Deciding on some House Rules for your PTA communications
It’s a good idea to sit down with your committee and think through your communications, so you are all on the same page. Make a conscious decision to communicate regularly and plan out:
- how often you’ll post,
- what form it will take (online or offline)
- the structure (e.g. beginning, middle and end), content and tone of your communications
This way you will establish some consistency and parents will know what to expect. Write it down.
PTAs sometimes worry about pestering parents, and are either too scared to send out mass mails too often, or they do nothing for a while then suddenly a flurry. It’s recommended that one person (usually the secretary or chair) takes charge of communication so this consistency is easier to achieve.
When you assign an event manager, they will also be able to post an event message to parents. So share your guidelines of what’s expected. Some people can be a little over-enthusiastic and either send out way to much information, or be a little careless in clicking ‘post' too soon and send too many. It’s important to be responsible and not over-use the post-to-community feature — or it can come across as a bit spammy.
Member to member communications
Regular members are a bit more restricted in how they can use the messaging system. The post-to-community option is not available to them. However they will be able to post questions or comments on the wall, so it's a matter of common sense that they should always be polite and constructive.
Any message posted on the wall will result in a notification being sent to the event manager.
Members are able to group-message all the helpers on a task, activity or even an event, which can potentially end up being a lot of people. Naturally they are expected to be considerate and responsible, only posting necessary or helpful messages.
Members can also private-message any member who has not opted out of receiving private messages (in their preferences). They should ensure that their messages are well-intended and welcomed by the recipient.
In the unlikely event that a member shows lack of respect for their community by flagrantly spamming or being abusive in any way, please send them an immediate warning and if necessary, delete their account via the Manage page.
These are all what-ifs to deal with extra-ordinary circumstances. We've never yet had to dish out any warnings or suspensions because school parents are generally-speaking a sensible lot.
We've heard various stories of shenanigans experienced by some PTAs on social media pages, when comments on discussions get out of control. One of the nice things about PlanSocial is it's a lot easier to stay on-topic as each wall is about a particular event or task. Also there are so many different opportunities to help that parents tend to pitch in and feel part of the solution, rather than sitting on the sidelines with their gems of wisdom ;)