One of my favorite features on ptotoday.com is the Ask a Question section. You ask whatever PTO-related question is on your mind, and we send out our crack editorial and customer service teams to find the answer.
My tip this week is based on some common advice we give in answering those questions: Read your bylaws. Bylaws are a key organizing document of a PTO, and every PTO should have them. They state, in writing, the most basic rules of the group: what the officer positions are and what the duties of each office are, when elections are held, etc.
Your group should also have a second set of written rules called policies. These are things that are important to the way you do business but aren’t as basic as bylaws. For instance, your bylaws might say you must hold a general meeting once a month. Your policies might say that meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the school cafeteria.
There are two important reasons to have written bylaws and policies: to have a ready answer to questions-especially when disputes arise-and to record a basic set of best practices so that future leaders can use them as a guide.
If you haven’t done so recently, take the time to review your group’s bylaws and policies. Make sure they fit the current needs of your group, and if they don’t, revise them. If your group doesn’t have bylaws and policies, this is a good time to get started on putting some in writing. We have lots of resources to help: