Question: Protecting money raised with a specific goal?
Our PTO would like to raise money to replace our auditorium seating (which our district will not replace). We know this will be a long-term goal and will take 5-10 years to raise the money for it. What kind of tools are there to protect the money for the future so a future set of officers don't decide to use it for something it wasn't intended for?
Asked by saxmerz
Advice from PTO Todaylharac writes:
Your PTO might want to get some legal advice or talk to an accountant if there is truly a concern that the money will be used inappropriately. Keep in mind, though, that sometimes spending plans might need to be changed for other reasons. But here are some suggestions from one of our great veteran parent group leaders to help make this ambitious project part of the culture of your PTO and school:
- Clearly document the approval of the project in the meeting minutes.
- Put the purpose of and rules for any money raised for this project into your PTO's formal written Policies and Standing Rules, and give every officer a copy of the document.
- Pick a name for the project and use it in every fundraiser specifically for this project—for example, “auditorium seat bake sale.”
- Set up a separate savings account for this project’s funds and name it accordingly. Report on the account balance as part of every PTO treasurer's report, but make it very clear on every report that this is a specially designated account, not simply a line item in the annual budget.
- Create a binder of information with all information about the project; this might include floor plans, number of seats needed, bids the PTO has received, photos of the current space, and so forth. The project binder should become part of the PTO's permanent records, kept with the president, and maybe a second copy with the principal or auditorium manager. Label the spine clearly since it will probably be sitting on a shelf for several years.
- Consider appointing a parent volunteer as "auditorium seating advocate" each year. This person would be responsible for updating the PTO on the status of the project, assessing the current condition of the seats (e.g., “this year two more seats were removed for safety reasons”), tracking progress toward the fundraising goal, and anything else to keep the project a priority.
- Every year, recommit to the project at a PTO meeting, announcing the current balance and any upcoming fundraising plans. Make sure this information is in the minutes.
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