Interesting questions to be sure, but how do you answer them? Here are some questions you should be asking as you transition to new officers and some ideas for getting answers.
How Successful were our Fundraisers?
At the beginning of the year you selected 3 or 4 fundraisers your group would execute, probably spaced equally around the school year and sometimes based on seasonality (Fall, Winter, Spring). If you have been keeping good records and recording expenses and revenue against each fundraiser, then the math is pretty simple.
Profit = Revenue - Expenses
Make sure you are assigning your expenses to the proper fundraiser and keeping track of all expenses and revenue. If you are using Treasurer's Briefcase, you'll be able to simply run the Fundraising Report and send it to your board and fundraising committee so you can discuss your results at your final meeting of the year. Keeping good records allows you to compare fundraisers from year to year to determine the percentage of profit you get from each and make good decisions about which to do again next year.
Did We Fulfill Our Mission?
How much did you spend on each program? Expenses for programs (like field trips, playground equipment, assembly programs, etc) will tell you the level at which you are funding the school or booster club. You should have created a budget at the beginning of the year that allocates funds for each of the programs your board has decided upon. Determine how close you came by comparing your program expenses to that budget. If you're using Treasurer's Briefcase just run the Budget Variance report.
Are We Transparent as an Organization?
Do you publish your financials so all of your members can see how the money is spent? It's a good practice to have your financials ready and accurate to answer any questions parents, teachers or school administrators might have regarding how you run your organization. Treasurer's Briefcase makes reporting as easy as clicking one button to produce your Treasurer's Report. Not only is this a good thing to do to insure that your stakeholders maintain trust in your mission, as a public charity you are required to make your financials available to the public. Creating more transparency around your organization will create trust and cooperation from parents and the public - that will directly translate into more revenue to fund programs!
In talking with many PTOs and PTAs this year from NJ to Texas I can assure you that every problem your organization faces is being faced by other organizations just like yours. You are definitely not alone. The presidents tell me their treasurer's don't give them up to date information, the treasurers tell me the officers don't give them receipts or deposits or the proper tools to do their jobs. Now is the time to assess how you and your officers performed as an organization.
How can you do better? Did we give our officers the right tools to do their jobs? You can't improve what you don't measure. Keeping good records is the best way to stay on track and help answer all of the questions you should be asking in your self assessment. Avoid the headaches and question marks about your effectiveness by making sure your records are current and accurate.
Oh and don't forget you're going to have to file that tax return in a few months and it’s open to public inspection. Just another reason to use record keeping software like Treasurer’s Briefcase.
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