If and when a parent-teacher group decides to create a school or member directory, there are a few key items to consider.The largest being participation and approval by those included in the directory. That’s why it’s smart to assign a team to the process, and fully understand what will be included in the directory and who will participate.
Furthermore, is it possible to combine sponsorship and fundraising in the creation and publication of your directory? If so, this is a great chance to give donors (local grocery stores, restaurants, etc.) a chance to reach members while contributing to your cause as a parent-teacher group.
Assign a Directory Project Manager & Team
- Assign a team or committee lead
- Limit parent communication team to three or less members depending on the size of your group
- Only this team/committee contacts members, no on else. That will cut down on confusion.
Contact Members & Gather Information
At the end of the year, it’d be wise to have a system for families to update information easily in preparation for the next school year. Keep in mind the reality of family availability during school breaks and how to communicate effectively to get information updated effortlessly.
PRO TIP: Create a dream sheet, or a sheet that everyone can fill out before school starts, or at the first meeting. this will include all pertinent household and family information that they want to provide or hide in the directory. When you see what you get preliminarily, you will know what to include in your member directory.
Organize the Data
Spreadsheets can be a daunting approach if your team or lead is unfamiliar, but they can also be your best friend. There are excel templates you can find online that are complete with the basic information fields that you can tailor to your specific group and needs.
Online vs Print Availability (Or Both)
- Printed directories handed out in beginning of year
- Selling or providing FREE online versions
- Hybrid of both: printed versions with sponsorships (see below*) with an always updated version online that members access and edit in real-time.
Directory Sponsorship & Fundraising
An evolving way for parent-teacher groups to gather member fees is attaching the directory availability to the membership dues at the beginning of every school year. However, by charging members to receive the directory you risk not everyone participating or having their information available, meaning: an incomplete directory.
Member directories — viewed by hundreds of the community’s families — provide valuable space for local business to promote their message, products, and offers. For example, a family would receive a discount by mentioning they saw an ad in the directory.
An added bonus or unintended consequence is that families are more likely to hold onto the directory if incentives exist.