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What To Do When a PTO Officer Doesn’t Do their Job

How to handle a PTO / PTA officer who’s not quite doing their job is one of the top questions leaders need to know the answer to, but at the same time hope to not have to deal with during their term.

How to address irresponsibility from board members & be “extremely” tactful about it?

Stay Diplomatic

Don’t throw the slacker officer under the bus.

It may feel good in the moment, but it will only reflect poorly on you in the end.

Feel free to trash talk the person to your spouse (or your pet!) and get your frustrations out that way.

Take the high ground and you’ll never regret it.

Write It Out

If it’s a particularly sticky situation, write down the facts and possible solutions.

Stay really factual here and don’t get too sassy or judgmental.

That won’t help.

Talk to them

First, give them a call.

Don’t try to handle this issue by text messaging.

It’s too delicate of a situation to leave it to chance how your texts will be interpreted.

It could make a bad situation even worse!


Now that you’re on the call with them, stick to the facts and be prepared to listen.

Don’t assume they know what they’re doing.  

Now, you can’t be completely patronizing and set out explaining all the details.  

But you should offer to be empathetic and ask how you can help.  

It may be the case that something has changed in their life.  

Like a big event that they didn’t tell you about for whatever reason.  

But you should ask they what’s been going on.  

If they do tell you, be sympathetic, but stay firm with your expectations.

Ultimately, it was up to them to reach out and ask for help if they were getting underwater with their volunteer job responsibilities.

It may be that you need to remove the volunteer from their position.

Here’s more on how to fire volunteers here.

Set Deadlines

After you’ve reiterated expectations, set clear deadlines.

Check in frequently to see if they’re staying on track.

Offer to help so it doesn’t feel like you’re breathing down their neck.

Be Prepared to Cancel

If the volunteer has royally screwed up, it may not be realistic to salvage the event.

So you really need to be prepared to cancel the event.

Or postpone it so it can be pulled off without you losing your mind.

Leave Time to Do it Yourself

Don’t be a martyr if you have to do it yourself.

Just do it and move on.

If it was so important that you couldn’t cancel, then don’t complain.

Woman up and make it happen!

Scenarios Based on True Events

What does this advice look like in real life?

Read on for a few scenarios based on real life events.

The Case of the Negligent Event Chair

Picture this:

Big PTO event scheduled for February.

Event Chair comes to January meeting with no plans or details about said event.

She even says she has no report to give to a room filled with fellow volunteers, leaving the volunteers stunned in silence.

Event Chair leaves in the middle of the discussion about said event.

Options for you: Cancel or postpone event, or make the event happen as scheduled.

If you opt to go on as scheduled, you also have a two options: Do the event yourself or get a reliable helper to make the event happen.

From this point out, don’t trust the Event Chair to make anything happen!

If she was capable, she would’ve had a plan together earlier than the January event.

But she didn’t, so she’s “telling” you that she can’t or won’t make it happen.

If the reliable helper agrees to co-chair the event (in an attempt to allow the Event Chair to save face) make sure they can work together well.

Have the New Co-Chair reach out to the Event Chair to let her know she’ll be helping.

As President, you need to set firm deadlines for the Co-Chairs to meeting, all the while planning to take over if need be.

If the deadlines are met, then there’s nothing else for you to do aside from setting the next deadline to meet to ensure the Event can be pulled off.

Give deadlines with padding so that the event can still happen in case you need to take over.

If the deadlines aren’t met, then offer to do it yourself and then make it happen pronto.

The Case of the Missing Deposits

Now picture Fall Fundraiser time.

Checks and cash fundraising payments delivered to Treasurer for deposit one week after close of Fundraiser.

Two weeks after close of fundraiser, orders have been delivered to the Fundraising Chair and she wants to schedule order pick up.

Fundraising Chair texts Treasurer to see if any checks have bounced to avoid releasing orders that haven’t been paid for.

Treasurer replies back that she plans to deposit the checks tomorrow (more than two weeks after she’d been given the checks).

Fundraising Chair reaches out to President to let her know of the deposit delay.

President then checks in with Treasurer to ask about the reason for the delay and restates the expectation that deposits are to be made within three business days of receipt.

Treasurer gets the message and starts depositing checks on time.

Watch this!

For more on this topic, give this video a watch!

What To Do When PTO Officers Don’t Do their Job | Fire PTA Volunteers

Over to you!

Now you know the basics of dealing with PTO leaders who aren’t doing their job.

Have you ever deal with a similar situation?

How did you handle it?

Recommended Resources

Learning how to manage your PTO doesn’t have to be an on the job task.

You can have a term where you’re brilliantly executing plans instead of wasting time figuring out what to do.

The Complete Collection has been crafted from years of PTO leadership experience and allows your entire PTO to get a plug and play resource kit.

All leaders in your group will enjoy the step by step plans that work with your group, nearly seamlessly.

Check it out to see why this is such a popular library of guides, forms and checklists!

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