For me, back-to-school time also brings thoughts of how we’re going to introduce the PTO to parents this year.  That first Open House or back-to-school night can be so important for setting the stage correctly.  This article from Denver  gives parents advice for making the most of back-to-school night, but what about advice for us PTO and PTA leaders.

My 3 best tips:

1. Think welcoming and serving. Do not – I repeat do not – make it all about fundraising.  Parents will support you with their pocketbooks and wallets *after* they connect with your group and your good work.  Have a column on this concept of The Welcoming PTO here.

2. Address parent fears.  Nearly every parent in the room is thinking either: 1) “they’re a clique”; or 2) if I volunteer once (like a Black Hole) I’ll never get out.  You can’t ignore those thoughts.  Address them head-on. My column on PTOs and Cliques is here. And the best solution to the Black Hole problem, is our 2 Hour Power program.

3. Be fairly quick and light-hearted. You’re trying to draw people in.  Don’t use guilt.  And don’t drone.  You won’t completely convince all your future volunteers with one speech, but you could completely lose a whole bunch of them with one overly-long, too-heavy or guilt-giving speech.

Our editors and writers have covered best back-to-school advice for PTO and PTA leaders in loads of ways.  Take some time to review, and I know you’ll do great.