Entering fundraiser money

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mfmohlma
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Entering fundraiser money

Postby mfmohlma » Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:38 pm

Our scouts are embarking on their approved annual fundraiser tomorrow, where they are collecting Christmas trees for recycling. They have distributed envelopes stamped with the troop number to every house in the ward boundaries with printed instructions to attach it to the tree or place it on their front door with their donation.

As a newly called financial clerk, I am aware that these donations go into our "Other" category for scout camp, but what donor should they come from? It's fairly obvious that the cash donations could be entered as an "Anonymous" donation, but should I attempt to enter donors based on checks that people write? That could quickly become a nightmare based on the number of "single time" donors that we may have, but there will be members of the ward (like myself) that may benefit from the bookkeeping. No slips of any kind have been included in the envelope.

As a side question, both the cubs and older scouts are participating in this. We are dividing up the money based on the number of scouts that help. I'm thinking it would be easiest to enter all of the donations to the "scout camp" subcategory and then do a transfer of the relevant amount to the cub's "day camp" category or vice versa. Is this allowed or is there an easier way to do this?

Thanks in advance for your advice. :)

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Postby aebrown » Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:03 pm

oregonmatt wrote:Our scouts are embarking on their approved annual fundraiser tomorrow, where they are collecting Christmas trees for recycling. They have distributed envelopes stamped with the troop number to every house in the ward boundaries with printed instructions to attach it to the tree or place it on their front door with their donation.

As a newly called financial clerk, I am aware that these donations go into our "Other" category for scout camp, but what donor should they come from? It's fairly obvious that the cash donations could be entered as an "Anonymous" donation, but should I attempt to enter donors based on checks that people write? That could quickly become a nightmare based on the number of "single time" donors that we may have, but there will be members of the ward (like myself) that may benefit from the bookkeeping. No slips of any kind have been included in the envelope.


Since those who contribute to the fund-raiser are getting a service for their money, it is not a tax-deductible donation. Furthermore, all payments to the "Other" category are specifically excluded from the year-end Official Tax Statement. So there's not a lot of benefit to the individual donors in making separate donation slips for each person.

However, one scenario where it could be helpful is if any of the checks bounce. In that case, you'll be told the name of the person who wrote the check and the amount, but you'll have to be able to go into MLS to cancel that portion of the donation attributable to the bounced check. You need to make sure that you will have some way to make that connection so that you can properly cancel the donation.

But if you have some other means of matching up checks to donors, you could just create a miscellaneous donor like "Christmas Tree Project" and enter all the donations for that one donor.

oregonmatt wrote:As a side question, both the cubs and older scouts are participating in this. We are dividing up the money based on the number of scouts that help. I'm thinking it would be easiest to enter all of the donations to the "scout camp" subcategory and then do a transfer of the relevant amount to the cub's "day camp" category or vice versa. Is this allowed or is there an easier way to do this?


I think that you have hit on the most practical way to handle this. It is straightforward, and the single transfer leaves a reasonable audit trail. That's how I would handle it (and have done in a very similar situation in the past).

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Postby Mikerowaved » Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:25 pm

To raise camp funds, our troop posts US flags in people's yards for select holidays and last year for the first time we lumped all the donations into a single anonymous donation because of many of the reasons stated above. However as much of a hassle as it is, I will be going back to individual slips from now on for the following reasons:

1. Because of a change in leadership, there was some confusion over who had donated and who had not, and unfortunately this was the first year I couldn't rely on MLS to easily sort it out.

2. We try to keep a map that includes the names and addresses of all who reside in our rather small ward boundary. The map is used by the Bishop, emergency prep leader, and ward mission leader. Since many of the nonmembers in our boundary enjoy contributing to the scouts (and receiving a service in return), their checks provide us a good way to double check this information.

3. Some of the donations are in cash and are handled by both youth and adults alike before finally getting turned in, often times not until several weeks after it's collected. Keeping individual records provides a better check that all the funds were properly turned in. (A member who had paid for his flags in cash asked me why his contribution did not show up on his YTD summary as it had in the past. He was concerned that it somehow didn't make it all the way into the camp fund. I explained to him that we handled the funds differently this past year, but when pressed, I could not testify to him that his donation was recorded with the rest. This put me in a rather uncomfortable position.)
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

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Postby jbh001 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:44 am

Alan_Brown wrote:However, one scenario where it could be helpful is if any of the checks bounce.
Another scenario, and more important, is if the funds need to be returned to the donor for whatever reason. Checks can be returned. With cash it is more difficult to determine the donor unless a donation slip is included with the cash.

Even though it requires more work on the front end, having a donation slip for each donor makes this a lot easier if the donation ever needs to be returned, because there is an audit trail that can be retraced.

As much as possible, I would fill out a donation slip for every contribution where the donor and amount are known.

RETURNING FUNDS ONLY APPLIES TO DONATIONS MADE TO THE "OTHER" ACCOUNT.

DONATIONS TO TITHING, FAST OFFERINGS, WARD MISSIONARIES, ETC. IMMEDIATELY BECOME THE PROPERTY OF THE CHURCH AND CANNOT BE RETURNED.

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Postby mfmohlma » Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:59 pm

jbh001 wrote:Another scenario, and more important, is if the funds need to be returned to the donor for whatever reason.


I understand the returned check scenario, but I'm having a hard time coming up with another reason someone would want their money back from a fundraiser. I guess it all depends on the project. In our case, it is a one-time tree pickup. The service was rendered and the donation was made. If the person's tree is gone, I'd certainly have to give them a hard time if they wanted their money back. ;) It might be more applicable in the case of the holiday flag project where someone might want to cancel halfway through the year or get their money back if they were missed.

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Postby RossEvans » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:20 pm

oregonmatt wrote:I understand the returned check scenario, but I'm having a hard time coming up with another reason someone would want their money back from a fundraiser. I guess it all depends on the project. In our case, it is a one-time tree pickup. The service was rendered and the donation was made. If the person's tree is gone, I'd certainly have to give them a hard time if they wanted their money back. ;) It might be more applicable in the case of the holiday flag project where someone might want to cancel halfway through the year or get their money back if they were missed.


The problem arises when the funds raised exceed the cost of the single scout camp -- the only allowable purpose of the fundraising. Accumulating surpluses in Other Accounts are not allowed. The surplus is supposed to be returned to the contibutors.

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Postby mfmohlma » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:02 pm

boomerbubba wrote:The problem arises when the funds raised exceed the cost of the single scout camp


Thank you for your optimism. I'll gladly cross that bridge if I come to it. :)

boomerbubba wrote:Accumulating surpluses in Other Accounts are not allowed. The surplus is supposed to be returned to the contibutors.


I know this, but in this kind of scenario, who would get the money if it is partially but mostly used? The refund directive seems to only be doable in the case where the Other account is truly used as a passthrough account, as in the case of payment for a specific Enrichment project where the person changes their mind about it, etc. Direction for the single allowed fundraiser seems to be missing. I'd hate to have to write a hundred checks for $1.50 each...

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Postby aebrown » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:58 pm

boomerbubba wrote:The problem arises when the funds raised exceed the cost of the single scout camp -- the only allowable purpose of the fundraising. Accumulating surpluses in Other Accounts are not allowed. The surplus is supposed to be returned to the contibutors.


I've never seen a policy where a surplus is to be returned to contributors to fundraising activities. If the scouts actually make payments for the camp itself, and the camp costs less than is raised, then the excess is to be returned to those who paid, but I don't see how that policy applies to those who make payments for the services involved in a fund-raiser.

I also think that you are reading the policy on surpluses a bit narrowly -- as I read it, as long as funds are to be used for the specific purpose, raised funds don't have to all be used in a particular calendar year or for a particular instance of the purpose.

But I raise that possibility not to get into a debate on the meaning of the policy, but simply to mention that there are other possible interpretations. Local leaders and auditors have the responsibility for making the definitive interpretations of the written policy for their particular units.

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Postby jdlessley » Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:03 pm

oregonmatt wrote:I know this, but in this kind of scenario, who would get the money if it is partially but mostly used? The refund directive seems to only be doable in the case where the Other account is truly used as a passthrough account, as in the case of payment for a specific Enrichment project where the person changes their mind about it, etc. Direction for the single allowed fundraiser seems to be missing. I'd hate to have to write a hundred checks for $1.50 each...
As you described the fundraiser in your scenario you expect to have known and unknown contributors. You can only return funds to known contributors. For those people there are two options. They can either request a refund of their contribution or they can designate a charitable category to transfer the funds into. You should honor their wishes even for small amounts. I personally would try to convince them to select the second option. For the unknown contributors the procedure is to write a check to the Corporation of the President. In the “Purpose” field, enter “Surplus ‘Other’ Funds.” Send the check to Disbursing Office, 50 E North Temple St. Rm 1524, Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3612.
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Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

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Postby jdlessley » Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:40 pm

oregonmatt wrote:I know this, but in this kind of scenario, who would get the money if it is partially but mostly used? The refund directive seems to only be doable in the case where the Other account is truly used as a passthrough account, as in the case of payment for a specific Enrichment project where the person changes their mind about it, etc. Direction for the single allowed fundraiser seems to be missing. I'd hate to have to write a hundred checks for $1.50 each...
When I was in a ward in another stake the way the excess for a fund raiser was handled was to write a check to the Corporation of the President and the check was sent to the Disbursing Office, 50 E North Temple St. Rm 1524, Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3612. No effort was made to return funds to anyone. It was just not considered possible to do.

Side note: To help track the check situation for checks returned for insufficient funds a file with the check number, contributor's name, and the contribution amount was kept. When a check was returned then the fund raiser check list was cross checked to see if that was were the check came from. Since I did not actually do this I am not sure how well it worked in regards to doing reconcilliations. This was in the FIS and not MLS days.
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