This is an important step for any PTA. It provides formal recognition of the PTA and its charitable objects. It gives your association a legal status which is publicly acknowledged.
Whether you are trying to raise funds, get raffle prizes donated or convince a local company to sponsor an event you will find that it is very beneficial to be able to state that your association is a registered charity with a charity number. Charity registration opens doors. It gives your association a status that potential donors will immediately understand plus the confidence that your association is one that is worthy of their support.
In addition to exemption from the payment of income and corporation tax and being eligible to apply for Gift Aid, one of the key benefits of charitable status is the ability to seek funds from grant making trusts, national and local companies and through Payroll and Company Matched Giving schemes.
There are about 8,800 grant-making trusts and foundations in the UK which give around £1.25 billion each year to charitable causes. This is in addition to the millions of pounds awarded by the National Lottery. However, almost all will require your association to demonstrate its charitable status through registration and a charity number. A key benefit of PTA-UK membership is access to a database of grant-making organisations, managed by the Directory of Social Change. PTA-UK members have free access to this valuable resource which would normally cost in the region of £180 per annum.
Raising funds from donations and grants is something that every PTA should try. This is often particularly beneficial if your PTA is trying to raise a large sum for something specific like a playground refurbishment or building works. This is also a helpful source of funds where an association finds it difficult to run successful fundraising events or is struggling to engage parents. For secondary school PTAs, donations and grants are often an invaluable source of income.
PTA-UK provides support and guidance for members seeking charitable status. Any association wishing to register as a charity needs to have adopted a constitution. The PTA-UK has developed a model constitution on behalf of its members which has already been approved by the Charity Commission for England and Wales and HMRC Charities Division for the purposes of charity registration. This can be used to gain charity status within 10 days (if the application is made online) and six weeks for applications sent through the post.
• consider obtaining charitable status; discuss the benefits this will bring
• use the PTA-UK Model Constitution to speed-up the application process for charity registration
• consider applying for grants and donations, especially if your PTA is seeking to raise a large sum for a specific project and where support from parents is limited