This page will contain all financial operations support for PTAs during COVID-19 related circumstances. Information will be presented with most recent information published on the top.
May 26, 2020 Update: End-of-Year Checklist
Please complete this internal checklist to ensure your PTA unit will be ready for a great start next school year! Download printable PDF here.
Executive Board (President/VP/Treasurer/Secretary) verify:
- Good standing items of 2019-2020 have been completed and submitted to the Minnesota PTA Office:
- Officer list is up-to-date via MemberHub or by mail
- Standing Rules (submitted once and again if changes are made)
- 990 tax filing for 2018-19 fiscal year
- Membership dues paid
- Did your unit file with the Minnesota Secretary of State this school year? Y / N
- If so, what is your file number_________________
- Does your unit file annually with the MN Attorney General? Y / N
- Completed closing books
- Paid outstanding debts
- Fulfilled reimbursements
- Deposited all funds (placed unused gift cards under lock and key)
- Finalized balancing of the account
- Completed a financial review (see worksheet for this)
- Budget for 2020-2021 approved or vote scheduled for first meeting in fall
- Meeting minutes completed/approved
- PTA calendar drafted, or completed and approved for 2020-2021 school year
- Set date/time/location for executive board and general meetings
- Community events (carnivals, movie nights, STEM events)
- Student support (field trips, book fair, supplies, etc.)
- Reviewed fundraising options and timeframes
Other important items to review:
- PTA items returned to storage/central location
- Popcorn/candy cotton machines are cleaned (if possible, if not already done)
- Nametags, lanyards, etc., turned in to secretary if needed
- Binders/folders/PTA paperwork – Returned to central location or accounted for and updated with most recent information
- Passwords for PTA accounts are passed on to new officers
- Outgoing officers turned in keys and access codes turned in to secretary
- Physical inventory/inspection of our hardware and verify all items are present and stored appropriately (popcorn makers, games, signs, etc)
- Physical inventory/inspection of goods and verify items are stored correctly (prizes, donations, etc)
- Review of food items in storage, tossed or safely stored any perishable items, and secured nonperishables from pest infestation
- Social media and website pages are updated – old objects removed
Over the summer our incoming officers and executive board know they can:
- Subscribe to the Minnesota PTA Officers group on Facebook to stay informed
- Subscribe to the Minnesota PTA Facebook page to keep up to date
- Engage in leadership training on PTA.org to advance their skills
- Watch email for online training opportunities from Minnesota PTA
- Email the Minnesota PTA office with questions or to learn about more opportunities
Any item not completed should be completed as soon as possible prior to the beginning of the next school year.
May 21, 2020 Update: eCommerce Best Practices
With all the upheaval in regular PTA operations, Minnesota PTA would like to remind you of Best Practices for eCommerce activities within your non-profit. Please download the PDF to read about additional information regarding requirements that should be included in any Standing Rules adopted by your unit.
Online Statement Review
Banking and credit card statements may be reviewed online. A non-signer must review a copy of the statement to be signed, either on paper or electronically, and given to the Treasurer. *Most insurance companies require this step in order to be eligible for any possible fraud claims.
Use of Credit/Debit Cards
• Cards are issued to the PTA unit. Authorized signers should be the same as the signers on the bank account. The cards should remain in the possession of the Treasurer.
• Prior to use of the credit or debit card, a funds request should be completed and submitted. Following the purchase, the itemized receipt should be given to the Treasurer and attached to the funds request.
• A change in signer on the checking account will require a change in signer on the credit card and a financial reconciliation shall be performed. This also applies when fraud or misuse of the card has been discovered.
- Credit/Debit Cards are not to be used for recurring payments or fund transfers.
- The credit limit should not exceed half of the income of the budget year.
- No cash transactions will be allowed (ATM, cash back, etc.)
- If card is lost or stolen, the account must be reconciled.
Online Account Access
The password for online accounts should be changed at least once a year, when there is a change in signer or when there is a financial reconciliation.
The PTA needs to determine who has online access to the account. The Treasurer and President should have full access, and if possible, the additional authorized signers and a designated non-signer bank statement reviewer should have read-only access.
Accepting Payment by Credit Card and Online Payment Collection
• The third-party processing company, such as WePay, PayPal, On-line Stores, etc., account must be in the PTA’s name.
• Third-party processing company statements must be clear with details and accessible on a real-time basis. The PTA must have immediate access to know who has paid, the purpose of the payments, and the expected cash transfer amount.
• The third-party processing company must be Certified Compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). Use the Discover, MasterCard, and Visa lists of Compliant Service Providers as a reference before the PTA signs the agreement.
• Third-party deposits are processed the same as a traditional bank deposit and require the same documentation.
• Associated fees are budgeted as an expense line item and reported on the financial report.
• The PTA will not swipe or store transactions for later settlement.
• Only the PTA Treasurer may confirm a refund to the customer. Confirming a refund requires the same approval and documentation as required for a request for a check to be issued for disbursement.
• The authorized refund must be recorded in the check registry prior to withdrawal.
• The third-party processing company must provide the PTA guidance on challenging a disputed payment.
• Any challenge of payment must be responded to promptly and accurately.
• If merchandise has not already been provided, goods and services will be withheld until the dispute is cleared.
• If the dispute is not resolved favorably, treat this action in the same manner as a non-sufficient funds check.
MAY 19, 2020 UPDATE: 2020-2021 Budget Approval
Best practice states that PTAs should approve the budget for the 2020-21 school year prior to the fiscal year beginning (July 1, 2020). However, we know several PTAs approve their budgets at the first meeting of the new fiscal year (typically in September) which is fine as long as you don’t have any unallocated expenses before that meeting. If you want further guidance on this practice, let us know.
If you want to approve your 2020-21 budget prior to the fiscal year beginning, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Given the uncertain financial future of our economy, approve your 2020-21 budget as close to your 2019-20 budget as possible. Do not make any significant changes unless you are confident they will be valid in the future. This budget must be approved by a majority vote of your membership. See Emergency Bylaws for virtual meeting guidelines.
- If you had a significant fundraiser scheduled for spring that did not happen, resulting in less-than-expected revenue for the 2020-21 fiscal year, you may reflect that change in your new budget by reducing expenditures, as long as they are fully communicated and approved by membership. If you have savings, it may be best to approve a deficit budget instead of making these changes as it is hard to debate/discuss this level of detail in virtual meetings and it cannot be an executive board only decision.
- You may delay approval of a new budget until your next in-person meeting. If this happens, your current budget stays in place and is used for expense approvals and reimbursements should any payments be made before the new budget is approved. Example: schools are allowed an in-person back to school event, and the PTA typically provides popsicles. The amount allocated for popsicles would be the same for the 2020 event as it was for the 2019 event. If there is a significant difference in cost, that can be addressed when the new budget is approved.
MAY 15, 2020 UPDATE: USE OF DONATIONS ALREADY RECEIVED
Many PTAs had silent auctions or other events this spring for which donations had been received. Now that the events have not taken place, what do you do with the donations?
- If the donation is from a local small business, ask them what they would like you to do with the donation. Options: keep until next year (if donation will not expire), repurpose (ie. give away as a prize for an event next fall), or give back.
- If the donation is from a larger company, they typically cannot receive donations back due to tax records. If the item will expire, throw away. If the item will not expire, save for next year. Do not repurpose the donation unless permission was explicitly given at the time of the donation.
- Repurposing can never benefit an individual PTA officer or member, unless it is the result of chance (a drawing, raffle, silent auction bid, etc).
- No matter the outcome, be sure to follow through on the promises you made when you solicited the donation, within the confines of the current situation. Thank the donor for the donation and share their support publicly with your members.
MAY 13, 2020 UPDATE: BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS
Many PTAs are finding themselves with line items in budgets that are no longer valid given the current conditions (ie. budget for a spring carnival that was cancelled). We have received lots of questions regarding repurposing of these funds. Here are some guidelines:
- If the event/activity/service is likely to happen in the 2020-21 school year, our advice is to leave the money where it is and roll it over to the next budget.
- If you would like the money to be repurposed for use this fiscal year, funds may be moved to other line items that were already in your approved budget. This must be done by a majority vote of quorum using the virtual meeting guidelines as listed in the Emergency Bylaws (published April 2, 2020).
- You may add new line items only if 1) the new line item fits within your mission and 2) your membership (not only executive board) approves the change through a vote. New line items must be addressing a need that cannot wait until the next fiscal year.
- Attempts should be made to move existing funds to new uses that are as close to the original purpose as possible. See “Questions to Ask When Repurposing Money” below for more details.
Under no circumstances may money in your budget leave the association. If you wish to raise money to support families in need, see the Treasurer Q&A from the April 8, 2020 update below.
Questions to Ask When Repurposing Budget Line Items
Does the repurposing of this money serve the same goal as the original?Example: money for a carnival used for another community building event – YES Example: money for a carnival used to subsidize yearbook purchases – NO
Is the new event/activity/service going to benefit the same population as the original? Example: carnival turned dance party – both whole school benefit Example: carnival turned 5th grade graduation – not both whole school benefit
Is the new event/activity/service going to be accessed equitably as the original? Example: carnival (in-person) turned dance party (online) – will the same number of students and families be able to access the event? What are the barriers to participation? If they are the same or similar to the original, go ahead. If not, rethink the repurposing of funds.
MAY 7, 2020 UPDATE: OVERDUE MEMBERSHIP DUES EXTENSION
Thank you to all of our units that paid their full membership dues by the December 1, 2019 deadline. We appreciate your prompt attention to this important piece of PTA affiliation.
For those units that have overdue membership dues, we understand this is an uncertain and stressful time. However, with the end of the fiscal year quickly approaching on June 30, Minnesota PTA needs to begin the process of closing our books for the 2019-20 year and with that comes reconciling and receiving unpaid or underpaid membership dues.
As part of this end of year reconciliation, we review the current status of all PTA units in the state to determine their eligibility for “Unit in Good Standing” for the next school year. Failure to remit all Good Standing items to the state office in full puts the PTA at risk of losing their nonprofit status.
As a reminder, PTAs in Minnesota must submit $6.25 for each member; $4.00 of that is retained in Minnesota, $2.25 is sent to National PTA. For more information, see https://mnpta.org/membership/where-do-your-dues-go/
Unpaid Units = PTA units that have paid $0 to the Minnesota PTA office.
Underpaid Units = PTA units that have paid, but have submitted significantly less money than reflects their membership.
Developing Units = PTA units that have paid less than the minimum 20 members. PTA units with less than two years in the “Developing” category are exempt from removal of Good Standing.
Unpaid and underpaid units must submit overdue payments by the EXTENDED DATE of June 15, 2020.
We know that some PTAs may struggle with submitting this payment on time due to COVID-19 related factors. If you are unable to make the payment by June 15, you may request an extension here: https://forms.gle/skX3ZfEGQxRkLqNp9 Deadline for extension requests is May 31, 2020. Once approved, you will have until September 1, 2020 to submit your payment.
Units without extension approval and failure to remit payment by June 15, 2020 will be assessed a $15 administration fee. Units that have not submitted 2019-20 dues and 2020-21 dues by December 1, 2020 will be removed from Good Standing and may lose their non-profit status.
We will accept payment through the following methods: MemberHub (via WePay) or Check (remit with this form: https://mnpta.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Dues-Remittance-Form.pdf). Quickbooks or PayPal available upon request.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter!
MAY 4, 2020 UPDATE: GIFT CARD WAIVERS
Minnesota PTA Emergency Financial Guidelines Gift Cards Purchase and Distribution
Approved May 4, 2020 :: Expires June 30, 2020
COVID-19 has presented Minnesota PTA with many challenges, especially as guidance from federal and state authorities changes rapidly. We are attempting to stay on top of information as quickly as possible and communicate clearly and efficiently to the officers of Minnesota PTA units to the best of our ability.
In response to many questions and concerns regarding local PTA financial issues, the Minnesota PTA approved new Emergency Financial Guidelines today. The broader document will be published soon, but we wanted to pull out the section on “Purchase and Distribution of Gift Cards” since it relates specifically to teacher/staff appreciation which is likely happening now or in the near future.
While Minnesota PTA has always advised that gift cards were not allowed, we are revising that for extremely limited circumstances between now and the end of the fiscal year.
If your PTA’s budget has a line item specific to teacher/staff appreciation, and the PTA cannot use the money as intended (in-person meal, classroom gifts, etc), the PTA may substitute gift cards instead, with the following restrictions:
- Individual gift cards may not exceed $25 each.
- Gift cards must be for specific retail or restaurants – NOT debit or prepaid cash cards such as Visa or Mastercard. Amazon and other online-only retailers are okay.
- Gift cards may not be purchased from alcohol, tobacco, gambling, or other vendors/activities that have age restrictions.
- PTAs must track where cards were purchased and maintain a list of individuals receiving gift cards.
- Gift cards must be distributed equally (ie. all teachers/staff must receive a gift card, and all must have the same denomination and area of use).
- Gift cards may only be given to teachers/staff – no parents, community members, etc.
We understand that the timing of teacher appreciation activities might be different for each of our local units, but use of gift cards to recognize teachers/staff is only allowable from May 4 through June 30, 2020. After this time, we will either 1) default back to our original stance of no gift cards allowed, 2) expand qualifying emergency use, or 3) expand qualifying use not related to emergency. The Minnesota PTA Board of Directors needs some time to determine this course of action, but will have it in place no later than July 1, 2020.
We encourage PTAs to find unique ways to celebrate teachers and staff during this time. If your PTA recognizes Teacher Appreciation Week, there are resources from National PTA of ways to celebrate that do not require funds and/or in-person communication: https://www.pta.org/home/events/PTA-Teacher-Appreciation-Week
Thank you for your continued service to your school teachers, staff, students, and families, especially during this challenging time.
APRIL 8, 2020 UPDATE: TREASURER/FINANCIAL FAQ
Q: We had money in our budget for a spring 2020 event that is no longer happening. Can we move that money to another event/activity within our budget?
A: Yes, as long as your membership (not just executive board) votes to move the money. This can be done via virtual meeting using the guidelines provided in the Emergency Bylaws.
Q: Can we donate the above mentioned spring event money to a cause outside of PTA?
A: No. Money currently in your bank account and earmarked in your budget must stay within your organization.
Q: Can we raise goods or money to help the families in our community affected by COVID-19?
A: Yes, with the restriction that all goods or money collected must be available equitably to all families in your school community. A few options:
- Collect goods for donation to a community support non-profit organization or encourage members to donate directly. (example: food for a food shelf)
- Collect gift cards for grocery stores or other businesses that would benefit those in need. Avoid Visa/American Express gift cards.
- Solicit funds through a Go Fund Me (or similar) that is connected to the PTA bank account. Solicitations must clearly state the purpose of the donations and how they will be distributed.
For #2 and #3, we recommend the PTA donate the gift cards or cash to the school/district or an organization that can equitably distribute the items to families in need. PTAs can not raise funds specifically for a single family that may have been impacted by COVID, again donations need to be equally distributed to those with a potential need.
Typically, we would not encourage donations through a platform such as Go Fund Me, but at this time when direct donations are challenging to receive, third party donation platforms are an adequate substitute.
Q: We had a fundraiser scheduled for this spring. Should we go ahead with it if we can do it virtually?
A: Legally, there is nothing stopping you from running a fundraiser at this time. However, that decision should be made by your executive board with input from your school administration. Ask yourself if your school community would view a fundraiser at this time as a positive or negative and proceed accordingly.
As a reminder, here are the duties of the PTA Treasurer as outlined in the Universal Bylaws (Article VIII, Section 3):
- Have custody of all the funds of the association; (1)
- Keep a full and accurate account of receipts and expenditures;
- Make disbursements as authorized by the president, executive board, or association in accordance with the budget adopted by the association;
- Have checks or vouchers signed by two authorized persons (the treasurer and one other);(2)
- Present a financial statement at every meeting of the association and at other times when requested by the executive board; (3)
- Make a full report at the meeting at which new officers officially assume their duties (usually the annual meeting);
- Be responsible for the maintenance of such books of account and records as conforming to the requirements of Article V, Section 5 of these bylaws and State Bylaws, Article VII, Section 5;
- Have the accounts examined annually or upon change of officers by an auditor or an auditing committee of not fewer than three members, who, satisfied that the treasurer’s annual report is correct, shall sign a statement of that fact at the end of the report; (4) and
- Submit the books annually for an audit by an auditing committee selected by the executive board before the meeting at which new officers assume duties.
A few notes:
(1) “Custody” does not imply physical possession – it means maintaining legal responsibility.
(2) Checks still need to be signed by two people, but can be done by mail if in-person transfer of the check is not safe. (If you have not utilized two signers in the past, don’t start now, but be ready to institute the practice next fiscal year.)
(3) Financial statements and budget updates can be shared electronically. (If you or someone not listed as a signer on the bank account review & sign the bank statements regularly – Check with your insurance company regarding this policy.)
(4) Audits (more accurately, financial reviews – a full audit is not necessary) are not due until after the end of the fiscal year which is, for most PTA/PTSAs, June 30, 2020. We will address this in more detail if social-distancing measures exist beyond June 15, 2020.
**Future guidance regarding financial matters will be addressed as issues arise.**