Pitching a New Idea
How To Pitch a New Idea
to Your School PTO
Whether it's a fundraiser, a special event, or a support group, pitching a new a idea to the PTO membership can make anyone feel hesitant. But if you've thought it through and believe you have a good idea, here's some simple steps that can help you present it and gain the support of the membership to bring it to life.
Make a Detailed Plan:
Write down the details of your plan. It will help you organize your thoughts into a clear concise format. Write down the answers to any questions that may arise.
For Family Fun Events, Support Groups, & Other:
- How would the fundraiser work
- What’s the profit potential and how much does each student need to raise to make it successful
- How many volunteers would be needed
- When will it take place and what's the time-frame - 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months
- Where will it take place
- Can you add an educational element
- How can you make it fun for the students
- How will you motivate the students to participate
- What are your anticipated expenses
- How will you promote it – advertising, press releases, announcements
- How will it work
- Who will participate
- How many volunteers will be needed
- When and where will it take place
- How will you promote it – advertising, press releases announcements
- Can an educational element be added
- What are your anticipated expenses and how will these be paid
- Will you charge a fee to participate or sell tickets and for how much
Bounce the Idea off a Few Friends
Speak individually with a few close friends and ask for their honest opinion of your idea. A good friend will tell you like it is and offer constructive criticism.
If they believe you have a solid idea and they offer some thoughts on where you might run into roadblocks, take those comments and work out those issues in your detailed plan before you present it to the PTO membership.
If the event involves the students, you may consider polling a few students to see if they like the idea. They may surprise you with their suggestions.
Get Ready to Present the Idea
At this point you have a detailed plan and you've worked out the kinks based on some feedback of close friends. Now get to work and put together some samples so that when you do present your idea to the PTO membership, they'll see that you have a well thought-out plan. Some that may apply include:
- Budget - income & expenses
- Letters - announcing the event to parents
- Announcements – where & when will you announce the event to parents & students
- Advertisements – flyers, press releases, signs
- Letters - to corporate sponsors
- List of potential sponsors
- Drawings/Designs – if your idea is to build a new garden or study room, include drawings of your design/layout.
Make a Date with the PTO
At least 2 weeks prior to the PTO meeting, ask the PTO President (in writing) to add you to the agenda. Let them know you'd like to present a new idea for consideration.
Present the Idea
Arrive at the PTO meeting on-time. Prior to the start of the meeting, confirm with the PTO President that you've been added to the agenda.
Have with you all of your supporting documentation. Distribute copies of your plan.
Verbally present your plan to the membership. Answer questions. At this point you can ask that a vote be taken to approve or deny your proposal.
Volunteer to Chair the Event
At every PTO meeting, members call out ideas during the general discussions, but those ideas seem to get lost because no one actually steps up to carry them out.
If you're presenting an idea for a new event or project, then volunteer to Chair the committee that plans it!
This doesn't mean you have to plan it alone, you just have to lead the planning. Form a committee consisting of yourself and other volunteers and hand out detailed assignments to each one of them.
If you absolutely cannot Chair it, then prior to presenting the proposal, try to find a friend who may be willing to do this, thus taking the burden off of the Officers.
Does it Reflect the PTO's Goals?
It's the responsibility of the PTO Officers to safeguard the funds and properly maintain the PTO budget. Show your support by ensuring that every idea you present holds true to their mission.
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, equipment, or an educational enrichment program
- Funding a new resource garden or computer lab
- Organizing support groups to create a greater sense of community throughout the school.
Click here to add
your own suggestions, ideas or comments.