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ptoIf your Parent Teach Organization (or Association) is looking more like a Parent Teacher Hodgepodge of ideas, tasks, forms, letters, meeting minutes, scribbled sticky-notes and stacks of coffee-stained to-do lists, then this blog post is your knight in shining armor. 

As a company created by former PTO members, we understand the struggle of staying organized amidst the rush of fundraisers and student events. Keeping documents systematized and yourself/others on task requires processes that are easily understood and simple to replicate for new & future members. 

In a world that practically runs on the Internet, why not tap into the online resources available for your PTO?

We have taken the top organizational needs of a typical PTO/PTA and offered some online tools to help you, your officers, and your volunteers be prepared to make a difference in your school. 

Recruiting & Organizing Volunteers

The beauty of a successful Parent Teacher Organization/Association is that it brings together the different groups of people that influence the student body. From the principal to teachers, parent organizers and parent volunteers, the PTO serves as the hub for people to come together and make a positive impact in the lives of students. For The Get Movin’ Crew, that means teaching about health and exercise through fundraisers that get kids active and provide huge profits for the school. But, we couldn’t do what we do without the help of parent volunteers, and neither can a functioning PTO. 

As author Elizabeth Andrew has so succinctly put it, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they have the heart.” 

Here are 4 tools for recruiting and organizing your volunteers, so you respect their time and make it easy for them to get involved with an organization that is all about having a heart for students!

VolunteerSpot (Free!)

This online resource was built specifically for PTOs looking to coordinate volunteers and offer easy ways for new parents to sign-up (for specific events or for volunteering in general!). 

It offers simple online scheduling, online sign-up sheets, access from any mobile device, and automatic reminders for events & synchronization with personal e-calendars! 

The Basic Service is free, or you can get the Premium or Special Campus Plan for added features/benefits. 

DirectorySpot ($$)

Make your school directory easily accessible by taking advantage of this online tool. Parents & volunteers will love not PTO paper pilehaving to search through the junk drawer for the directory and will be able to access it on any mobile device. 

Not only will you cut down on printing cost, you will also offer a level of easiness for parents that will be appreciated and (hopefully) lead to further volunteer sign-ups!

All of your information is secure using DirectorySpot. Pricing is dependent on the number of students, but some schools have required a payment for the download of the app in order to cover this cost.

Membership Tool Kit ($$$)

The Membership Tool Kit is a more pricey option, but it will cover almost all of your PTO needs (if that’s what you’re looking for). 

As for volunteer recruitment & organization, the Membership Tool Kit features background checks for new volunteers, automated email reminders, customized forms for different events, and templates for thank you messages. 

If you’re looking for organization for volunteers and within your PTO, go for the Basic Plan. If you want a custom website and more robust communication tools, look into the Premium Plan (we only suggest this option if you have a big budget to work with).

Parent Involvment Tool Kit from PTO Today ($)

PTO Today is a treasure trove of resources and advice for Parent Teach Organizations/Associations. The Parent Involvement Tool Kit certainly doesn’t disappoint. We recommend looking into this resource if you are working from the ground up or looking to completely rethink your process for recruiting and organizing volunteers.

The Tool Kit offers research into what works (and what doesn’t) for getting greater parent involvement, recruitment program ideas, photocopy ready letters and forms, custom survey, and several flyers for you to use. You can get it for a flat fee of $49, with free S & H. 

Project Management

Project management is all about having a goal and taking the necessary steps to reach it. Unfortunately this can be disney quote quite challenging when your steps are in a daunting paper pile. At TGMC, we provide helpful online tools for our DIY clients throughout the nation to make sure that they are equipped and prepared to manage their fundraiser from start to finish. 

We know from experience that pulling off a successful fundraiser begins with quality organization. So we suggest taking a look at these 3 tools to help you organize the myriad events, programs and PTO functions that occur throughout the school year (or, if you are looking for a simplified, one-and-done way to fundraise, give us a call!). 

Trello (Free!)

Trello is an online tool that is both easy to use and comprehensive. You can create to-do lists, distribute tasks, sent out reminders, and share key documents with other officers. 

This is a great alternative to long email threads and confusing spreadsheets. It is also very visual, so the tasks are all laid out and easy to navigate for each member. Best part? It’s free! 

Basecamp ($)

Basecamp is used by big businesses, small groups and individuals. It works for you, not the other way around. 

Check out this online tool if you are looking for a single site for each member to review individual tasks, view shared files, check on the progress of the event/program/project, and host online discussions between PTO meetings. 

Basecamp does offer a free account for teachers, but for a group, such as a PTO, they have packages ranging from $20-$150/month. 

Zoho (Free!)

Zoho offers comprehensive organization for your big projects, with unlimited users able to have access to materials and collaborate online. 

While it may not seem productive to have a different account for each project, Zoho has a lot to offer: create & manage tasks, online messaging, check the progress, keep track of hours worked and break down your large projects into doable chunks. 

An account with 1 project is free; 20 projects or more will cost ya.

Document Organization

Want to get out of the paper pile? How about doing away with the paper? Now, we understand that you can’t realistically take all of your documents online, but these resources will help organize the bulk of your forms, contact lists, sign-up sheets, templates for promoting events, and all those helpful and/or maddening little to-do lists!online docs

We offer our clients all the info they need to make their fundraiser a success with our online tools, from comprehensive reports to step-by-step guides for putting on an amazing Fun Run! Why not follow our lead and take advantage of these web-based document organizers?

Dropbox (Free!)

Dropbox is exactly what it sounds like: an online box in which you can drop your files and let go of the worry that you will misplace, forget or spill coffee on them. This online resource allows you and your group to access shared docs (on any mobile device!), edit them, share photos & video, and make sure that all of your files are safe & sound with secured encryption. 

Dropbox is free for 2GB of space, but there is also the Pro and Business option for more space and support. 

Office Online (Free!)

Office Online is perfect for sharing files that range from word docs to excel spreadsheets. It’s similar to Google Plus in that you can work on documents simultaneously (great for last-minute changes!) and share documents by simply emailing a link. Best part? There’s tons of templates to use so you can save time designing and spend more time doing what you love.

Social Media Management

In case you are looking to expand your reach on social media, here is a brief list of helpful tools you can use to automate your posts/updates:

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