The Five Keys to a Great Board Transition
Updated: Apr 6
Springtime better weather, blooms, and the beginning of school year end wrap up. The more we can do to prepare at the end of the school year, the better we set everyone up for the fall. If you are a parent teacher organization leader who is thinking about how to transition, we have the top 5 areas to focus on this spring.
Running a Successful Election
First, you need to prepare for an election. This last year has been different from many others – the pandemic has forced people to do things in a different way. In light of this, be sure to check your by-laws to ensure they allow for the format of election you are planning. For example, problematic by-laws including those that require in-person meeting attendance, in person counting of votes, storage of ballots in a specific location, and/or specific format of ballots. If you need to make changes to by-laws, or enact an emergency procedure, allow yourself plenty of time as it can take a couple of months to make these changes. Once you have confirmed that you can host a valid election, it is time to plan your election.
Second, advertise your election with plenty of advance notice. With more happening over email and social media these days, announcements can get lost. So advertise the election early and often.
Finally, hold your election. We see many PTOs or PTAs hosting a Zoom meeting with email or other online platform voting. For more details on this, you can check out this blog.
Training Your Successor(s)
Setting up your incoming board for success starts with information sharing. The best way to do this is to provide three things: (1) an set of background documents applicable to the entire group; (2) a set of role specific documents; and (3) a live overview of the first two items. In the first category, you should provide things like the by-laws, prior meeting minutes, and key contacts. In the second category, any role specific software login information, role-specific goals, and feedback or learnings from the prior year. For additional details on this documentation you can review this blog.
Once you have shared the documentation, you should walk through the documentation with your successor. Allocate an hour with 20 minutes being spent on the background documentation, 20 minutes being spent on your learnings and tips from the past year, 10 minutes on any software they need to know and the last 10 minutes on Q&A.
Transitioning any Software
Parent teacher groups use many types of software: membership management, budget management, website hosting, communications (newsletters and social media), and fundraising. Each of these is typically with a different vendor. Make sure that your successor has access to any software necessary for their role. Make sure to also share any tips you have for using the particular software.
Even if your successor is familiar with the school and vendors, it is always nice to turn over any working relationships with an email or with a meeting. In this communicate you should introduce your successor, share when they are taking over the position, and any other relevant details. If there are multiple new board members that need to know the third party, you can consolidate the introduction into one communication.
Draft a Year-End Summary
It is always nice to end the year with a year-end summary for your members. This is a great time to share the goals your PTA set out for the year, celebrate all the milestones you have achieved over the year, introduce the new PTA leaders, and share any items that the incoming board will continue to work on. This communication can be an internal communication – just to the incoming board – so they quickly understand the state of current affairs. It can also be leveraged as an external communication so your community at large can celebrate all the PTO has done in the last year.
We hope this quick overview is helpful as you transition your school organization. If you want to hear a more in depth overview, check out the Multipurpose Room podcast episode on PTA transitions.