Search Results for: sponsors

Sponsorship versus Endorsement

The law permits a nonprofit organization to receive corporate sponsorship income tax free if the sponsorship is linked to a specific event that is held once per year. It is acceptable for PTA to receive payments structured as royalties which is a percentage of gross sales or to enter into sponsorship agreements with businesses, including e-commerce businesses. Under new regulations, it is acceptable for PTAs to agree to an exclusive sponsorship. An exclusive agreement is one which prohibits competitors of the sponsor from selling at the event. The portion of the payment which reflects the exclusion element is taxable.

For the payment to qualify, there must be no arrangement or expectation that the business will receive any substantial return benefit for its payment. The PTA may not enter into a partnership with a business. Partnership implies sharing in the profit and loss of the business and would result in unrelated business income and tax liability.

The PTA should acknowledge publicly the royalties or sponsorship. The acknowledgment of thanks can list the corporate sponsor’s name, logo, address, telephone number, and products.


Hang a banner on the school campus with permission of the school principal per district policy.

Hang a banner where an event is being held after a Facilities Use Permit (PTA Use of School Facilities; Facilities Use Permit Addendum) is approved.

Place an acknowledgement in an event program book.

Announce event sponsors to the audience.

Acknowledge the sponsorship of a particular event in the PTA newsletter or school newsletter, if school district policy permits.

Distribute samples of the sponsor’s products at the sponsored event (if school district policy permits) or if a Facilities Use Permit (PTA Use of School Facilities; Facilities Use Permit Addendum) allows sponsored product distribution.

The PTA may provide a hypertext link from the PTA’s website to the sponsor’s website. PTA must be cautious in how this link is established. It is possible that the existence of a link might cause the sponsorship payment to be considered as unrelated business income, particularly if the link is in the form of a moving banner. A link would more than likely be seen by the IRS as retaining the passive character associated with corporate sponsorship, while a moving banner is more likely to be considered advertising. The duration of the link should correspond to the terms of the contract with the sponsor.

If PTA provides a Web link to an e-commerce business, a disclaimer must be included on the PTA website. For example:

“PTA does not endorse, warrant or recommend any of these products. PTA will receive a small percentage of every sale. If you decide to purchase any products, we thank you.”

An e-commerce business should be seen as a fundraising company acting as an intermediary or buffer between retailers and consumers.

While the PTA obviously would put some effort into promoting the use of electronic shopping, in order to do so without risk, the following conditions must apply:

  • Use of the program must be entirely at the discretion of the user;
  • Unit cannot have control over whether or not anyone will use the site;
  • Unit cannot have control over whether or not they are entitled to any of the proceeds; and
  • Unit cannot release member information to a third party.

A variety of e-commerce retailers, also known as charity malls, are donating a portion of purchases made through their sites in exchange for the goodwill the charity can generate. The charity mall allows customers to use the charity mall’s home page as a portal for shopping at any number of participating stores. For each online purchase, the PTA would receive a percentage of the sale. Working with the e-commerce business in this way, the PTA is less likely to be characterized as conducting a business, and instead, is simply receiving royalties.

Each fundraising opportunity must be evaluated individually.

Businesses Should

Understand PTA policies and procedures, especially in relation to noncommercial, nonsectarian, and nonpartisan policies;

Not violate PTA policies, positions and goals;

Exclude all websites that sell or feature firearms, tobacco, liquor, or adult content material;

Have a written policy that supports education opportunities;

Offer benefits to PTA;

Encourage participation in PTA;

Protect the privacy and security of users:

  • Prohibit framing, the possibility that a third party is monitoring the transaction, when users are interacting with merchants;
  • Have privacy seals from the Better Business Bureau and Trust; and
  • Require individuals to provide only minimal information, such as name and e-mail address;

Not require mandatory registration or membership in order to participate in the program;

Ensure that program interface is clear, functional, and easy to use;

Structure payments to the PTA as royalties;

Specifically identify the unit as a separate and distinct entity receiving the royalties, rather than just listing the school site;

Provide a complete accounting for determining the share of royalties on a monthly basis;

Require a minimal amount of effort from the PTA in promotional activities;

Be seen as a fundraising company acting as an intermediary between retailers and consumers.

Note: Purchases made through e-commerce generally will not result in tax-deductible charitable contributions, unless the purchaser can demonstrate that the amount paid for the item exceeded its fair market value and that the excess payment was intended to be a gift to the PTA.

Table of Contents


Grant Application and Report for Unit, Council and District PTAs – Cultural Arts, Healthy Lifestyles, Leadership Development, Outreach Translation or Parent Education
Continuing Education Scholarship for School Staff Members (Scholarship)
PTA Volunteers (Scholarship)
Graduating High School Seniors (Scholarship)

Table of Contents


Insurance Claims
Please see the current Insurance Guide for information regarding insurance claims.
Mismanagement of Funds/Embezzlement



Running Your PTA Forms

Annual Historian Report – PTA Unit
Annual Historian Report – PTA Unit (Fillable)
Annual Historian Report – PTA Council
Annual Historian Report – PTA Council (Fillable)
Annual Historian Report – PTA District
Annual Historian Report – PTA District (Fillable)
Application for Youth Group Sponsorship or Renewal
Bylaws Submittal Form for Units and Councils (Fillable)
Conflict/Whistleblower Form
Event/Program Planning
Event Planning Worksheet
Final Action Plan
Needs Assessment Worksheet
Service Provider/Speakers/Program Participants Check List
Facsimile Consent Form
Photography Release
Volunteer Tally Sheet

Organizing a Local Candidates Forum

  1. Form a committee. Participation on this committee falls within the Job Description for Legislative Advocacy Chair.
  2. Determine whether PTA will sponsor the forum alone or with another nonpartisan organization, such as the League of Women Voters or a branch of the American Association of University Women.
  3. Set the date, and obtain a facility that is centrally located, if possible. If it will accommodate the number of candidates, a school district board room is an excellent location, and the physical environment, including audience space is, in most cases, already set up.
  4. Decide whether to videotape the forum. This can be done through a local cable TV station, a high school video production class, or by a volunteer. Video can be uploaded to an online videosharing site and the PTA website. Some local government TV channels are willing to work in partnership with the League of Women Voters and PTA to tape forums for replay. Note: The camera should focus only on the moderator and the candidates.
  5. Draft invitations to candidates. Be sure to include:
    a)  Complete information on date, time, and place;
    b)  Guidelines and ground rules for the forum (e.g., there will be only written questions, amount of time allowed for candidates’ responses; topics of questions; forum format (including time for opening and closing statements, candidate order for statements and answers, etc.); rules prohibiting campaign literature distribution in the forum room; if the forum will be videotaped for replay on cable TV or displayed on a website; etc.;
    c)  A request for any information needed from the candidate for promotion of the forum; e.g., biography and photo;
    d)  Name, address, telephone number and e-mail address of forum committee’s contact person;
    e)  Due date for the candidate to respond.
  6. Candidate schedules are often hectic. They may be contacted by many organizations with requests for information, personal appearances, and/or forums. Establishing a personal connection by calling all candidates or their campaigns to inform them about the forum, to extend an initial invitation, and to advise them to look for a more formal invitation in the mail can facilitate both the process of organizing the forum and communicating with the candidates.
  7. Obtain home addresses and e-mail addresses of all official candidates from the Registrar of Voters, and send invitations by certified mail with a return receipt requested. The signed, returned receipts should be kept on file.
  8. Determine physical arrangements:
    a)  Provide adequate accessible seating for attendees.
    b)  Seating for candidates should be in the form of a head table, preferably elevated so they are visible to the audience. Seating assignments should be done by lottery with each candidate drawing a seat number prior to the beginning of the forum. The table should also be draped and water provided for candidates and moderator.
    c)  The moderator is the forum facilitator and may either stand at a podium or be seated at the table with the candidates. If the former, the moderator should be provided with a chair. If the latter, the moderator must be seated in a location that allows for eye contact with all candidates and control over the forum process and decorum.
    d)  Provide an adequate sound system with microphones available to rotate among the candidates, with a separate microphone for the moderator.
    e)  Provide tables for any refreshments and for any literature pertaining to the forum, such as agendas, programs, packets of candidates’ biographies and questionnaire responses.
    f)  Follow facility use permit regulations concerning distribution of campaign literature. Note: If a table is provided outside the forum room for candidate literature, the opportunity must be offered to all candidates. The materials should not be made available until the conclusion of the forum to avoid having them brought into the forum room. It is generally a good idea to place a limit on the amount of literature any individual candidate can place on the table to maintain the nonpartisan nature of the overall forum environment.
    g)  Provide a table for question sorters toward the front of the room. Timers should be located in the middle of the front row and visible to all candidates.
  9. Identify volunteer responsibilities:
    a)  Volunteers from PTA and co-sponsoring organizations that organize and/or staff the forum should have no personal ties to any candidacy, and shall not have publicly expressed support or opposition to any of the candidates.
    b)  The forum committee should arrange for the following: greeters for both candidates and attendees; hospitality; person to open the forum and lead the Pledge of Allegiance – may be the moderator or president of the sponsoring organization(s).
    c)  Secure a neutral moderator. Consider requesting a representative of the League of Women Voters or a respected political editor from the local media. The moderator or his/her organization cannot have casually or formally endorsed any of the candidates.
    d)  Question Sorters – Enlist one PTA representative with no personal ties to any candidate, and one representative from each of the co-sponsoring organizations.
    e)  Timers – one to keep track of time, and one to hold up signs to signal candidates.
    f)  Two or three volunteers to hand out blank index cards, pick up questions and deliver them to the sorters.
  10. Publicity – articles for the newspaper, radio announcements, cable announcements, fliers for PTA newsletters, etc.
  11. On the day of the forum:
    a)  Attendees enter, ushers provide blank index cards on which attendees may write questions for the candidates. Each index card should be used for only one question.
    b)  Begin with Pledge of Allegiance, welcome and a statement of the nonpartisan policies of the sponsoring groups.
    c)  Moderator should go over the basic forum guidelines and procedures that were distributed to all candidates, so the audience will also understand them and know what to expect. The moderator must specify the length of time allowed for opening and closing statements, if they are included, and must also specify the amount of time each candidate will be given to respond to each question. If the forum is televised, this statement will inform the home audience as well. The moderator will also include the following information:

i.  The order of questions will be rotated among the candidates in random order.
ii.  Whether all questions will be in writing or if questions from attendees will be permitted.
iii.  All questions will be screened for relevance, to avoid duplication, and to assure adherence to the guidelines and ground rules. Personal questions or attacks on any candidate will not be acknowledged.
iv.  If a question is directed to a specific candidate, it must be issue-focused. The candidate will have a set amount of time to respond. All other candidates may have an opportunity to respond, if they so desire.
If a question is directed to all candidates, each candidate will have up to one minute to respond.

d)  Timers should hold up signs to signal speakers:

i.   Green: start
ii.  Yellow: 15 seconds left
iii. Red: stop

e)  The moderator should state that verbal interaction between the audience and the candidates during the forum will not be permitted. The forum is neutral territory for a sharing of philosophy, ideas and information, not campaigning.
f)  Begin forum. While candidates are giving their opening statements, screeners can begin sorting questions to be asked of the candidates. If questions have been received through outreach efforts prior to the forum, they should be included in the mix. After the opening statements, the moderator asks the candidates questions received from the question sorters. (Note: In the event attendance is small at the beginning of the forum, the moderator should have a few questions in hand that were collected prior to the forum. This is even more important when the forum is televised.)
g)  Moderator or other designee should close and thank cosponsors, the TV station and home audience, if applicable, and everyone in the forum audience for attending, reminding them of the election date and encouraging them to study the candidates and cast their votes.

Figure A-3

Graduation or Prom Night

Programs and Member Services

A PTA graduation or prom night event is coordinated by a committee whose chairman is an appointed or elected member of the executive board. The committee members can include other members of the board, the principal, a faculty member, the president (ex officio), and other PTA members appointed by the president.

The major responsibility of this committee is to provide a safe, healthy, legal and supervised recreational event for students in cooperation with the community. A secondary responsibility may be to raise funds to host the event.


Activities should

Be inexpensive, involve many members and students and be fun.

Not involve commercial or advertising obligations.

Not conflict with other PTA, school or community events.

Create goodwill for PTA in the community.

See Transportation Planning.

After the Event

Complete an inventory of supplies and equipment related to the activity, establish a location to store reusable equipment; determine if the value of stored materials warrants the purchasing of property insurance coverage. (Note: Current PTA insurance does not cover unit PTA property.)


Have proper adult supervision.

Be aware of risks like hiring a limousine or charter bus. Verify their business licenses with the local Public Utilities Commission.

Follow school district safety procedures when using their buses.

See Insurance and Loss Prevention Guide for allowable, discouraged and PTA-prohibited activities.

A PTA sponsoring or cosponsoring a graduation or prom night activity must follow all California State PTA financial procedures and the Insurance and Loss Prevention Guide.

American Automobile Association (AAA) Celebrate Life
California Attorney General’s Guide for Charities (2005)


Organized events at theme parks or recreational areas create fewer problems than those that are self-catered and supervised by local sponsors.

Every event must be drug-, alcohol-, and smoke-free. Careful consideration must be given to food handling, restroom facilities, rest areas and availability of personnel certified in first aid and CPR.

Legal Issues

Parents’ Approval and Student Waiver forms should be completed for each student participant. The form can be found in the Insurance and Loss Prevention Guide.

It is illegal for a person under the age of 18 to participate in any form of gambling (including casino activities).

Information on how to conduct a legal raffle can be obtained by going to the California Attorney General’s website, (Refer to the California Attorney General’s Guide for Charities and §320.5 Gambling: Charitable Raffles effective July 1, 2001.)

Raffles may include but are not limited to 50/50 raffles, donation drawings, ducky derby and cow chip bingo.

Remember that it is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to possess, obtain or consume beer or alcohol. It is unlawful to possess, offer or sell any controlled substance, alcoholic beverage, or intoxicant on school premises. No person may sell, furnish, or procure intoxicating liquor (including beer) for anyone under the age of 21. It is illegal for anyone to possess any controlled substance without a valid prescription. (See Insurance and Loss Prevention Guide.)

PTA Unit Procedures

A PTA sponsoring or cosponsoring a graduation or prom night activity must follow all California State PTA financial procedures and the Insurance and Loss Prevention Guide.

The association must vote to sponsor or cosponsor the program, and the action must be recorded in the minutes. The president appoints the program committee, subject to ratification by the executive board. All committee and subcommittee members must be members of the PTA (Committee Development and Guidelines).


Revised January 2011 – Community Concerns

PTA activities in citizenship are designed to provide information and inspiration, to help members engage as citizens. By reminding members of their privileges and responsibilities and involving them in community projects, PTA makes an important contribution to the democratic way of life.

Recommended Actions

Urge the display, proper use of, and respect for the American flag in homes, schools, and communities.

Recite the Pledge of Allegiance at each meeting. Arrange for short, inspirational, patriotic messages or music when the flag is presented.

Encourage special programs in conjunction with the observance of patriotic holidays.

Cooperate with established organizations working for good citizenship training.

Invite youth participation at PTA meetings, recruit leaders, and sponsor groups when indicated (Community Organizations, Co-sponsorship, and Coalitions).

Arrange for community recognition ceremonies of newly naturalized citizens.


Stress the importance of voting in all elections. Cooperate with other community groups in registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns.

Encourage student participation in the election process.

Emphasize the need for all citizens to know election laws, including registration requirements.

Get involved with school-bond and ballot-measure campaigns that will improve schools, following California State PTA procedures (See Election Campaigns).

Host candidates forums.

Government Participation

Make information available on how individuals may participate in government, and encourage them to do so.

Promote projects for the study of local, county, state, and national governments.

Encourage attendance at meetings of boards of education, commissions, city councils, and county supervisors, and ask those who attend to report on issues of concern to the PTA.

Encourage the appointment of youth to city and county commissions.

Organize letter-writing campaigns to support legislation that benefits children, youth, and families.


American Legion (
California Department of Education (
California Legislative Analyst (for analysis of ballot measures) (
California Secretary of State (
California State Library (
Constitutional Rights Foundation (
County Registrar of Voters
League of Women Voters of California (
Local United Nations Association
Rock the Vote (
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (
Youth Vote Coalition (
Youth group leaders

Creating an event

Areas for PTA Involvement
Chairman and Committee Procedures

If the event is held in collaboration with community organizations or other PTAs, each participating unit, council or district PTA should follow the proper approval procedures specified below.

California State PTA strongly urges unit, council or district PTAs to refrain from serving alcoholic beverages at PTA functions. PTAs may not engage in the sale of alcoholic beverages. (See the Insurance and Loss Prevention Guide, Red Section, Alcohol; and Toolkit, Alcohol and PTA Events)

Preliminary Planning

Begin six months in advance, if possible.

Discuss and obtain approval to hold an event from the PTA executive board and principal or school representative.

Ensure the event will not conflict with other unit, council or district PTA observances.

Obtain a vote of approval for the event at a meeting of the association. Include a motion to disburse monies to cover the estimated cost involved.

If being held off campus, obtain permission for facility use from appropriate manager. If asked to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement, contact the California State PTA insurance broker.

PTA president appoints the event chairman and committee. Determine the goals of this committee. Articulate what the committee hopes to accomplish with the activities.

Appoint several members to the planning committee. Unit bylaws and standing rules may have information to guide the project. If possible, include the principal or a faculty member, the public relations/publications coordinator (if there is one), and a student (Event Planning Worksheet).

Review event material—make copies as needed. From previous chairman or committee, obtain the procedure book, National PTA Quick-Reference Guide, Our Children, and PTA in California.

Discuss budget needs with president and treasurer. Ideally, the budget should be planned with a line item for the event. The planned activities must stay within the budget. If necessary, the community may be asked to partner by donating materials, hospitality items and perhaps even a grant or sponsor to underwrite the planned activity or event. Be realistic in estimating the costs. Remember to include possible custodial costs, publicity, and postage.

Decide on a focus area, if any. Brainstorm ideas with the committee. Decide on activities that have the best chance for good participation from the student-body, the parents, and the community. If the PTA has never held this event before, do not overwhelm the faculty with activities.

Keep in mind past traditions but also investigate new ways to hold an appropriate event that will fit the school and community.

Select a theme as the major focus, and decide on the type of program (e.g., family dinner, musical program).

As early as possible, check school calendar and decide on a date.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that disabled persons must be reasonably accommodated by modifying policies, making physical changes and obtaining equipment to assist their participation in any activity. For PTA meetings/events, this could include seating to accommodate an attendant accompanying a member or reserved seating in a location to accommodate a member’s special need, providing written handouts to supplement discussion and/or providing qualified readers or interpreters for individuals having a hearing or sight impairment.

Discuss rules and expectations with facility management. Put all agreements in writing. Determine if permission or permits from school district or city are needed.

Notify parents and community to “save the date” for the event. Also send notes to past and present PTA presidents, leaders and award recipients, and school district and community members.

Notify staff, explaining event goals and requesting their support.

Schedule at least three committee meetings prior to event.

Never sign a Hold Harmless Agreement on behalf of the unit, council or district PTA until the California State PTA insurance broker has been consulted. (Hold Harmless Agreement)

Transportation Planning

In situations where PTA sponsors activities and secures transportation, such as “Grad Night” (hereinafter referred to as “events”), the PTA must provide accessible transportation at no additional cost to students with mobility disabilities in compliance with the requirements set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Local PTA units shall coordinate with their local school and/or school district to obtain updated lists of accessible transportation providers if such lists exist. Questions from PTA units, districts or councils regarding a request for accessible transportation should first be directed to the school district. Additional questions may be directed to the California State PTA Vice President for Leadership Services.

When local PTA units secure transportation for participating students for events, local PTA units must comply with the ADA which does not permit services that are different or separate from that provided to other individuals without disabilities, unless such action is necessary to provide an individual with a disability or class of such individuals with a good, service, facility, privilege, advantage, or accommodation or other opportunity that is as effective as that provided to others.

If the local PTA unit secures accessible transportation to events, as described above, and it fails to arrive, the PTA shall make every reasonable effort to secure alternative accessible transportation to enable students with mobility disabilities to still attend. In no instance shall a local PTA unit inform students with mobility disabilities that they must secure their own transportation.

A student with a disability who requires a one-to-one aide as part of his or her Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) shall be permitted to attend any PTA event with his or her aide, as the student’s family deems necessary. Further, no fee shall be charged for any PTA event ticket for the student’s aide. For any event where a student requires an aide, the cost of the aide’s transportation shall be borne by the PTA. PTA may ask to be reimbursed by the event venue, affiliated school and/or school district.

Event Development

Begin three months in advance, if possible. Develop a timeline utilizing check sheets. Assign committee members specific duties.

Service Providers/Speakers/Program Participants (At Least Two People)

One person should be designated as the contact person on invitation letters.

One person should assist with paperwork (Service Provider/Speakers/Program Participants Check List).

Publicity Campaign (At Least One Person)
Publicity may include the use of one or more of the following:

News releases
PTA newsletter articles
Posters for placement at local business locations
Radio/cable television PSA “spots”
Website promotion
Email alerts

Handouts/Fliers (At Least One Person)
Handouts may include the following:

Fliers to parents
Attendee record form
Permission slips, if necessary
Service provider station signs

Operations (At Least One Person)
Responsibilities include:

Overseeing facility, equipment, and overall operation.
Checking all participating service provider/speaker/program participant requirements.
Coordinating with school district and school custodian.
Ensuring all equipment is in working order.
Consulting with appropriate facility management.
Considering whether additional service providers are needed and reviewing other logistic issues.
Cleaning up after the event.

Outreach (At Least One Person)
This committee member will

Organize volunteers and coordinate hospitality.

Select invitees from the local area. Send a letter of invitation requesting participation, including a response due date.


Begin two months in advance.

Send follow-up letter to confirm service provider participation, including a map of the school and parking location (See Sample Participant Response Form below).

Develop fliers to inform parents and community of the event.

Develop news releases.

Request equipment from school district or facility manager to meet service provider needs.



(Name) PTA/PTSA (Program)

Thank you for agreeing to participate in the (Name) PTA/PTSA (Program). Please mail the completed form to (Name) PTA/PTSA, (Address) no later than (date).

__ Yes, I will participate in the (name) PTA/PTSA (Program) on (date).

 Organization/Participant Name: _______________________________________________________________

Address: _______________________________________________________________

Daytime Phone: (_______)_______________
Evening Phone: (_______)_______________
Email: ______________________________

Service and information to be provided:
Please include a detailed description of the services you will provide.


Please list any equipment, audio-visual, space or special requirements you have.


__ No, I will be unable to participate in the (name) PTA/PTSA (Program), but I would be interested in providing related materials. Please list materials which will be provided.

Fig. 7-1 Sample

Crunch Time

Begin one month in advance.

Be sure to have sufficient tables and chairs as required by participating service providers. This information will be available upon receipt of response form.

Provide custodian/facility manager with a detailed drawing of the layout for tables and chairs.

Plan for access for the disabled.

Recruit and schedule volunteers. Utilize nursing schools, dental schools, and public health agency health promoters.

Plan refreshments, such as coffee and donuts in the morning or a light lunch for all participating service providers and volunteers.

Check to ensure all equipment requirements can be met.

Distribute event fliers and email announcements to parents and community.

Prepare service provider station signs.

Day of the Event

Have nametags ready for all service providers/speakers/program participants and volunteers.

Check to make sure hospitality area is in order and refreshments prepared.

Check setup of the event stations and all audio-visual equipment.

Welcome the service providers/speakers/program participants and be sure to give them an evaluation sheet (Evaluation Form) that should be collected before they leave at the end of the event.

Have volunteers sign in, including addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses.

Have at least two designated troubleshooters for the day, and make sure that the service providers and volunteers know who they are.

Clean up the facility and leave it in as good or better condition than it was.

After the Event

Tabulate the evaluations.

Send thank you notes to all participating service providers/speakers/program participants and volunteers.

Write an event report and place it in the procedure book. Include ideas for changes gleaned from the evaluations and comments from participants.

  • Did the activities help to accomplish goals?
  • Was there good participation from the faculty and the parents?
  • Did the kids enjoy it?
  • What are the recommendations for next year?


This section defines or explains terms that financial officers and chairmen may encounter in their PTA work.

  • Approval by Membership – The requirement that all expenditures, programs and projects, including those specified in the budget, must obtain approval and/or ratification by the membership. All approval of expenditures, programs and projects MUST be recorded in the minutes.
  • Authorization for Payment – An authorization for payment documents approval to pay bills for services or supplies, or reimbursement to a member for expenses. After approval by the association, the completed authorization for payment permits the treasurer to write checks. All bills, receipts and invoices should be attached to approved authorization.
  • Bylaws – Specific rules of operation for the orderly conduct of business adopted by vote of the members. All PTA bylaws have certain specified, starred sections in common which cannot be changed. Any change in bylaws requires approval of the state parliamentarian, a 30-day prior notice and a two-thirds vote of the membership.
  • Cash Verification Form – A form to document receipt of coins, currency and checks from membership, fundraisers, and donations, which protects and safeguards volunteers’ handling of PTA funds.
  • Carry-over Funds – These funds represent the amount which is set aside to begin operations at the beginning of the next PTA fiscal year, prior to the onset of fundraising activities.
  • Certificate of Insurance – A document issued by the insurance broker certifying that an insurance policy covering general liability is in force. A Certificate of Insurance is emailed to all unit, council, and district PTAs in good standing. A copy may be obtained by contacting the California State PTA insurance broker.
  • Channels – The formal communication route through the association to ensure that each level within the association is informed. In PTA, the channel is from the unit to the council (if in council) or from the unit to the district PTA (when there is no council), from the council to the district PTA, and from the district PTA to California State PTA.
  • Commingled Funds – Funds from two organizations deposited together. Because a unit is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association, it must comply with all Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements, regulations and laws. The IRS considers all funds in PTA accounts to belong to the association regardless of source. A PTA must handle only those funds over which it has full control and the total amount must be declared as gross income to the PTA. All funds in the PTA account must have association approval for disbursement.
  • Contract – A legally enforceable agreement between two or more persons or organizations. Contracts must be approved by the PTA membership before being signed by two elected officers, one of whom must be the president.
  • Contributions – Donations of money, property, or services received by the PTA from individuals or businesses. PTAs must follow Internal Revenue Service guidelines for receipts for contributions.
  • Embezzlement – Stealing of money entrusted into one’s care by means of fraud for one’s own use.
  • Facilities Use Permit – A permit required by most school districts that when approved authorizes the PTA to use school site facilities.
  • Fiscal Year – The financial accounting period established by the PTA, and identified in the Bylaws for Local PTA/PTSA Units, Article XIII, Section 7, as a time for the association to close its financial books and records for the past 12-month period. The IRS is notified of the fiscal year at the time of organization when IRS Form SS-4 is submitted.
  • Founders Day Freewill Offering – A freewill offering commemorating the founders of PTA. Contributions are forwarded through channels to California State PTA and set aside in a special fund for leadership services. The contributions are considered as “funds not belonging to the unit, council, or district” and are not included as income in the budget.
  • Gifts to Individuals – A personal gift to a PTA member or school staff. Gifts to individuals cannot be paid for with PTA funds. Personal gifts include gift cards, gifts for baby showers, secretary’s day, bereavements, weddings, or birthdays. If the unit wishes to recognize an individual, donations must be collected as freewill offerings and the money maintained separately from PTA funds.
  • Gifts to Schools – Gifts to the school that benefit the largest number of students possible. Be sure to check with the school district before purchasing any materials for the school. Gifts should be in the form of a donation, presented and accepted by the school board at a school board meeting, and recorded in the school board minutes. Always use a fiduciary agreement.
  • Good Standing – The term applies to units, councils and districts that have met all requirements specified in the bylaws, which includes remittance of insurance premiums and membership per capita to California State PTA by the established due dates.
  • Grants – A specific set of dollars given by businesses, foundations, and corporations to an organization to perform specific functions. Projects for which PTA is seeking grants must promote the Purposes of the PTA and be relevant to the goals of PTA.
  • Gross Receipts – The total amount of receipts before any deductions are taken or expenses are paid. For the purpose of completing the IRS Form 990, monies forwarded through channels to the California State PTA office are not considered gross receipts. This includes membership per capita, Founders Day freewill offerings, and insurance premiums.
  • Hold Harmless Agreement – An agreement in which the signing party assumes responsibility for all acts and all liability for any injuries that occur related to an event. PTA MUST NOT SIGN A HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENT WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM AIM INSURANCE. California State PTA insurance does not cover vendors, concessionaires, or service providers; these entities must provide Evidence of Insurance to each PTA unless annual Evidence of Insurance has been filed with the California State PTA Insurance Broker. A Hold Harmless Agreement may be found in the Insurance Guide.
  • Membership Per Capita – The amount of money that must be forwarded through channels for each membership received in the unit in order to be considered a unit in good standing by California State PTA.
  • Minutes – The permanent legal record of all action taken by the association and the executive board. All financial reports become a part of the minutes.
  • Noncommercial Policy – A policy requiring that the name PTA, a registered service mark, or the names of PTA officers shall not be used in conjunction with the commercial activities of other organizations including, but not limited to, the promotion of their goods and services.
  • Ratification – The approval by the membership of an action taken by the PTA executive board as specified in Bylaws for Local PTA/PTSA Units, Article VIII, Section 2b.
  • Reconciliation of Funds – The process of bringing into agreement the bank balance as shown on the bank statement, the checkbook ledger, and the check register. The purpose is to ensure that the bank records and the association’s financial records are correct, to identify outstanding checks, and to determine the actual balance against which future checks may be drawn.
  • Reimbursement of Expenses – Allowable out-of-pocket officers’ expenses shown as a line item on the budget adopted by the association are reimbursable. Reimbursement is made upon the submission of an expense statement and/or receipts.
  • Sales Tax – A tax imposed on the purchase of products. Units are considered consumers by the California State Board of Equalization and they are not required to charge sales tax on merchandise sold. Units do pay sales tax on the price of merchandise purchased for resale or use.
  • Scrip – A coupon which may be redeemed in lieu of using cash at the store that issued the scrip. Scrip is purchased, usually from grocery stores, in large amounts for a discount off the face value. The PTA sells the scrip at the full value, raising funds for the unit. Many companies now offer electronic e-scrip.
  • Scholarships – Funds to assist students in furthering their educational objectives. The scholarship program, including the amount and number of scholarships to be awarded, must be approved by the membership.
  • Sponsorship – Financial support received from a business. The law permits a PTA to receive corporate sponsorship income tax free, if the sponsorship is linked to a specific event and the event is held once per year. The PTA gives the corporate sponsor an acknowledgment of thanks in return for the sponsorship.
  • Unallocated Reserve Funds – The amount remaining after making allocations for budgeted programs and activities, and may be used to cover any unexpected or unplanned expenses in the current fiscal year. The association must adopt a budget amendment to transfer funds from Unallocated Reserves to a specific budget category prior to disbursing funds.


PTA Funds versus School Funds

Only PTA funds shall be deposited into the PTA treasury. A PTA shall not act as a depository for funds of other organizations. School funds or funds belonging to outside groups shall not be commingled with PTA funds in any way. If a PTA sponsors a project or program in cooperation with the school, all funds shall be accounted for and separated prior to the immediate deposit of the PTA portion into the PTA bank account. All funds deposited in the PTA account become the property of the PTA, and all expenditures require a vote of the association.

PTA funds are private monies; school funds are public monies.