4-H fundraiser wrap-up

Profits, proceeds and fundraising in 4-H.

Have you ever wondered about the amount of money raised in a fundraiser? Questioned that you didn’t raise more because you know how hard everyone worked that day and saw how many people attended that spaghetti dinner? Have you heard parents ask why they still have to pay $20 when they know we sold a pallet of candles and it just doesn’t seem to add up? Protect yourself and your organization from these types of claims by great record keeping and honest reporting.

Help members and parents understand the real figures associated with fundraisers by completing the County 4-H Fundraiser Report Form. On this form you list all of the expenses and income related to the fundraiser. Many times everyone is not aware of the true profit margin; they mistakenly think that if they charge $10, they make $10, forgetting they have expenses. Presenting this information to the members is an opportunity for education. The report form allows everyone in the group to see the income and expenses related to the fundraiser. If the group collected sales tax, this form will help you calculate the amount due so you can set it aside, since it will need to be paid at the end of the program year.

The volunteers in charge of the fundraiser should help members and parents learn the difference between profits and proceeds so they are sure to use the terms correctly when promoting the fundraiser. Proceeds are all of the funds you will collect from your fundraising efforts, and profits are the funds you collect minus the amount you expended to raise the funds. This is an important difference when you are purchasing products or supplies to make items that are to be sold and donating the funds raised. Using these terms correctly and showing them the basic math can have a big impact. Helping young people understand the costs associated with fundraising is important and often an eye opening experience.

4-H leaders can find this information in the “Financial Manual for 4-H Volunteers: Leading the Way to Financial Accountability.” If you have been keeping good records, the County 4-H Fundraiser Report Form will be a breeze and help everyone understand your fundraiser financials. This form provides a snapshot of your fundraiser for the 4-H program coordinator and everyone in your club. It offers your group a time to reflect on the activity beyond just the money; what did you learn by participating in this fundraiser? What skills did your members develop? Did things go as planned or were there some surprises along the way? This reflection is often the most valuable and brings about great discussion and may lead to planning a fundraiser next year. Some things are best when they are only done once, while other activities get better every year and build a large customer base.

Just as the group treasurer or 4-H leader must complete a County 4-H Fundraiser Application, they must also complete a County 4-H Fundraiser Report Form and submit it to their Michigan State University Extension county office within 10 business days following the fundraiser. Both of these forms can be found in the “Financial Manual for 4-H Volunteers: Leading the Way to Financial Accountability,” available on the MSU Extension website or from your local MSU Extension office

These forms are not difficult or cumbersome, but straightforward and offer your club the opportunity to have important discussions before concerns are raised. When volunteers, parents and members all understand the basics of the fundraising or at least your fundraiser, they are better prepared and more engaged in raising funds.

Fundraisers can be fun, raise excitement, raise questions, raise funds or raise great concern. Be sure yours are raising all of the right things! Join us for a free 4-H and Fundraising 101 for Volunteers Webinar on March 27, 2017, at 7 p.m. to learn more about fundraising for 4-H volunteers. The webinar will provide 4-H volunteers an overview of the Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension fundraising polices, help volunteers understand more about fundraising in a 4-H experience, explain the process volunteers need to complete and answer questions volunteers have on fundraising.

This is a free webinar open to all 4-H volunteers, parents and members. Please register online at 4-H and Fundraising 101 for Volunteers Webinar.

Contact me at weichel@anr.msu.edu or Christine Heverly at sisungch@anr.msu.edu with any questions.

MSU Extension has 4-H members across the state engaged in fundraising efforts to support a variety of events and programs. If you would like to find out more about being a part of those exciting programs, contact your local MSU Extension office.

Did you find this article useful?