Fundraisers can account for a large portion of parent group activities. Though fundraising is a major undertaking it is far from standardized. There is a large variety of PTA/PTO fundraisers ranging from creative jog-a-thons to math marathons to more sophisticated online campaigns through sites like Kickstarter and Razoo.
Reasons for fundraising are diverse. Each school and each classroom has its own specific needs. While most parent group’s raise funds for enrichment programs like field trips and after school music, drama or art programs, others focus more on strengthening home and school relationships or health and safety.
Some organizations recommend a 3-to-1 rule. For every three non-fundraising programs offered to students, parents or school improvement, there should be one fundraiser. The 3-to-1 rule ensures that the group focus is on helpful programming and not on fundraising and administration.
Think hard about the fundraising need and figure out the best opportunity to address that need. Make sure all the dots are connected between the problem and the solution.
It takes 2
Financial safeguards are always a good idea especially when raising money. After all, no amount of money is too small to keep safe and PTA/PTO embezzlement is all too popular in the news. Each PTA/PTO should require a minimum of two people to handle and account for all money. You should require a minimum of two people to count the cash, two signatures on checks, regular reporting of income, expenses and budgets, semiannual financial reviews; regular reporting and reconciliation of bank statements; and tracking of documents like receipts, invoices, bills and deposits.
Where to Seek Help
A digital accounting system can be a great tool that holds all people accountable and help with financial transparency. MoneyMinder is a system that can assist in tracking money from fundraising events and even volunteer tracking. You can run specialized reports for Banking, Performance, Transactions and Year-End, including Annual Reports and 990EZ.
PTA/PTO fundraising is growing in importance due to school budget cuts and shrinking tax revenue. Protect yourself and your organization by following these fundraising rules and guidelines.