Question: legal responsiblity for a fundraising idea

Our pto would like to hold a fundraising event to unite families with people looking for care on an occasional basis for parents to have adult time. Our thought was to collect resumes and photos of providers interested for a fee. Bind a book to be presented to parents at a wine and cheese event. Parents would pay to attend the event where the would get the book free. At the event itself, parents could have the opportunity to talk with potential babysitters kind of a take off on the speed dating idea. would we have to background check each person, check references? Would we be liable if something happened? Would a disclaimer eliminate responsibility? We look forward to your answer.

Asked by Anonymous



Community Advice

ConcernedTreasurer writes:
Great idea...who couldn't use a new resource for childcare...BUT...where are you getting the babysitters? Are they going to be high school students in your district recommended by teachers/staff members? Although I am not an attorney and cannot comment officially on the legal issues, I would not want to put my PTO's name behind anything like this. Background checks are expensive (check with your local police department or district attorney/prosecutor on getting these done) and do not offer an guarantee on a person's ability to care for children. References are always going to be positive--think about it--would you give a name of someone you had a bad experience with? Although a court may not find you criminally liable if something happened, that does not mean that you will not be held responsible in civil court (aka get sued) and those juries are able to find you responsible. Perhaps a good place to start getting some answers would be to check with your school district's attorney, especially if the name of the school is going to be used in any way and/or the school building used for the initial gathering, etc.

Community Advice

badpants writes:
That's sounds like too many logistics to be effective. But, I really like the Wine & Cheese Event and I think you could make a better go of that as a fundraiser. Here are a few things that might draw in a crowd. Are there any winery's in your area? Also any specialty beer brewers? You have a wine tasting event. even if you don't have a winery, you could ask a wine specialty store or even a restaurant to come in and offer a wine sampling to guests. The bonus for them is that you allow them to sell their wine to guests. You could ask for a flat fee from each vendor or you could ask for a portion of the sales. If promoted well, you could draw a crowd from more that just your own parents. Perhaps you could hire a DJ or band or maybe even a comedian as entertainment. If vendors aer selling their own beer or wine, you could set up a bar to sell other non-competitve drinks like bottles water or soda.

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