• Getting Started

    1. Gather a small group of like-minded parents. This is not the time for a large committee that could get bogged down in unending and unproductive discussion. Seek out three or four parents who share your vision of starting a parent group. Get together in a relaxed setting and share ideas about why you want to start a PTO. Talk about how much time you are willing to devote to the PTO. Be sure you know where everyone stands. 

    2. Develop a purpose or mission statement for your PTO. This is a broad description of what you see as the core reason you’re forming a group. Below is an example of a mission statement. The purpose of the PTO is to enhance and support the educational experience at Spring High School, to develop a closer connection between school and home by encouraging parent involvement, and to improve the environment at Spring High School through volunteer and financial support. 

    3. Brainstorm a list of benefits and a preliminary list of activities. Benefits include ways in which the school, students, and parents will benefit from a PTO. For activities, list a few major ideas. The most important thing your group can do is get more parents connected with the school. 

    4. Brainstorm fundraising ideas. There are dozens of possible fundraisers spanning a ride range of activities and products, from bake sales to fun runs to auctions to traditional product sales. The type of fundraiser you choose may be based on the number of parent volunteers in your organization. 

    5. Adopt a fundraising policy. Keep in mind that fundraising shouldn’t be your number one goal. Having a reputation as “just a fundraising group” can hurt your chances of attracting volunteers and new leaders. Below is a sample fundraising policy. Spring High School PTO will strive to raise funds to cover its annual budget. The PTO will limit our fundraising programs to two per school year, unless we fail to meet budget. The PTO will strive to use the money raised in one year to benefit the school in the same year, other than a practical amount of funds to carry into the start of the next school year. Special fundraising programs can be approved to raise extraordinary funding for long-term capital projects. These funds will be kept separate from the PTO’s operating budget and dedicated to the intended purpose. PTO funds will always be used in accordance with the PTO’s mission. 

    6. Document your plans. Write down the details of your plan. Document minutes of all your planning meetings, especially when you adopt bylaws and policies and assign officer titles. 

    7. Meet with the principal. Present your idea, plans, and desire to work together. Then listen. Keep in mind that you are not creating the principal’s personal fundraising team. You are forming a partnership with the school.