Club Finance Guidelines


Many 4-H clubs find it necessary to become involved in fund raising projects in order to obtain money for desired projects, activities, and awards.  These fund raising activities can be beneficial to clubs in more ways than just producing funds.  They give 4-H members a chance to work toward a goal as a group and provide experience with handling of finances.

The 4-H Treasurer’s Book has basic guidelines for handling money and for fundraising.  All clubs should review these so that all members, leaders and parents understand them.  The manner in which money is handled in the club must be within the guidelines of the 4H program.  The club should develop a spending plan based on their goals.  Then they will be ready to do the fundraising necessary to carry out those goals.  The following guidelines should be followed with respect to 4-H club funds.


  1. The club should determine an annual budget.  The club’s fund raising activities should be limited to raising enough money to cover that budget.
  1. 4-H club funds should be kept in a bank account under the 4H club name.  Club leaders or members should not hold cash reserves or keep club funds in personal checking or savings accounts.
  1. Two people should sign all checks (two members or one member and one adult).  These two should not be in the same family.  You may want to have three or four names on the signature card at the bank so that two are always available when needed.  A finance Committee composed of 2 members and 2 adults is suggested when large sums of money are being handled.
  1. The elected treasurer should account for all monies raised by a club.  Leaders can assist and help but they should function as advisors.  The handling of money is a useful and educational experience for members.
  2. A receipt must identify all expenditures.  A record of all expenditures should be made.  The Treasurer’s Book provided to clubs is adequate for this purpose.
  1. If a 4-H club has funds, there should be a treasurer’s report given at each club meeting.
  1. An annual audit of 4H club funds should be done.  4H club parents or other qualified individuals who have not been handling club finances should conduct the audit.
  1. The audit should answer the following questions:
    Do treasurer record agree with bank records?
    Are treasurer book balances actually on deposit with the bank?
    Are receipts actually available to justify expenditures?
    Have funds raised been reported and deposited appropriately?
    Have adequate financial records been kept?

(A sample audit form can be found following these guidelines.)

  1. If the Extension office requests an accounting of the club’s books, this request should be met.


Form SS-4 (tax number for checking and savings accounts) should be obtained from the local Internal Revenue Service Office and filled out for each club who wishes to open a checking or savings account.  Check with your bank on these procedures.


  1. Remember that money raised by 4H must be spent on 4H.  It is illegal to raise money in the name of 4H and then use it for other purposes.  4H funds are not for personal financial gain.
  1. The underlying philosophy is that learning to make decisions in a group is an important part of 4H.  Fundraising should only be done after the group has established goals for use of the money.  Fundraising activities should be consistent with the age and experience of the members.
  1. Funds should be raised for specific purposes.  Clubs should raise their funds through their own efforts.
  1. Dues, if any, should be voted on by the members.  The amount of club dues should be decided by the total club keeping in mind individual member’s ability to pay and the actual financial needs of the group.
  1. All fundraising must be legal.  Lotteries and raffles are questionable.  Check with the Extension office before planning one.
  1. Fundraising in the name of 4H cannot include endorsement of products.
  1. Clubs should check carefully all aspects before taking on a fundraising effort (i.e. can unsold items be returned).
  1. Donations from local business.  There may be an occasion when you have an activity where you ask local businesses for goods or services.  If so, please note the following:
    1. If they say no, do not press the issue.  Thank them for listening.
    2. You need to provide written documentation to the business explaining the donation.
    3. Do not ask the same business a number of times.
    4. Be sure to write thank you notes for anything received.
    5. Remember businesses are asked many times by many different groups.  Consider the need before asking.


  1. When a 4H club purchases equipment (i.e. set of clippers for members to use), they should decide what would happen to the equipment if the club splits or disbands.  Put it in writing and keep it with the club records.
  1. When a club disbands with money in the treasury and/or equipment in their inventory, the following options should be considered:
    1. Give remaining funds to the 4H Leaders Council for local activities.
    2. Give or sell equipment to new 4H clubs who can use the items.
    3. Give funds to a 4H memorial or scholarship fund.
    4. Give funds to Washington State 4H Foundation.
    5. Spend funds on an educational activity for retiring members.
  1. If a club splits and new clubs are formed, a percentage of the original club’s funds should go to each club.

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