DS brought home a handwritten letter done in class inviting us to the PTA meeting because "if we don't go, the school won't have enough money for play equipment, books" etc. Needless to say, the meeting is during 'normal' working hours with no indication of how long it will take. The PTA is more cliquey than MN on a bad day!! I've tried to help before and all you get is stares and no one talk to you!
The unreasonable bit is the meeting in working hours. Our PTA meetings are always in the evenings, tho that doesn't suit a lot of single parents or people whose DPs work away. Attending the meetings isn't the be-all and end-all, there are lots of ways to support a PTA other than going to meetings. Sounds like your PTA hasn't thought it through very well and there's nothing worse than a cliquey PTA that doesn't make new members welcome. They're shooting themselves in the foot IMO. I do have some sympathy with the bit about needing extra money - school budgets just won't cover it all these days - but doesn't sound like they've done a very good job of rallying support or making people feel welcome when they try to help. Why not write them a polite letter saying you are happy to help, but can't attend meetings during working hours. They won't all be awful, I hate being tarred with the "cliquey PTA" brush.
I did actually suggest that they vary the times of meetings when I tried to volunteer when DS started school .... it didn't get much support!
I didn't like the idea that DS had that if we don't go he can't have new equipment or books. I realise that they do need support but I don't think this is the way to go about it. As you say Lilo, if they were a little more friendly, they might get more volunteers!
Whizz - totally agree about the emotional blackmail using the kids. At our school there was an auciotn of promises and one teacher's ill-judged promise was to read a bedtime story to the child of the highest bidder, and told all the (reception!) children in her class to tell their parents to bid high So there were all the parents feeling they'd let down their child f they didn't pay out loads of dosh, and 29/30 disappointed children...