Question: PTO President earning a supervisory fee?

Our school PTO recently completed a fund raiser, in which there seemed to be a great conflict of interest. The president requested a budget on an event that in previous years, she would contribute the supplies to run the event, and donate them to the school. At the time of the vote (requested of PTO members only) I thought this made sense. Other events all had budgets, so this one should as well. It was only as time went on, that it began to be clear that, as the president running the business that would benefit from the fundraiser, she should responsible for the cost of supplies. When I brought this up to our Pricipal, he said that he has no say in how the PTO functions run. He also told me that he was unaware of her "making" money on the event, but he did know that she collected a "supervisory fee." In researching our bylaws, they state that no member of the PTO may directly benefit from a fundraiser. So, my question is, has anyone else experienced this kind of conflict within their PTO, and what did you do to resolve it?

Asked by fundraisingchair2012



Community Advice

cajunmsgirl writes:
I have been the PTO president/ everything lol, with one lady helping as treasurer, for 8 yrs now and the only compensation I get is seeing the children and Teachers happy! The PTO does purchase all supplies for our fundraisers and I go get them. THe only money I receive are reimbursements for gas and supplies, the PTO is a non profit organization. If she feels the need to get paid, she needs a job! PTO is to help the children, to get parents and school officials to work together, and provide the little extras the teachers need and the school doesn't provide. Hope this helps!

Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
Conflict of interest involving officers who own businesses is a difficult topic that a lot of parent groups struggle with. If the PTO secretary, for example, has a little kitchen products business that she runs out of her home, it's natural to want to support her. However, running that fundraiser takes time and effort, and publicizing yet another fundraiser to parents may actually detract from your other, more important fundraisers. The best situation for the organization is to weigh opportunities like this on their own merits -- how do they compare to other things we could do. To prevent this sticky issue, some parent groups ban doing business with officer-owned (fundraising in particular) companies. In your case, I can't picture a situation where a PTO president would get a stipend for doing any job in the normal course of PTO duties, including overseeing a fundraiser -- and especially one she profits from. You already have a bylaw that prevents parent group leaders from profiting from a fundraiser. I would use it to prevent the same thing from happening next year. Since it's already taken place this year, you might try to regain the stipend, but otherwise it seems too late to do much else.

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