Friday, March 21, 2014

Question of the Week

QUESTION:   It is difficult with for our family population and their lack of income to pay $10 to join. Are PTAs allowed to pay membership fees for people who cannot afford to join?

ANSWER:   Unfortunately PTAs may not use their general funds to pay membership fees for some of its members because it would be diverting tax exempt funds for a purpose that wouldn’t qualify for tax exempt status by directly benefiting specific people.

However, a local unit may setup a restricted line item in their budget specific for membership scholarships, to be funded solely by donations.  These funds may be used to pay for partial or full assistance of PTA memberships.  Unused funds in the membership scholarship budget may carry over year to year, but may only be used to cover the cost of PTA memberships.
•         Remember to vote on this at your general membership meeting.
•         Have your treasurer track donations on its own line item.
•         Add a line to your membership form asking specifically for people to donate to the membership scholarship fund to pay for another member or a staff member.

If a PTA wishes to solicit donations with varying levels of contribution, it may do so as a separate project from the membership campaign.   For example, a gold donor/patron could be $100; a silver donor/patron could be $50, etc. This is a way you can also solicit the support of local businesses. The details of this project must be outlined in the standing rules and approved annually by the membership. Remember to keep contributions and membership dues separate in your accounting and regular financial reports.


Scholarship requests/donations
____Scholarship assistance requested (completely confidential)
100% assistance or partial assistance $_____ (fill in amount)
____I would like to donate to the scholarship fund $______ (fill in amount)
 Another possibility is lowering the price of your membership fees to the minimum amount to cover the state and national fees.  If your unit is a member of a council, your dues would need to cover council fees as well.