Pitching a new idea to your school parent-teacher organization can be intimidating. But if you’ve thought it through and believe you have a good idea for a fundraiser, family fun event, support group, or project, these steps can help you present it and gain the support of the membership to make it a reality.
Outline Your Idea
Putting your plan in writing can help you organize your thoughts, understand exactly how the event or project will actually run, and answer any questions that may arise. Prepare a general outline, for instance… How will the fundraiser work? What are anticipated expenses and income? When and where will it take place? How will it be promoted?
Go online and do some research. Find out how other schools might have already been successful with a similar event or project. Sites like PTOIdeas.com offer detailed advice on how to organize events so you don’t forget important details. Or, if you need ideas for new events and projects to improve your school, you’ll find those there too.
Know Your Market
Does your idea reflect the PTO’s goals? The mission of school parent-teacher organizations is to improve the overall environment for the students. With a few small exceptions (i.e. teacher appreciation), every PTO event/purchase should benefit the students in some way; such as, purchasing supplies or an educational enrichment program, or funding a new resource garden or learning center.
Show your support by ensuring that every idea you present holds true to their mission.
Get Other’s Opinions
Before you’ve put too much time and effort into the planning details, ask a few close friends for their honest opinion of your idea. If they believe you have a solid idea to build on, ask them where you might run into roadblocks and use their feedback to make your plan even more detailed.
Write Up a Detailed Plan
At this point you’ve done your research, gotten some feedback, and have enough information to put a detailed plan on paper. Actually put together some samples of promotional material, a budget, a list of potential sponsors, an estimated timeline, and drawings/designs if your idea involves something like building a new garden or study room. When you do present your idea to the PTO membership, they’ll see that you have a well thought-out plan.
Get Added to the Agenda
At least 2 weeks prior to the PTO meeting, send a request (in writing) to the PTO President asking that you be added to the meeting agenda to present a new idea for consideration.
Attend the Meeting & Present
Arrive at the PTO meeting on-time with all of your supporting documentation. Present your plan to the membership in a clear, concise format. Answer any questions that arise. Finally, ask that a vote be taken to approve or deny your proposal.
Too often ideas are randomly suggested and get lost because no one actually steps up to carry them out. If your idea is accepted, see your plan through until the end by forming a committee that can help you make it a successful reality.