Your start-of-year checklist
Prioritise your tasks your get your PTA fundraising off
to a flying start this autumn.
Even during uncertain times, the autumn term is all about
planning for the year ahead. With many of us returning to PTA
duties for the first time in six months, the workload might seem
overwhelming, so it's important to break it down into manageable
Welcome new families
With less access to the school this year, new parents won't be
feeling part of the community in the same way as usual. Use the PTA
to help soothe any worries and start to integrate them. How about a
virtual coffee morning a few weeks into term? Make it unique by
creating a welcome package containing a teabag, coffee sachet,
sweet treat and a copy of your welcome pack or a PTA leaflet. If
permitted, parents can either collect a package from the school at
drop-off or from a designated committee member's house in readiness
for a Zoom call, where they can get to know each other over a
Assess who might step down from your committee and start warming
up any potential candidates. Make sure all your paperwork is in
check, including knowledge capsules, licences and supplier
contacts. If anything needs updating, get it done before it's time
to start fundraising. GDPR probably means you have deleted personal
contact details at the end of last year, so get this crucial
information collected now so you can contact parents, volunteers
and supporters more easily. Establish how you will contact parents
if flyers in book bags aren't allowed yet.
Check out PTA equipment
Ensure your equipment is ready and waiting for when you can next
use it by taking some time to go through your PTA stores. Does
anything need repairing or replacing? If anything has broken or
stopped working, is it still under guarantee? Does any electrical
equipment need to have its annual PAT test, and can this be done in
conjunction with the school?
Gather the team together
The aim of the first meeting should be to focus your committee.
Agree on a schedule for future sessions, and establish your goals
for the year. Next, examine your activities and start planning
events. Remember, some families still have more caring and work
commitments than before lockdown, so try not to overwhelm
Meet with the head
It's vital to have a good working relationship with your
headteacher, with mutual support being more critical now than ever.
Discuss what you can do for the school and how they will support
you to achieve it. Ask the headteacher about the school's intended
plan for the year and suggest ideas for how you can get the best
results. Arrange regular meetings by whichever means are easiest to
keep you updated.
Look at your fundraising mix
Allocate sub-committees to look into different aspects of
current fundraising options, including virtual challenges and
socially distanced events. A broad range of options (regulations
permitting) as well as ongoing income streams, such as shopping
affiliate schemes, will have the best impact. Alter your strategy
to work with your school demographic and community preferences.
Rethink financial priorities
Many PTAs have seen a considerable drop in income over the past
few months, meaning it's vital to analyse your financial situation
and decide on your priorities. What monetary commitments do you
have in place, and can they be met with your current funds?
Consider ongoing spending such as subscriptions and playground
maintenance as well as longer-term goals. Consult with your school
to establish what funds are needed and where. If you can't meet the
requirements, can any projects or activities be stopped or paused
and funds diverted to essential spending?
It isn't possible to do this with all profits, however. If your
charity raised money for a specific purpose stated at the time of
fundraising, this is known as 'restricted income' and may only be
used for the intended goal. In some cases, you may be able to
overcome these limitations, but you should only do so if there's no
alternative.Whatever financial decisions you make, ensure they are
agreed on collectively and note them in writing.
Start planning events
Think outside the box and allow plenty of time to come up with -
and adapt - ideas. Make allowances for how protocol might change
and develop contingency plans in case of any last-minute reworking.
As a starting point, review last year's successes and see how you
can adapt them to suit current guidelines. Thinking ahead to
Christmas, could you accommodate a distanced physical event? How
might you use the space? If not, how can the experience be
replicated virtually? If booking third parties, check their
cancellation terms and make sure you're not left out of pocket.
Publish key dates
Usually, it's best to announce your annual events programme as
soon as you can so that parents can get dates in diaries, but
that's less feasible this year. Announce each fundraiser as soon as
you are able and take every opportunity to remind parents using all
your available communication channels to get the information
Check your constitution
It's best practice to read your governing document from time to
time. Remind yourself who is defined as a member, how committee
roles are elected and how decisions should be made and documented.
Check for guidance on postponing meetings and whether you're able
to hold them online. If you can't find a copy and your association
is a registered charity, the Charity Commission (charity.commission.gov.uk) may have
Alter your AGM
Distancing measures may mean some PTAs can't hold their annual
general meeting in the usual way. If you decide to cancel or
postpone your AGM, record your decision and reason for postponing,
then hold the meeting as soon as is reasonably possible. It's
crucial to keep detailed minutes of decisions as it may make it
harder for you to finalise annual reports and accounts. In the
current circumstances, where the health of members is to be
safeguarded, the Charity Commission will accept a virtual meeting
as a valid meeting, as long as it is quorate.
When you do hold your AGM, it's common practice to give at least
21 days' written notice to all members - check your constitution
though, as it may differ. At the AGM, committee members typically
stand down - although they can stand for election again. Remember
that committee changes may require updates to the signatories on
the PTA bank account and named contacts held by the Charity
Commission and other organisations.
For more information
- If you're unsure about any legalities, the Charity Commission
can help you at charitycommission.gov.uk or on 0300 066
Get regular updates!
- Sign up to receive our fortnightly PTA+
e-newsletters for the latest news, offers, and topical
- Our PTA+ Facebook page is proving to be an
invaluable resource! Post questions and photos, discuss contentious
issues, and pick up useful planning and fundraising tips. One PTA
told us: 'This page has so much information to help plan, get
advice, share what works, plus there's discounts and prizes. I love
Share this page