Tech Corner

Electronic Membership System

California State PTA has partnered with TOTEM for our custom electronic membership system designed specifically for PTAs in California. People can join/renew and pay for their PTA membership and make donations online If your PTA uses TOTEM, it can be found at and members who joined on TOTEM will get their electronic membership cards online.

Cost: No upfront cost; they charge a $2 fee on top of the membership due to be paid by the member who joins/renews on TOTEM; 5% for any extra donations above the membership due (these fees cover all the per-transaction processing fees). Members who joined offline can be entered into the system manually too (without any fee).

Membership Toolkit
Another electronic membership system being used by some PTAs. It has no partnership with California State PTA.

Cost: It charges a fixed cost per year depending on the features subscribed to (that's on top of the processing/transaction fees charged by the processing system used).

Group Email Management

How to get the member and non-member email addresses?
You may get all parents/teachers' email addresses from the school, member email addresses from your electronic membership system such as TOTEM/Membership Toolkit/etc., email addresses collected during events/sign-ups, etc.

Google Groups
If you have a Google gmail account (e.g., or Google Workspace account (e.g.,, you can create group mailing lists on Google Groups (e.g., if you use gmail account or if you use Google Workspace account). You can have one group including all your member and non-member email addresses, separate groups for members and non-members, one group for your board members only, etc. You can then use any email tool you are using as usual to send emails to the mailing list address you set up.

Refer to for more info. Click here for the group privacy settings NCC used for its group mailing lists as reference.

Cost: Free

If your PTA uses TOTEM, it has group email function for sending emails to all members in your PTA. However, it cannot handle any non-members who may want to receive emails from your PTA.

Cost: No additional cost if your PTA uses TOTEM for electronic membership system.

Membership Toolkit
If your PTA uses Membership Toolkit, it has group email function for sending emails to all members in your PTA, as well as non-members if you set that up. You can also set up different email groups if you want to.

Cost: No additional cost if your PTA uses Membership Toolkit for electronic membership system.

More advanced email tool. You can set up different email groups if you want to. This tool provides more insight into the email traffic, e.g., how many recipients have opened the email, how many clicked some links on the email, which links they clicked, what time they read the email, etc.

Cost: At the time of this writing, it is free for up to 1000 email addresses and 12000 emails per month (when you send one group email and have N email addresses, that's counted as N emails; in other words, assume you have 400 email addresses, you can send 30 group emails each month with the free plan). 

Productivity (Online Storage, Documents, Calendar, etc.)

Google Productivity Suite (Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, Meet, Forms, Sites, etc.)

There are two options to get the Google Productivity Suite:

Google personal gmail account
Anyone can get a free Google personal gmail account for their PTA (e.g., This comes with 15 GB storage (for all Google applications combined) and Google Meet (online meeting) is limited to 1 hour only.

Cost: Free

Google Workspace for Nonprofits account
A PTA as a 501(c)(3) organization is eligible for the free Google Workspace for Nonprofits offering. Google Workspace offers more storage space and practically unlimited Google Meet time. You will get more professionally looking email addresses in the domain name of your choice (if available) for each of your board members if you want (e.g.,, Click here for more info about how to get this account.

Cost: While the Google Worksapce for Nonprofits is free, the domain name is not and needs to be purchased. Google is partnering with Squarespace for domain names to be used with Google Workspace (at the time of this writing, the cost starts at $12 per year).

Public Calendar

Google Calendar
Google Calendar is a good free option to maintain the PTA calendar and share that publicly. This can be done using either a Google Workspace account or a Google personal account. One can share such public calendar in a few different ways:
- Embed it into your PTA website
- Share the calendar's public url for parents to access on their browser
- Share the calendar's ical link for parents to add to their own Google/Apple calendar app or any calendar app that supports ical
More info can be found here and here.

Electronic Payment System (Receiving)

PayPal Nonprofit Account
A PTA as a 501(c)(3) organization can register for a nonprofit account at PayPal, which can enjoy lower processing/transactioin fees. Such account enables PTA to receive electronic payments/donations (e.g., Magic Show ticket sales). 

You can also sign-up their Zettle service and purchase their Zettle card reader which can be used at your events/concessions to accept credit/debit cards, Google/Apple Pay, etc.

Cost: No upfront cost; PayPal charges processing fee per transaction.

Note 1: If your PTA has its PayPal account, it should be included in all financial/treasurer reports in the same way as the PTA bank account.

Note  2: The Ninth District PTA has recommended PTA not to use Venmo.

Accounting Tool

All PTAs in California get the online "officer/board member contact" and "document management" systems on myPTEZ for free. A PTA can also subscribe to their online accounting features with a fee. More info at: 

Cost: Check  

Membership Toolkit
If your PTA uses Membership Toolkit, it has add-on option to include accounting tools.

Cost: Additional cost applies even if your PTA uses Membership Toolkit for electronic membership system.


Google Sites
If your PTA uses the Google personal gmail account or the Google Workspace account, you can use Google Sites to build your PTA website. It is part of the Google Productivity Suite. 

If Google personal gmail account is used, the website address will be something like If Google Workspace account is used, the website address will be something like or NCC's website ( was built on Google Sites.

Cost: Free

Online Silent Auction

TravelPledge Auctions
Collect silent auction bids and donations online. Available only to 501(c)(3) organizations.

Cost: Free (after deducting the per-transaction processing fees); they make money by asking for optional tips from donors.

Online Running Tracking (for Running Club, etc.)

Marathon Kids (Free)
A free cloud-based platform for coaches to track physical activity effort and measure progress of goals. Marathon Kids Connect includes a mobile scanning app for distance tracking, plus a digital platform to customize a program, manage rosters, add miles/minutes, run reports, and celebrate milestones.

Cost: Free

If you have any other IT/tech tips your PTA would like to share or IT/tech topics your PTA would like to see here, feel free to contact our NCC Webmaster.