New officers are often a sign of a healthily growing Parent Teacher Group. What would any organization be without strong and committed leadership? When it’s time for new officers it’s important to try and make the transition go as smoothly as possible. Here’s how you can make your PTA / PTO officer transitions easier before and after elections.
Before Your PTA / PTO Elections
Before PTA / PTO elections start, you should be on the lookout for volunteers and members that exemplify good leadership qualities; people you think could manage your Parent Organizations with integrity and civility.
Consistency is the best way to keep your Parent Teacher Group working well year after year. Transitions aren’t simply passing the binder over to a new set of hands. You want the organization’s initial purpose kept in focus.
Once you find a few promising candidates, begin building a relationship with them. They likely could benefit from some kind of PTA / PTO officer transitions training. If they have questions, answer them honestly and as best you can. Help possible nominees understand the goals of the position and the mission of your PTO / PTA.
Don’t assume someone wants to be part of the PTO / PTA board, they may be happy with volunteering or don’t think they have the time or commitment for a position yet. Pull them aside and ask them privately. If they say no, that’s okay; revisit the subject at a later date as they may have felt timid about the idea at first, but could warm up to it later. If they have not changed their minds, it’s time to find another willing candidate.
When finding candidates, take extra care into fitting their interests and skills with the position. If a parent is good with numbers maybe they’d fit well as the treasurer, or if they enjoy reading they could lead the book fair. You want potential leaders to be skillful and passionate about their positions. This will encourage members to go that extra mile when their time comes.
As the time in your position—whether it’s president, treasurer, or committee chairperson—comes to an end, help the next officers by wrapping your term up with a nice big bow. Allow the new officers a fresh start by completing all your officer duties before their term begins.
Create an Officer Procedure Book
Do you remember when you first began your officer position? Was there someone to help you or did you have to learn as you went? Wouldn’t it have been helpful to have a book to help guide you when you weren’t sure how something was done? A procedure book could be a hero for many new board members.
Here’s a list of procedure book must-haves.
- Meeting minutes
- Position descriptions
- Contact info
- Financial info: bank account info, balances, budgets
- Meeting and events calendar
- Your personal tips, tricks, notes, and observations
- Flyers, handouts, and announcements
Try keeping your new procedures book detailed without allowing it to become overwhelming.
After Your Officer Term Ends
How exciting! You have passed on the officer responsibility torch now. It may take a little time for your successor to get a handle on things. You can help them out by letting them know you’re available for advice if they want it.
Although you are available for advice, be careful not to get overly involved. Set rules and boundaries for your successor and yourself. You don’t want to feel as if you are still responsible for the position’s tasks; remember, you are a resource, not a substitute or replacement. You also want the new officers to feel free to make changes or do things completely different.
Just like your kids need encouragement to try new things, adults need that too. It can be intimidating changing the way your Parent Organizations work or trying out a new idea when it can affect others. However, with a little encouragement, their new idea could be an absolute success!
AIM is here to help your organization succeed. Check out our other blogs for fundraising inspiration, tips, PTA, PTO, and Booster Club guidance, and more!