Why should I read this resource pack?

Are you a group that has a massive surplus of money in your account and you’re not sure how it got there, what you should be doing with it or if you should even be touching it? Then you’re probably the target audience for this resource pack. 

Welcome to long term budgeting, the resource pack that will help you and your group make the most out of your finances during your year in committee!

The first and foremost thing we should remind ourselves is, the group’s money is there to help the group improve, develop, grow, change, reach new boundaries! We don’t expect you (nor encourage) you to save £1000s, we only expect you to keep the accounts in a healthy state so the group can survive in the following years. 

So let’s have a look and see if we can help you decide what to do with your money and bring your financial projects to fruition.

Understanding your accounts

By now I’m sure you are sick of hearing this phrase, but since we are dealing with some financial planning it is of the utmost importance that we understand the accounts in full. So let’s briefly have a look at them again:

  • The Restricted account is where all your membership money is paid into as well as your summer group funding (annual funding granted by the SU). This account is used to cover the costs related to the core activities of the group. 

  • The Social account is the account used for everything extra outside of the core purpose; like socials. 

  • The Other account is variable in societies (have a check on yours if it is in use). Whereas the Transport account is very much used if you are a Sports’ Club since this is the account that pays for any travel/transport expenses for fixtures or training. 

  • Lastly, the grant account. This is the account where any development fund money would go into. 

So as you can see, having money is a pretty key part of a group’s basic function. We need the restricted money (or membership money) to pay for any of the basic functions of a group; coaching, facility hire, competitions, etc. without that money it would be pretty hard for the group to do anything. However, you’re not here because of that, you’re here because you have quite the exact opposite problem and you don’t know what to do with all the money your accounts have collected over the years. This doesn’t mean you have to go on a shopping spree and spend it all “just because”, we want to help you plan a successful, helpful plan that will allow your members to benefit from their memberships as well as help secure the future of the group.

Visualising trends

To understand why the accounts look the way they do, you’ll have to look to the past. And by this I mean, have a snoop in the previous years’ account summaries! Look at the income tabs, have a look at what the previous committee’s have done to raise the money. See if you can find any trends; are there any recurring events that bring in a lot of money every year? Was membership engagement super high within that year? Did they get any sponsorship money? 

(This is also a great way to get ideas on how to fundraise money for the future or to get more money if you ever need it.)

Also have a look at their expenditure; did they have low expenditure throughout the year? Were coaching fees low? Were there no competitions that year? Find the trends there and see if they utilised any good strategies to minimise their expenditure. 

Having a look at the groups’ history is a great way to help come up with a plan for the direction of the group whilst also finding things that are probably not worth repeating; were there any events that made the group a loss? Was there too much expenditure on a not very useful purchase? All these thoughts are what’s going to make you a stellar treasurer and make you stand out from the crowd.

Creating trends

We’ve had a look at the history, now let’s look at the future! Summer is a fantastic time to have a think about all the possibilities of what can be done with a group’s money. This is also the time when you’ll be asked to fill in your Budget Sheet Form. This is a tool to help you estimate how much money you will be making and spending throughout the year. This, hand in hand with the surplus, is a pretty nifty way of seeing how much spending money you have even after all the expected costs for the year. 

Now it’s time to get thinking about what can you do to make people feel like the money they are investing into the group is being used adequately in a way in which they are directly benefiting from it? 

The obvious first thoughts that usually come to mind are things like replacing old equipment, kit, anything owned by the group that is for communal use. This is something you should absolutely factor into your budget sheet. So now we’re starting to chip away at the money, but what else?

Let’s take a semi step outside of the box and think about things that whilst still related to your group would be new and beneficial:

  • A masterclass with someone who is a specialist in the area of your group

  • A guest speaker, or a guest coach 

  • Have a look at other competitions and leagues and see if there’s any opportunities there that would allow more members to join in on the competitive fun

  • Planning a large scale event, a formal dinner at founder’s dining hall or SU main hall

  • A big collaborative tournament with other groups. 

  • An opportunity to take your members somewhere around the country for any of the above and help mitigate costs to make it more financially inclusive

  • Etc.

The possibilities are endless! Don’t get stuck in the rut of thinking solely about core purposes and repetitive expenditures, think big!

There is no reward and no benefit to hoarding a large amount of money in your group’s account. The money that goes in via memberships should really be spent on those same members in that year. So this is your chance to make it happen. Think about what would you have liked to have seen as a member yourself?

Hopefully by now your brain is flowing with creative ideas. Attached below you will find a template budget sheet as well as an event/budget planner. These two documents should help you budget your available money as well as getting you to think about all the spends that would add up for your new idea (e.g. if the payment is split into deposit and one big payment, or three different payments, etc.).

Next steps

Now you have your idea, you’ve thought about the financial implications and you’re wondering when you can get started. Well, depending on your type of purchase there will be a few more steps before you can see your plan in action. The first and most important step to take is to discuss with your fellow committee members and see what they think; do they think it’s a good purchase idea? Do they feel the same way about the project as you do? It’s always important to get external input. 

And this applies to the next step, if this is a big purchase for the benefit of the group you probably want to think about involving your members and seeing whether they like what you’re proposing. This could also act as a fun social; “idea presentation night”. Don’t forget that at the end of the day this purchase has to benefit everybody and it should be worthwhile. 

So now we know everybody is super excited and we’re ready to go ahead! Again, depending on the purchase type, two options would happen. If it’s a smaller, more attainable purchase, all you would have to do is submit a purchase request and if we have any questions we’ll just let you know.

If the purchase is on the very much larger side, we will probably request more information or perhaps a meeting with you so we can understand the whole plan and give you some advice or feedback. Don’t forget, we are here to support you and we will always do anything in our power to try and help you get what you want, but we will also be realistic and honest about it. 

If all goes well, then that’s it! You’ve done it! You’ve created a financial plan, made your fellow committee members happy, given something back to your members and got rid of some (or all) surplus in the account. A great job done.

I actually don’t know what to do, what can I do?

If you feel like you don’t really know where to start at all, and you feel like you’re drowning amongst numbers, please come and see us! Whether in one of our drop in sessions or by setting up a meeting with us (if available). We are always on the other side of a ticket on freshdesk!

We have been working with groups for a grand number of collective years and we can help give you suggestions for your group, or things we may have heard or noticed over time that could be beneficial.

The money is spent, how do I do it all over again?

If you’ve managed to have a successful financial spend plan, firstly, congratulations! But now you’re wanting to do it again, but you don’t have the same money you had then. Well this is where we flip the process. Now we get to think about creative fundraising events for your group or ways to increase membership engagement to get more money.

This is a great opportunity to collaborate with your social secretaries or fundraising secretaries if you have one and set something up.

It’s always super rewarding to make some money for your group, so definitely don’t neglect this aspect of being a treasurer!