Any individual who supports the mission and purposes of PTA may join a local PTA or join the state association, Golden State PTA and becomes a member upon payment of dues to a PTA or PTSA unit.
Becoming a PTA member opens up leadership opportunities and builds skills in communication and advocacy strategies. Members who are willing to get involved are a valuable resource for starting and maintaining programs and projects to benefit children, youth and the community.
Enrolling members in the PTA is a year-long activity. The primary reason for developing membership in the PTA is to build an informed team of individuals to work on behalf of all children and youth.
ALL ABOUT MEMBERSHIP DUES
How much are PTA dues?
Every PTA decides on the membership dues for their PTA but the amount must be stipulated in the PTA's bylaws. In order for a PTA to change their dues amount, their bylaws must be revised and approved through channels and by their association.
How much is enough?
A good rule of thumb for membership dues is to specify an amount that will cover per capita for the constituent associations – National PTA, California State PTA, district PTA and council PTA (if in council) – and a small portion of each membership for the required liability insurance premium. Membership dues should not be considered fundraising and a PTA's dues should be kept affordable so that everyone can afford to join.
All memberships are equal - there are no levels of membership in PTA.
All members have the same rights. PTA/PTSA membership is based on an individual member and that is reflected in the dues structure. The actual per person dues amount must always be specified in the bylaws and perspective members must be allowed to join at that price. There are no "levels" of membership although a PTA may decide to offer a lower dues amount to students, as long as the full amount of the "per capita" is remitted through channels. Membership dues and contributions must be kept separate in all financial records and reports. If a PTA wishes to solicit donations with levels of contribution, the PTA may do so as a separate project from the membership campaign.
If a PTA wishes to offer a "family membership", it must be clear who qualifies as the voting members.
PTAs that offer a family membership must
1. spell out in their bylaws the number of members that constitute a family,
2. forward that number of per capita dues,
3. provide each member an individual membership card in their name and
4. list the members by name on the association's membership list
What do our dues include and where do they go?
Each level of PTA provides specific services - and each service depends on a small increment of the local association dues (specified in the bylaws) to carry out its work. Every PTA keeps the unit portion and is required to remit "per capita" ("monies not belonging to the unit") through channels monthly. See Toolkit 3.2.6 or the Put Yourself in the PTA Picture brochure for what each level of PTA provides.
Dues collected by PTA units are generally tax deductible.
The services that a PTA provides to members are intangible and do not provide any direct benefit to specific members or groups of members. Such intangible services include leadership and legislation. These services are generally a benefit to the entire community, regardless of whether all members of the community become members of the PTA. See more in Toolkit 3.2.2. PTAs should consult tax accountants for further clarification.
What is "withholding" or "under reporting"?
When a PTA fails to submit per capita for all of their members, they are withholding funds that do not belong to the unit. This underreporting, whether intentional or unintentional, hurt's PTA's cause for children. It damages the PTA reputation, results in a loss of members and outreach, and diminishes the advocacy voice of PTA.
The amount of per capita that units keep ("monies belonging to the unit") should be distinguished from the amount that is forwarded through channels ("monies not belonging to the unit") in monthly treasurer's reports, budgets and annual financial reports. This also facilitates the reconciliation of memberships received and those forwarded and helps prevent unintended "withholding."
Read more about student memberships, family memberships and charter memberships in the Toolkit 3.23 to 3.2.5.
Each member should receive an official membership card from the unit PTA. The membership card issued shows that the dues paid to the unit include membership in the California State PTA and National PTA. The same PTA membership card is used by all PTAs. The cards may not be copied.
Does every member need a membership card?
Yes. Each PTA member should receive a card; it is proof of membership. A membership card entitles its bearer to a ballot in an election. Applicants for PTA scholarships and grants must provide a copy of their membership card. A membership card is required to register for convention. Remember: One member = one card. Do not fill in cards for "Mr. and Mrs. Jones" or "Jones Family."
PTA members are entitled to benefits of membership provided by PTA. The username and password needed to access a protected portion of the National PTA website are on the back of the membership card and change annually by November 1.
How many cards will our PTA get?
Each district PTA will receive a supply of cards equal to the membership total of the previous year plus an additional percentage for growth. Usually, districts distribute cards to their unit PTAs based on the past year's membership totals for those units and reserve a portion of cards for units that have particularly successful membership campaigns.
Can we get additional cards?
A district PTA may request additional cards for their units as needed – when membership numbers are equal to or exceed the number of cards already received and per capita dues have been submitted for those members. All units, councils, and districts are advised to quickly and regularly remit per capita dues through channels (at least monthly) and tell your district when you need more cards.
District PTAs shall relay extenuating circumstances (e.g., new units, extremely successful membership campaigns, damaged cards) to request additional cards. Damaged cards should be sent back to your district to be exchanged for replacements when returned to the state office.
Is the "issue date" important?
YES. Only those who have been members for 30 days are entitled to make motions, debate, and vote at PTA meetings. A person must be a member for at least 30 days prior to being nominated for a PTA office.
Why is the "expiration date" always October 31?
The California State PTA membership year is July 1 to June 30. Our membership card expiration date is October 31, allowing a grace period for our members to renew their membership. During this grace period, members are entitled to their full membership rights, including approval of the PTA's budget and program at the summer or fall association meeting.
How do I find the National PTA identification number?
Each PTA has its own unique eight-digit National PTA ID number. This number (not your state ID number) should be included on the membership card. The number is on the cover of your PTA bylaws. Ask your district PTA if you do not know it.
How can cards be filled in?
Cards may be completed by hand, the PTA name stamped, or filled in using either Just Between Friends' membership management application or any customized or independently developed card template. Cards are signed by the member upon receipt.
MEMBERSHIP ACTIVITIES CHECKLIST
- Discuss and decide upon your PTA's membership theme and membership goal.
- Publicize it in many ways: on your website, in a registration packet, issue a press release, display posters at school.
- Visually represent your goal and its progress a prominent place.
- Consider either the California State PTA membership challenge as a goal or set your own.
- Include your membership invitation in the school's summer mailing or newsletter.
- Have the invitation available in the office for late registering families as part of a welcome packet.
- Include the following in your invitation letter:
- Information about your campaign (theme, goals, anyone can join);
- What your PTA has provided/plans to provide for the school and community;
- What membership means (benefits of being a member, having a voice); and
- Reference to the other levels of PTA and what they offer.
- Create a teacher/staff specific invitation to encourage staff membership.
- Ask your principal to join PTA and promote PTA membership to the staff.
- Think about offering a particular incentive to encourage staff participation.
- Advise staff about the teacher and nurse continuing education scholarships available through California State PTA.
- Discuss who is not represented in your PTA and make a plan for outreach to the community, including non-family members and others.
- Identify those who are not members but should be included so that your PTA truly reflects your community.
- Include PTA contact information in every PTA or school newsletter for those interested in joining or getting in touch and make sure the office provides contact information to those who request it.
- Set up a membership table at every PTA and/or school event with brochures or other give-aways to inform people about PTA.
- Registration days and/or orientations for new students/parents
- Student performances and other events at school
- Use PTA brochures and other resources to promote/market PTA and explain the benefits of PTA.
- Make sure that every member receives his or her individual membership card.
- Keep a membership list with contact information for all members.
- Contact previous year's members if they do not re-join to make a personal "ask".
- Report regularly at PTA meetings on the membership total and additional memberships received.
- Regularly remit all per capita/dues for new memberships to the unit treasurer and make sure they are forwarded through channels (at least monthly).