First 30 Days

Congratulations! You’ve just been elected to be a leader of your PTA!

If your team takes each of the following steps in (roughly) your first month in office, you’ll be off to a fantastic start! These are great things to do during the summer months as you prepare for the school year.

  1. Reach out. Your state PTA and National PTA are here to help and support you. Getting connected right away will make your job much easier! Here’s how:
    • Contact your state PTA. Provide your state PTA with names and contact information for you and your fellow officers. Ask who to call if you have any questions. Find out what training is scheduled in the near future that can help you and your board get off to a good start. Visit your state PTA web site.
    • Explore National PTA resources. This Back-to-School Kit is a great place to start. After you’ve read this, you can learn more from National PTA through e-learning courses, national programs (like Reflections), the One Voice Blog, e-newsletters, and Our Children Magazine.
    • Get Social.
      • Facebook—Follow the National Parent Teacher Association to get updates and connect with other PTAs.
      • Twitter—Follow @NationalPTA for updates on education-related issues and PTA efforts.
      • Pinterest—Follow National PTA for the latest parenting and leadership ideas.
      • Instagram and Flickr—Follow National PTA and share photos from your own events.
      • YouTube—Check out the National PTA channel for informational webinars and get inspired by other PTAs #PTAProud stories.
      • For even more ideas and connections, search for your state and other local PTAs on your favorite social media platforms!
  2. Listen. Before you begin planning, it’s important to understand your unique community’s strengths and needs. You will do more of this in the months to come, but for now:
    • Talk to the outgoing president and officers. What worked last year? What did not? Thank them for their work and ask if they can help you arrange meetings with key teachers, administrators and community leaders. Who do they see as volunteers to encourage and grow?
    • Introduce yourself to the school personnel and administration. Ask about their priorities for the year and tell them you are interested in helping them achieve their goals. If your PTA is a community or district-wide PTA, reach out to district and community partners in your area and offer to work collaboratively.
    • Introduce yourself to families and members of your PTA and ask what they think is working or not working. It is important for members to see a smooth transition and to feel that new leaders welcome their questions, ideas and participation in the year ahead. A great way to start is with a survey. Every interaction is an opportunity to encourage members to renew and new families or teachers to join.
  3. Gather. There are several items you’ll want to put your hands on right away, to be sure important records aren’t lost in the transition. PTA records and materials belong to the unit, not to any one individual, and all should be passed on to the new leaders. These include:
    • Your PTA’s bylaws. You and your board are responsible for following the bylaws, so you need to know what they say. If they are old and no longer relevant, one of your first moves should be to establish a bylaws revision committee to start the work necessary to make the document work for your current PTA. Your state PTA can help.
    • PTA procedure book or “board book". Whether it is an electronic file, a cardboard box full of papers or a binder thick with documents, get up to speed on what has happened in the past.
    • The most recent audit. You may need to talk to the treasurer about this. If an audit did not occur after the latest transition of officers, make sure to get one done as soon as possible. You will want to start fresh with a new set of books, so be sure the previous accounts are “closed” or zeroed out and audited.
    • Bank statements and electronic access. Make sure you have the usernames and passwords, documents, accounts, etc., to access your PTA’s financial information.
  4. Protect. Take these few, critical steps right away to safeguard your PTA’s nonprofit status and protect your unit from theft, fraud and liability.
    • If your unit is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (most are), ask your outgoing president or treasurer for the most recent IRS Form 990 filing. For more info, see Your 501(c)(3) status.
    • Change the signatures on your PTA’s bank accounts. You will want to be sure previous officers no longer have access to your financial accounts. A transition letter from the outgoing treasurer to the bank may be necessary to enact this change.
    • Ask your state office if you are required to have insurance and when the payment is due. Insurance can protect your board members, events and PTA property.