Financial Management for 4-H Clubs
The following guidelines are for all 4-H Clubs in Maine. These guidelines were created to ensure responsible use of 4-H funds and the 4-H name and emblem.
- The 4-H club treasury belongs to the 4-H club and should be used as a vehicle for members to learn responsible money management. Members make decisions about dues and how the funds are spent.
- All 4-H clubs should have a 4-H member as treasurer and an adult volunteer as advisor to the treasurer. The adult advisor should be someone not in the treasurer’s immediate family.
- All 4-H clubs should keep accurate and detailed accounting of all club dues, income raised or donated, and all expenses. You can get a “4-H Treasurers Report” booklet from the Extension office for this purpose.
- The 4-H club should vote on all expenses that are over $25.00. The club secretary should record all votes.
- All funds raised in the name of 4-H through fundraising or dues must be spent on 4-H educational activities and events, or in the direct support of club educational activities. See 4-H Fund Raising in section B.1.12 of this manual for more details.
- All clubs should keep the treasury in a bank account. See the section on Tax Exempt Status of 4-H Organizations for information on setting up a bank account and applying for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) for federal accounting.
- Books should begin on October 1 of each year.
- Any club that disbands must account to the Extension office for all funds raised and spent. This must be done within 60 days after the closing of the club.
- All clubs that disband must transfer any remaining funds, following an audit, to:
- new leaders and members taking over the club, or
- a county- or state-based 4-H scholarship fund, or
- the Leaders’ Association in the respective county, or
- another 4-H club in the county, or
- the 4-H Maine Foundation, or
- some other appropriate 4-H entity
- If a club divides into two or more separate clubs, club funds should be divided in proportion to the number of members from the original club who are now in each new club.
- Club treasurers or leaders should report any problems with the club’s finances to the Extension office or to the president or treasurer of the Leaders’ Association as soon as they are discovered.
- The treasurer and advisor should be made very aware of the financial guidelines or policies being used by the club. The Extension office provides training for treasurers, or for all officers. Call your county 4-H Youth Development educator or professional about setting up a meeting if you would like training for your club.
Club accounts should be audited annually, by two or three individuals not affiliated with the club. An audited report should be filed with the County 4-H Office
When fund raising for a 4-H club, or under the 4-H umbrella for any reason, clubs and leaders must be conscious of upholding the good name of 4-H, get approval for the activity from the county 4-H contact person, and use all funds for 4-H purposes. In handling club funds, follow the 4-H Financial Guidelines, in Section B.2.3 of this manual or other responsible financial procedures. Keep good records and be very open about such activities.
If funds are raised for a charitable cause, clubs and leaders must be sure they clearly inform donors about how the funds will be used and then follow through on that commitment. University of Maine Cooperative Extension, as the protector of the 4-H emblem, must make sure that such sanctioned activities are appropriately concluded. People who donate money to a specific cause or organization have every right to believe that the 4-H fundraisers will honor their desire to have the money forwarded to that cause or organization. After the funds are collected, you cannot revise where and to whom the funds will be directed. If you find the original intended cause or organization has all the money it needs, or you no longer trust them to use the funds honorably, the only option is to return the money to the donors. When such activities are concluded, send an accounting of what funds were raised and how they were expended to the Extension office. Fundraising for police organizations is prohibited by Maine law.
- All fundraisers should be discussed and approved in advance, with Extension Staff
- All funds raised in the name of 4-H through fundraising efforts must be spent on 4-H educational activities and events, or in the direct support of club educational activities.
- Fundraisers that include gambling for money or 50/50s, jackpots, etc. or involve firearms are not permitted.
Financial Management Training
Financial Management Training should cover:
- Appropriate management of club funds and leader association funds.
- Mismanagement of funds.
- Requiring two individuals reviewing all accounts. (Could be one member/one leader, should be from different families).
- The treasurer of the county Executive Committee should review or audit all treasurers’ books and bank accounts.
- Any misuse of funds may result in court actions.
Review Guidelines for 4-H Financial Management for Clubs and Fundraising located in the Risk Management section of the Maine 4-H Policies, Procedures and Guidelines Manual.