Your start-of-year checklist

Get your PTA fundraising off to a flying start in the autumn term

Welcome new families

Help new parents feel like part of the community while soothing any worries they may have about their children starting school. Try a coffee morning a few weeks into the term where you hand out a welcome package containing a teabag, coffee sachet, sweet treat and a copy of your welcome pack or a PTA leaflet. Hold it at the school just after drop-off or, if the weather is still sunny, try a local park.

Get organised

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 its 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.

Check out PTA equipment

Make sure your equipment is in top condition 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? Find out if any electrical equipment needs to have its annual PAT test, and if 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 fundraising initiatives and events. Remember, some families have more caring and work commitments than others, so be sensitive to their needs. If any committee members have taken on new responsibilities in their lives, make plans to recruit more help for them.

Meet with the head

Its vital to have a good working relationship with your headteacher, as mutual support is essential to a PTA’s smooth running. Discuss what you can do for the school and how they will support you to achieve it. Ask the headteacher about the schools intended plan for the year and suggest ideas for how you can get the best results. Arrange regular meetings by whichever means work best.

Look at your fundraising mix

Allocate sub-committees to look into different aspects of current fundraising and event possibilities. A broad range of options, 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

Analyse your financial situation and decide on your priorities. What monetary commitments do you have in place, and can you meet them? Bear in mind ongoing spending, such as subscriptions and playground maintenance, as well as longer-term goals. Consult with your school to establish what they need and when. If you cant meet the requirements, work out if you can pause or stop any projects or activities and divert the funds towards essential spending?

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 theres 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 ideas. As a starting point, review last years successes and see how you can adapt them to be even better. Thinking ahead to Christmas, how much capacity do you have and do you want to hold a big festive fundraiser? If booking third-party suppliers, get started as soon as you can for peace of mind.

Publish key dates

Announce your annual events programme as soon as you can so that parents can get dates in diaries. Take every opportunity to remind parents using your available communication channels to get the information seen.

Check your constitution

Its 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. If you cant find a copy and your association is a registered charity, the Charity Commission ( may have one.

Hold your AGM

Its common practice to give at least 21 days written notice to all members – but check your constitution 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

Go to the Charity Commission website or call them on 0300 066 9197

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