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There are a few things to keep in mind when transitioning the PTO from school year to school year. Your list, while it may not be as long, can be kind of intricate so the earlier you start to tackle the list, the easier the transition will be.
Note: some PTA/PTO organizations will actually overlap the leadership for the summer months so the outgoing administration can help the incoming administration get settled. That of course is up to each PTA/PTO organization.
You will have more time to devote to these things now than you will during the fall once school starts so the more things you can cross off this list, the better. This article is an outline of things to consider and plan for when getting ready for the upcoming school year. The general timeline for these ideas start around the summertime but feel free to tweak each item, shuffle them around, and fill in the blanks as you see fit.
Three Main Planning Categories
The main categories of things that the PTO/PTA should have their minds on for now are:
- Meetings they’ll need to have
- Events they’ll need to take notice of
- Fundraisers they’ll need to plan for
This is a very important step. Set aside time to meet with the school administration, the school board, and the principal to see where the gaps in funding are that the PTO will be able to help fill.
Check in with them to see what their overall goal is for the school year so the PTO and the school leadership can be on the same page.
Have some general ideas of some events the club could host. Events are an excellent opportunity to meet new students and parents, form connections with volunteers, and support school spirit.
Consider these event ideas:
- Welcome back events
- Teacher appreciation events
- Volunteer appreciation events
- Family fun events
Lastly, have some general fundraisers in mind while keeping the school administration’s requests in mind as well.
Pro tip: try to take the financial temperature of your community and plan your events accordingly. If it really seems like the community is struggling financially, only fundraise when absolutely necessary.
- Our fundraising ideas database
- A-Thon fundraiser ideas
- Fundraising ideas for elementary schools
- Fundraising ideas for high schools
How To Do It?
Schedule Your Meetings
Reach out to your school’s principal and schedule either an in person meeting or one held over the phone. Have a few fundraising ideas to run by them and get their thoughts. In speaking with them about the plans and ideas for the fundraisers over the year, they’ll be able to give you and the club a few additional ideas and tweaks to think about that you didn’t think of before.
Schedule a meeting with the school board if necessary and make sure everyone is on the same page with the goals for the upcoming fundraising efforts and the community goals in general. Also, consider scheduling a meeting with the PTO/PTA chairs once a month to make sure they’re on the same page as well and any prep that you’ve initiated is running on schedule.
Map Out Your Plans
Grab your PTO event calendar and make note of the following school events:
- Open house
- parent/teacher conference days
- Back to school nights/Meet the teacher
- Breaks and Holidays
- Student plays/performances/concerts
- Student/new family orientation
- Professional Development days
Once those events have been added, fill in your meetings, other events, and fundraisers. Once you get the OK from the board and the principal, start planning your events and start to get specific with the details if at all possible.
Sample Planning Checklist for Your PTA/PTO
Putting together all of the moving parts may conclude with a checklist that looks something like this:
- Review the budget
Get a general idea of what you’ll have to move forward with without needing to plan a big event right off the bat.
- Sketch out the big events
Have a few ideas of events that you want to put on over the course of the school year and form a general plan. Start with 1 or 2 big events and if there’s time for more, add those in as well.
- Sit down with the Principal
Bring them your general ideas and be ready to listen to their ideas for what’s best for the year to come.
- Plan the welcome back event for the teachers
Welcome the teachers back to work with either a small breakfast event, a general gift to thank each person for their efforts, or whatever you think would speak to them and let them know that the club is grateful and is there for them.
- Prepare your Back To School Night speech
Put together a few words to share with the incoming students at the big back to school night event.
- Welcome the new families during back to school night
Have members of the PTO at the school Welcome Night to interact with the new families and welcome them to the school.
- Distribute a volunteer survey
Have a table set up at the school events or arm PTO members with clipboards so they can sign up new members as they interact with them and introduce themselves.
- Meet with your new volunteers
Sit down with your fearless PTO board at least once a month to talk about the plans for the upcoming year.
How long should my club keep each type of PTA/PTO document?
Below is a general list of how long to keep each document for your PTA records per IRS rules. The required documents can vary from state to state so we encourage you to look up what you’ll need to keep and for how long to satisfy your state’s requirements. Also, consider uploading each document to an online cloud server or shared Google Drive to save space and to provide quick and easy access to the records whenever necessary.
- Monthly Treasury reconciliation reports
- Check registers
- Bank statements
- Cancelled Checks
- IRS Form 990-series
- Meeting agendas and minutes
- Year end treasury reports
- Annual financial review reports
- Incorporation paperwork
- IRS Form 1023
- IRS determination letter for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status
End of the Year Financial Checklist
Below is a guideline of the steps to take to close out financial activity before the end of the year and set the club up for a good start during the new school year.
- Switch signers on the accounts
- Change the statement address from the school to someone’s house
- Finish any lingering account transactions
- Reconcile the last statement
- Group financial files according to type and store them accordingly
- Hire an accountant or find a volunteer to conduct the year-end review
- Pull relevant records for review
- Put together final treasury report
- Estimate next year’s budget
- Submit records for financial review
- Check incorporation paperwork
- Mail IRS return documentation