Thursday, January 3

The Money Mom: The challenge of spending


It’s nearly halfway through the year. Have you spent at least half the money that your PTA has raised?

Raising money is not easy, but spending money well can be at least as big a challenge. You have to decide and then research exactly what you want to buy, work with teachers and principals to choose the purchases that work for them --whether new white boards or science books-- and then actually make the purchase. Sometimes you even have to lay out your own money and save the receipts to get reimbursed later. Spending takes follow-through and commitment. It's sometimes especially challenging, to get spending all the way into the classroom to improve a child’s learning experience. This money, whether spent on grow lights and plants, digital cameras, visiting poets, or field trips, is the most important money parents can raise.

Do you have a solid budget, a spending plan, or a spending committee to help with the legwork? Does your PTA have a working process for deciding how to spend your money? One source for ideas on how to spend money (and how to raise it) is PTO Today, a national organization that supports parent organizations in schools.

When you do spend money, document it. Tell parents in a newsletter what the PTA has accomplished. Post a photo of on your school's website, for example, of kids performing in a holiday show wearing PTA-funded costumes, and write a caption letting the community know who funded the show. There is a direct connection between spending money well and being able to raise more money. Donors --whether they are parents contributing to an annual fund or foundations supporting a special arts program-- will be impressed to know that you’ve been able to spend money in ways that really made a difference for your kids.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

Hi Jennifer - great time of year to remind folks about the importance of telling parents what the parent group is doing. I work for PTO Today and we just put up a blog post you (and your readers) might be interested in. It's about deciding how to spend parent group funds - http://www.ptotoday.com/ptoblog/organize-your-group/2008/01/02/money-talk-deciding-how-to-spend-parent-group-funds/