How to Get the Next Generation of Moms & Dads to Join Your Parent Group
Millennials are more than the selfie-taking, refuse-to-settle-down, digital-obsessed generation it’s been made out to be. In fact, many Millennials (people born between 1982-2004) are moms & dads, and there are differences in how this generation views parenting (beyond giving their children unique names or flooding their Facebook with pictures of their newborn), their approach toward fundraising, and their perceived role within organizations like the PTA/PTO.
With a new school year already in full swing and many Parent Groups feeling the pressure to bulk up their volunteer numbers and membership base, we feel this is the right time to tackle the question: How can we get more Millennial moms & dads to join the PTA or PTO?
After diving into the topic, we’ve come up with three main strategies:
- Increase your PTA/PTO digital presence
- Make an impact and communicate the difference your Parent Group makes
- Be flexible, creative, and a trusted resource for young parents
We’ll be digging into these strategies further and providing some interesting statistics about Millennial parents that might change the way you see these younger moms & dads.
Whether you’re a Millennial yourself or from the Gen X or Baby Boomer generation, this guide will give you the tips you need to increase the presence of Millennials in your Parent Group!
If You Post It, They Will Come: 3 Ways to Increase Your Parent Group’s Digital Presence
1. Have a Stellar Website
Millennials are more digitally competent than any other generation that has come before them. Meaning, when they are enticed to look for information regarding your Parent Group, they will first look online and you want your Parent Group website/web page to make a great first impression.
Millennials are attracted to websites that are easy to navigate, up-to-date, engaging, and has a fresh look & feel (no clipart, dated borders, or hundreds of different funky fonts or colors). Your website should also feature CTAs (Call to Actions). These will progress that first impression into an actionable step for young parents to get involved. Some great CTAs are embedded online forms for Millennials (and any visitors to your website) to sign up for your email list, to attend the next meeting, to become a member, or to volunteer their time at your next event.
To recap, your PTA/PTO website or web page should feature:
- An easy-to-navigate menu
- An up-to-date calendar of meetings and events
- A fresh look & feel
- Plenty of CTAs
2. Be Active on Social Media
This one applies to more than just the Millennial generation since everyone and their grandmother seems to be on social media nowadays. But, it’s still worth pointing out that Millennials are far more likely to engage with your Parent Group on social media before trying out a meeting or event in person.
Think of it as a trial run before the commitment. Millennials want to see what you post (is this Parent Group relevant to me?), how often you post (is this Parent Group active?), and how you engage with others online (is this Parent Group clique-ish or open to newcomers?).
Here are a few social media platforms that your Parent Group should consider joining:
- Facebook (a MUST)
- Twitter (not necessarily a must, but still a successful way to reach Millennials)
- Instagram (great for sharing pics from events and fundraisers)
- Pinterest (an awesome resource for sharing parents tips and projects)
- YouTube (if your group produces videos for announcements or to recap/promote events)
3. Have a Regular E-Newsletter
Mobile email marketing/promotion is huge for the Millennial generation. Rather than promoting your membership drive or volunteer opportunities solely through your bulletin board or mailed flyers, your Parent Group must bring the information straight to your Millennial audience.
Having an e-newsletter (an emailed weekly or monthly update) that is mobile-friendly is crucial. Chances are your Millennial readers will be viewing your email on their mobile device, and you want to make sure that your images, text, and CTAs are clear and engaging to have the best results.
Be the Change: How to Communicate the Impact Your PTA/PTO Makes in Your School & Community
Perhaps one of the largest myths about the Millennial generation is the idea that they are self-serving & lazy. In fact, the opposite is quite true. Millennials are a passionate, motivated group that are eager to get behind causes that influence our society. One way for your Parent Group to increase your Millennial membership is to communicate the good work your team does for the school, the community, and for larger social movements like the fight to end childhood obesity.
This tip is largely about communication. Your Parent Group is likely already doing plenty of great work that is making a social impact for our youth. The key is making sure young parents know about it.
Here are several ways to inform Millennial parents about the impact your group is making and how they can be a part of a PTA/PTO that makes a difference:
- Use your e-newsletter as a source of relevant news and information about larger societal issues, such as education reform, healthy foods in the lunchroom, childhood obesity, school funding, etc. Tie these matters back to the work your Parent Group is doing; i.e., a Fun Run!
- Start a task force or team dedicated solely to tackling an issue in your school; this could be bullying, teacher appreciation, school appearance, etc. Invite Millennial parents, specifically those who have shown an interest in your group but have not yet volunteered or joined as members, to step up and be an integral part of this new team.
- Start a blog on your PTA/PTO website to provide stories and testimonials of the work your Parent Group does throughout the year and the impact it has on students, teachers, and parents.
- Be very transparent about the allocation of funds and the ways in which these funds are utilized to better the school and the student experience; this will not only increase Millennial participation but also Millennial donations to your fundraisers.
These suggestions are just the start to communicating the amazing work your Parent Group accomplishes each school year. But, they will help to educate young parents and to lift the myth that the PTA or PTO is just a group of moms doing bake sales. We know your Parent Group is so much more than that and, we believe, if Millennial parents are made aware of the breadth of your work in the school & community, they will be much more likely to be a part of your impactful team.
Not Just Another Thing to Do: 3 Ways to Get Millennial Parents Engaged With Your Parent Group
1. Be Flexible
If Millennials want flexibility in the workplace, then they are definitely going to want it in your Parent Group. Younger parents are concerned with having a balance between work, tasks/activities, and spending time at home with their families. This is probably the largest hurdle to getting ANY parent to joing your PTA/PTO.
Here are some quick ways to offer flexibility for busy, overtasked moms & dads:
- Hold meetings at different times of the day. Rather than at night or after school, which can often conflict with practices or meal prep time, have your meetings in the morning or on the weekend.
- Offer different ways to be present. If some moms and dads can’t physically be at a meeting, offer ways for them to Skype in or Facetime with a laptop and projector.
- For parents who absolutely can’t attend meetings, provide a recap either in the form of a quick bullet pointed list of the topics covered or through a more in-depth report that is emailed to those who were not present.
Offering some of these alternative options for getting involved and attending meetings will not only provide flexibility, but it will also communicate to young parents that your Parent Group is aware of their needs and cognizant of the challenges they face. This will position your PTA/PTO as a community of fellow over-tasked moms & dads that can be a source of comfort and mentorship for younger parents.
2. Have Fun
Another myth that Parent Groups must battle to get Millennial moms and dads engaged is the idea that meetings are boring, fundraisers are run-of-the-mill and tasks are burdensome. We know that being a part of a Parent Group can be a fun experience, and we want younger parents to know this too.
- Have themed meetings
- Host family activities that invite new parents to get involved with your PTA/PTO
- Provide food at your meetings
- Give out door prizes at larger planning meetings for big events
- Host your meetings at different locations, like a pizza parlor, coffee shop, or other unique space outside of the school
3. Be a Resource
Studies have found that Millennials are life-long learners. They are constantly reading the latest news or studies about parenting, health and wellness, DIY crafts, and more. Your Parent Group can be a valued resource for these parents.
- Offer a mentorship program for young parents and those who are new to your Parent Group
- Bring in guest speakers to your meetings
- Provide advice, tips, and guides on parenting via your social media platforms and e-newsletter