Managing 4-H Club Finances – Important Reminders for 4-H Club Volunteers

As clubs begin meeting this year, volunteers are strongly encouraged to review the information about 4-H Club Finances and Fundraising that is a part of the 2019 Organizational Club Information (also included in this post) to ensure that the club is following guidelines. Throughout this year, 4-H Committee’s Audit Sub-committee will be discussing the implementation of a club audit process for 2020.

The Ohio 4-H Club Treasurer’s Handbook a great resource for information on tracking club income and expenses.


Managing 4-H Finances

(Adapted from Managing 4-H Finances, Ohio 4-H Development, by R. J. Schmiesing, C. Crawford, B. Henderson and L. Johnson, Feb. 2000.)

  • Accurate financial management is critical for Ohio 4-H clubs regardless of the amount of money or its intended purpose. The following practices should be reviewed prior to establishing club treasuries and as a reference for managing club finances.
  • 4-H club or group checking accounts must be established for each club in the club or group name, not an individual’s name. Two to three signatures should be provided for each account, with two signatures required on all checks. Signatures must be approved 4-H volunteers and members, if permitted by the financial institution. Signatures must not all be related or family members, must include at least one non-family member. Under guidance from adult volunteers, a suggested practice for checks is to have the treasurer and secretary as signatories.
  • Bank statements should be sent to a 4-H club volunteer or group leader, or someone who does not have authority to sign checks. After review (i.e. correct number of deposits, checks, and balance) statements should be given to treasurer, reconciled and included in the official records. If possible, 4-H clubs should request actual cancelled checks or copies from their bank.
  • Bills should be approved for payment by the 4-H Club or group members before checks are written. When a check is written, it is to be correctly recorded in the Treasurer’s records and Secretary’s minutes. The Treasurer is to keep copies of documents supporting expenditures (cash register receipt, invoice, etc.). All income should be documented in the Treasurer’s records and deposited immediately into the club’s checking account.
  • The Treasurer must keep accurate records and report the status of the treasury at each meeting. The Secretary’s minutes should reflect financial actions and/or account balances. This should be done for each business meeting. The Ohio 4-H Treasurer’s Record Book should be used to maintain accurate records.
  • No club funds are permitted to be distributed to club members or volunteers unless for reimbursement for an approved club expense.
  • If clubs receive a premium check from the Muskingum County Agricultural Society, premiums should be paid directly to club members.
  • The club treasury should be audited annually by a committee from the club, appointed by the President, or by someone not directly associated with the Treasurer. This audit should occur prior to a new treasurer assuming office. Following the review, the club must submit their Yearly Financial Summary for the current year’s records, January 1– December 31, by January 31 of the year after the records conclude. The final bank statement of the year, which must include activity through December 31, must also be submitted.
  • Employee Identification Number – An employee identification number (EIN) is required when a 4-H club or group opens an account at a bank. Clubs or groups need to apply for their own number by completing an SS-4 form. For additional information, please contact the Extension Office.
  • The IRS requires all 4-H clubs file a 990-N (e-Postcard) to report any and all income the club had each calendar year. The Extension Office will file for each 4-H club using their completed Financial Summary. If the Organizational Volunteers receive any documentation from the IRS throughout the year, please bring a copy to the Extension Office and keep the original in your club financial files.
  • Local 4-H Club or group treasuries should have a minimum carry over from year to year. Those that raise money should spend the money. If the treasury is saving for a major project, the money should be given to the project annually.
  • If a 4-H club or group disbands, the funds in the treasury should be given to a worthy cause. If possible, the club should decide on the cause. Examples: 4-H Committee, 4-H Endowment Fund, 4-H Camp Ohio, etc. If a club or group votes to divide, the treasury should be divided upon membership with equal shares per member going to the member’s new club treasury. If a club or group is divided without mutual agreement and cannot decide on division of the treasury, the problem should be referred to 4-H Committee. Money cannot be given to the club members.
  • 4-H Educators and other Extension staff cannot be responsible for handling 4-H club or affiliate monies and are not to have signature authority on 4-H club or affiliate bank accounts.
  • 4-H Professional Staff has the right to request any and all financial information for your club as needed.
  • Financial records should be kept for 7 years before being destroyed.

4-H Fundraising

(Adapted from Guideline for Raising Funds for Local 4-H Clubs – Appendix H, from the Ohio 4-H Program Agent’s Handbook, 1995.)

  • Fundraising for club treasuries must go through the club checking account.
  • Clubs are not permitted to fundraise using games of chance, such as raffles. Rather, plan a 4-H fundraiser so the public or customer will receive full value.
  • Keep fundraising to a minimum. One or two special fundraisers per year. Remember the basic purpose of 4-H is education. Funds must be raised for a specific worthy project and inform the general public of how the funds will be used and controlled. Raising funds to give money to your members is prohibited by the Ohio 4-H Club Constitution.