Policy Guidelines on
Fundraising and Financial Administration for Local Groups
Group leaders are responsible for managing the finances of their local group. This involves the following key activities:-
- Planning events to raise funds to meet the expenses and commitments of your local group
- Ensuring good practice in the handling of money
- Maintaining accounts of the groups income and expenditure activity and submitting an annual return to the CASA Office
Fundraising is always an ongoing challenge. Without it a local group cannot survive and maintain its current level of activity or develop in any way.
This section outlines the key policies and procedures that a Leader needs to follow in relation to administering group finances.
This section summarises the key fundraising and financial administration procedures relevant to local groups. The guidance is outlined in three parts covering the key activities mentioned above. Leaders should familiarise themselves with this guidance and ensure that it is followed closely at group level.
CASA Finance Policy and Procedure
CASA subscribes to the Irish Charities Tax Research ICTR) Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising. The key principles can be summarised as follows:
- Making Information freely available and transparent to the public at all times
- Adopting and honest and open approach to all fundraising activity
- Providing a clear assurance to donors that their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given
- Ensuring there is no misleading or ambiguous information in fundraising communication.
CASA Financial Policy and Procedures are reviewed by the Board of Management on an annual basis and open with the following Public Compliance Statement:-
“CASA is committed to complying with the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising and has formally discussed and adopted the Statement at a meeting of the board of management.
CASA confirms its commitment to the principles set out in the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising by a statement to that effect in its annual report.
CASA has a Donor Charter which is consistent with Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising and compliance reports are received regularly by the Board of Management.
CASA considers the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising when planning all fundraising activity.
CASA provides honest, open and transparent disclosure when fundraising from the public.
CASA has appointed a member of the governing body to be responsible for compliance with the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising.
CASA ensures that all fundraising staff are provided with information and training on the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising and its implementation.
CASA has a feedback and complaints procedure consistent with the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising. Feedback is recorded for review by relevant staff including the CEO and the board of management. Feedback is responded to promptly and appropriately.
CASA prepares financial reports consistent with the requirements of the Charities Act 2009 which include a statement concerning the extent to which the control of the organisation is independent of its funding sources.
CASA ensures that all donations are tracked and recorded and complies with data protection requirements.
CASA is accessible to the public through a number of readily available contact options including email, telephone or visit to our office or charity shops as referenced on our website www.casa.ie”
A full copy of the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising is available at www.ictr.ie.
Part 1 – Planning events to raise funds to meet the expenses and commitments of your local group
Identifying Funding Needs
It is a good idea to have a sense of the costs your group faces on an annual basis and to plan ahead in meeting them.
The funding requirements of each group varies depending on the size of its membership and the level of activity undertaken. The main areas of expenditure that need to be covered throughout the year are as follows:
- Socials (the cost of covering the participation of each group member at say 8 socials per year mounts up; CASA groups do not generally charge members for attending socials);
- Contribution to Central – €1200 per year, usually paid as €100.00 per month – central administration is unavoidable as local groups cannot function without insurance, CHY and Company registration, and volunteer verification which cannot be left to chance;
- Lourdes and Respite – groups usually subsidize participation by volunteers and members and sometimes make additional contributions above and beyond their member participation.
Typically a group will raise funds in different ways – church gates collections, sponsored events, table quizzes, raffles, bag packing in supermarkets, and carol singing at Christmas are tried and tested events. An annual fundraising plan will allow the group to spread fundraising activities throughout the year and to try a few different things rather than becoming too reliant on one type of activity. While it would be nice to have a big single event it may be more realistic to run a number of smaller events. It may also be possible to combine certain fund raising events with a social activity thus allowing for maximum participation by your local network of volunteers, members and families.
Remember to ensure that the plan is consistent with:-
- The Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising
- Legal requirements in relation to Garda permits
- Data Protection regulation
- Advertising Standards Authority regulations
- The code of conduct on images and messages.
Leadership involves gaining commitment and involvement from others and is not about doing it all yourself. Fundraising provides an opportunity for volunteers to demonstrate their commitment to the group. Volunteers, with direction, may well be capable to organising a table quiz, or a fun event. Leaders should seek out and encourage such involvement while ensuring that proper fundraising procedures are complied with.
The financial challenge becomes more manageable if every volunteer shares the burden and gives a little occasional time and effort to fundraising.
An enthusiastic and positive attitude from leaders, even if fundraising may not be your favourite activity will create the best conditions for success.
Showcasing your group
Fundraising events give your group a public profile and is it important to put your best foot forward. They provide a good opportunity to communicate the work your group does locally and do not miss out on the chance to promote your group’s contribution to the local community and give people an insight into the difference you make to the lives of members and their families. Make sure everybody on duty is on message and knows what to do and say. It may also be a way of attracting volunteers to join in your group which is every bit as important as fundraising.
CASA always prides itself on running quality events. Planning ahead and think carefully about your event in detail – who are you targeting, what will they expect of you, how can your group meet and surpass these expectations. Try and anticipate what challenges may arise and make sure you and group members are well prepared. It has been said that CASA is an experience rather than an event and by focussing on the people as well as the task in hand there is no reason this cannot be the case with your fundraising ventures.
Part 2: Ensuring good practice in the handling of money
Banking: Cash should be banked promptly and where possible payments should be made by cheque. Cash floats should be kept to a minimum and avoided if possible as they require constant oversight. Banking money and cheque payments ensure finances can be tracked and accounted for.
Two person rule: As a general rule at least two people should be involved in financial activity and decision making. Cheques are required to be signed by two person. Collection buckets should be opened and counted by two or more persons. Financial decisions should never be made by a single leader acting alone.
Information Sharing: Group members should be kept informed of the position in relation to monies raised and expenditure. As stakeholders in the group they have a right to know the financial status of the local group and how much money has been raised and how it has been spent.
Collection Permits: CASA policy is to apply for Garda permits for every public fundraising collection, raffle and event whether this is strictly necessary or not. This creates a public record and increases transparency. The CASA Office is available to help with applications for permits.
It is very important that the conditions applying to Garda permits (these are attached to each permit granted) are followed. These condition represent good practice even where permits are strictly speaking not necessary. The following is a summary:
- Permits are always required for collections by the following means: -
(i) in streets;
(ii) in public places, meaning any place which the public can access by right or by permission whether on a fee-paying basis or free of charge but does not include a church or its grounds;
(iii) house to house visits.
- Permits are limited to specified dates and times (usually 9am to 9pm)
- The number of collectors is normally limited – say 5 at any one time.
- The use of tables or obstructions is forbidden as is the use of loudspeakers and amplification.
- The minimum age for collectors is 14 years, or, in respect of a licensed premises, 18 years.
- Each collector shall have an authorisation signed by the permit holder or person acting on their behalf (Group Leader may sign).
- Permit application form (Form S.C. 1) must be lodged with relevant Garda Chief Superintendent not less that 3 months before first day of collection.
- Permit and application form should be attached together.
- The wearing of fancy dress, masks or disguises by collectors is prohibited.
- Collecting from or in vehicles is prohibited.
- The obstruction of traffic (pedestrian and vehicular) or the importuning of occupants of vehicles is prohibited.
- Permit holders shall not sign blank authorisations.
- Appointed collectors should be known to members or supporters of CASA.
- Collection boxes should be properly labelled and sealed.
- Collecting form vehicles when stopped at traffic lights.
- Engaging in collections at dangerous locations is prohibited.
Anybody involved in fundraising event should be fully briefed on the relevant policy and practical considerations outlined above. Leaders are responsible for ensuring this happens. This can be done as an information item at a group meeting or part of a team huddle immediately before an event. It is important however that awareness of the key considerations outlined above is passed on.
Leaders should be aware of CASA’s “Donor Charter” and promote it to volunteers and donors:-
“As a charity seeking donations from the public, CASA aims to comply with the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising.
Our pledge is to treat our donors with respect, honesty and openness.
We commit to being accountable and transparent so that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in CASA.
We promise we will effectively apply your gifts to us for their intended purpose.
We commit that you, our donors and prospective donors, will:-
Be informed CASA’s mission, and how CASA intends to use donated resources.
Be informed of who is on CASA’s Board of Management, and that the Board will exercise prudent judgement in its stewardship responsibilities.
Have access to CASA’s most recent financial statements.
Be assured your gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
Receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.
Be assured that information about your donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
Expect that all relationships with individuals representing CASA will be dealt with professionally.
Be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers or employees of the organisation (CASA does not engage hired third party agents).
Have easily available the agreed procedures for making and responding to complaints.
Have the opportunity for any names to be deleted from mailing lists and to be informed if the mailing lists are to be shared with third parties.
Receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers to questions you might have of CASA.”
Part 3: Maintaining accounts of the group’s income and expenditure activity and submitting an annual return to the CASA Office
As a charity it is important that CASA is fully accountable for the funds that are entrusted to us and can demonstrate that these have been used for the charitable purposes set out in our charter.
Group leaders should nominate one group member to act as treasurer and maintain a record of its income and expenditure. This should be updated as you go and reconciled with bank statements. All other financial records should also be kept safely – statements, lodgement slips, cheque book stubs, invoices and receipts.
It is a particular requirement to maintain specific details of any donations received – name, address, amount, date, intended purpose and conditions should be maintained. This can be done as part of the normal income account provided each individual donation is separately logged.
An annual return on the preceding calendar year should be returned to the CASA office by end-of March each year. The standard format will be familiar to most leaders and for reasons of space it is not included here. The return consists of a simple summary of the income and expenditure together with the opening and closing balance and reconciled with the bank statements copies of which should also be returned. These are reviewed by the external auditor as part of the annual company audit.
Keeping records for at least seven years will ensure that legal obligations are fully met – there is no need to keep them for longer periods. Where records are being disposed they should be carefully and completely destroyed and not simply binned – the confidentiality of financial and personal data must always be maintained and respected.
Financial rules and procedures may seem like a bureaucratic chore, but remember that, no less than health and safety requirements or the vetting of volunteers, the rules are there to protect you and your group.