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Just elected? You'll be fine if you keep these five steps in mind.

by Rose Hamilton


If you’ve just been elected president of your parent group, you are probably excited and a little stressed. Now that it’s official, you may have a few doubts that you can do a job. But we have good news: You are likely better prepared than you think you are, and we are here to help with tons of resources for new presidents

So, take a deep breath and consider taking care of these five tasks:

1. Connect with the outgoing president. Remember it’s the end of the school year and she’s probably very busy. So if she doesn’t have much time for you, don’t take it personally. Just make sure you take care of the must-do items, like getting your name on the bank account. Also, ask if there are any pending contracts for fall fundraisers that need to be processed. 

2. Ask the outgoing president and other departing board members to meet with you and your new team when school wraps up. Prepare a list of questions—and don’t worry about sounding silly. Ask really basic questions, like what the group should and shouldn’t spend money on. For instance, does the group have a policy for helping families in emergency situations, such as when a parent is hospitalized? You’d be surprised how often this situation can come up and how difficult it can be to respond if there’s no policy in place. 

3. Request that the outgoing team share the documents they have. Be specific. Ask for volunteer contact information, copies of flyers and letters, vendor contacts, and basic instructions on how to run an event and manage a team of volunteers. 

4. Ask your new team to meet in early summer so you can spend a little time together. Start building relationships. Talk about the big-picture issues, like what you want your group to achieve in the next school year. Take the time to review any immediate business items. For example, did the old group have a welcome packet for new families? If not, you can make that a summer project with the help of our article “How To Create a Welcome Packet.’’

5. Meet with the principal before the school year ends. Keep this meeting light. Don’t start by asking the principal what you need from her; rather, find out what she thinks of your group and what she sees as the role of the PTO at your school. If you aren’t sure how to make that first connection with the principal, read “Make the Principal Your Partner.”

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