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Consider 5 Things Before Spending 4-H Group Money

Published: Friday, March 9, 2018

The following is from Laurie Rivetto, Michigan State University Extension educator.

Many 4-H groups have accounts with money raised in the name of 4-H. To be the best stewards of the public funds that were entrusted to us, Michigan 4-H groups need to consider how they are using the money in the name of 4-H.

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development Program share the following criteria used in the decision-making process for the appropriate use of funds.

1. The opportunity to access the funds is available to all youth. There may be circumstances where age, group requirements, schedules or event prerequisites prevent some youth from utilizing the funds, but they would qualify at another point during their 4-H participation.

2. If not every youth will benefit from the funds—for instance, the funds are going towards sponsorship to a specific event—a clear, written process must be in place explaining how recipients are chosen, who is on the selection committee and if there are any expectations of the recipients. Voting on this process as a group should occur and the process should be shared with the 4-H staff member for awareness and support.

3. Members of the group should discuss and approve the plans for the funds. The best way to approach this is through a budget with line items for each spending category, however, it can also be done at meetings when a quorum is present. The vote needs to be recorded in the group's meeting minutes.

4. The purpose for which the funds are being used should be educational. This can often take place through 4-H members planning, coordinating or implementing the event. It can also be an event that might provide a new experience for youth or help the group bond.

5. The source of the funds (dues, fundraiser, donor, etc.) as well as the details related to that source (restricted funds, purpose shared as part of the fundraiser, etc.) are also key components the group should review and discuss before spending money.

For more information on the criteria for using 4-H funds and for a helpful Appropriate Use of Funds chart, review the "Financial Manual for 4-H Volunteers: Leading the Way to Financial Accountability ("

More information can also be found in the "Financial Manual for 4-H Treasurer: A Guide to Managing Money Wisely ("

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