Safeguard your PTA cash
PTA events are a fantastic way to bring people together
while raising funds, but unfortunately, this doesn't make them
immune to dishonesty and risk. While we hope no PTAs will ever find
themselves out-of-pocket, we've put together this list of things to
look out for and ways to stay safe. Although trouble is unlikely,
there's no harm in being prepared!
Many PTAs offer external stallholders pitches at their events.
These are a great way to support local businesses, attract more
visitors to your fair, add variety and take some of the pressure
off your volunteers. Here are some things to consider when booking
external stallholders to ensure your profits aren't impacted in the
event of a mishap.
- Request payment in advance
so stallholders are less likely to drop out and there's less
to worry about on the day itself. Then, if they do pull out, your
worst concern is the loss of an attraction, not funds.
- Only agree to refund deposits by 50% up to a
month before the event if anyone cancels. This way you still have
some funds at your disposal, plus time to find another supplier.
Keep a list of suppliers who couldn't attend due to space in case
you have the opportunity to offer the spot to someone else.
- Consider all risks in contracts and agreements
- everything from rain leading to low turnout to the event being
snowed off or postponed. It may take time to work out what to do in
each of these scenarios, but once you've worked out a contract
which covers all bases you can then use this every time you have a
- Consider having a list of easy backup stall
ideas for no-shows, or move stalls around to disguise the
fact someone is missing - walking in on an empty table won't add to
- If you think a product may not sell well at your fair,
be open and honest with the supplier. Deborah May,
Chair of Warberry CofE Academy PTA, Torquay, told us how
honesty can lead to success: 'When potential stallholders ask to
come and sell something at our events, I always ask what the
product is and how much they charge. Some items are too expensive
for our audience, so I advise the stallholder that they may not
sell much, but they can still have a stall to get their name out
there. This honesty means companies come not expecting to make
money on the day - so we don't have any issues afterwards - but
we've found many stallholders have had several orders throughout
the year after the event thanks to attending. We recommend that
they bring business cards or flyers.'
- Ensure the supplier is correctly insured - if
they're not, can they change their insurance so that it's in line
- Take a pitch fee instead of a percentage -
many PTAs have reported being short-changed by stallholders who
offer to pay a percentage of their profits, and there's no way of
proving how much they raised. While this is the minority, charging
a pitch fee negates the risk and means you have the money in
advance of the day, useful for any outgoings.
Although card readers such as iZettle are growing in popularity among PTAs,
cash is still the main method of payment at many schools.
Unfortunately school fairs can be targeted with counterfeit
banknotes, so it's wise to read up on how you can avoid this before
your event. The Bank of England has free advice available on how to
check banknotes and avoid fakes. Visit The Bank of England website to find out
what to look out for and ensure notes that pass through your PTA
Keep cash safe
Ensure money is kept safe at events by reminding volunteers to
keep it secure and in sight at all times. Consider investing in
bumbags so volunteers can keep PTA cash with them, and have two
helpers visiting the stalls at regular intervals to remove excess
cash and take it to a safe place.
These are just precautionary measures to avoid uncommon
circumstances, but being vigilant ensures that none of your
valuable earnings are lost.
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