7 Tips For Planning PTO Sponsored Events


7 Tips For Planning PTO Sponsored EventsJoining your schools PTO is a great way to stay and get involved with the activities going on in your child’s school. My daughter goes to East Point Academy, a Mandarin Immersion school in West Columbia and Cayce. Even though I joined the PTO during her kindergarten year, this is the first year I have been able to be more active. I just finished planning (and executing) EPA’s first ever Daddy/Daughter Dance, and may I just say I have a new found respect and understanding for the moms and dads who put in so much time and effort into the events planned for the year.

Planning an event is like a “temporary” full time job (but without the pay). One thing I think many PTO parents who aren’t involved in planning events don’t realize is just how much effort, time, tears, and sweat truly goes into planning an event. I know I definitely had no clue until I became committee chair for the Daddy/Daughter Dance. But ultimately, I’m so glad I did it and personally I cant wait to chair next year’s event!

The first event you plan is a bit of a learning curve, but afterwards, each event you plan gets easier. Currently I’m helping to plan EPA’s first Father/Son Sports Night, and I’ve been using what I learned from my event to make this event as much of a success as the last one.

If you have yet to help your school’s PTO plan an event, are unsure if you could manage, or are looking for ways to improve your event planning skills, take a look at these tips East Point Academy’s PTO president and I compiled.

1. Make a Plan

Start with your vision and idea for the event and jot down everything you can think of that you will need to get it accomplished. Will you need music or a DJ? What will the guests eat? Will there be pictures? How much will these things cost? How will you show guests where to go? Will there be ticket sales involved? What’s your budget? These are all important planning questions you will have to ask yourself.

Try to think out all the details and various scenarios that could occur. You can’t think of everything but proper planning will pave the way for a great event. 

2. Stay Organized

I’m slightly Type A. Okay, maybe more than slightly, so I kept Microsoft Word documents for everything. But this really helped to look back at information quickly or to show the details to other members of the PTO. I documented and listed key details about the event on one Word sheet. Once the event was planned I used another Word document to plan out who were my volunteers and when and where they would be helping during the event. This helped me stay on track but also helped other group members to be on the same page with me. Here is a Sample Event Planning Guide that I created, but you can modify it to adjust it specifically to your event.

3. Ask For Help

Ask for advice from those who have been in the position before you. They have walked in your shoes and are among a small group of people who know what it’s like to do the job you are doing.

4. Create a Team and Delegate

At the end of the day you’re only one person. So getting a team together who can help you fine tune or help during the event will be very important. Get with your PTO coordinator to assemble yourself a team and meet with your committee members often. Hand out specifics of the event that you want your others members to cover and check back with each other often to learn of the progress.

Trust the others who have been there for you. You will find a few PTO members who will become your rock.

5. Word of Mouth and Making Connections

I scored an awesome DJ for our father/daughter event at an even more awesome price all due to making connections with the other PTO members. The best way to find deals and ideas are by making those important connections with other parents. We used Facebook, flyers, and emails to really hype up the event and get the word out about what items we needed donated by other parents in order to make this event a success.

6. Track the Money

To me this is one of the most important parts. If you’re given a budget, its really important to stick with that; your treasurer will love you for it. The PTO works really hard to generate income that will be used for the events during the year and that money isn’t money from the school. It’s money from other parents, PTO members and profitable events.

Tell everyone on your team to keep all receipts from items that were purchased for the event. Before you make an risky moves, like spending $600 on decorations, find cheaper options first. Add, add, and add again to make sure you are still coming within your budget after each purchase.

7. Saying Thank You

After the event be sure to say thank you! Volunteers can be hard to come by. If they feel truly appreciated they are more likely to volunteer again and again. 

Have you worked on a big event?What tips would you add to this list?

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Stephanie Fuller
Stephanie never pictured herself as a mother to multiple kids, but now that she’s “that mom” she couldn’t feel more blessed! Her stay-at-home mom days aren’t always easy, but she believes parenting gives us the opportunity to heal, change, and grow more spiritually aware. She loves reading, writing, and discussing topics related to soul searching and how to get past our own personal struggles, as well as the History channel….you know, the fast life! Stephanie is the mother to three active children, ages 6, 4 and 1, and has been married to her husband Travis for 6 years. She enjoys all the city has to offer for mommy’s and children, including group play dates, playgrounds, and lately the gym, where she can get fit and the kids have an opportunity to play (a win-win!). Having lived in Columbia for the past 19 years, she considers herself a native at this point.


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