As the new school year approaches, many PTAs are planning their budget for the coming year. One part of that budget is fundraising. The National PTA Back-to-School Kit has a list of questions for PTAs to use as guidelines when selecting and planning a fundraising project.
- Does it adhere to the PTA mission and purpose?
- Does it conform to the noncommercial, nonsectarian, and nonpartisan policies set forth in the PTA bylaws?
- Does it refrain from using or exploiting children? Will it create goodwill for the PTA?
- Is it a type of activity that can serve as a positive example for children and youth? Will it provide the revenue to help meet the PTA’s goals?
- Did the fundraising committee provide a budget of expenditures (e.g., materials and advertising for the event), as required by the PTA’s bylaws and standing rules?
- Do the state and local governments require the PTA to collect and remit sales tax? Are special permits, such as special licenses or health permits, required or needed?
- Is the liability of the PTA and its members protected through sufficient insurance or otherwise?
- Did the president sign the contracts for vendors or manufacturers? Do the contracts and products cover who is responsible for spoiled or damaged goods? For unclaimed goods?
- Is the PTA using volunteers, or does it have to pay or contract with workers? (Note that in Illinois, paying workers may be considered working with a professional fundraiser, which can result in the PTA needing to file an AG-990 form with the Illinois Attorney General’s office. Also be aware that once a PTA files an AG-990, it must continue to file annually.)
- Have procedures been established to safeguard the handling of products and money? What are the costs for using a facility? How long is the event going to be held? Are here special requirements or restrictions for using the facility? Are fire laws and safety precautions strictly observed? Is the facility accessible to people with disabilities?
- Is it an infrequent or ongoing activity? Be aware that unrelated business activities could result in some federal or state taxation of the income earned or, in the extreme, the loss of your tax-exempt status.
- Are there local, state, or federal laws that apply? Is care taken to see that no law is violated?
Depending on the PTA and the activity, there may be other questions that need to be addressed. When considering several funding ideas, review this list, as well as other questions and concerns, to determine which fundraising event to choose.