The holidays can be one of the “most wonderful times of the year”! This year is certainly different from others, but the displays of appreciation for our educators must continue! Your fundraising may be down and your ability to be on campus may be non-existent, but our educators are working harder than ever, so let’s spread some holiday cheer!
Celebrating can come in various forms. If you don’t have a budget, put together handwritten notes from students and parents to give to our educators. If you have a small budget, throw them into a jar and remind them to pick one to read any time they are having a tough day.
You can also recruit parents to donate gift cards directly to staff. While the collection and distribution may be more difficult these days, ask if you can be allowed to have one person in a parking lot or other thoroughfare to collect the donations. Then recruit a staff member to stick envelopes with gifts into mailboxes at school.
Have a budget, but no ability to get on campus? Put together grab bags of treats for everyone to come and pick up while socially distancing. They can be left in the office or staff lounge to be picked up by the staff over the course of a day.
When it comes to gifts, remember there are a few things to consider. Gifts directly from parents are always welcome, but your organization may need to be a little more careful about gift giving from donations and fundraised money.
First, the purpose of this money is to support the school and students. Ask yourself, would your community approve of the gift you are making? Also, make sure the gifts are disclosed in your budget at a general meeting.
Second, if your organization is using money raised to provide gifts to teachers, coaches, and/or staff, be aware that there are certain limits you should be aware of. If you are giving a $20-$50 gift, there is likely no problem. If a gift or gifts (cash, gift card, etc.) have a total value of $600 or more to one person, in a given school year, whether given in one lump sum, or cumulatively over the year, it must be reported to the IRS as non-employee compensation on form 1099-NEC. This is burdensome for both the organization and the gift receiver.
Finally, if you are stuck for ideas on how to make the most of this holiday season, do not forget you have lots of other organizations in CUSD trying to accomplish the same things. Reach out to other similar organizations to find out what ideas they are using to celebrate the season. Happy celebrating and stay healthy!