Finance and Budget Archive

Your group can't do its great work without strong financial policies and a sound budget. Whether you're the PTO or PTA treasurer or a member concerned about protecting funds, you'll find tons of ideas and help on money management in the articles below. Yes, we even cover PTO and PTA embezzlement. Find more helpful tools and info on the Finance & Budget resources page.

  • Spending Survey 2013-14: Rising Expenses, Increasing Demands - Our survey finds PTOs and PTAs are working to fill a widening gap in school budgets.
  • Spending Survey 2011-12: PTOs and PTAs Feeling the Strain - Our look at parent group spending priorities finds that overstretched school budgets are having a broad effect.
  • Protect Your Parent Group From Embezzlement - How to keep your PTO from being a victim of theft, and advice from groups that have gone through it.
  • PTO Finances: Midyear Budget Review - Do you know how much money you’ll be putting away this year? A springtime budget analysis can help PTO and PTA treasurers make plans for any surplus funds.
  • Mass. Town’s PTOs Face Stronger Financial Controls After Thefts - Police charged four women in January with embezzling more than $55,000 from four PTOs in New Bedford, Mass. In response, the New Bedford School Committee enacted rules that require more oversight of parent group finances.
  • How Has the Economy Affected Your Group? - A sampling of responses from PTO Today’s fall 2008 survey of 1,100 parent groups.
  • Recession Busters - The down economy doesn’t have to keep your group from having a great year. Try these tips for success when money and resources are tight.
  • How PTOs Are Adapting to Hard Economic Times - PTOs everywhere are bracing for lower fundraising returns and tighter budgets at school and at home. We talked to parent group leaders about how they're getting through it.
  • Higher Fuel Costs Mean Fewer Field Trips - Rising costs are a problem for most school districts, survey finds.
  • Just Say No to Dues - Dropping dues from your budget can pay off in higher involvement and more willing volunteers.
  • Should PTOs Pay Expenses? - Under certain conditions, it's OK for PTOs to pay travel and training expenses for board members. And if you don't get reimbursed, here's what you need to know about tax deductions.
  • What Every Treasurer Should Know - Being a good treasurer takes planning and organization. Follow these pointers and you'll be ready for success.
  • A Tool To Manage Volunteers - PTO Manager helps you find and track volunteers, and manage your finances more efficiently.
  • Finding and Winning Grants - Parent groups can and do get grants. Just follow a few simple rules to put together a winning application.
  • Handling Cash: 6 Simple Steps - You want to make the money you raise count for the school and the kids. Set up these six checks and balances to reduce errors and the risk of loss.
  • Insurance: What You Should Know - Are you covered? To make sure your parent group's insurance policy will protect members if a claim is made, there are a few key things you should learn about.
  • Annual Audit: How and Why - A yearly audit is a key safeguard for your money and a planning tool for the year ahead. Think of it as a "year in review" for your finances.
  • Dealing With Bad Checks - Many problems with check payments can be avoided by having a clear policy in place from the start.
  • Can I Deduct That? - The information you need so that your group's supporters can get the full advantage from their tax-deductible donations.
  • Figuring Finances for Events - How to build a simple cost model and estimate the start-to-finish finances for your group's new events.
  • 5 Smart Financial Controls - Avoid unnecessary headaches with these practices to keep your assets safe and your records clean and up to date.
  • Should You Charge Membership Dues? - Charging PTO membership fees might mean more cash, but perhaps fewer volunteers.
  • Preventing Theft: Why It's Crucial - Theft from PTOs and PTAs is all too common. It doesn't happen because there's a criminal in your midst. It happens because need meets opportunity—opportunity you can and should prevent.
  • How To Manage Your Budget - These basic bookkeeping procedures will help you keep your PTO budget in order.
  • Adversity: After Embezzlement, a Test of Strength - Discovering that their veteran treasurer had stolen funds from the group, parent leaders opted to stick it out and face up to the underlying causes. Their response made them PTO Today's 2007 Parent Group of the Year for Outstanding Effort To Overcome Adversity.
  • Budget Basics for PTOs - Budgeting makes all of your financial decisions easier. Follow these steps to create a budget for your PTO, even if you've never had one before.
  • What Should PTOs Pay For? - Tighter school budgets mean parent groups are asked to fund more and more items that used to be paid for by the administration.
  • Insurance: Do You Need It? - Without insurance, your group and your officers may be at risk. Here's what you should know to assess your needs.
  • When To Change Banks - If the fees are piling up or there's a limit to the number of transactions you can make each month, it might be time to look for a better checking account at a new banking center. Keep a few basics in mind when you do.

Looking For More Help?

There are lots of places on this site where you'll find even more help. Our Message Boards, Blog, and File Exchange are a good place to start.

Let us know if you can't find the help you need. Chances are we have at least one resource or tool that will do the trick and it's just playing hard-to-find at the moment.