Rolls of US currency

Don't Leave Cash Lying Around this School Year

by Sandra Pfau Englund on Jul 04, 2016 07:00 pm

Most of us have learned to be careful with our social security card and driver’s license. We’ve been taught to beware the identity thief. We instill in our children the need to keep safe our valuables – don’t leave an iPhone, iPad or other device laying around for someone to steal. But how many school fundraising groups – the parent teacher organizations (PTO), high school sports, music, academic and other booster clubs – leave cash laying around to be stolen?

Too often, common business-like safeguards are not taken when collecting cash at the concession stand or for school activities. One volunteer is left alone to collect, count, and deposit the funds without a second thought. Why wouldn’t you trust the mom or dad volunteer?

Each year, well over $1 million is stolen from school fundraising groups. The figure is likely much higher. It usually takes 2-3 years before anyone is caught; many are never caught. The thieves? Just ordinary moms and dads, and other volunteers who are tempted by lack of financial controls. It’s the story of Amy, doting mom, church-going, good-hearted volunteer…with a shoplifting addiction and lone access to the school spirit store cash register. No opening balance, no closing balance, and lots of cash – no one, not even Amy, knows how much cash went missing.

Financial controls don’t need to be complicated or difficult. Simply require two unrelated people to count cash on-site where it is collected, write and sign a tally sheet with the cash count, and deposit the funds into the bank immediately. Keep the tally sheet with the bank deposit and you’ve cut the risk of theft substantially. Don’t let thieves rob the students at your school of much-needed funds this year.

For more information on simple steps to stop theft at your school, go to


Running an Effective Meeting

Sandra Pfau Englund

Aug 30, 2019

Booster club bylaws often reference Robert’s Rules of Order as the “rules” for managing a meeting. Have you ever read Robert’s Rules? It’s a good way to get a good night’s sleep!

O.k., so, having no rules leads to muddled, oftentimes chaotic meetings. On the other hand, using strict Robert’s Rules of Order can result in confusion or imbalance, dominated by those very few who understand Robert’s Rules. According to Sandra Englund, founder of Parent Booster USA, it’s far better to use a simplified form of parliamentary procedure. Using Sandy’s Simple Parlipro for Nonprofit Organizations, you provide a solid framework for your meeting that encourages everyone to participate and stops any one person from controlling it.

Meetings should not be all about the rules. According to David Gillig, Senior Vice President of Children's Hospital and Health Center in San Diego, a meeting should be 80% inspiration, learning and fun, and 20% business. Busy parents are more likely to attend if they feel as if they will gain something for themselves, and their kids, out of the meeting. We recommend that you start the meeting with something fun or educational — our parent engagement blog talks more about this.

Place reports at the end of the meeting; consider providing digital or written copies of reports that parents can read outside of the meeting. No one wants to sit through standard reports. One exception is financial reports. Always include the treasurer’s report. The treasurer’s report should include a written budget and a report that shows how money was raised and spent. Making bank statements available is a good way to help ensure accountability. You can read more on financial accountability here.

It’s good practice to put start times for each item on the agenda. This helps ensure that the meeting stays on track and flows effectively. It’s particularly important if you are discussing any controversial issues in which it is more likely that someone will filibuster! Having a rule that each person gets an opportunity to speak once, before anyone is given a second opportunity to speak, helps encourage more participation.

Below is a sample agenda to help you get the most out of your booster club meetings. Start your meeting by reviewing the agenda. This is where you can explain the “rules” you’ve set for the meeting, including for example, that you will work to stay on-time to help ensure that the meeting starts and ends accordingly. You can also mention here, or just before the Q&A time with the principal, that each person will be provided the opportunity to speak once before anyone speaks for a second time. The report time is kept brief to allow the bulk of time to be given to the information provided by the principal. Minutes need approved; although a little unusual, we included approving the minutes at the end to allow more time for the more important matters up front.

ABC Booster Club
1. Call to order & Review of Agenda 6:00p
2. Guest speaker – Principal Melissa Everly discusses school remodel plan 6:05-6:25p
3. Q&A 6:25-6:35p
4. Financial report 6:35-6:45p
5. Other reports 6:45-6:55p
6. Approve minutes from prior meeting 6:55p
7. Next Meeting 6:59p
8. Adjourn 7:00p

Planning and structuring your meeting for success if the key to having an effective meeting.


With PBUSA membership, we file all the IRS and state paperwork. We keep your booster club up and running year after year.