Funds raised and donated in the name of 4-H are publicly accountable and must be used for 4-H educational purposes. Youth and adult volunteers handling 4-H money follow all Wisconsin 4-H Financial Policies and federal and state laws.
4-H Financial Best Practices
4‐H Money = Public Funds
- A 4‐H Charter is the only document that officially recognizes a 4‐H Club or Group and authorizes their use of the 4‐H Name and Emblem to conduct 4-H programs.
- All money received by a 4‐H Club or Group is public money because 4‐H is a public organization.
- Federal regulations governing the continued use of the 4‐H Name and Emblem require annual financial reporting and accountability.
- Funds raised in the name of 4‐H must be publicly accountable and must be used for 4‐H educational purposes.
- All moneys received from 4‐H fund raising programs, except those necessary to pay reasonable expenses, must be expended to further the 4‐H educational program.
- The 4‐H treasurer is responsible to all members, volunteer leaders, Positive Youth Development (PYD) staff person, and the public.
- University of Wisconsin–Madison Division of Extension has oversight for 4‐H programmatic and financial accountability.
Wisconsin 4-H Club Financial Handbook—The Handbook is a one-stop shop for many questions about 4-H finances, include several addressed on this page.
Managing 4-H Money
- 4‐H funds must be deposited in a FDIC or NCUA insured public financial institution in an account bearing the 4‐H name.
- An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is needed to open a checking or savings account. This is the Federal Identification Number. Work with the PYD staff person in your county when applying for an EIN number. Personal social security numbers are never to be used on any 4‐H financial account.
- The 4‐H Club or Group should develop an annual budget. The budget is used by members, treasurers and others for planning expenses and paying bills. A budget should represent a reasonable expectation of projected expenditures and income for the 4‐H Club and Group. A budget must be approved by the members
Money raised in the name of 4‐H must be used for 4‐H educational purposes.
- Fund raising should only be conducted to meet a specific 4‐H Club or Group educational goal.
- Generally, money raised during the year should be spent that same year.
- Discuss fund raising plans with the PYD staff person in your county.
- Check with the 4‐H Youth Development Educator before putting the 4‐H Name and Emblem on any item you intend to sell for profit. See the 4‐H Name and Emblem resources for additional help.
- In connection with 4‐H fundraising purposes, the following disclaimer must be used on products or services offered for sale: “A portion of the sales price of this product or service will be used to promote 4‐H educational programs. No endorsement of the product or service by 4‐H is implied or intended.”
- All purchases with 4-H funds should be pre-approved and receipts should be presented for reimbursement. A 4-H Club/Group (including the 4-H Leaders Organization) is discouraged to open a credit card account, as it invites mismanagement.
- 4‐H Clubs and Groups that plan to conduct raffles or bingo, must comply with state regulations and obtain licenses from the State of Wisconsin License, Permit and Registration Services. Contact your PYD staff person for more information.
- If a 4‐H Club or Group is considering a major expenditure (over $500) or purchasing capital equipment (an asset which has a useful life of more than one year) the 4‐H Club or group must secure written approval from the PYD staff person prior to the purchase of the item.
For additional detail about fundraising, read the 4-H Fundraising Fact Sheet.
Club Treasurer Resources
- The treasurer position in a 4‐H Club is a youth position. This is a valuable youth leadership role.
- Checks should require 2 signatures: the club treasurer and an adult volunteer leader. The two signatories should not be related to each other. Avoid having a parent‐child as both signatories.
- Use good money handling practices:
- Write a receipt for all monies received. The receipt should include the amount, source of the funds (such as a car wash or plat book sale), the date, and the name of the person making the payment. Receipts are back‐up records for bank deposits made. Receipts should become a permanent part of the club files.
- Deposit all monies into the bank account promptly.
- Pay all bills promptly.
- Members need to approve payments. This is done through the approved budget. If the payment is outside the approved budget, a vote is needed by the membership at the next meeting.
- A payment approval form should be used and the receipt from the purchase should be attached.
- Financial records should be kept up‐to‐date and reported at each 4‐H Club or Group meeting.
Discuss Money with Your 4‐H Club or Group
- Members should vote on dues annually.
- Members should decide if fund raising is needed to have funds for their planned activities.
- Members should approve a budget.
A budget, including estimated income and expenses, should be developed and approved by the membership annually.
Keep track of your expenses each month and at the end of the year, which will help you create the Annual Financial Report, which you can then copy into the charter document. In essence, this spreadsheet is both check register and treasurer’s report. For a club, it is recommended that the youth treasurer and the adult adviser to the treasurer both maintain a copy of this spreadsheet.
Please also scroll down to see more about how good record keeping through helps with 4-H Financial Reporting.
New Treasurer Transitions
The past treasurer should hand over all 4-H club or group financial documents—both digital and paper—to the new treasurer. An audit must be completed when the new treasurer takes office, an important step that protects both the outgoing and incoming treasurer. Please scroll down for additional information about conducting an audit.
4-H Financial Reporting
- A financial report should be made to members at every meeting.
- The 4‐H Club or Group Annual Financial Report must be submitted on time each year to the PYD staff person as part of the annual 4‐H Charter Renewal packet.
- The Wisconsin 4‐H fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.
- A 4-H group which handles funds must have an annual audit.
You can use the Tally Chart for the Annual Financial Report Template to help you categorize and keep track of your income and expenses (Sample of Completed Tally Chart). The information can then be entered directly into the financial report page of the charter.
Audits prevent misunderstandings and protect the outgoing and incoming treasurer of the 4-H group. An auditor examines and verifies the account of the 4-H group at the end of the year or when a new treasurer takes office. Youth may be involved in the audit process. However, the auditor(s) should be an adult(s) not related to the treasurer and not directly involved with the club’s finances.
For additional help with completing an audit, please use the following resources:
- 4‐H Clubs and Groups are eligible to receive and use a Wisconsin or Tribal sales tax exempt number. To obtain a sales tax exempt certificate, contact the PYD staff person.
- When a Wisconsin or Tribal sales tax exempt number is used, you do not pay sales tax on purchases made for the 4‐H Club or Group.
- 4‐H Clubs and Groups may or may not have to charge sales tax on fund raisers.
An EIN (Employee Identification Number) is required by the IRS for a club or group to be able to handle public funds. Please contact the PYD staff person in your county to find out more about requesting an EIN number for your 4-H club or group.
Special Instructions for 4-H Funds
If a 4‐H Club or Group has excess funds as defined by the Wisconsin 4‐H Financial Policies, a 5-year plan to spend down the funds must be put in place with the 4‐H Youth Development Educator. For additional information about how excess funds should be handled, read Excess Funds and a 5-Year Plan.
Major Purchases or Large Donations & Gifts
If a 4-H club or group is considering a major expenditure of any single item (over $1,000), purchasing capital equipment (an asset which has a useful life of more than one year), or accepting a capital equipment gift, the 4-H club or group must secure approval from a 4-H Youth Development staff member prior to purchasing or accepting the item. Examples of items requiring approval include: audio/visual equipment, buildings, computers, contest equipment, firearms, livestock, machinery, property, tack, trailers, vehicles, etc.
Learn more about the steps of gaining approval to make a major purchase or accept a capital equipment donation by reading Considering Expenditures of Over $1000.
All 4‐H entities need to include the following dissolution clause in their bylaws or guidelines:
Upon dissolution of the 4‐H club, any assets must be turned over to a recognized 4‐H club or group, with the approval of the 4‐H Leaders Association and the county 4‐H Youth Development Staff.