Looking to 2020

Before the end-of-year rush descends on your volunteers, it pays to look ahead to the new year.

telescope Lars nissen photoart PixabaySMMake sure your P&C is ready to see out this year and welcome in the new with these essentials.

Who will be on your 2020 committee?

If you are expecting some members to leave your association at the end of this year, now is the perfect time to start thinking of ways to get more parents involved, or involved parents more involved! Here are some ideas to consider.

  • Can the P&C be prominent at any end of year events your school runs? How about a table with snacks or tea and coffee, a friendly face, and some pictures of the ways the parent association has enhanced the school this year (the fun parents had at the trivia night; the new shade-sail you paid to be built). You could mention how great it is to see new faces at meetings and hear new points of view.
  • Make it clear that roles can be shared. Taking on the treasury might be possible for someone, but they can’t easily get to the bank, so re-arrange your roles to make way for two co-treasurers or a treasurer and assistant.
  • Ensure the P&C is relevant and doing what parents and carers really want and value – that way, you’ll more easily get buy-in.
  • Consider offering training, especially for key roles that can be hard to fill, like canteen treasurer. If the P&C pays for the training, the volunteer gains new skills, confidence, and something to put on their CV, while your association gains a skilled volunteer. Council also runs free training each year to help office bearers understand and thrive in their roles.
  • Ask. Face to face. Nothing beats a personal approach with other members of the community – “I’m retiring from the P&C, and we’re looking for someone to take my role. I’ve had a lot of fun and plan on being around to help out next year if you’re interested!”

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.

Even if you are not planning to leave your current role, the school break is a great time to jot down  the crucial things about how to do that role .

Prepare accounts for the auditor/reviewer

At the close of your association’s financial year (31 December for almost all parent bodies), your Treasurer needs to prepare the accounts so they can be looked over by an external auditor/reviewer. Our Treasurer Handbook (see our website) has an extensive section on preparing your accounts and records, including a checklist of what you should provide the auditor/reviewer.

Remember that your association may not have to pay for an expensive qualified accountant. If your association has gross receipts of less than  $400,000 per annum then your accounts may be reviewed by any adult who is not an office bearer and has not assisted with the preparation of the 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 audit each other’s books. If you’d like to know more or be involved, contact our office.

Set the date - Annual General Meeting

Within five months of the end of your association’s financial year, you need to hold an AGM. There is a checklist to help you prepare for the AGM on our website. Because you need to send out notice prior to your AGM, Term 4 is the time to set the AGM date so you can notify members of the meeting in accordance with the requirements of your association's constitution (usually around 2-4 weeks). 

Celebrate – and thank everyone

It’s important to make sure that your faithful helpers are th anked for their hard work and feel appreciated. Many schools put on a morning tea for volunteers and some parent associations head out for an end of year meal together. Council has also teamed up with the Education Directorate to create official Certificates of Appreciation from us to all your volunteers. They are ready for you to use on our website, along with more ideas for saying thanks.

The end of the school year is a great time to get parents together for a celebration. Why not hold a community BBQ, perhaps before your end of year concert? You could invite new parents 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 association has achieved over the year  and how to get involved.  You may even find someone who would like to be a committee member next year!  

This article appeared in ParentACTion Magazine, Term 4, 2019.