Volunteering for a PTO project does not have to be something you wish you could do. Here’s how I made it happen and how you can, too.
Find the Right Time For You to Volunteer
I looked at my calendar for the entire year and decided that I had the most amount of free time in September. There are a few projects I’m working on this month.
First, I’m putting together our school student directory. This consists of a flyer I emailed the school secretary who then sent it home. In two weeks I’ll collect all these flyers, update last year’s directory with this year’s information and then send to a local printing company. A week later I’ll pick up a box from the company and labels from the school of who will receive a directory. My kids will put the labels on the directories while I organize them by classroom. Then I’ll deliver the box to my child’s school. Total time for the project will be about eight hours.
Find Projects that Play Well With Your Strengths
This year I took on a second project. The PTO president didn’t have anyone to manage the school’s float in the town parade. She said that our school may not be able to participate in the parade if they couldn’t find a volunteer.
Yes, I bit the bullet and raised my hand.
Now I’m creative. This kind of thing, like decorating a parade float… is my thing. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have volunteered. This work doesn’t feel like work to me (although it’s time-consuming) and I’m enjoying myself! I do feel a bit stressed about the parade this weekend, but I have so much help from my community.
Create a Community to Find Help and Create Excitement
I created a secret Facebook group, with the permission of my PTO president, and shared my PowerPoint sketches of the float to get people on board and excited. People came to our school’s annual Back to School BBQ on Friday night and helped create banners that will be on either side of the flatbed truck. I’ll share pics of the float next week!
Just because I raised my hand to volunteer does not mean I have to be a one-woman show. via @lizzymccoach
Get to Know Your PTO Leaders
It took me a few years to get to know how my school’s PTO worked. I got to know the PTO members personally and asked questions about their responsibilities. I attended a few of the monthly PTO meetings. If I missed one I’d ask around to see who went and what happened. I stayed curious and never judged others because it is hard to find time to volunteer and we all do the best that we can.
By the end of the month, my major PTO responsibilities will be over. Then I’ll feel confident declining additional projects because I put my time in. I may help out here and there, but I’ve laid the groundwork to help me create a personal boundary to say “No.”
When you take baby steps into volunteering it doesn’t feel overwhelming and confusing. There are ways you can contribute to the health of your school that fits who you are as a working parent. You will find your groove.
Do you get involved in your PTO? Have you attended a meeting? Leave a comment down below and share your volunteering strategies.
Working Mom, Want In?
Do you feel like you could be doing a better job at self-care, family life, home care, or career planning? Then request your invite to the Working Mom Mastermind group!