Overcoming Objections

Most objections to joining PTA fall into the areas of time, impact and perceived value.

OBJECTION #1: “I Don’t Have Time”

RESPONSE: Time is not required as a PTA member. Your membership supports our PTA in all we do for students, teachers and our school or community. You want the best for your kids and we help to make that happen.

Parents often say, “I don’t have time.” But they also say:

  • “I want the best for my kids – they are my priority.”
  • “Being present helps my child to stay on track – and I want my face to be known to the principal, teachers and other kids.”
  • “It’s fun to be with my child and get to know other families.”

When parents say they don’t have time to join PTA, what they are probably saying is that they do not want to volunteer dozens of hours each week. That’s why it’s important to give them options on your membership form and communicate time commitment required:

  • Member (no time commitment)
  • Member + Volunteer (I will help when I can! Add me to your volunteer email list!)
  • Member + Committee (Reach out to me to find out my interests, skills, talents that can help PTA)
  • Volunteer (I want to help, but paying isn’t possible right now. Add me to your volunteer email list! PTA will seek additional donations to cover membership fee)
  • Support PTA with an additional donation! Your donation covers membership dues for families who can support PTA as a volunteer only. Also, donations contribute to the overall budget to support students and teachers, while improving our school. Tax-deductible receipt will be sent.

Respect the “no time” answer but make sure you continue to communicate with these members about the impact your PTA is having on their child and school or community. Follow-up with those who have expressed interest in volunteering or leading on a committee and match their interests, skills and talents with a PTA responsibility that is meaningful and values the time they give.

OBJECTION #2: “I don’t like to fundraise”

RESPONSE #2: You do not have to fundraise as a PTA member. When you join PTA, you are helping us to accomplish our mission — to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families to advocate for all children. This year, we are supporting students and teachers by <insert 2-3 specific examples>. Also, we are improving our school or community by <insert 2-3 specific examples>. Your PTA membership helps to make that happen — and you don’t have to commit time or anything more when you join PTA — unless you want to! We always welcome the ways you feel you can help!

Many people have the perception that PTA is a fundraising organization. Reflect on that. Is that all they see from your PTA? To grow membership, you have to prove that your PTA is more than a fundraising machine — what makes PTA different than other parent-teacher organizations is that we are advocates for our students, teachers, families and schools and communities.

You will hear this objection less frequently when parents, families and teachers understand what PTA does with the money you raise. Start to shift the “PTA only fundraises” perception by:

  • Developing a focused goal that families will feel passionate about supporting and describe the two to three milestones that will help you achieve that goal. What are you raising money for? Example: “We are focused on supporting literacy at our school. To do that, we will X, Y and Z.”
  • Being transparent about your budget. At least monthly, promote funds raised and communicate how the funds helped to achieve your PTA’s goals. Make your financial reports accessible to all members.
  • Planning smart. Ask your PTA members about your current mix of fundraising tactics. Is it too much? Are there ways you could do less and make more? Check out our Fundraising tips for more ideas.
  • Tooting PTA’s horn every step of the way! Communicate about your progress at events, in your newsletter and on social media. Give your Board Members and school staff talking points to get the word out!

OBJECTION #3: “I don’t know what PTA does!”

RESPONSE #3: Oh! I’d love to tell you about PTA — but first, what do you think the kids of our school and community need most to succeed in school and life?

NOW LISTEN, ASK MORE QUESTIONS, THEN MATCH PTA TO WHAT THEY SAY …

You make such great points. That’s why, this year, PTA is on a mission to support students and teachers by <insert two to three specific examples>. Also, we are <insert two to three specific examples of school improvements that align with what they recommend>. Your PTA membership helps to make that happen. It’s so easy to join -- and no time commitment is needed -- unless of course you want to help! We always welcome you to join us as we fulfill our mission to make sure every child has what they need to succeed in school and life.

The key point is to listen and to align what you hear with what your PTA is focused on achieving. The best sales people — and leaders — listen. When you understand the concerns and perspectives of your families, you’ll make a plan that they want to support. You’ll show them you are focused, you care, and you value their time.

Other Tips for Handling Objections

People like to join organizations that make a difference, allow them to network with successful people, and provide opportunities to have fun. Talk about how PTA membership extends beyond your school building or community. Connect your members to National PTA and your state PTA’s advocacy efforts, parent education tools, and programs.

And of course, don’t forget the benefits offered to all PTA members by National PTA:

  • Dozens of national programs, experts and turnkey resources
  • Regular updates and advice in the form of e-newsletters, PTA.org, Our Children magazine
  • Leadership development and training for PTA members through webinars and e-learning courses
  • Millions of dollars in grants for local PTAs to help build PTA capacity and skills
  • Prestigious national awards
  • Cost savings from national retailers and other PTA partners
  • Support services and staff to help establish and manage your PTA