Like any business, PTAs have basic operating expenses that should be financially supported by the annual membership campaign. When the local portion of membership dues is too low, the PTA will be challenged to meet its minimal operating expenses. Fundraising should be reserved for the added value the PTA wishes to provide for students, faculty and families. What are some of the basic operations of a PTA and why are these important?
- Communication to members regarding PTA activities, locally and statewide, promotes the power of the organization. This can include PTA-to-member communication – print and/or email, and possibly a PTA website.
- Family-engagement programs and fun events provide relevancy to the work of PTA. One or two annually are good starters: math, science, arts or family reading nights; carnivals; and international fairs. Positive discipline, study skills and other topics can inform parents on how to encourage their children and help them learn at home.
- PTA insurance coverage assures that the PTA can host events for members, the school and the community. Without PTA and its insurance, many school districts will not permit the scheduling of popular events.
- Hospitality at meetings contributes to that “walk-in-the-door” welcome. Members who feel welcomed and included over time will consider contributing time to the organization.
- Local training availability and at the California State PTA Annual Convention builds capacity within the PTA for its work and advocacy on behalf of students and families. Individuals attending these trainings should be reimbursed their expenses as appropriate. Training is a cost of doing business in every organization – public or private – and is an investment in success.
- Business services may be important for your PTA. Some PTAs’ operations are extensive and require assistance in the area of financial accounting systems, audits, or tax preparation. While these are privately available, California State PTA services now include PTAEZ, a financial accounting system and tax-preparation assistance. PTAs may consider purchasing hardware or software for the website coordinator, etc. When the PTA provides these helpful services, individuals will be more willing to accept nominations for offices or chairmanships.
- Recognition and honoring PTA volunteers provide multiple returns to your PTA: Volunteers feel valued, the community embraces the recognition and the recognized volunteers become role models and ambassadors. Include a volunteer recognition or Founders Day event and remember: The use of Honorary Service Awards funds the California State PTA High School Graduating Senior Scholarship Program.
Review the sample budgets in the California State PTA Toolkit. How long has it been since your PTA increased its dues portion? Evaluate your basic operational expenses and the local dues portion, and make adjustments through a bylaws amendment. Then sell the work of your PTA!