Question: Funds raised aren't easy to get, harder to keep

This is the second time I wrote this because apparently I timed-out last time. Here's the highpoints. 2nd yr President, 7th year member. Started this year with >$1,000 and as of end of Dec we're up to $14,000+ despite reducing fundraising efforts since I took office. (Wanted our group to match Community Outreach Activities to Fundraising & experiencing more success anyway.) Two problems: Teachers attend monthly business mtgs to request items for their class that don't always serve the greater good, rather a smaller percentage of students. Same teachers are also unwilling to give ANY amount of time to our events and fundraisers which is leaving volunteers feeling angry and worn out. (Losing career ladder greatly decreased our volunteers. Parents feel some time is better than none, some of these teachers do work extremely long hours.) Second, in the past seven years I can think of 2 times a request was actually tabled. It's almost like there is a fear to ask deeper probing questions, doing our own research for a better price on items ie: white boards, if the money is in our account. Not all of the members who attend meetings are volunteering their time to the fundraisers that have gotten us to the larger bank balance and a resentment is brewing that there are those who are too willing to just give away our hard-earned money. Insight on either would be appreciated.

Asked by PTSGPres



Advice from PTO Today

Rockne writes:
Hi PTSG - That's a long question, but I'd give two quick reactions: 1) I wouldn't worry about "keeping" the money so much. I assume you raise it so that it can do good for your school community, so spending it is fine. I totally get that you want to spend it wisely. Perhaps you could work on some systems for how you handle teacher requests. 2) I definitely wouldn't connect how much teachers volunteer with how many $$ they can access. That misses the greater point. If there's an amazing teacher (who never volunteers) who has a great idea that will transform a classroom -- isn't that what your group is all about supporting? Just a couple of thoughts. It's definitely OK to have good systems for your spending approvals, but also great to keep the spirit that you wna for your group and your school as a whole in mind when creating those systems. Tim

Community Advice

slhteh writes:
Do A teacher Grant Writing for the things they want and have an amount set aside and a inpartial panel to go over the grants to give out. make them earn their money for the right things.

Community Advice

lesleyharrison writes:
we have a line in our budget that allows us to reimburse a small amount to teachers, who are also members, each year, as long as they provide the receipts.

We have an annual budget that plans where we will spend our projected income (which is based on last year's fundraiser results), and if something is requested or needed which doesn't fall under the teacher reimbursement budget line, we can bring it to our member's attention and vote on it, but only if it won't affect our other budget items.

Our budget gives us the power to say 'no' to requests and helps us to discuss them in relation to our other activities.

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