The Basics of PTA Membership

While membership is the responsibility of the entire PTA board, each PTA should have a designated membership leader. Membership chairmen are appointed; membership vice presidents are elected. For details on the responsibilities of the Membership chairman/vice president at a unit PTA, see “Job Description for Membership Chairman/Vice President” in the PTA Toolkit.

The membership chairman/vice president works with a membership committee and serves as chairman. The membership committee consists of members appointed by the president, or the president-elect if the committee is formed before the school year begins. Committee members should include teachers, students, if appropriate, and represent your school population. Under the direction of the membership chairman/vice president, the membership committee:

  • sets membership goals,
  • designs a membership marketing plan with outreach promotions,
  • calendars events and activities throughout the school year,
  • submits a budget to support the membership program, and
  • implements and evaluates the final plan.

The membership plan must be approved by the executive board.

Develop a Membership Marketing Plan

Set attainable membership goals.

Plan a membership promotion campaign that uses a variety of methods and outreach activities to promote the value of PTA membership. Go to the California State PTA website, and the National PTA website,, for membership campaign ideas, resources and current membership incentives and award programs.

Your membership plan should include a theme, if appropriate, a membership calendar and a membership budget.

Membership Marketing Tools

The California PTA website,, contains membership resources and promotion tools. Also on our website is a current list of membership award and incentive programs, and current membership benefits.

Involving Students

Student involvement is the active inclusion and effective participation of students of all ages in the work of the PTA/PTSA association. The California State PTA encourages and promotes full student participation in PTA/PTSA leadership, planning, events, and programs.

Student Involvement Committee

The formation of a student involvement committee with student and adult members generates and sustains the active participation of student members. The work of the committee includes:

  • Surveying students and the school community to determine what type of activities would encourage more student involvement, and to determine student needs and concerns.
  • Developing a plan and calendar based on survey results for activities, events and programs that meet students’ needs and foster more student involvement.
  • Allowing students to have an active voice by seeking input and feedback from all students.
  • Partnering with school clubs, PTAs or community organizations to co-sponsor events, programs or activities of interest and relevance to students.

Students Membership Rights and Responsibilities

Students, upon payment of full membership dues, have all membership privileges and responsibilities. A student may serve in any PTA/PTSA office. All officers, adults and students alike, must perform duties of the office as outlined in the bylaws.

Financial Procedures for Student Leaders

  • Checking Accounts – Students may be signatories on the PTA/PTSA account as long as they have been approved as one of the signatures by the association and it has been noted in the minutes of the association.
  • Contracts or Binding Procedures – All contracts or binding commitments of the association must always be approved and voted on by the association in accordance with PTA policy. If a student under the age of 18 is a signer, the other signer must be an adult. (see Contracts)

Revising Bylaws to Change to a PTSA

  • Bylaws – When the bylaws are changed making the unit a PTSA, provision should be made for at least one position on the executive board to be filled by a student.
  • Dues Structure – If a PTA/PTSA plans to have a separate dues structure for students, the dues amount must include the per capita amounts required to be sent through channels to the council, if in council, district PTA, California State PTA and National PTA.
  • Nominating Procedures – For PTSAs, at least one student should serve as a member of the nominating committee elected at an association meeting. When considering a person for any office, it is always best to make sure the person understands all of the duties of the position.

Outreach, Diversity and Inclusion

Outreach is a commitment to create an inviting climate, to form respectful relationships and to share important information about PTA with all community members. Outreach includes efforts that focus on enlisting the participation of all parents, students, and community members in the educational process, and establishing collaborative relationships focused on positive impacts by:

  • Using languages represented within your community at your meetings and in your communications.
  • Working to build representative leadership and voice within your PTA of all community groups. The makeup of your board members should reflect the makeup of your school community.
  • Understanding that everyone has value.
  • Assessing your outreach success regularly. Are there new board members and new members at your meetings that represent all parts of your community?
  • Including students, teachers, community and extended family members.

Inclusion is a commitment to involve the entire school community in planning, as well as enjoying, PTA programs and activities. Bringing in many different views is the key to building a robust and meaningful PTA in your community. Members come with their own views, experiences, cultural heritage and traditions, skills and abilities, values and preferences. California’s public schools are a rich weave of these diverse threads, and their PTAs must be as well. Discrimination or prejudice, even behind closed doors, cannot be tolerated.

To be inclusive:

  • Recognize that involvement of diverse populations enriches PTA activities and enhances the wellbeing of all children and youth.
  • Listen to all voices so that your PTA can be an effective voice for ALL children.
  • Celebrate diversity. Break down barriers that discourage people or minimize their involvement.
  • Include in your active membership a representation of all ethnic, cultural, religious, economic and social groups in the community.
  • Ask: Are there large underrepresented groups of California’s population missing from your PTA’s active membership? Is there enough representation from all groups to give an understanding needed to be advocates for all children? Does your PTA seek a diverse membership?
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