5. COMMITTEE FINANCES
5-A. Committee Financing
Under the present operating budget, most Yearly Meeting committees have a specific expense line within their section. If a new line is needed, a committee must seek the permission and approval of its coordinating committee. While the coordinating committee is ultimately responsible for all the expense lines within its section and for the financial reporting of same, the work begins within the committees.
Committees are asked to propose their own budgets with appropriate backup information regarding their projected expenditure(s) and send these materials to the coordinating committee. Once all the constituent committee requests are submitted and approved, the coordinating committee approves its total budget request, sending it on to the Financial Services Committee. Subsequently, during Yearly Meeting Summer Sessions, Financial Services frames a draft expense budget for the entire Yearly Meeting, which is then sent to monthly, regional and quarterly meetings in August for seasoning. At Budget Saturday, a day-long meeting hosted by Financial Services which all members of New York Yearly Meeting are welcome to attend, a final proposed expense budget with expected income, including covenant donations, is approved and then printed in the next issue of Spark. This proposed budget is brought to Fall Sessions of the Yearly Meeting for consideration and discernment.
Expenses are managed through a voucher system (see section 5D). Properly prepared and documented vouchers are processed by the Yearly Meeting office before being sent on to the book- keeping firm which does the accounting, prepares the checks, and mails them to the treasurer of the Yearly Meeting. The treasurer then signs the checks and the Yearly Meeting staff distributes them. This generally means a two to four week lag time before the requester receives a check. The process can proceed in a timely fashion if proper documentation and approval accompany the voucher when it is first sent. Reports regarding individual committee spending are sent every other month to coordinating committee clerks, who then send them on to committee clerks. Questions may be addressed to the Yearly Meeting office.
In preparation for a spring meeting of the committee, the clerk or designated person organizes a proposed budget for the next calendar year using the budget request form. Budget request forms will be sent to committee clerks early in each fiscal year, for use during the following year. They will be sent out by the clerk of Financial Services with a letter covering the budget-planning time-table and guidelines for committee clerks. The committee discerns together to approve a proposed budget. A budget is a plan, a statement of intention. But it is not to be taken lightly, nor exceeded. It is sent, with a short written explanation, to the coordinating committee for consideration, ac- cording to the timetable.
The coordinating committee considers all the committee requests and any other items in the section. The coordinating committee looks at the overall preliminary budget and may adjust the numbers to allow changes in priorities of the section. The section’s preliminary budget is sent to Financial Services Committee so that an overall preliminary budget can be reported at the appro-priate business session. After budget approval at Fall Sessions (Sharing Fund goals are reported in July), the committee, with coordinating committee approval, may adjust the individual items so that the approved line items equal the anticipated expenditures.
All expenses, especially travel expenses, must be approved in advance by the appropriate committee person—either the committee’s clerk or financial secretary. Because Yearly Meeting funds are limited, Friends are encouraged to seek financial support from their monthly and regional meetings, and take the opportunity to report back to same on their committee’s work.
Individual committees may reallocate expenses within their approved budgets, but may not exceed their budget line. A committee may not exceed its budget line unless it has brought the matter to the attention of the coordinating committee responsible for its care. In such a case, the coordinating committee may be able to find another committee within its section that agrees to under-spend its budget line, transferring the funds to the first committee. Therefore, commit- tees may agree to under-spend budget lines if monies are needed to pay for unforeseen expenses in another account. The account actually charged should reflect the nature of the expense rather than the identity of the requestor or the beneficiary. A written request for the adjustment between accounts should be provided to both the Administrative Secretary and the Treasurer.
Referring to our Handbook: Friends are reminded that no one should be prevented from doing the work of the Yearly Meeting because of financial limitations. However, New York Yearly Meeting’s funds need to be used frugally and equitably. It is important to be mindful that every dollar spent for committee work has to be raised from individuals‚ contributions from monthly and regional meetings and the Yearly Meeting.
Friends who are able to pay their own travel expenses, wholly or in part, are expected to do so. Keep in mind that documenting un-reimbursed expenses serves the purpose of deducting them on income tax returns if deductions are itemized.
Reimbursable expenses include the cost of travel at the most reasonable fare. Friends are urged to seek approval for travel reimbursement prior to making travel arrangements, since funds are limited. When traveling by air, Friends are asked to contact the Yearly Meeting office for the contact information of a Friends travel agent who will ensure that the lowest possible fare is obtained and who will bill the Yearly Meeting directly, not the individual. Changes in travel arrangements, if necessary, are more easily facilitated by following this procedure. The cost of reasonable meals and lodging (including Powell House) may also be reimbursed, as may copying, mailing, and telephone expenses.
Please note that all vouchers for any purpose must be accompanied by receipts for expenses claimed. In some cases, committee minutes have been written authorizing payment of funds and these must also be included with the voucher. Finally, the voucher must be approved by the clerk of the committee. Note that the person approving the voucher must not be the person receiving the money or a member of the person’s family or household. In that situation the approver must be the appropriate Friend as outlined in #4 below.
If essential documentation or approval does not accompany the voucher, there will be a delay in payment until the necessary process is complete.
- A voucher system has been set up to assure that all payments are properly charged.
- Vouchers for payment of expenses and instructions for their use are available from the Yearly Meeting office or web site.
- For any payment, the committee member should fill out completely a copy of the section-specific voucher. Attach original receipts and/or other substantiating information and any appropriate minute. Also see “Guidelines for Travel Expense Support.”
- Committee members then send this packet to the committee clerk. The committee clerk approves the reimbursement, makes a copy of all materials for their own records and sends the originals on to the Yearly Meeting office. (Vouchers must be approved by the person with the spending authority for a particular account. If your committee has a financial secretary, find out if the voucher goes to that person or the committee clerk.) Individuals may not approve their own expenditures, or those of a relative or significant other. Thus the clerk of a committee must submit their vouchers with substantiating information to the coordinating committee clerk. Coordinating committee clerks must have their vouchers signed and approved by the General Services clerk or the New York Yearly Meeting clerk.
- Once approved, the voucher and accompanying materials are mailed to the Yearly Meeting office. Please note: bills will not be paid without a completed voucher, substantiating materials and the approval of the appropriate clerk.
- The bookkeeping service prepares checks bimonthly. All correctly processed vouchers received in the Yearly Meeting office by the last business day of the month will be processed and a check mailed by the fifteenth day of the following month. Those received by the fifteenth day of the month will be processed and a check mailed by the last business day of the month.
- If the payment is a donation to another organization, attach a transmittal letter or the check will be sent to the clerk to forward.
- For checks written for purposes other than expense reimbursement, i.e., for scholarships, the Social Security number of the individual is required by the IRS.
- Periodic financial reports are prepared by the bookkeeping service and will be sent regularly to coordinating committee clerks, who should carefully match these reports with records of approved vouchers to ensure agreement with Yearly Meeting records. CC clerks then send the reports on to the committee clerks for further verification of correctness.
Please note once more—if the necessary documentation or approval does not accompany the voucher, there will be a delay in payment until the proper process is complete.
5-E. Funding from Outside Sources
This is a policy statement on Requests by Yearly Meeting Committees for Funding from Sources Outside of the Yearly Meeting, originally approved by Representative Meeting in 1980. The current version date is at the end of this document. It is applicable to all Yearly Meeting committees. Separately incorporated organizations related to NYYM are encouraged to develop their own guidelines for seeking outside funding. When the outside funding is the result of an endowment or special bequest to NYYM, and an existing or special NYYM committee or task group is required to manage and utilize these types of funds, this is a special situation not restricted by the following Yearly Meeting Guidelines for Funding from Outside Sources. However, all NYYM committees and programs, no matter their source of funding, work within the guidelines of the YM authority and structure.
Friends are committed to expressing faith in action. We show our commitment by putting our own time, our own energy, and our own money into activities that demonstrate our beliefs. New York Yearly Meeting funds its concerns in part through the Yearly Meeting Operating Budget and trust funds of the Yearly Meeting, and the rest from the Sharing Fund. Money to do this comes from our Operating Budget, trust funds of the Yearly Meeting, the Sharing Fund, and from individual friends. Occasionally a committee many consider seeking outside funding to meet a need that seems beyond our financial resources at the time. This outside funding should be for the short-term, an immediate solution to a problem rather than a permanent part of our financial structure. If the need is projected to continue beyond a one- to two-year span or persists after that time, then Friends should give thought to meeting that need within our budget structure. Funding that is needed beyond a one- to two-year horizon should be sought only after careful consideration and seasoning to determine how meeting these needs can fit into the spiritual and financial structure of the Yearly Meeting.
Because of the danger that seeking outside funding may become an end in itself and become too large a portion of the Yearly Meeting Operating Budget, and the possibility that projects funded by such grants may become primarily interested in their own survival, it is important that there be clear guidelines for the grant applications. The following considerations should precede requests for outside funding:
- A clear definition of the project should be developed by the originating group, showing the aims, the amount of money needed (according to budget categories, not just total), the time for the project’s completion, and the disposition of the project once the portion to be funded is completed.
- Friends should be clear on the nature of the organization from which funds are being requested.
- Grants should be requested in the name of New York Yearly Meeting. They should be administered in such a way as to maintain the project’s Quaker origin, character, and identity and to thought of as New York Yearly Meeting projects.
- For any staff to be added as a result of project expansion due to outside funding, the Personnel Committee of the General Services Section shall review and must approve the proposed job descriptions, supervisions, salary, etc., for consistency with the Yearly Meeting personnel policies.
- Certain projects supported by Yearly Meeting funds may be encouraged to seek independent status or other affiliation, in order that they may continue to grow and that the way may be open for Yearly Meeting committees to venture forth into other areas of endeavor. Such modifications should be made by the originating group in consultation with the section coordinating committee and the Financial Services Committee.
- The proposal developed in accordance with the guidelines above shall be considered by the appropriate section coordinating committee. It shall be considered first on its merits, then for its relationship to other funding interests of committees in the section and for the appropriateness of seeking outside funding. If the coordinating committee approves, the proposal will be presented to the General Services Coordinating Committee and the NYYM Trustees for approval or further seasoning on issues including, but not limited to, insurance, payroll, liability, taxes, employment status, and other possible legal issues.
- All money from grants will be held by the Yearly Meeting treasurer in a project- specific fund. The treasurer will have the responsibility for proper administration of these funds.
- Responsibility for oversight of the funded project rests with the committee that originated it, and its general oversight with the section coordinating committee.
Revised and approved by General Services Coordinating Committee, January 28, 2012