Saturday, June 29, 2013

Formulating Your Membership Plans

Hello from Caroline Brown, your new membership director. As we roll into summer here are a few points to think about.

·         Did you attend a membership class this past spring? If so, did it produce any thoughts or ideas to introduce in your local unit? How are those follow-up plans going?

·         Are your membership forms showing your achievements, awards, benefits and reasons to be part of your PTA?

·         What does your “Welcome to PTA” letter look like? Is it dated? Revise it to include the extraordinary things your PTA is doing at your school, including events, programs, and classroom support. Tell everyone how PTA supports the school.

·         Together with your board, decide on a theme to run throughout the year. How does membership fit into the plan?

·         What is your membership goal? Is it a percentage or a number or both? Remember to shout it out loud to everyone.  Have targets, goals, and visual interpretations of how you are doing.

·         Do you have a paper copy of your membership form available for those who may not have access to the internet?  Keep some copies of your membership materials with you whenever you are at your school or in your community. You never know when someone may want to join your PTA.

·         Looking to get your community involved? Reach out to ask, acknowledge and recognize those individuals and businesses who support your PTA.

·         Did you check your standing rules to reflect any changes you may want to make to your fees?

·         A Spanish translation of a membership application form is available online from National PTA


Friday, June 28, 2013

Incoming Treasurer on Financial Review Committee

I am an incoming treasurer and I was told that since I will be handling the books I couldn’t be on the financial review committee.  I would like to be part of this process so I can see where we have been the past year.  Can I be on the financial review committee?
According to WSPTA Uniform Bylaws, if you (or anyone that resides in your household) were NOT a signer on the account during the time period for which the books are being reviewed, you are most certainly eligible to be on the financial review committee, and it is actually a great idea for you to do so as an incoming treasurer.  If the outgoing treasurer was a signer on the account, he/she is not eligible to be on the committee, but is asked to be available by phone to answer any questions the financial review committee may have during the financial review process.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Overspent Budget Line Item

We have a budget line item that is overspent already by over $1,000.  What is the proper procedure to revise the budget line item or do we just leave it negative?
First, have a conversation with the committee or people in charge of the project that went over-budget by $1,000 and let them know that they didn’t have authority to overspend.  If it is anticipated that a project is going to cost more than the budgeted amount, the required meeting to amend the budget should take place before the money is spent. The PTA may choose to alter the event to cost less instead.
Having said that, if you find you have a line item that is overspent, you have a couple of options.  If your standing rules allow for the board to “reallocate” funds within your budget (sometimes there is a dollar limit placed on this in the standing rules), then your board could have a meeting to vote to move money from some line items that were under-budget to cover the expenses where it was overspent.  If this isn’t in your standing rules, then you would need to have a general membership meeting to vote to move money within the budget.
If you have money in savings, these funds could be voted on to cover these line items.  If your PTA does not have the funds to cover this, then it presents a problem with the committee that overspent to see how the PTA will be reimbursed.
If you find some items of your budget are over and others are under, it would be a good idea to change these items for your next year’s budget so it more accurately reflects what is actually being spent.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Safe Disposal System for Unused Medicine

Safe disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medicines can help save lives. King County is working to change community norms and ensure a safe disposal system for unused medicines. Please see this YouTube video about secure medicine return and the King County Board of Health’s upcoming action on June 20th on medicine stewardship legislation.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Make Plans to Engage in Advocacy Next Year

Washington State PTA positions are voted on by delegates from your local PTA and council. If you’re a local leader and you don’t participate in WSPTA voting, your members won’t be part of the process. Make sure your PTA community is represented and help speak up for kids.
Here are 4 quick steps:
1. Let members know about the Proposed Issues Survey. In early September you will receive cut and paste messaging and a link for the proposed issues survey in Leadership News; please send out the link, post it on your website, etc. Results from this survey help guide delegates at Legislative Assembly, and can help you tailor your advocacy program.
2. Send a delegate to WSPTA Legislative Assembly on October 18-19, 2013 at the Sea-Tac Marriott. All local units can send at least 2 delegates; your total number depends on membership levels. See WSPTA bylaws: Also, check your local standing rules for how your PTA decides representation. Usually, it is the president and legislative chair, or designated alternates approved by the executive committee. Voting cards and an issue guide will be sent out to presidents in September. There will also be a guide available online, in both blog format and PDF.
3. Let members know what issues made the platform. In late October, issues are posted to We also maintain a blog with briefing papers on all the issues. Include links to Grassroots Connection,, and the Legislative Action Center,, on your website and in your e-news so members can engage and stay informed.
4. Recruit some friends and go to Focus Day on February 4, 2014. Network, meet with your legislators. Help get policies and budgets passed that support PTA’s mission and vision, and better yet, kids.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Membership: Know Your Number

There are some numbers in life that we “should” know, some that we “think” we know, and others that we have no clue about! For example, we probably know what a healthy blood pressure number should be, or what range our cholesterol should be at, but do you know what yours are? Of course, there are some numbers which everyone has a pretty good idea of – your weight for example! And that’s because we use that baseline number to make decisions and actions about gaining or losing weight (in this case). This is my roundabout way of saying that you should have your local unit membership number committed to memory (and you can be truthful!). It is a critical starting point for that discussion, as a whole board, of where we are and where we’re going to finish at year end, and what we may need to do to hit our particular membership target. Remember, PTA is a membership driven organization and we need to “rev up the horsepower” of the association if we are to be effective advocates for our students in the school system. Members mean a voice, and the more members you have the louder that voice. So know your number, define your target number and make it public by having it published as one of your local unit goals. Let everyone know what you want to achieve and as Dori in Finding Nemo says “just keep asking…just keep asking…” until your reach that magic number.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Congratulations Units in Good Standing!

New this year, we would like to acknowledge our units who are in good standing! Every unit in good standing, (all enrolled members paid for), by June 30, 2013, will receive a certificate and ribbons to be proudly worn at WSPTA events.  In addition, all units in good standing on June 30 will be placed into a special drawing for free 2014 Convention registrations for their president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer! We are very excited and truly want to thank each and everyone for their outstanding leadership, effort and hard work on behalf children, and the PTA team.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

National PTA Healthy Lifestyles Energy Balance 101 Grants Available to Local PTAs

National PTA will award 25 Healthy Lifestyles Energy Balance 101 Grants of $2,000 each to local PTAs for family education events targeting grades PreK-5 (or schools with grades K-5 such as Pre-K- 8/Pre-K-12). Title I schools are strongly encouraged to apply. The deadline for applying is Friday, June 28, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. EDT/2:00 p.m. PDT.
National PTA’s Healthy Lifestyles Energy Balance 101 Grant focuses on an everyday healthy lifestyle practice known as energy balance. Energy balance is simply finding a balance between the calories we consume and the calories we burn.
These grants are funded by the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, through its Together Counts™ program. For more information and to apply, go to

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Is the PTA allowed to advance cash to someone to pay for expenses?

Our PTSA will be holding a major event in June. My husband purchases items for the event. This is a significant amount of money that comes out of our pocket. I would like to know if there is a way that our PTSA can issue us an advance on the money spent, and then we will turn in the itemized reimbursement form. He shops for the best prices, therefore he is shopping at more than one store.
It is definitely not a best practice for the PTA to advance cash to anyone, and we would highly discourage you from doing this. This action would actually put both the PTA and your husband in a vulnerable position. If something were to happen to the money, or if someone were to question the way the money was spent, it could cause real issues within the PTA. There are several things that you can do to help mitigate this.
The best solution would be to put a call out to the other PTA members to see if anyone has a credit card that they would be willing to use to pay for the food and then be reimbursed. This designated “purchaser” ideally would be someone who enjoys shopping and has the ability to pay for items and await reimbursement.
Another possibility would be to work with businesses like Costco, Fred Meyer and/or Safeway that might be willing to take a PTA check instead of cash. The difficulty with this possibility is that both signers would need to go along on the shopping trip so that both could sign the check after it is written.

Friday, June 7, 2013

How can we find out more about Legislative Assembly?

We are interested in the WSPTA Legislative Assembly. How can we find out more about this event and get involved?
Legislative Assembly is on October 18-19, 2013 (Friday-Saturday). Any PTA member may attend this event (there is a registration fee), but only voting delegates may vote. Local units determine who will represent their PTA as voting delegates. The number of delegates is determined by number of members in the PTA. However, each PTA gets at least two votes. The registration form will be available on the WSPTA website later this summer.
To get issues on the agenda at Legislative Assembly, proposals are due in June. They are vetted and reviewed by the legislative committee and the board of directors over the summer. A survey is sent out in early September to gather feedback, along with a guide that is posted online and sent out to presidents at local units for PTAs to review and discuss. The proposals are voted on at the legislative assembly. More information and current positions: