April 10, 2019 Fundraising Meeting

  • PTOC Chair Jill Anthony Stephenson spoke about running fundraising events within the PTOC and district regulations. The Executive board encourages schools to learn about each other and help each other be their best. Community building and fundraising goals can be enhanced within the umbrella of the PTOC.

    From a Treasurer standpoint, Jill has run the leadership training sessions and has extensive knowledge of that area. She has been present through successful systems and has seen mistakes made when schools incorrectly assess their needs or don’t address some peoples’ emotional responses to issues. A goal for communities should be to find commonalities and get to a middle ground. How far is each side willing to move toward the other?

    Motivation: Results of fundraising lead to a sense of belonging, community building, and growing together. It assists academic and social learning which is advocating for the children. Informed and engaged community members are the most successful. Building connections is important and often lost in busy times. Look for a goal total money amount. If you can’t reach it, hold a second fundraiser. Don’t exhaust your parents timewise or financially. One way to define your goal is dollars per family. Many schools move toward April events because the beginning of the year and Holidays are out of the way. Fundraising Events at the end of the year do require better scheduling because of spring sports events. Spread out your events as well to avoid tapping out families.

    Adult-only options: Cost/benefit analysis shows that adult events can fund a school in one event. For example, Forsyth holds one such auction event to support three grade levels. Putting all your effort into one such event can keep volunteers from being overtaxed. There have been themes like casino nights, mystery nights with participant involvement, dress-up nights, circus, games, as well as non-themed auctions. These events support children and allow the adults to build community and get a sense of belonging. Give motivated volunteers tasks well in advance. Include businesses and the neighborhood with donations and sponsorship as well as attendance. Wines is in their 4th year of having an adult only event. Parents were spending so much time volunteering and chasing after children they didn’t have a chance to look at auction items or do raffles. Getting parents engaged early keeps them engaged throughout the years.   Some events don’t go as well naturally with fundraising (ie International Night) because the primary goal of the event is to show off cultures and not fundraising.

    Wines has the adult event as the secondary fundraiser to their Fun Run. It made 50% of the total from the Fun Run with much less manpower designated to it. They hold one big meeting followed by smaller meetings for individual task reporting. The fundraising goal is to get at least six months operating expenses set aside for the following year. Forsythe actually keeps some supplemental money in a money market account so it grows at a safe low rate until there is an urgent need to access it.

    Wines goes to an establishment with an existing bar. Whatever choices you make, you should have a responsible event. Alcohol does break the ice for some people in a social situation. Parents at these events don’t drink to excess under normal circumstances and responsible planning (avoidance of drinking games.) Go to the state of Michigan website for more information if you are running the event yourself. If using a mobile licensing caterer, then make sure they have insurance. Responsible hosts will provide food and limited beverages at the events within the ticket price. $30 in advance and $40 on the day is the Wines price point. Prices vary whether you’re providing seated service or cocktail food. Some schools offer the purchasing of additional food and alcohol.

    Adult only events make going up to people you’ve seen, but not necessarily interacted with, easier whether serving alcohol or not. In-school events are cheaper, but participation declines significantly with these type of events.

    The money earned will be used for the betterment of the school and community. Thurston is having difficulty agreeing on whether alcohol should be involved in any event. The PTO wishes more people would attend meetings to discuss these issues, rather than one-off emails or “telephone operator” word of mouth. Majority rules in the vote of Thurston officers. It’s up to the school whether they would like to survey “those present” or a school-wide google doc.

    It was reviewed that only the Executive Board votes on changes in the budget and the bylaws. The whole school can also vote on items electronically if you want, but the Board has the final say. Since all parents were invited to run for office, those who chose to and attend regular meetings are the most informed and speak for the population. Any public survey should be short and you can include comments or not.

    Clarification of previous discussions and review of notes. The PTO did vote to hold an adult event, money was allocated in the budget, and Principal York decided to postpone it from the original date to allow more time for planning.   There was never a cancelation of the event, and the budget line item still exists.

    It was confirmed that the presence of alcohol will not violate district policy. As a Standalone non-profit, Thurston is not bound by AAPS policy while offsite. It is only while on AAPS property that all rules must be followed. It is a moral discussion within the school, but no legal conflicts. You don’t need a permit for an auction unless it’s far more money than we would be doing. If we make over $50,000.00, we have to fill out a different form for taxes, which the treasurers stated they were familiar with.

    State of Michigan did require that auctions keep documentation of winners of items to be held for one year. The guidelines should be checked to see if this is still a requirement.

    Discussion should be focused on the auction and social aspects rather than the alcohol. Jill was unaware of any schools having adult-only events offsite without alcohol and numerous schools having events which included alcohol. Many schools offer a Parent’s Night Out event at the school for children at the same time to promote attendance and help build relationships. AAPS insurance covers travel of parents and children to and from offsite events. Advertising should state that anyone partaking of alcohol should have a designated driver. Licensed bartenders should have insurance against over-serving guests and liabilities.

    Classroom projects are created at many schools for a capped amount of money ($50.00) and bid on. Glasses decorated by students are one project that have been auctioned for high results. Games are popular fundraisers as well.

    The money would go to the general fund for all teachers to request as needed.

    Decide whether the auction be silent, live, or have both components? Letters to businesses should go out 3 months in advance and then have a personal follow-up. Decide how expensive the base auction amounts should be. Entertainment can be provided (bands,djs.) Prizes are donated, so they don’t add to the budget.   Principals and teachers attend these events at other schools. Some schools give free tickets and others have teacher tickets purchased by parents. Restaurant nights are good fundraisers. Dine and dash events like Zingerman’s. Bowling events. Adding a babysitter event at the school at the same time for any of the events is popular. Some people don’t wish to have a student event at the same time as an adult-only event.

    The nature center is excited to hold some fundraisers in conjunction with the school. Do they have the ability to fundraise for themselves and donate only some to the school? TNC is under the umbrella of the PTO for tax purposes, but they can independently fundraise. As long as they communicate all transactions through the PTO Treasurer for legalities, bring dates to the Executive Board for approval, and inform the principal, they can hold their own events. Several PTO’s have someone specifically in charge of keeping track of the calendar of events so that conflicts don’t occur.

    A reminder that additional insurance is needed if not provided by the location. Thurston’s planned event have the location, caterers and bartenders all carrying insurance for this event as well as AAPS insurance covering travel.