Handling Group Expenses
By Nancy March
Ramona, California, USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 36 No. 1, February-March 2000, p. 12
As a Leader, have you ever wondered just what expenses you can expect your Group to cover? Postage for mailing meeting notices? Attendance at workshops, conferences and Human Relations Enrichment sessions? The latest edition of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, of the LEADER'S HANDBOOK? And what about thank-you gifts for your hostess and Group workers, or congratulatory gifts for members who've just had a new baby?
The 1998 LEADER'S HANDBOOK Pages 152-53 states:
"Group funds should be used for regular La Leche League (LLL) activities that benefit mothers and babies. A Group's assets do not belong to the Leaders or members but to LLL. Money should be used to further LLL's goals. This may include:
- Books and pamphlets for the Group Library
- Books and pamphlets for resale
- Group supplies from La Leche League International (New Mother Cards, Leader Log Sheets, etc.)
- Other Group supplies (posterboard, plastic for book covers, file cards, etc.)
- Telephone charges
- Copy services
- Registration fees for workshops and conferences
- Group affiliation fees
- Leader dues
Decisions regarding the appropriate use of Group funds should be made jointly by Group co-Leaders. Leader Applicants, Group workers and members can offer suggestions but managing Group funds is a Leader responsibility."
Co-Leaders can meet on a regular basis (annually, semiannually or quarterly) to make these decisions. A word of caution: if you are planning on doing fund-raising activities, decide what the moneys raised will be used for before you hold your activity. Be specific about your goals, such as to use the proceeds from the fund-raiser to pay for conference registration for Leaders and Leader Applicants; to buy new books for the Group Library; or to cover the cost of copying meeting notices and postage to mail them, etc.
Coming to a consensus before the money is in the bank account is often much easier than after the fact, when people's assumptions about how the money will be spent have had time to settle in.
Some might think "That's great, but how does a Group pay for these if you are barely able to pay Group affiliation fees to LLLI (or Affiliate)?" If a Group can just barely cover its affiliation fees, the co- Leaders of the Group will need to discuss exactly what other Group expenses can be covered.
Books and pamphlets for the Group Library will probably be considered "must cover" items due to their importance in helping the mothers in the Group. Books and pamphlets for resale bring in money so these will probably be covered as well.
Group supplies can be pared down to the minimum needed. Subscription information for new members or renewals can be sent to LLLI on three-by five-inch index cards. Some Groups may find they can do without new mother cards and may find alternatives to purchasing Leader log sheets, such as using index cards or a spiral notebook. Information from pages 14 through 16 in the LEADER'S HANDBOOK can help a Leader design her own logging system.
Most postage expenses can be avoided if Leaders have announcements or meeting notices ready to hand out in person at meetings. Rural Leaders may find long distance phone charges impossible to avoid, but Leaders in the United States may want to consider different long distance calling plans to maximize funds spent on long distance phone calls.
Other expenses such as registration fees for workshops or conferences and Leader dues may have to be absorbed by the Leaders themselves, if they are not willing or able to plan fundraising activities to cover them.
Managing a Group costs money, but with a little fundraising, cooperation and creativity, these expenses don't have to put a strain on the Group's finances.