Spending of PTA funds
One of the questions we’ve been asked a lot recently, is around the spending of funds and how can you help support others in these uncertain times. Your committee needs to spend their funds in line with the objects of the association, as stated in the constitution. These are usually something like to advance the education of the children at the school or develop effective relationships between home and school. This means you are quite limited to anything that is “outside of the school gates”.
Only the elected committee members can decide how to spend the funds at a committee meeting, but this should be done in consultation with the school, to make sure it’s something the school wants and needs. We recommend that the school provides the PTA with a wish list of items they would like the PTA to fund, then the committee discuss whether it fits the objects. The school shouldn’t purchase things and expect the PTA to fund them without any prior agreement from the PTA. If it’s a large spend, you could also consult your members – either hold a meeting or send out a questionnaire to find out what the members do or don’t want, then the committee know who they should be voting. Remember to always ask yourself, does it fit the objects – does it advance the education of the children at the school? It doesn’t have to benefit all the children all at the same time, so you could fund something for certain year groups, rather than everyone. Decisions should then be made by a majority vote of the elected committee members.
You may receive other requests from the school, for example contributing to hardship funds, teacher’s gifts, foodbanks or other charities. You need to refer back to the objects. How would this fit? If you were challenged, how would your committee explain how they saw it fitting? The problem with all of these requests, is that it probably doesn’t and therefore you can’t spend the funds this way. Remember when people support your events or make donations, they think their money is coming to the school and being spent on the children.
If you want to raise money for another charity, it still has to fit the objects. If it’s something that the children are learning about at school then you could argue this fits because you are teaching about charitable giving and it’s supporting what they are learning at the school. You also need to let your members know before raising this money, that their donations will be going to another charity. We also recommend that you donate a percentage to the other charity, together with a percentage to the PTA and you make it clear to people who are donating that the money will be split.
When it comes to teacher’s gifts, this doesn’t really fit, but it doesn’t mean you can’t use a PTA meeting to have a whip round.
If you have any further queries about this, please contact the Member Support team on firstname.lastname@example.org