Starting a PTO from scratch can be a really daunting and overwhelming task. But it doesn’t have to be! A question that pops up a lot, especially from leaders of newly formed PTOs is how a PTO should be structured.
And the truth is there is no one right way. It all depends on how many volunteers there are and what the talents and strengths of those volunteers are. But in every parent group, there are a set of 9 positions that are essential for the functioning of the PTO. In no particular order, here they are!
The President of any PTO should ideally function as a generalist who oversees the leadership team. “President” doesn’t mean it’s the one person who does everything! Top responsibilities for the President are to communicate, delegate whenever possible, facilitate discussions and meetings, act as the point person on all PTO matters.
The Treasurer is the person who handles the money stuff. One slip up some people make is that they think that the Treasurer, alone, can make decisions about what to spend money on. Not so! All decisions about expenditures should be made during a meeting, or if your group’s Bylaws and/or Standing Rules permit, with the approval of the executive board.
The Treasurer should work with the President to set a budget for the year. The budget should be based on reasonable expectations for income and expenditures that don’t outweigh the income. Read more about being Treasurer here.
The Membership Chair is responsible for recruiting parents and teachers to become members and be involved through the year. In lieu of dues, your group may want to consider the price of membership to be two volunteer hours per year, or another amount that makes sense for your PTO. Want to know the secret to getting parents involved?
Family Events Chair
Having a dedicated person in place to oversee and coordinate family events to bring the school community together is absolutely essential! The Family Events chair should choose programs that will engage the students and parents.
Need even ideas? Get 57 ideas right here.
The fundraising chair should choose a few events to raise money for the group throughout the year. The goal should be based on the amount needed to fund the projects and programs for the the year and some extra to carry over to the next year. Need quick and easy fundraising ideas?
The Communications chair should use multiple methods to spread the word about all PTO happenings. They should act as a central hub to provide the who, what, where and how for everything! People can’t get involved if they don’t know about it, so this position is crucial. More advice on how to get parents to show up for events right here.
To help the group continue as seamlessly as possible, a slate of officers should be made a few months before elections are held. The Nominations Chair should contact volunteers who are already involved and ask if they’d like to continue, as well as reach out to parents who are not quite so involved.
The President should not be the Nominations Chair, nor serve on the Nominations Committee.
The Secretary should take minutes at meetings so there’s no confusion about what was discussed and decided at meetings. Sending thank you notes and sympathy cards is another responsibility the Secretary can take care of.
Each school has it’s own programs that makes the PTO unique! Use your discretion to create additional positions as the need arises. Many times the amount of program chairs depends on the number of volunteers there are! The size of the PTO and the amount of volunteers can rise and flow, so programs should be structured to allow for these changes so your group doesn’t get stuck with more jobs than volunteers.
Oh and if you are overwhelmed at the thought of managing all of these different volunteers and staying organized, I have the perfect solution for you! I’ve designed the perfect PTA/PTO Planner and Organizing Kit. It has every essential checklist, tracker and calendar you’ll need for a perfectly planned year with tons of resources to share with all officers and committee chairs!
Over to you!
What other positions does your PTO have? Did I miss any that you feel are must-haves?