Collecting funds for Singles Conference via Paypal

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kylehart
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Collecting funds for Singles Conference via Paypal

Postby kylehart » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:02 pm

My stake will be hosting a singles conference soon with members from multiple wards in the stake and others outside the stake participating.

There are registration fees required to cover the costs of the conference.

We want to handle the funds correctly and are thinking of setting up a sub category under Other:AMFA.

We'd like to direct everybody to register online and pay via paypal (or some other service, but I think Paypal would work best) and then cut one large check from paypal to the ward, depostiting it in that category and then reimbursing costs (or paying for the conference) from that Other sub category account.

Is it legitimate to use paypal for this purpose? Members of the ward can of course pay directly via a donation envelope and donation slip, but it would be much easier for the conference if we directed everybody to register and pay via the web. Surely this has come up before. Any issues using paypal for this?

We plan to see if we can set up an organizational account on paypal (a charitable one if allowed) so it's not just going into somebody's personal paypal account.

Thanks

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:47 pm

kylehart wrote:We want to handle the funds correctly and are thinking of setting up a sub category under Other:AMFA.


That would be the correct procedure for handling such pass-through funds.

kylehart wrote:We'd like to direct everybody to register online and pay via paypal (or some other service, but I think Paypal would work best) and then cut one large check from paypal to the ward, depostiting it in that category and then reimbursing costs (or paying for the conference) from that Other sub category account.

Is it legitimate to use paypal for this purpose? Members of the ward can of course pay directly via a donation envelope and donation slip, but it would be much easier for the conference if we directed everybody to register and pay via the web. Surely this has come up before. Any issues using paypal for this?


I don't see how a PayPal account could be appropriate. Note that the audit instructions say: "Bank accounts: The only authorized checking account is the unit checking account. ... Savings accounts are not authorized." I know that PayPal sound like it would be efficient, but I think you need to stick with payments made in the normal way to priesthood leaders.
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JimMcKeeth
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Postby JimMcKeeth » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:07 pm

Another issue with using PayPal is that PayPal takes a fee with each transaction. So while it may be convenient, it would be redirecting funds away from their intended purpose. I would think that to properly account for that you would need to track that fee in the MLS system, which would be rather complicated.

atticusewig
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Postby atticusewig » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:54 am

I believe that the person who benefits most from the convenience should pay for it.
In this case it would probably be the clerk. So in this case, if the charge for the
conference is $20 per person, and the paypal takes $1 per transaction, then the
clerk would make up the difference with personal funds.

Of course, it is up to local priesthood direction. The funds for the paypal "take"
could be paid via a check to the unit out of the budget and deposited with the
paypal check.

Example: 20 people register with paypal for $20 each; Paypal takes $1 per transaction
and deposits $19. The check from paypal would be $19 x 20 = $380 and
the unit (or the clerk from his own funds) would have to write a check to the unit
for $20 for "Paypal transaction fees". When Depositing these checks, it is important
that you do not use a donor called "Donor", "Collected Funds", or "Anonymous",
but rather enter the checks on the right side, and enter each donor on the
left with their $20 fee under the "Other" category for the conference. You hit
New Slip after each donor's record of payment is recorded until everyone is recorded. This
way you have multiple slips attributed to the two checks, and you have a list
of all the people who paid the conference fee in MLS.

It can be done, but I believe that Alan is probably right that PayPal would be an unauthorized
bank account, or at the least could be seen as a misuse of Budget funds to pay unnecessary
convience fees. Of course, the benefits of higher turnout might outweigh these concerns.
I would encourage some serious prayerfull consideration by the proper priesthood leadership
prior to implementing it. It is, however, not as complicated as it would appear at first glance.

- Atticus

kylehart
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Postby kylehart » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:27 am

atticusewig wrote:I believe that the person who benefits most from the convenience should pay for it.
In this case it would probably be the clerk. So in this case, if the charge for the
conference is $20 per person, and the paypal takes $1 per transaction, then the
clerk would make up the difference with personal funds.
I'm sure we could debate that :). In this case, people from all over the country would be attending the conference. Paypal would be highly convenient for them.

It can be done, but I believe that Alan is probably right that PayPal would be an unauthorized
bank account, or at the least could be seen as a misuse of Budget funds to pay unnecessary
convience fees. Of course, the benefits of higher turnout might outweigh these concerns.
I would encourage some serious prayerfull consideration by the proper priesthood leadership
prior to implementing it. It is, however, not as complicated as it would appear at first glance.

- Atticus

I'm more concerned about the "unauthorized bank account" aspect. If it's indeed an authorized method of accepting funds for a ward sponsored activity, then the paypal fees would be necessary vendor fees just like any other aspect of the conference (caterers, venue rentals etc). The paypal fee would be built into the conference budget and not a cost the ward would pay out of other funds.

I apprecaite the responses to this. I was also originally leaning against paypal for this but that's the preference of the conference committee (and paypal seems to be the standard nationwide for these church singles conferences). I'll escalate this to our local priesthood leadership to get their thoughts. Thanks everybody.

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Postby jbh001 » Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:15 pm

I thought adding and withdrawing funds from a PayPal account could only be done through a checking of savings account. I wasn't aware that PayPal could cut checks. I though that ability essentially disappeared when they discontinued their bill pay service several years ago. If all that is correct, then that means that the funds collected via PayPal are, at some point, going to have to be deposited electronically into someone's bank account so that a check or other withdrawal can be made and given to the ward/stake that is processing the funds for the activity.

This whole process sounds rather complex and difficult to audit.

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Postby jonesrk » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:00 pm

Why not have each ward collect the funds and then each ward (or stake for the other stakes) can make one check out to the hosting stake along with a list of those that have paid?
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:25 pm

I'm not sure how our last one was handled, but in the past the singles have snail-mailed the check to the stake putting on the activity.

For those with no checkbook, but a bill pay service, I suppose they could have a check cut and snail mailed to the stake president, although I'm not sure how the payment would be matched to the registration form.
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nbflint
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Postby nbflint » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:51 pm

Here is the process as explained on PayPal's website (using the Send Money Now option):

1.All you need to send money is the recipient's email address or mobile number.
2.The recipient gets an email or text notification. To withdraw the money, they log in to PayPal or sign up in minutes.
3.Recipients in the US can withdraw the money by:
Spending it online
Transferring it to a bank
Requesting a check
Using a PayPal Debit Card

The cost of sending $100 via PayPal's send now to "Friend and Family" is:
Fee if you pay with:
PayPal Balance: FREE
Bank Account: FREE
Credit/Debit Card: 3.20 USD

To me, the convenience here is solely for the conference registrant. Accepting payment by any means other than a check and donation slip complicates the process for the clerk; it doesn't make it easier for them. I'd rather process the donation as a matter of course during a weekly donation than have to worry about accounting for a third-party system. If I'm the clerk I push strongly to have the gathering of the donations performed by the conference committee and turned in to me as a set of donations/slips.


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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:13 pm

nbflint wrote:If I'm the clerk I push strongly to have the gathering of the donations performed by the conference committee and turned in to me as a set of donations/slips.


Although I agree with much of what you said, I don't agree with this last sentence. I see no reason why this conference would change the standard rules for handling funds: money is given to priesthood leaders. I liked the earlier suggestion to have wards (meaning bishoprics) collect funds, and then pass them on to the stake. Or funds can be given directly to a member of the stake presidency. But it's not a good idea to have anyone else collect funds. That would be an obvious audit problem, for the good reason that it would create unnecessary risks for donors and those handling funds.
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