Essential Standards for PTA Fundraising
One of the most useful organisations for any school is its PTA. The Parent-Teacher Association is a central part of running a school, and it’s essentially a union between parents, teachers and governors to ensure students receive the best educational experience.
The PTA has many uses and functions, but one of its primary responsibilities is fundraising for their school. In this post, we will look at the PTA in-depth and discuss some essential standards for fundraising. We’ll also reveal some innovative ways parents and teachers can work together to make schools a better place for children.
What Does The PTA Do?
To create an inclusive environment and ensure its students flourish, schools should always include the parents in educational choices. The PTA is an association of parents, teachers and governments that discuss important issues and share ideas to improve the school environment.
Many parents like to become involved with meetings and fundraisers because it allows them to connect with teachers and understand any issues their child might face at school.
While some parents decide to have a small role in their parent-teacher association, others might become more active and act as spokespersons for concerned parents and legal guardians.
Every school has its own PTA, and most meet regularly to discuss important topics. For example, if there is a bullying issue within the school, parents and teachers might collaborate to find solutions.
Most schools elect members to take on specific roles, so it’s not uncommon to see parents acting as treasurers and chairing meetings. Other members might be elected representatives to speak about the issues parents face, and they’ll relay the information back to non-PTA members.
Most PTA groups agree on their objectives for the year and stick to the rules set out by themselves. For example, members may decide that fundraising will be a focus. Perhaps parents and teachers will choose to dedicate their time to improving internal processes and creating a transparent environment for children.
Many PTA members dedicate a lot of their time to fundraising for the school. While it isn’t a prerequisite for everyone to get involved, schools actively encourage both parents and teachers to fundraise because it pays for vital improvements to the school that benefit both parties.
However, there are specific standards a PTA must meet to continue fundraising. Next, we’ll take a look at them.
Why Is Fundraising Important For PTA Groups?
Every school receives a set amount of money each year from the government to pay for teachers, buildings, essential equipment and other costs associated with running a school. According to Statista, the government spent over £90 billion on schooling between 2019 and 2020, with secondary schools getting a higher share of the budget than primary schools.
While this might seem like a lot of money, the British Educational Suppliers Association estimates there are 32,770 schools in the UK. All of which need to pay their teachers and support staff from the budget they receive.
Most schools find fundraising essential for their school, so they utilise PTA groups to pay for things their budget doesn’t cover.
Common reasons for fundraising include:
- Building projects such as a new playground or extra classrooms.
- Technological equipment such as computers, software and cameras.
- Musical equipment.
- PE equipment.
- Budget for yearly events such as Christmas parties.
- Playground equipment.
- Money for a minibus.
- Uniforms for sports teams.
Most schools fundraise by holding events in which parents, teachers and students all take part to collect money. There are three main ways a school fundraises. Let’s take a look at them.
Outside of School Events
In some cases, schools will hold events in a separate location but still collect money from parents and the public. An excellent example of this is a car boot sale or sponsored activity such as a 5-mile walk or marathon.
Teachers can get involved with students and ask for sponsorship from parents. Most schools, at some point, ask parents to donate money towards a sponsored swim or a fun activity that the students participate in.
Inside School Events
These events are predominantly targeted towards families and often involve the parents purchasing an item. Popular examples include school photographs and art projects. Most schools work with other companies to receive discounts, which means they can sell things to parents and profit.
Fun events don’t just include parents, students and teachers but also extended family and members of the public. School fetes are a classic example of a fun event, and people from the local community can attend, while parents and students often help by running stalls and putting on performances.
Talent shows, sports days and events that bring communities together can be beneficial for schools, and it often falls to the PTA to arrange these days.
Rules and Regulations You Should Know
As with most things, the PTA must follow a strict set of rules and regulations to raise money for the school. While most senior PTA members will be aware of the standards and willing to enforce them, it’s beneficial for all parties to understand how an organisation must operate to stay within the legal requirements set out for schools.
Registering With The Charity Commission
The Charity Commission is the UK’s governing body that regulates how each charity operates. Every charity must register with the commission or face legal action. But few people know that PTA groups are also expected to register if they meet the criteria.
Any group that fundraises and has an income of £5000 or over must register with The Charity Commission. While PTA groups are closely associated with their school, they’re considered independent bodies, so they must list themselves with the appropriate authorities.
With the average PTA generating £9000 a year from fundraising activities, most will need to register or face hefty legal fines. It’s completely free to register with the commission, and it comes with a host of benefits, including:
- The ability to receive donations from businesses
- Exemption from corporate and income tax
- Able to receive donations from parents and sponsors
- Eligibility to apply for grants
- Can use gift aid to increase the income received from donations
It’s the PTA’s responsibility to manage its finances, and most elect a treasurer and senior members to oversee the incomings and outgoings.
Every PTA group must take responsibility for the safeguarding of students it works with. If there is a fundraising event, then the PTA should follow the recommended guidelines for supervising students.
It’s also important to mention that all members should have a valid DBS check because, as a separate organisation from the school, parents need to prove they can protect students and act towards them responsibly.
PTA members should always check whether they need a license for their chosen event. Failure to do so could result in fines, a poor image of the school and the PTA being closed down.
Typical situations where a license might be needed include:
- If there is a performance or screening to raise funds.
- The selling of alcohol, including mulled wine, at Christmas events.
It’s worth checking whether you’ll need a license before hosting an event, especially if you’re planning to use students for a performance. This useful guide can clear up any ambiguity.
If a PTA plans to host a car boot sale, then it’s essential to check how many cars will attend the event in advance. Five or more cars means if you plan to profit from the event, you’ll need to write to your local council a month in advance.
However, there are some grey areas with regards to fundraising. You might not have to submit a notice to the council if the car boot sale is solely to raise money for your school, but it’s best to double-check.
The Local Government Provisions Act contains information about when you need to apply for a license or notify your local council about an event. You can access it by clicking here.
Monitoring and Managing Finances
PTA members have to place a lot of trust in each other, especially when it comes to handling donations and profits from fundraising activities. While most people are trustworthy and wouldn’t dream of stealing money, it’s beneficial to have a set team to ensure all donations and funds are handled correctly.
Managing cash means there’s always going to be miscounts and losses, but PTA groups can make use of innovative cashless donation systems to secure their finances.
Cashless QR Codes
Evershare.io is the world’s first cashless QR code payment system for charities, not for profit and PTA groups. It works by generating a unique code for each organisation which they can display on a website, piece of paper and at events.
Instead of managing cash, people can make a donation using their mobile device, and the payment goes straight to the specified bank account. With lower fees than Stipe and other cashless systems, Evershare.io makes it easy for PTA groups to fundraise without inconvenience.
Privacy & Protection
The GDPR law means every business or organisation must adhere to a set of strict data and privacy rules. PTA’s are responsible for ensuring they only collect essential data and manage it under the law. Personal information from former PTA members must be deleted, and everyone involved should be made aware of how their data might be used.
Insurance is also essential for PTA’s, especially if they’re working with students. Accidents aren’t always avoidable, but many PTA bodies offer insurance, so each member is protected at events.
How Can a PTA Fundraise Successfully?
Fundraising can be a fun and rewarding experience. Many PTA groups find that parents, teachers and even the local community are willing to engage with fundraising efforts for their local school. But there might be times when it seems impossible to motivate people to support your event.
Many parents work full time and find it challenging to balance their career with childcare and relationships, so don’t get involved with their PTA. Understandably, parents don’t want to spend hours in meetings, but there are ways you can engage people in your activities without inconveniencing them.
Most people don’t want to get in their car and drive to the local school, but platforms such as Zoom make it easy for people to connect without leaving their home. Make an effort to let parents know they can use Zoom or Skype to interact with meetings, and you’ll find more people attending.
You might also get a new perspective on how your PTA does things, leading to successful fundraisers and more donations.
Introduce an Agenda
Everyone has something to say, but the chair of a PTA meeting should always ensure people get their chance to speak up, but the discussion still ends on time. The last thing anyone wants is for a two-hour meeting to turn into three and a half hours, and introducing an agenda might help attendees stay on track.
Make sure people submit points they want to talk about before the meeting and prioritise which are vital.
Create a Newsletter
Parents might not be able to attend the meeting, but it doesn’t mean they don’t care about their child’s schooling. If you want to keep people up to date, then a monthly newsletter is a fantastic way to ensure parents know about important events and things they can do to support the school.
Use Social Media
Social media is so much more than a form of entertainment. It’s a way to create an extended community based on interests and locality. PTA’s can use Facebook groups to create their own community for parents and teachers to communicate and share ideas.
You can use the group to let people know about fundraising events and offer updates on the latest meetings. Most importantly, Facebook is ideal for connecting people, and they’re more likely to share ideas over the internet than physically attend a meeting.
Fundraising Ideas For PTA Groups
We’ve covered the essential standards for PTA fundraising, and hopefully, you now understand the rules and regulations involved. But what fundraisers prove to be the most successful for PTA groups? Let’s find out.
The good old bake sale is older than most schools, but it’s stood the test of time because they’re so successful. Kids love baking, and we all love cakes, so hosting a bake sale is the perfect recipe for a great fundraiser.
Get the whole school involved and ask parents to bake cakes with their kids. You can then set a day where people can come along to the school and purchase their favourite treats.
Parents Time Off
Balancing a busy career with childcare isn’t easy, and many parents would love a night off. If you can offer people this, they’ll pay for one evening of peace! All you need to do is arrange some fun activities for students and parents can pay for them to attend school one evening.
Gym games, DVD’s and gaming evenings are all popular choices, and if the event is successful, you can make it a monthly occasion.
Who wouldn’t love the opportunity to punish their teacher? For the right price, students could control their teacher for the day. Set an amount of money students need to raise, and if they reach that amount, they can take over the class for a day.
Other options include the children deciding which lessons they take part in or electing a group of students to become teachers for a whole day with teachers joining in on the classes.
Everyone loves the opportunity to wear their clothes to school instead of a uniform, and most schools have a no-uniform day at least once a year. Ask students to bring a minimum donation of £1.00, and you’ll be amazed at how much this amounts to.
If there’s one idea that’s perfect for both students and parents to get involved in, it’s the scavenger hunt. Solving riddles, hunting for information and winning a prize makes for the perfect summer event, and there’s a strong emphasis on teamwork that makes these fundraisers a good learning experience too.
Implement an entrance fee for children and families that want to participate and ask local businesses to donate a prize. You might find that salons are willing to offer a free haircut, or mechanics will do a free MOT. There are plenty of avenues to explore, so don’t be afraid to reach out to businesses.
The Bottom Line
There’s no doubt that the Parent Teacher Association is a vital part of a school and often the primary fundraising source. Governors, heads and parents all look to the PTA for solutions, ideas and guidance on important issues.
With so much responsibility, every active PTA member must understand the obligations their role comes with and work under the government’s legal guidelines. Now you know the essential standards for PTA fundraising, you can have some fun hosting events.
How can QR codes help organisations get more donations? Find out on our Evershare.io blog.