Fundraising for Worthy Causes

The primary purpose of a PTA is to raise funds for PTA programs within your own school community. Our budgets are based on the fundraising efforts. Most school districts have rules and regulations on what kind of fundraisers can be done as well as the number of fundraisers that can be run each year. As PTAs we must follow the guidelines that have been set.
We know of terrible accidents involving students and families within our own schools. These events cause us great heartache and sorrow and many times we want to get to work to see that those families will also not suffer financially as well as emotionally or physically. We know that PTAs can accomplish any goal when there is a worthy cause. This is why many groups approach PTAs to help in those fundraising effots.
There are some financial ramifications that may occur if PTAs do fundraising for individuals or families within their own community.
1. Budgets are set and approved by the membership at the beginning of the year. They can be amended at any time during the year but by running a fundraiser of this sort through the PTA, your gross receipts may rise above the IRS threshold and your PTA may be required to complete the 990EZ filing.
2. By doing one of these type of fundraisers, PTA will be looked at as a fundraising organization rather than an organization that raises funds to exist to run PTA programs.
3. As a 501(c)3 organization, we are held to IRS regulations. The IRS states " No part of the net earnings of a section 501(c)(3) organization may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A private shareholder or individual is a person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization." Some interpret that last statement as that PTAs should not donate to individuals or families within their community. I always train that there is black and white, wrong and right in the sight of the IRS but then there is a gray area. This is a gray area. I train that it is best to stay away from the gray area.
We have wonderful organizations that exist that we even partner with from time to time with like goals and values. Make-A-Wish and Sub-For-Santa are just two. School communities can rally together to do this type of work but it would be better for PTAs to let community organizations run these events with parents from the PTA being involved in letting the school community know of those efforts in newsletters and facebook pages.