How do we approve bills that need to be paid?
During the meeting being conducted via teleconferencing, the treasurer will make a motion to approve the bills that need to be paid. You can make a motion to pay summer bills. The treasurer should also make motions to ratify the payments that may have already been made.
Are checks the only way we can pay bills? How do we sign checks with two signatures with the Governor’s “stay at home” order in place?
PTA bylaws cannot be waived/suspended as per Virginia non-profit corporation code and Roberts Rules of Order. As PTA bank accounts were established requiring two signatures, you would need to contact your financial institution on guidance. Typically, banks will allow an authorized signature holder to purchase cashier checks/money orders made payable to a vendor without requiring the second authorized signature.
If the person or company you need to pay can accept an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or a payment from your bank’s bill payment system, you can process the payment via that method.
For either of these options, there is a form to be filled out and attached to the invoice, which can be
. Remember, you should never pay a bill without an invoice or a receipt, and electronic signatures are acceptable on this and other payment authorization forms when necessary.
Are tax deadlines for non-profits going to be extended by the IRS?
As of the middle of March, tax deadlines have not been extended. If we get any new information we will update our local leaders through our standard social media platforms as well as our district and council leadership.
What if my unit is interested in redirecting existing funding to support families and teachers ? Can our Executive Board vote for emergency funding and reallocate existing funds to supply tools such as hot spots?
Every executive board has some power to spend funds that were not budgeted. However, budgeted funds require general membership approval for any changes to the adopted budget over three hundred dollars ($300.00) per fiscal year.
What do we do with donated items now that we can no longer have the event they were donated for (like our silent auction)? Do we need to vote to cancel the event even though we can’t hold it due to school closures and COVID-19 restrictions?
If the donations were solicited specifically for this event that you are now not able to have and not as a “general” donation to the PTA, the PTA needs to contact the donors and ask them what they would like you to do with the donated items. This is easiest via email, because then you will have written instructions from the donor, which is really what you need. If the donor wants the items returned, you have to give them back. If they give you permission to keep them/use them as needed, then you can vote as a board how to “re-purpose” those donations at a future time.
You do not need a vote of the association to cancel a fundraiser/event that you are no longer able or allowed by law to hold. You would only need a vote on how to distribute/use any donations that were not returned to donors.
Can our PTA donate to other community nonprofits who are taking lead roles in supporting the many under-served families in our district? Can we offer some sort of direct support to members (individuals and families) of need in our school communities?
The IRS is very clear that a 501(c)3 public charity (which all PTAs are) may donate funds to another 501(c)3 public charity with a similar mission. That means that a PTA can donate money only to nonprofits who have similar purposes. For example, you could not donate to the Red Cross, but you could donate to a non-profit children’s library, provided it had 501(c)3 status.
Likewise, the IRS is very clear that a public charity may not gift funds to individuals or families unless that is what the charity was organized to do. PTAs are not organized for that purpose, so we may not give money - including gift cards - to individuals or families in our school communities, regardless of need.
Therefore, the PTA may donate to other community organizations if they meet the criteria above; and assuming the association voted to do so, but the PTA could not gift funds to an individual or family.
However, there are several other things that PTAs can do to help and we encourage units to consider the following:
- The PTA may advertise any and all benefits/fundraisers being held for individuals or families in need or local charities who are assisting those in need, regardless of who is organizing them. That includes letting everyone in your community know about GoFundMe campaigns, etc.
- The PTA may also help with a fundraiser by advertising it and encouraging volunteers, but it cannot be an official PTA activity and all money collected must go to the organization holding the fundraiser. Checks cannot be made out to PTA and no deposits may be made to the PTA account on behalf of another organization or family in need.
- The PTA may sponsor a food/diaper/necessities drive or solicit donations of those items to be given to a local food bank, etc. “Necessities” could include personal protective equipment (PPE) for local hospitals and medical facilities if that’s a need in your area.
Do we still need to complete an audit if we didn’t complete our year yet?
Yes, units are required to abide by their bylaws even during a pandemic. The fiscal year ending date will remain June 30. PTA audits will be based on the business conducted between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.
How do we nominate an audit committee if our members can’t get together in person?
PTAs can hold virtual meetings to conduct the business of the Association. Committee members may be elected during the general membership meeting. The committee would not begin work until after the fiscal year ending date - June 30 - in order to receive all financial statements and records.