What if you could double the size of your PTA, PTO, or Booster Club? You could increase your volunteers, events, and fundraising. These are just a few of the benefits for a parent-teacher group that enjoy more participation from men. If you are looking for a way to grow your parent-teacher group and the good it can do for your students, consider increasing male involvement. AIM has a few strategies your group can use to help increase male engagement in your parent-teacher group.
Show Them Why It’s Important
Many men see parent-teacher groups as an activity and group that falls under the purview of mothers. It’s difficult for some men to see why increasing male engagement in a PTA, PTO, or Booster Club is essential. Remind the male audience for your parent-teacher group of the importance positive male role models play in a kid or teenager’s future. They can play a vital role in providing an excellent example for students and help reinforce the importance of getting a good education.
Those students and your group need adult men supporting education and young students as positive male role models. It’s there responsibility and duty as an adult to show up and impress upon future generations what it means to be a positive influence and a productive male member of society.
Increase Male Engagement by Starting Small
It can be challenging to sell men on a school year’s worth of involvement upfront. People are especially hesitant to sign up when they don’t know the details or the plan for the school year. They can feel they’re being pressured into writing your PTA, PTO, or Booster Club a blank check for their time and energy.
You can have more success building male involvement by starting with small and specific requests for assistance. Ask for help on a single, defined project. You’re more likely to get assistance by asking for two hours of support setting up carnival booths because the project and the timeframe are well-defined. Frame your asks by defining the specifics of the help you want and providing a timeframe so that volunteers can schedule their time.
Create a Male Engagement Task Force
If your PTA, PTO, or Booster Club is serious about improving its male engagement, formalize the intent and put a passionate person in charge of making it happen. Find someone in your parent-teacher group dedicated to increasing the male engagement of your group. The task force leader could be of any gender, so long as their passionate.
Your male engagement task force can help your group find opportunities for men to get involved and help you communicate with your male prospects to build their participation. The task force can also help your PTA, PTO, or Booster Club develop father-son/daughter activities to help prove your group believes men are a valuable part of the parent-teacher group. By using your task force to create male/father opportunities, you can increase male engagement. You can use this style of events to identify attendees who are good prospects to become volunteers for your parent-teacher group.
Communicate the Right Way to Increase Male Engagement
Indirect communication and implied requests for assistance often fall flat with a male audience. Member email blasts and flyers do not do a great job of spurring this audience to action. Neither does a blanket request for volunteers at your monthly meeting. You will often get a better response by directly asking a man for his support; by making it a personal request, you are more likely to receive a positive response.
Your communication with male audiences can also benefit by speaking their language. Many men don’t want to sift through a paragraph of history, goals, and fluff about an upcoming event to get the specifics. Keeping your communication to the Joe Friday’s “just the facts, ma’am” approach can improve your communication’s overall clarity and help more men quickly find how they can get involved.
Avoid Solo Dad Situations
One hesitation many men have from engaging more is the fear of being the odd man out. Like going to a friend’s party where you don’t know anyone, no one wants to be the only awkward father at an event or meeting. You can help bypass this challenge and increase male engagement by coordinating situations and volunteer opportunities to ensure there are always at least two or more men present. This coordination helps overcome the initial awkwardness of a man’s first experience with your parent-teacher group.
Men also create stronger bonds by working together. Giving your men volunteers practical tasks they can complete together will help them create a robust, positive association with each other and your parent-teacher group. Those positive feelings will encourage your male members to continue supporting the PTA, PTO, or Booster Club activities in the future.
Help Combat Male Engagement Stigma
One of the significant hesitations for men who want to get involved is the social stigma and legal risk associated with adult men and children. As a culture, we see an adult man spending time with a non-family child as suspicious. Popular culture often demonizes a man wanting to spend time with children as the precursor to something inappropriate.
Many men would like to help out, but the fear of social and legal implications of any alleged misconduct is too devastating to risk. Leaving them frequently to avoid the situation entirely and not participate. You can increase male engagement by creating opportunities where men can help without interacting with minors. Once your new male members and parent-teacher group are comfortable, you can begin introducing men into situations where they interact with kids while with other adults, slowly building the comfort level for one-on-one interactions between men and children.
Protecting Your Group with Insurance from AIM
As you increase male engagement with your PTA, PTO, or Booster Club, your group will be able to do more good for your school and students. Make sure your parent-teacher group’s coverage is adjusted to cover your group’s new capabilities. AIM offers PTA, Booster Club, and PTO insurance coverage for events, embezzlement, property, and directors and officers. Make sure your parent-teacher group’s events, funds, property, and people are covered appropriately.