The Most Important PTO Tip of the Year

by Tim Sullivan



Maybe you've heard this one before, but I like to repeat it every year at back-to-school time. I hope your group is using some sort of sign-up sheet or survey form to ask parents how they might be interested in helping out or where they might be willing to get involved. We have a great sample volunteer survey form on our File Exchange.

And I hope you have a system for tracking those answers that doesn't involve sticking the forms in a dusty file cabinet. Our Volunteer Manager software is actually perfect for this.

But that’s not my tip. My tip for all of you who do ask parents how they’d like to help and do keep track of the answers is: Please use the feedback you get. The best way to earn a “clique” reputation is to have parents express an interest in helping and then never take them up on it. That happens way more than it should, not because PTO leaders truly are clique-ish but because it can be hard work to get new people involved.


If you want to increase volunteerism at your school and get more help and really jump-start your group, then you have to do that hard work. It’s way worth it. If you aren’t going to take parents up on their offers to help, don’t ask them the survey questions in the first place.


Good luck!

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