Do I use my own checks to pay the bills?
As each group is autonomous, this question would be best asked in a group conscience meeting. Some group treasurers use their personal checking accounts and others purchase money orders.
Does my group need a bank account?
Many smaller groups find that it is easier to keep everything on a cash basis and have the treasurer get money orders as needed. However, if checks are ever put into the Seventh Tradition collection, a bank account is necessary. A bank account also helps the group keep track of the money as group members and treasurers come and go. Checks should always be deposited promptly and never passed on as partial payment on a group literature order at WSO.
How do I give receipts for Seventh Tradition donations?
Your group can use any type of cash receipt book available where office supplies are sold. However, money given to the group is generally not going to be tax deductible, and group leaders should never give the impression that it might be.
In the U.S., only contributions to a non-profit organization with 501(c) (3) status are tax deductible. Most groups are non-profit but do not have 501(c) (3) status.
How do we establish review processes and conduct reviews of the financial records?
A finance committee could be created. This will include your treasurer and two other group members to review your financial records every three months.
How do we handle income and expenses?
A ledger to record all income and expenses would be a great way to start. Documenting all transactions will allow reviews to be conducted easily and future treasurers to easily step into their new role.
How do we increase contributions to our service body?
There are many ways to increase contributions within a service body. Many groups have had a Seventh Tradition skit performed at their meeting. Some intergroups have fundraising events like clothing exchanges, basket drawings, garage sales, gratitude pledges, etc. Sharing the Seventh Tradition of OA pamphlet with the topic of self-support is a good meeting topic. Monthly intergroup/service board newsletters include articles about self-support, fundraising efforts, and information on how contributions are used within intergroups, regions, and the WSO. For more ideas, read Budget Guidelines for Service Bodies and Fundraising and Prudent Reserve Guidelines for Groups and Service Bodies.
How do we set travel OR per diem policies, especially for travel to Regional events and WSBC?
Some intergroup/service boards follow the Internal Revenue Service guidelines for charitable mileage reimbursement. The expense policies are established through group conscience at an intergroup meeting. Looking at past expenses for travel may help the intergroup/service board set some boundaries, and the intergroup/service board treasurer may be able to share what other intergroup/service boards have done with their travel policies.
How often should I distribute excess funds to other service bodies and WSO?
Your group should decide this, keeping in mind their prudent reserve requirement. Many groups have chosen to send donations quarterly. Often, donations are split using a 60/30/10 formula, with 60% of contributions to intergroup/service board, 30% to WSO, and 10% to region. As with frequency of contributions, this is a matter for your group conscience.
There are a few meetings affiliated with our intergroup/service board that make no contributions to WSO, region, or service board/intergroup. How do I approach this issue to see what’s going on?
Your intergroup/service board treasurer can get actively involved with all the group treasurers so that oversight of group contributions is easier. Voicemail or email contact can facilitate this process. The intergroup treasurer can visit non-contributing meetings and share about self-support and read from the Seventh Tradition of OA pamphlet. Groups that do contribute should be sent acknowledgements or thank you notes for their contributions. Read Fundraising and Prudent Reserve Guidelines for Groups and Service Bodies for more information.
What is a prudent reserve and how do we establish one?
A prudent reserve is an amount of money set aside that can be used to meet operational expenses if contributions decrease. The WSO has a policy for their prudent reserve “not to exceed one year’s operating budget plus outstanding liabilities plus one-time capital expenditures.” Each service body can establish its own prudent reserve policy. It’s common for a prudent reserve to cover a three-month period. Refer to Budget Guidelines for Service Bodies and Fundraising and Prudent Reserve Guidelines for Groups and Service Bodies.