Here are some methods you can use to keep in touch with your members.
Email groups such as Google Groups can be useful. You can simply use them to send out notices and meeting minutes, or allow all members to send to the group, so they can be used as a discussion forum. Make sure you have people’s permission before you add them to the group – sending unwanted emails will not make you popular!
You can print a ‘sign-up’ sheet and display it at events with a pen handy, so people can subscribe on the spot.
It’s also a good idea to set up an ongoing contact email for your club. You can set up a free email with a service such as Gmail or Microsoft Outlook. Or your school might be able to set up an email address for the club within its own email system. Once you have the email set up, simply have it auto-forwarded to the current designated contact person. When that person changes, you can change the forwarding address. That way, nobody has to publish their personal email address and you can keep the same contact email in your publications and online pages.
You can set up a Page or Group for your Parent Club on Facebook and other social media sites. It’s easy and free and allows discussion between your members, as well as a way of publicising your activities.
Here’s a good example of a Facebook Page: St Arnaud Primary School Parents Club
A few things to note:
- If it’s a Page, it’s public. This is good for exposure, but any conflicts and negativity that may appear in the comments section are there for all to see.
- Groups offer privacy but are not so effective for promotion.
- Remember that your online presence is strongly associated with the school and its public image. Let the school know before you set up a public page. This is not the place for complaining or campaigning.
- Facebook has its limits. Not everyone is on Facebook. Once you post content to Facebook, you no longer control what happens to it; Facebook now owns it.
Your school might be willing to allow you a regular section in the school newsletter, or at least to promote coming events.
A regular section can be useful to promote your meetings, and also to extend the club’s role beyond events and fundraisers. You could share news from Class Reps, news from your local community or items of interest from Parents Voice.
Here are some examples of school newsletters with Parent Club sections:
It’s a great idea to have a page for the Parent Club on the school website. Parents who are ‘checking out’ the school will know right from the start that there’s an active Parent Club at the school. If you have a regular calendar of activities, you can promote it on the website. You might also like to include a contact email for parent enquiries.
Here’s a good example of a Parent Club page: Croydon Hills Primary School Parents Association