Your PTO Binder can be a lifesaver if it has the right information organized the right way!
This post will walk you through the process of setting up an organized PTO binder so that you won’t ever struggle to find what you need again!
Start off the organizing project by getting all the office supplies you’ll need to set up your binder the right way:
- Three ring binder* at least 2 inches in size, no more than 4 inches.
- 3 hole paper punch*
- Tabbed dividers*
- 3 ring pocket inserts*
Setting Up Your PTO Binder
If you have the President’s Success Kit or another one of the leader PTO binder kits available in the PTO Answers shop, then setting up your PTO binder will be a quick task!
Print the kit, making sure to choose your preferred cover option for PTO or PTA.
If you don’t have a kit, design your own cover and set of binder section dividers.
When you’re ready, slide the front and back covers into place.
Trim your binder spine and insert into your binder cover.
Now it’s time to move on to paying attention to the details of what’ll make up your organized binder!
PTO Planner Sections
First, make it easy to find what you need by dividing your papers into distinct sections.
Here are some suggested section categories:
- Bylaws and Standing Rules
- To Do
Put the section dividers in the order you prefer, then place a tabbed divider behind the section cover page.
Use double sided tape or some glue stick to adhere the cover page to the divider for custom dividers or laminate the section cover pages, hole punch and add to your binder.
Next, label the tabs accordingly or customize the tabs in the President’s Success Kit and print.
“Laminate” the tabs using clear packing tape to give them extra durability and adhere to the section dividers using a sticker machine or double sided tape.
Add in the Pocket Dividers
Now add in the pocket dividers to your PTO binder to give it even more structured organization.
Put a pocket divider behind the To Do or Notes, Forms and Bylaws and Standing Rules sections.
These sections have papers you’ll likely need to access frequently and may not want to hole punch.
Next, add any form templates like Meeting Sign in Sheets to the Forms pocket divider so you’ll have them easily on hand when you need them.
And last, put a copy of your PTO Bylaws and Standing Rules to the appropriate pocket divider as well.
Filling Your PTO Binder
With the guts of your PTO binder set up, it’s time to start moving papers into your PTO planner!
Using the the section dividers as a guide, put papers into the appropriate sections.
But don’t move over everything into this binder.
Establish an Archive PTO binder
Instead, consider setting up an Archive PTO binder to keep older, but still useful information.
Organize the archive binder in the same way you set up your active binder by printing out a second set of section dividers.
The Active binder will be your go to resource that you’ll take with you to meetings.
It should have copies of everything you’re currently working on.
The Archive binder is for information you might need, but don’t want to haul around on the daily.
Setting up a separate archive binder will literally lighten load from the binder you haul around on the daily.
What to Toss
If you’re inheriting a binder, chances are there’s more information in the binder than you actually need.
Toss information that isn’t needed like duplicate flyers, brochures for past programs and projects.
I recommend being pretty conservative with what you permanently part with.
You won’t be in this position forever.
The volunteers that follow might not be as equipped for the job as you are.
That means that many of the documents you personally don’t need might be super helpful to them.
Add those kinds of papers to the archive PTO binder or scan and add to your digital resource bank.
Digital Resource Bank
Since you’re creating forms, flyers and other resources digitally, it makes sense to create digital “binder” or resource bank.
Maintaining an organized archive file in the cloud is just as crucial as it is for the hard copy binder.
For Google Drive/Dropbox/any other cloud storage option files, organize by position or event and then by year.
Resist the temptation to organize everything by year and then position!
Doing so makes it really hard to see everything.
There’ll be a lot of clicking through folders to find things.
And that makes it less likely the resources will actually be seen or used.
It’s more efficient to name your files with the year, 2020TalentShowFlyer.doc for example.
This method makes it easier for the officer or committee chair to see what’s been done before.
Read more on organizing PTO files.
Over to you!
I’d love to see your organized binder!
Please share a picture of it in the comments!
Want an Instant System?
Getting organized as a PTO president can be tall order, especially when you’ve just been handed boxes or papers.
Use our President’s Success Kit to get organized super fast, plus you’ll have all the forms and useful resources like a monthly to do guide to follow!
Watch Me Set Up A PTO Binder
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