next newsletter. Take time to communicate your PTA’s successes, and frame it around the impact those results will have on students and the community. Nothing resonates more than the positive influence of your PTA unit and its mission.
2. Go easy on the eyes
In the age of video and short attention spans, catching the eye of your members is paramount to keep them engaged and responsive. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to generate visually appealing newsletters, and you certainly don’t have to cut, paste, and photocopy and then hand out your newsletters anymore. Volunteer leaders have a wide selection of pre-built templates to turn mass emails into eye-popping, unit relevant, reading material. You can add photos from recent events and upload PTA-specific images and banners to create something wholly reflective of your unit.
3. Include updates and results to keep them reading
Events and fundraisers are an all-hands-on-deck situation from planning to successful execution, and newsletters are an excellent way for volunteer managers to increase their ongoing success by including their progress or results. Members respond to updates about how their support and hard work is paying off within the unit and beyond. Let them know how close you are to an upcoming goal to build excitement for a final push, or announce how much you surpassed your most recent goal with a unit-wide thank you.
Ready to refresh your PTA newsletter? Log in today.
With the school year up and running, the stress of getting the kids back to school begins to dissipate. Books have been bought, lunches have been packed, and you may have even gotten used to the 6 a.m. alarm (hey, we said maybe!). Now that the summer is long gone, PTA efforts are in full swing. It’s time to focus on the fun stuff, like planning for a PTA fundraising event! We’ve put together the three best ways to organize your fall fundraiser. Learning your 1, 2, 3’s has never been so easy.
1. PTA member with a plan: plan ahead
Organization is your golden ticket to running an event smoothly, and you not pulling your hair out. Create a checklist with basic items (budget, timeline, materials, etc.). Your fellow PTA members will look to your leadership to steer the planning process and keep them in the loop of what their roles are. Using online surveys to gather feedback, consolidate detailed information that’s pertinent to your event, and ask for volunteer signups can help cut down time on the back-and-forth correspondence between you and your members.
2. Keep it inviting: send event invites
The sooner you get the word out about your event the more likely it is you’ll see a high turnout. We suggest sending invitations six to eight weeks before the event so attendees can mark their calendars. Our event module allows you to create an event page and send invitations. (You can even add your own PTA logos and images!) We recommend using our Smart List feature when sending events. Smart Lists let you generate email lists for a specific set of people based on the information they’ve submitted. For example, if you sent out an invite to get RSVPs, your next email can target those who replied “yes.” Once you’ve sent the invitations, you can use our event module to post updates and answer any questions guests have. Increasing your engagement efforts beforehand is a great way to build anticipation so everyone is as excited about the event as you are!
3. Sharing is caring
Social media is one of the best marketing tools around, and best of all, it's free! After you've created your event page, use the social sharing icons available to share your event directly from the platform. Ask your PTA members to share on their social pages as well. Each member has a vast and varied network that will increase awareness of the event, and likely boost attendance. The more people share, the more free publicity you get for your event, and your PTA efforts. Along with social media, make sure to ramp up your marketing efforts and spread the word via email flyers, posting information around your community, and publishing announcements on your school or group's website.
Remember to make a plan, send your invites, and spread the word. Most importantly, have fun. The hallmark of a successful event is being able to enjoy yourself alongside your guests.
Our event functionality, donation and email campaign features, and online payment options make it easy to plan for your entire year. So, what are you waiting for? Happy planning!
Fall is here, the leaves are changing, the days are growing shorter, and for PTA leaders, that means — fundraising events. From PTA-only events to community-wide fundraisers, you want them all to be as successful as possible. Managing and promoting your event online is the surest way to boost your turnout. It allows you to track RSVPs, collect funds, and follow up; you can also share an event page on social media to increase its visibility, and have your members do the same on their social media. It’s time to stop using Excel spreadsheets to track RSVPs, emailing maps and directions to attendees, and hoping that your flyers are seen. Follow these instructions for setting up your next fundraising event online, including personalizing it to your needs, adding RSVPs, and sharing it via social media.
Create an event on memberplanet
3. Click Save & Customize
Personalize your event page: Adding a personal touch to your upcoming fundraising event is a great way to boost excitement, and better establish a connection to your group. The more engaged members are in an event, the more successful it will be.
4. On the Event Page features list, select Customize With Videos, Images, & Other Content
From here you can customize the following:
5. To edit each section, simply click on the section and make desired changes
6. When finished, hit Save & Close
7. To publish your event site, click the Publish Now button
Here’s how to create a clickable button to your event site, which you can share on an external site:
A shaded box will contain the HTML code for your button.
3. Copy the entire segment, and paste it into your website
Send thank-you messages - they’re the cherry on top
The thank-you message, regardless of its iteration, will always have a more powerful reach than fathomed. Volunteer leaders can create a personalized thank-you message that they set and forget, and it will automatically send when members RSVP to events. It’s worth spending a few minutes on this because it will consistently resonate with members and deepen their connection with the group.
This is where admins can craft a custom thank-you message.
4. Select the Save & Close button
These event site features are designed for PTA leaders to make the most not only of their next PTA event as well as their time. Create larger turnouts, take advantage of simpler event management, and then reap the rewards, which will be passed directly to those who need them most: the students.
For most PTA members, the annual back-to-school fundraiser isn’t a walk on the beach. Whether you’re campaigning for back-to-school season, the next holiday around the corner, or the book drive, coordinating time and resources to stay atop the minds of your supporters shouldn’t take over your life (or the lives of your volunteers). Since you’ve teamed up with memberplanet, offering your donors electronic payment options is super easy to do on the platform. Here are some other tips to save time so you can pass on the frustration and double up on the fun.
1. Don’t start from scratch – use a template
With each new year and transition in PTA leaders, the history (excel sheets) from previous fundraisers can get lost in the shift. Also learning a new position takes time. We’re here to make it easy. Since PTA fundraisers are often annual, you can save time by managing your event online. We even offer Donation Site templates. These pre-populated templates will help you set up your donation campaign. Our campaign feature also has the ability to save donation campaigns for future use, so the next event will practically take care of itself. By building upon past successes and the work that was already done, you will take the headache out of organizing the campaign, and have more time to focus on member engagement.
2. Take advantage of the gift of gab: social media
Planning your fundraiser is only half the battle – you must promote it too! The good news is that promoting your event doesn’t have to be stressful. Use your campaign URL in as many places as you can, including your website, email, and social media. Through social media, you can get people talking about your event with just a few clicks. Picture word-of-mouth sharing – but amplified! Our Donation Sites were designed to be shared on your PTA social media channels. Ask your PTA members to share the event too. Everyone has a unique circle of friends, so the more people who share, the broader your reach gets. More awareness for your campaign and way less time spent making promotion calls or passing out flyers! We like to call that a win-win.
3. Cut out the stress: set and forget
Engaging with your members and donors is the bread and butter of being a successful PTA leader. But there are only so many hours in a day, and as a leader, there is only so much time you can dedicate to PTA admin tasks. That’s what inspired us to build in automated features in our platform. Writing thank-you cards (the kind that’s sent through snail mail) take forever! To save time, admins can add a thank-you message to the automated confirmation email that is sent once someone donates to your online fundraiser. We highly recommend adding a thank-you message to the confirmation email as well as encouraging donors to spread the word about the campaign. If you’re really feeling like you’re in an automating mood, you can also include the info donors need to file their taxes. PTAs are 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, and contributions to them are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. You should include the full name of your PTA unit, the EIN number, and your PTA’s location.
Whether you’re a seasoned PTA fundraising pro or just getting started, you can’t go wrong with these three steps – they’re fail proof, and most importantly, they’ll save you time. (So you can engage with your members and make a difference in your community.)
Log in and see for yourself.
The rise of online fundraising into our zeitgeist is unmistakable, from Kickstarter projects that have generated millions for otherwise market-less products to the thousands of people and charities GoFundMe has helped with a variety of needs; the frontier is rampant with raising money online. The question bears asking: if everyone else is reaping online fundraiser rewards, should my PTA unit also? The answer is a resounding, all caps YES.
Time isn’t just a limited resource for leaders, but also for potential donors. They often aren’t carrying cash, or don’t have their checkbook handy. Online fundraising gives donors the ability to pay quickly and securely via credit card. One digital swipe and they’re one their way, while your unit is one cha-ching closer to reaching your goal.
It’s true – handling loads of cash and stacks of checks costs your leaders time. Beyond time, there’s accounting to worry about. Then there’s creating manual receipts, balancing spreadsheets, and all the other organizational work related to tracking donations. That wasted time adds up quickly. Online fundraisers allow leaders to record, track, and manage campaigns in a fraction of the time.
There was a time when printing flyers and designing donation posters was the only means of spreading the word for fundraisers. That’s no longer the case; one of the primary benefits of launching an online fundraising campaign is its potential to go viral. This takes you out of the typical sphere of donors and opens you up to supporters you wouldn’t reach with traditional methods. This can help you reach your monetary goals faster and even surpass them.
Increase PTA funds
The benefits of online fundraising and digital payments starts with the money, which makes sense. Online fundraising increases overall money raised; that’s fact, not opinion. Some studies have shown that percentage to be anywhere from 30-100% more (Visa International). Sure, you’re thinking, that’s a nice bump in funds, but PTAs need every dollar they raise, so how much will we lose in processing fees? Fees can vary, and if your state already has a partnership with memberplanet, those fees are easily offset by the increased donations. For an example of how one school used online fundraising to increase membership funds by 75%, take a look at our case study.
Ready to win at online fundraising? Log in to memberplanet to get started.
Part of leading your PTA is raising the funds necessary to make a difference in your unit. Unfortunately, orchestrating a computer drive to give your school a tech upgrade, a jump-a-thon to save at-risk student programs, or any other type of fundraiser can feel like a full-time undertaking. Lucky for you, memberplanet makes it easy. And if you need proof that launching an online fundraiser really makes a difference, check out how Wittmann Elementary School increased its membership funds by 75 percent. Here’s how to set up a donation campaign on memberplanet, which will get your PTA a couple steps closer to crushing your fundraising goal.
Create a fundraiser for your PTA
1. Hover over Donation Sites on the left navigation sidebar and click Create Donation Site in the submenu
2. Choose to raise funds for your own group on memberplanet
3. Select one of the following choices:
4. Finish creating a campaign by filling in the required information: Campaign Title, Category, Why Are You Fundraising?, Campaign Goal, End Date, and Default Donation.
5. Click Save & Continue
Customize the look of your donation campaign
These next steps allow PTA admins to customize their Donation Sites. Use a memorable custom URL, choose specific colors, and upload a banner -- key identifiers for brand recognition and consistency. You can also upload a photo album that you’ve created on the platform; images are a great way to strengthen the connection between your cause and your donors. For example, including pictures of who will benefit from the funds raised or showing how the funds will be put to use is an effective way to convey your donors’ impact. You can go all out in customizing your fundraiser, or you can breeze through this section and hit Save & Publish Now.
To customize, hover over any of the page sections and click the Edit icon that appears on the top right of the section.
You can always come back and make changes to this page if you decide to navigate away from it.
Get the word out
As soon as you publish your Donation Site, your campaign page link will be provided, and you can share your campaign to social media directly from the platform, mobile app, or the page itself. We recommend sharing your fundraiser on as many channels as possible – through email, your website, text message and more.
Use our built-in URL shortener if you’re on a character limit, or customize the full URL.
To customize the URL or get the short URL, click on the campaign you want to manage. Select the Copy or Customize the Campaign Page URL feature.
Click Customize or Copy to Clipboard for the URL you desire.
Mobilize your PTA supporters – create Supporter Pages
What’s a Supporter Page, you ask? It’s an individual’s fundraising page created in support of your PTA’s donation campaign. Supporter Pages are more effective in helping you reach your fundraising goal for these reasons:
Here’s how your PTA members (or anyone, really) can create a Supporter Page:
1. From your Donation Site, click Support this Campaign
2. Users will be prompted to log in to memberplanet or create an account if they don’t have one
3. After logging in or creating an account, a new browser window will appear in which supporters can set their own goal and add their own reason why they’re supporting the campaign
4. When finished, click Publish
5. The Supporter Page URL will be provided, and you can share it to social media directly from the platform, mobile app, or the page itself
If you haven’t already, set up a bank account to receive funds. Our platform features were created to help you build a great campaign and maximize PTA donations – without creating a ton of paper work in the process. Follow these steps to set yourself on a clear path to crushing your fundraising goal.
Congrats! You’re on your way to managing your PTA online and offering your members a convenient way to pay membership dues. When you’re finished, your members can make payments online in addition to cash and check. They can also access their own membership cards anytime online and via the mobile app.
Before starting on the checklist, you must first join your unit’s group on memberplanet as an admin. You probably received an email invite from your State if it teamed up with memberplanet. You’ll need to click the link in the email invite to gain access to your memberplanet account. Once you’ve completed the join process on memberplanet, select Go to My Home page. While logged in, click Go to My Group Portal to access admin tools.
If you need assistance gaining access to your account, email use at @email@example.com
Now you’re ready to follow the guide below! Every time you check off a box, you’re one step closer to life.simplified.
1. Set up your PTA membership dues form online
Create a PTA membership dues form. On the left nav, click Payment Forms > Create a Payment Form.
Choose the ready-for-use PTA template. Click Use this Template for the PTA Membership form.
Modify the PTA template to reflect your unit’s membership dues. Scroll to the bottom and click Next. On the following page, hover over the $5 dues amount and click Edit. Enter the correct amount of your membership dues.
Save and publish. Scroll to the bottom of your payment form and click Save & Publish Now.
If you haven’t yet, set up your bank account to receive membership funds.
2. Share your PTA membership dues form
First, get link of your PTA membership dues form. Once you have the link, you can start promoting PTA membership online – an easy way to broaden your reach and boost membership. In the features list, click Copy or Customize the Form URL > Copy to Clipboard.
Promote your membership dues form on your PTA website. Let your site visitors know that they can sign up and pay for PTA membership right then and there!
Email the membership dues form to potential members. Use email marketing to recruit more members. From your last PTA event, use a list of attendees’ email addresses to send out your membership dues form. Ask members to sign up online and forward the email to others who’d be interested in signing up. memberplanet’s email features include tracking opens and clicks!
Get the word out on social media. Use the shortened URL to save space on characters if needed, and post to the social platforms your potential members are most active. memberplanet has awesome social media tools to share your membership dues form directly from the platform.
3. Give members access to their membership cards
Export the list of members who made a payment. On the left nav, click Payment Forms. Select the gear icon next to PTA Membership Form > Form Responses > Choose Columns > select last name, first name, and email > click Save > Export Table.
Save this list on your computer.
Upload the list to the membership module. On the left nav, click Members > Add People button > Add New Members > Browse for your file > Check the box to Ignore the First Row of My File > Click Upload > Select dropdown menus above columns to only map or label first name, last name, and email address > Click Add Members button.
Invite your members to view their cards. To give your paid PTA members access to view their digital membership cards, they first need to join your PTA group on memberplanet. On the left nav, click Members > Send Invitations. You can edit the subject and body of the email by clicking on them. Here’s text that you can copy and paste into the body:
Welcome to the PTA! Click the Join Now button below to access your membership card!
Click the Send Now button. Once a member has followed the steps in the email, they will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to access the member card.
Members can join memberplanet > log in to their member portal > click My Profile on the left nav > click Member Card in the submenu > select gear icon > View Card.
From the mobile app: Log in using the same email and password used when joining > tap the menu icon in the top left > My Member Card > tap group name.
If you’ve completed these 3 steps, you’re off to a great start for the school year! And don’t worry, if you get stuck or need a helping hand, here are a couple cheat-sheet resources:
Support team: Support@memberplanet.com
Strategy advice: Successteam@memberplanet.com