Question: Tricky Tray and PTO Members

Our school is holding a Tricky Tray (similiar to a basket auction). It is a very large event and is only held every 2 years. The board members do a majority of the planning and organizing for this event. The faculty and staff pull the winning tickets for each basket. Is it wrong for the board members to purchase tickets to play? There is no advantage as it is a completely random pull. However, the board members will most likely be big purchasers of tickets as it supports the school. Therefore, they might have a greater chance of winning.

Asked by makv407



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
Good question. It can be awkward when a PTO leader wins a prize or the PTO president's child is the top fundraiser, for example. I did a little mini-poll of a handful of experienced PTO leaders to get their thoughts on your question. They all agreed that it's OK for board members to participate, as long as the auction is done out in the open and you have a neutral party pulling the names (in public). You certainly don't want the president pulling her own name out of the hat. Bottom line, if everything's transparent to the public and everybody has the same shot at winning (equal to the number of tickets they buy), all of the leaders I asked say you're on safe ground. One long-time PTO president (of three different PTOs) who I really respect pointed out that board members put in long hours to make PTO events and programs successful, and for that reason they should not be prevented from potential rewards. If others don't like it, she says, "let them plan the next tricky tray!"

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