Who will be on your committee?
If some members are likely to leave your P&C at the end of this year, it is not too early to start thinking of ways to get more parents involved.
It can help if retiring committee members get out and talk to other parents at the school, outline the role that they have been doing and what the benefits have been. An offer to be around next year to help the new person can go a long way to allaying any fears.
Another strategy is to divide roles and tasks between several people so that each job is not so daunting.
Also think carefully about making provision for formal training for new volunteers. If the P&C pays for training, the volunteer gains new skills and something to put on their CV, while the P&C gains a skilled volunteer! This can be especially important for treasurers and canteen volunteers. Remind potential volunteers that Council also runs free training sessions at the beginning of each year to help P&C office bearers with their role. That means that a lack of experience isn’t a reason for people to turn down a role!
We have Information Sheets with more ideas on recruiting volunteers. There is also a template for a brochure and an enrolment pack form to help you promote your P&C. These are gathered on our website under ‘Promoting your P&C’.
Prepare your handover
Imagine that your predecessor had given you all the information you needed to do the job you volunteered for! That is the sort of handover your
latest recruit will love! Preserve your wisdom and knowledge and make it easier for the next committee with a short set of handover notes. Of course we have resources to help including template handover notes for presidents, secretaries and treasurers ready for you to adapt to your P&C’s situation. These have been updated recently to reflect new reporting requirements for P&Cs.
Prepare financial records for the auditor
At the close of the P&C’s financial year (December 31 for almost all P&Cs), the association’s accounts need to be collated by the treasurer so that they can be looked over by an external auditor. Our new Treasurer Handbook (see section 11) includes an extensive section on how to prepare your accounts and paper work for the audit, including a checklist of what you should provide. There is also have a list of auditors if you are having trouble finding one.
Remember that your P&C may not have to pay for an expensive qualified accountant for your audit. (Council does however recommend a qualified accountant, if your P&C runs a business enterprise such as a canteen or after-school care service.) If your association has gross receipts of less than of $400,000 per annum and fewer than 1000 members then the accounts may be audited by any adult who is not an office bearer of the association and has not prepared or assisted with the preparation of those accounts. It is simply someone willing to look over the accounts and verify that they are properly in order. With this in mind, Council is facilitating a ‘book swap’ whereby two P&C treasurers each audit each other’s books. If you’d like to know more or be involved, contact our office.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Within five months of the end of your P&C’s financial year, your association needs to hold an AGM. Almost all P&Cs do this in term one each year. Because you need to send out notice of the meeting to your members prior to your AGM, Council recommends that you set the date for your AGM and send out notice before the end of the school year. The amount of notice required will be specified in your association's constitution (usually two or four weeks), so have a quick look at that first.
There is plenty of detail on preparing for your AGM, what needs to be covered at the meeting, and checklists to help in Council’s Information Sheets 23 and 24.
Celebrate with an end-of-year event
The end of the school year is a great time to get parents together for a celebration. Why not hold a community BBQ, perhaps on the same day as your school’s end of year concert or awards assembly? You could invite new families who have children enrolled for next year. Consider offering the catering to another organisation, such as a local scout or sports group, as a fundraiser. Most will jump at the opportunity and this frees up your loyal volunteers to socialise while someone else cooks the sausages!
Events like these are a great opportunity to chat to parents about what your P&C has achieved over the year and how to get involved. You could set up a table with P&C information and pictures of recent achievements, events, or purchases for the school. You may even meet someone who would like to be a committee member next year!
It’s also important to make sure that your faithful P&C helpers are thanked for their hard work and feel appreciated. Many schools put on a morning tea for volunteers and some P&Cs head out for an end of year meal together.
Due to feedback from our members that they feel under-appreciated by the education ‘system’, Council has teamed up with the Education Directorate to create an official Certificate of Appreciation from us to all your volunteers. It has been distributed to all school principals and is also available on our website as a word document so that certificates for all your volunteers can be printed and presented at a suitable event.
This article appeared in ParentACTion Magazine, Term 4, 2017.