The second half of the school year is normally the time when well organized PTO / PTAs start looking towards planning for the future school year and looking around to see who will be the leaders of the group.
And while it’s true that the task of filling the slate of officers for the next school year can seem like a daunting task, the situation is exacerbated if your PTO isn’t recruiting year-round.
Well organized PTOs should really be laying the foundation and setting up the right conditions for parents to step up as leaders all the time.
But how exactly?
We’re breaking down the entire process of exactly how to effectively and easily recruit leaders for your PTO in this post!
Like mentioned earlier, the key is to start early.
Or, rather, to never really stop.
The smartest thing to do to lay the foundation for the “big” ask of taking on a leadership role in a PTO parent group is to make a small ask for help early on in the school year.
Parents that are engaged and involved are likely to step up into a leadership role when asked.
It’s pretty rare for parents who have previously been uninvolved to agree to an office or committee chair position since most won’t step up to lead a group they’re unfamiliar with.
Where to start?
Finding parents who may be interested isn’t limited to asking for volunteers.
Instead, look to the parents who come to meetings and events, but who may be quiet.
They may not volunteer themselves fro a job, but they might say yes to a position when personally asked.
If your meetings are not well attended, ask the principal, teachers and other staff if there are any parents who are active in classroom or school volunteering during the day.
There are many reasons why a parent might volunteer during the day, but may never come to a PTO meeting.
You never know unless you ask, so ask first to get ideas of who to ask to take on a leadership role!
Make sure to make a general announcement that the nominations process is going on.
Someone who was not previously on your radar as a candidate might volunteer themselves, much to your surprise! And that can be a great thing!
Be clear and honest
This next part should go without saying…
But I feel like I must say it because too many times I’ve heard from people that they didn’t know what they were getting into with regard to PTO/PTA stuff.
That’s a pretty sad statement.
I’ve most frequently heard this not from people in my own groups, but from other groups in the district or from friends on social media.
For whatever reason, they stepped into the role without fully understanding what the job would be.
And they weren’t properly trained to handle the job.
Make sure anyone you recruit doesn’t have that experience.
And if the position you’re recruiting for really is so bad that you don’t want to be honest about what’s involved, well, then time for a change.
And time to re-evaluate the responsibilities of that position and make a change.
What to tell potential leaders
In the process of being completely honest about what’s involved, you need to be sure the potential volunteer is clear on:
- Time commitment involved
- Available leadership resources for new leaders, like any binder or planner you’ve put together to make the job easier.
One big potential pitfall to avoid?
If at all possible, it’s best to have your current PTO President not involved in anything regarding the nominating or recruiting process except for one limited role.
There’s the very real possibility that volunteers may feel intimidated and won’t tell the President how they genuinely feel about taking on a role (maybe they can’t say no to the President?).
But you should feel free to consult the President for their brainstorming ideas for possible candidates.
But make sure to limit the President’s role after that!
Another way you can turn potential volunteers off is by “volun-telling” them, that is instead of waiting for someone to volunteer, it’s announced that Becky will bake the cupcakes for the class party.
Becky may not have the time or talent to bake the cupcakes and really should have been approached privately about her baking capabilities and willingness.
This will cause volunteers are potential leaders to run away screaming from your group.
Make Officer Transitions a Breeze
Looking for additional support with officer transitions?
There’s a fabulous resource designed to help smooth bumpy handovers by making it easier for your PTA/PTO to document processes, systems and conduct self audits.
It’s all been rolled into the enormously helpful President’s Success Kit!
The kit comes with everything you need to set up an organized binder in mere minutes and along with essential forms to run your PTA/PTO to share with all leaders in your group.
Over to you!
Hope these tips make your nominating and recruiting processes a lot smoother and easier going forward.