When a PTA creates a budget, it is making a plan on how and where to spend money. The general membership approves the budget and tasks the Board of Directors to oversee the management of the funds. This budget is just a proposal and is not set in stone. How much money a PTA actually has in the bank can change based on fundraising, matching funds, and donations. Remember, just because the budget says there is a certain amount of money for an event doesn’t mean that money is really there.
To avoid overspending for events, every committee needs to submit a Committee Report/Plan of Action to the Board of Directors BEFORE spending any money. This report outlines what the committee plans to spend money on, how much money the committee plans to spend,
and how much money the committee plans to bring in at the event. This
report needs to be looked over closely by the Board of Directors and discussed before being approved. Once approved, either as presented or with changes, the committee can then go out and spend the money the Board has approved.
Too often we see PTAs with committees that just go out and spend what was listed in the budget and then end up spending more than the PTA actually has or raises at the event. An auction is a perfect example. An auction might have a budget of $10,000 to cover everything from decorations to invitations to facility. Often though, an auction committee will go out and spend this $10,000 without a Plan of Action/Report to the Board and it turns out that the PTA really didn’t have $10,000 in the bank. This might be made up if the auction brings in a lot of money, but what if the auction doesn’t bring in much money at all? Not only has the PTA now had to take money from other items in the budget to cover the $10,000, but it also did not bring in as much money as expected and has to cut events or programs.
Committee Reports/Plan of Action are also a good way for the Board of Directors to ensure that PTA events and programs are really aligning with the PTA mission and goals. Having a Science Fair is educational and fun, but is bringing in a snow cone machine for the event necessary? How does it meet with the PTA mission and goals? How does it make the Science Fair better? These are questions that need to be answered for all PTA events/programs but without a Committee Report/Plan of Action the Board does not know what to ask.
Region 2 Director
Council Leaders will be writing articles relating to their committee or favorite interest. You are encouraged to respond! Ask questions, add your experiences, contribute to the conversation. We are all in this together!