It’s Back to School time! And while parents are readying their kiddos for getting back to the swing of things, parent volunteers for PTO and PTA groups have other things on their minds.
Especially if those volunteers are new PTA or PTO Presidents.
Those volunteers have a heck of a lot more going on.
But I’m here to give some simple and honest guidance…
1. Check in with officers and committee chairs
Right now, at the beginning of the school year, it is super important that you check in with your officers and heads of committees.
See what they need help with.
Ask where they are with plans for the year.
If they’re overwhelmed, help find a buddy to balance out the workload.
2. Check in with your principal
Getting on the same page with your Principal is also really important.
I developed a really good relationship with my Principal when I was President and it was because we checked in with each other on a regular basis.
Meeting at the beginning of the year can help set that collaborative tone that will help you throughout the year.
Give the Principal a heads up about all events and make sure they’re on board, even if you don’t need their explicit permission.
My relationship with my Principal was so rock solid that she trusted me implicitly.
We quickly got to the point where I was just letting her know about events and wasn’t seeking permission.
As long as I had a plan, she was okay with whatever I wanted to do.
3. Make sure membership, fundraising and family events are set
Yep, this is kinda a repeat of #1, but it is sooooo worth repeating!
4. Check in with other leaders in your district
It’s always good to check in with the other PTA leaders of other district school at the start of the school year if you haven’t already.
Before plans and schedules are cemented, there’s time to join together for events and avoid scheduling conflicts.
Working together will help everyone in the district out, especially the families with kids in multiple buildings.
If you’re already planning an event for 400 kids, then it’s less work to add on another 400 kids than to plan a separate event!
5. Stay calm
Maybe I should’ve listed not freaking out at the top of this list cause I know that many first time PTO Presidents are doing just this!
If this is you, you for sure shouldn’t be a giant ball of stress ready to explode.
Everything will be fine, no matter what is going on right now.
The weight of the entire organization isn’t and shouldn’t be on your shoulders.
You’re in this with others, so lean on them.
Doing #1 and #2 on this list should definitely help out!
6. Fill open positions in your PTO
A PTA/PTO’s President job is so much harder with open positions because there is a great temptation to try to do everything yourself.
I speak from experience on this one because I was totally guilty of this on more than one occasion.
One of the biggest mistakes I made during my first year as President was that instead of finding someone else to do certain jobs, I did the work myself.
This meant that I was spending way too much time on PTA stuff than was healthy.
And by the end of the year, I was headed to burn out.
Your role as President isn’t to do everything yourself and run the group. Rather, your job is to manage everyone and help reach group goals.
Don’t assume that no one is willing to step up and help out.
I know PTAs and PTOs get a bad rap because often roles are undefined and people feel like they get sucked into a volunteer role that never ends.
So when approaching people, make sure to be clear on what the position involves and also the estimated time commitment.
It’s really, really, really important that you’re really honest about what’s involved.
If not, you’ll end up with disgruntled volunteers and that’s never a good thing!
What if you can’t find someone to do it?
If you really can’t find anyone to fill the role, then consider if it really needs to be done.
Harsh, but such a valid point!
PTOs really just need a President, Treasurer, Family Events Head and a Fundraising Chair.
The other things are bonuses, really, in my opinion.
Summing it up
I hope this post has been helpful if you are a new President and you’re overwhelmed by your position and all that the start of school brings.
Don’t forget that I have some tools available to help your year go as smoothly as you’d like!
If you’ve not yet, make sure to check them out to see how they’ll help you!
April 2017 Update!
I’ve started a new blog to help PTA/PTO leaders: PTO Answers
And I have a ton of videos on the PTO Answers YouTube channel. Make sure to subscribe to both to get the newest blog posts and videos as soon as they are released!
Also, I have a Facebook Group just for PTA/PTO Leaders + Volunteers! Join the group here!
The PTA/PTO Super Star Leaders group offers the chance to get your burning PTO questions answered by my and other PTO nerds.
The group also has tons of motivation, inspiration and support to help you through any situation!
August 2019 Update: There are over 7,000 leaders in the group, so request to join right now!
Everything you need for a successful term!
All the resources you and your board members and committee chairs will need for a spectacular year are bundled into the Complete Collection!