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The PTA Historian has an Important Job
The unit or council historian has a fun job. It’s always interesting and amazing to find out how many hours of volunteer services your members have donated during the course of a year.
However, the historian’s job is also a serious one, for the following reasons:
- Tracking and recording volunteer hours helps PTA to maintain its federal tax exempt status. An organization granted nonprofit charitable status must receive one-third of its support from the general public, and that may include service hours expended in carrying out the purposes of the organization.
- Advertising the collective value of the volunteer hours donated by members is a valuable marketing tool that helps raise awareness of PTA and the important work it does.
- Foundations that provide grants to non-profit organizations often look to the level of volunteer support as they decide where to donate their funds.
- When PTA is advocating for children at the local, state or national level, a high number of volunteer hours demonstrates the active and dedicated involvement of the members.
Please be sure your historian collects those hours! Pass around a tally sheet at every meeting. You can find a handy tally form on the Fourth District PTA website.
Remember that volunteer hours include all participation in school and community service or activities benefiting children or your unit or council. Time spent in training, PTA-related travel, phone calls, computer time, meetings, and paperwork should be listed as well.
Are Your Volunteer Hours Being Counted?
Has your unit been keeping track of PTA volunteer hours? If so, congratulations. If not, don’t worry; it is not too late to start. The tally should include all hours of volunteer service since the beginning date of the unit’s year. (This date should be either June 1 or July 1, and can be found in your PTA unit bylaws.) All activities related to PTA functions are counted as volunteer hours, including:
- Attendance at meetings, workshops, and other functions as a representative of PTA.
- Convention attendance (except time eating and sleeping).
- Travel time to and from PTA activities.
- Telephone time regarding PTA business.
- E-mail time regarding PTA business.
- Time spent writing PTA agendas, minutes, correspondence, reports, newsletter articles, etc.
- Time spent on PTA-related activities at school or within your community.
- If your PTA is in charge of recruiting, training, and coordinating room parents, all of that time in the classroom is counted.
It’s not hard to count the hours spent at PTA activities or in the planning of these activities if you get into the habit of recording the time. One way to keep track of your volunteer hours is to put them on your calendar each time you volunteer, add them up at the end of the month, and then give that number to your unit’s historian.
Here are a few ideas on how the unit historian can keep track of all the hours for your unit:
- At your school, keep a sign-in sheet for volunteers, with spaces for name, time in and time out.
- In your monthly newsletter, include an article with a tear-off section on which volunteers can record their name and their volunteer hours, with a request that the section be returned to the school.
- Have a tally sheet at each PTA meeting, both association and executive board meetings, so that members can record their hours.
Council historians can adapt these ideas to fit their requirements. A copy of a sample tally sheet is on the California PTA website. Remember, Council Annual Historian Reports are due to the Fourth District PTA office by May 1.