Becoming a PTO president can feel a little bit like getting engaged. When the initial excitement wears off, it’s often replaced by anxiety over all the work that lies ahead of you!
As with wedding planning, it’s best to break the PTO president’s work into manageable tasks. Here’s our spin on the traditional wedding planning checklist, with items for PTO presidents to accomplish organized by when they fall in the school year.
- Preside over the executive board meeting.
- Prepare for the general PTO meeting.
- Review the treasurer’s report.
- Check your PTO’s Facebook page and webpage and suggest updates as necessary.
- Thank volunteers for their efforts.
- Reflect on all the great work the PTO is doing for the school.
After You’re Elected
- Talk with the outgoing president and set a date for a formal transition of records.
- Set up your personal “presidential” work environment by creating folders on your computer and cloud storage for shared files. Also, organize your own new president’s binder and file space at home. (Yes, there will be paper documents to file.)
- Browse ptotoday.com for new ideas and resources and to connect with other PTO leaders.
Over Summer Break
- Host an officer retreat, even if just for a few hours. This gives you a chance to get to know one another better and to make important planning decisions. Use the time to review past activities, create a calendar of activities for the year, and further develop the new budget, if possible.
- Find out whether the PTO’s financial books have been independently reviewed. If not, arrange for a review before school begins.
One Month Before School Starts
- Review and finalize the activities calendar with your school principal.
- Update the signature cards at your PTO’s bank.
- Double-check and lock in key organizational dates. Renew your PTO’s insurance policy (and PTO Today Plus membership). Renew your incorporation with the state, if applicable. Determine the due date for your PTO’s annual information return to the IRS (Form 990-N or 990-EZ) if your group is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.
- Set the schedule of monthly executive board meetings for the whole year.
- Oversee the design of the PTO e-newsletter, welcome folder, or other similar tool to introduce your group to the school community.
- Check in with the fundraising chair to ensure that the first fundraiser is ready to go.
Start of School Year
- Preside over the first PTO meeting of the year. (It’s usually the best-attended.)
- Intentionally reach out to new families at your school.
- Host a committee chair orientation. Set common expectations, review best practices, and get to know one another.
- Hold your PTO’s fall fundraiser.
- Plan teacher snacks or meals for parent-teacher conferences.
- Review preliminary results of the fall fundraiser.
Before Winter Holidays
- Check in with the committee chair for your spring carnival or other major event.
- Enjoy a well-earned break from PTO work for a few weeks. Volunteers get a vacation, too!
After Winter Holidays
- Review the state of the PTO thus far this year.
- With your treasurer’s help, develop an amendment to your PTO’s budget if necessary, based on fundraising results to date.
- Begin the work of the nominating committee. If you don’t use a formal nominating committee, determine which officer and committee chair positions might need to be filled next year, and reach out for volunteers.
- Keep an eye on the planning for your big spring event.
- Accept the report of the nominating committee, or actively recruit volunteers to fill officer and committee chair positions for next year.
- Pay it forward by inviting the president of the middle school PTO (if you’re an elementary school), for example, to your general meeting so she can encourage parents to remain involved as their children graduate from your school.
- Check with committee chairs in charge of planning late spring celebrations such as staff appreciation, volunteer appreciation, and student promotion.
- Complete your entry for PTO Today’s Parent Group of the Year search.
- Preside over your last general PTO meeting of the year. Hold officer elections.
End of School Year
- Open committee sign-ups for next year.
- Hold an executive board meeting with the outgoing and incoming officers.
- Ensure that you have a volunteer to perform the independent financial review this summer.
- Organize your files for the year.
- Formally transition with your successor.
- Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.