I last heard that 40-50% of all families have at least one parent participating throughout the year.
Wow. Very much not the case at my kids' school. The school is economically and racially integrated by design (i.e. bussing, kids being driven long distances to attend), and the PTO is a yuppie-run organization. If I were forced to guess, I'd say 10-20% participation throughout the year, with another cohort participating once or twice - and that counts people like me who would have to be dragged into a PTO meeting at gunpoint.
That's not what I meant. We the 40-50% quoted number reflects participation at any level. Some parents give just 1 hour all year setting up cookies after a winter concert. They are counted just as much as the people who single-handedly ran the $50k fund raiser.
Getting that 1-hour a year volunteer is important for the viability of the organization.
Jaygee, you need to also beware the perception of it being an exclusive organization. As the above quote indicates, if your PTO leaders are all blonde SAHMs in a school with a diverse population, then it doesn't matter how welcoming you all feel, it won't be perceived as welcoming to the rest of the parent population as exclusive. Actively recruit parents to participate and take on leadership roles that look like the student population.