Managing money is a key part of running a student group. Treasurers should be taking a lead on managing money, however, all committee members should have a general understanding of the financial situation of your club or society. We have put together this page to provide you with some advice and templates that you can use to stay on top of your student group's finance.
Plan out your year
Plan out your year using the Student Group Development Plan 2020/21
This will help you plan out what you want to do during the academic year and help you set financial goals to work towards.
Track your spending
Get accustomed to your finances by tracking it. Work out where your money went last year and then keep on top of tracking it this year. You don’t want to overspend and go overdrawn, nor do you want to be so frugal that you don’t offer any activities for your members.
We have a template budget spreadsheet to help keep track of clubs or socs finances, which you may find helpful for this activity.
We also have a guide on how to read your subs account ledger.
At the start of the year, your treasurer could make a budget forecast and predict your student groups' financial year. You can do this by taking into account the financial year you had last year (including number of members, spending from last year and sources of income from last year), and the plans you have for this year. This gives all committee members a visual guide of what you are aiming for.
We have a template budget forecast template which you may find helpful for this activity.
You should also budget throughout the year. By tracking your spending and income as you go, you will have an accurate picture of your student group's financial situation. You may find that you have more money than you anticipated from your budget forecast and can therefore afford to put on more activities, or you may find that you need to cut back a bit or charge members more to attend activities.
You do not need to leave money for next year’s committee, however you can leave some if you think this would be beneficial and will not detrimentally impact your current members experience. You must not leave your committee in a negative figure.
Consult with your members and listen to what they have to say regarding the cost of activities. Where possible, try and adjust your activities based on their feedback.
- After consulting with members, you may find members are happy to spend an extra pound each for an activity if it means the activity can happen more frequently
- After consulting with members, you may find members are put off from attending events due to a high cost. Think if there is any way you can cut the costs at all.
- After consulting with members, you may find members are keen for a certain product, such as a hoodie. You could use the sales of this product as a way of making a small profit which could then contribute towards another activity or event.
In our student group survey in June 2019, we found that 2?0% of those surveyed said that the membership did not live up their expectations. Others commented that they did not know where their membership fee was spent or felt that there hidden costs within the club or society.
Members should not expect to get everything for free within your student group. However, below are some tips we have put together to prevent your members feeling like there are hidden costs.
What can you do to prevent members feeling like this?
- Be more transparent about what your membership goes towards and additional costs before members join. For sports clubs, be clear that SAM is an additional, compulsory fee. Being transparent will help with those who have unrealistic expectations of what they can get from their membership and more likely to increase the satisfaction of members
- Be clear about what is not included in your membership. For example, “Once you are a member, you can purchase one of our hoodies that are only £20”. This can also help manage unrealistic expectations.
- Members will have to pay for things throughout the year, this is normal.However, you should explain this to members before they purchase their membership. You can also remind members of this when running an event. Break down why members are being asked to pay for a ticket. It is likely that without their input, the event couldn't take place. Explain this.
- Update your homepage on the SU website to make it clear what the membership fee contributes towards.
- Make a handout to give out at sports and societies fair so potential members are clear on all costs before purchasing a membership. You could breakdown what the membership fee will get you (e.g. access to events and activities we run), what membership fees are spent on (e.g. 50% contributes towards events we run), and any additional costs that you may be offered if joining your club or society (e.g. we sell hoodies to our members that cost £20)
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