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Rules for Club Finances

 

The following section outlines the rules that are mandatory for all public clubs (open or restricted) that collect any kind of fees or funds  - regardless of their source or collection frequency. The rules do not apply to corporate clubs, which should follow their companies'  policies in terms of finances.

Definitions

 

"Club site"  is defined as the club's online presence, which may be a website, a social media page or group, a forum, etc.

"Approval by the members" is defined as an explicit approval of a specific spending proposal of at least 50%+1 of all registered members of a club. The proposal must include:

  • The exact purpose of the operation
  • The minimum and maximum amounts allowed
  • The minimum and maximum timeframe for execution from the date of approval, where the maximum timeframe cannot exceed one year.

This approval may be received through any of the following means:

  • A direct secret vote during a meeting. OR
  • Enough (50%+1) individual written approvals gathered from members during a period of no longer than two weeks from the moment the proposal is announced. Written approvals may be submitted in any phyisical or electronic way as long as the submitter can be reliably identified.

"Operating costs"  are those costs that are inevitable for the regular operation of the club, and include:

  • Venue rental for the duration of the meeting.
  • Rental of equipment used during the meeting : computers, microphones, projectors, etc.
  • Maintenance and repair costs of existing equiipment.
  • Setup and post-meeting costs (preparation, cleaning, etc.)
  • Office supplies and consumables (paper, pens, photocopies, printer ink or toner for printing evaluation forms, etc)
  • Stationery (business cards, badges, welcome packs, pins, banners, etc.)
  • Financial costs such as bank transfer fees, account maintenance fees, taxes, etc.
  • Costs arising from the local legal obligations of a club (insurances, legal registration, legal bookkeeping, etc.)

Examples of non-operating costs:

  • Permanent purchases of equipment
  • Costs for organizing special events, parties or workshops.
  • Costs for inviting paid speakers or trainers.
  • Support for sending a club contest winner to a remote contest.

 

Financial Rules

  1. Clubs may decide to charge any amount they consider appropriate, with whatever frequency they need, and can receive funds from any third parties provided that all the following rules are observed.
     
  2. Clubs charging fees must have a Treasurer officer, different from the President.
     
  3. The amount and periodicity of the club fees collected from members must be publicly visible on all club sites.
     
  4. Club funds may not be used for the personal profit or benefit of any member. Usage of funds must always comply with the local legal requirements for non-profits. In case of conflict between the local legislation and these rules, the most restrictive one will apply.
     
  5. Club fees collected from members may not be discriminatory : all members must pay the same fees. The following exceptions are allowed:
    • People belonging to special low-income or minority collectives may be offered a discount or free membership. Eg: students, pensioners, unemployed, ethnic minorities, refugees, etc. We reserve the right to examine these situations and ask them to be removed if we feel a club is abusing this definition and turning it into a discriminatory membership fee (eg: a club that defines 'white males' as a 'minority collective' )
       
    • For clubs that operate in a language that is not an official language of the country (Eg: an English Speaking Club operating in Spain), native speakers of that language may be offered a discount or free membership.
       
    • Any professionals in the areas of public speaking and leadership may be offered a discount or free membership if they routinely perform evaluations, workshops or mentoring during club meetings.
       
  6. The club must keep detailed club finances published on all club sites at least once every six months.This information should be available to all Agora members worldwide. These finances can be something as simple as an Excel file detailing incomes and expenses or something as complicated as a complete accounting report, but in any case it must be completely clear how specifically the membership fees are being used. Apart from an aggregated format, club expenses must also be available in a non-aggregated, detailed format. The detailed format must include, for each transaction, at least the following:
    • Date,
    • Amount spent or received,
    • Source (for fees or donations) or provider (for purchases of goods or services).
    • Purpose or reason for the transaction. (For purchases of goods or services - the specifics of the product or service bought)
  7. Guests and other Agora members may not be charged for visiting the club during regular sessions. During non-regular sessions, such as special events, meetings with invited guets speakers, workshops, etc. a previously publcly announced one-time fee may be charged for attendance,. This one-time fee must be announced at the same time as the announcement of the non-regular session.
     
  8. Clubs may not accumulate funds in excess of the equivalent cost of 2 years of operating costs, unless authorized by the members, and only for specific, budgeted purposes. This authorization must be renewed yearly. 
     
  9. Any usage of more than 1/3rd of the club's funds (taking as a baseline amount the funds available at the beginning of the Fiscal Year) for non-operating purposes will require approval by members, regardless of whether that 1/3 is reached by means of a single transaction or cumulatively. More specifically, any transaction whose amount, added to the amount of non-operating expenses since the beginning of the Fiscal Year exceeds 1/3rd of the club's initial funds must obtain approval by members, unless that transaction is part of a previously approved budgeted proposal, and the amount of the transaction is within the approved range.

    Some examples.

     

    • A club starts the FY with $1000 (1/3 = $333). The president wants to buy a projector for $400.  $400 > $333, so the purchase must be approved by the members. After getting the approval, the president wants to buy a microphone for $15.  Since the cumulative cost of the purchases $400+$15 > $333, that transaction must also be approved. In fact, the rule does mean that after spending 1/3 of all club funds, every single non-operating spending must be approved.
       
    • A club starts the FY with $1000 (1/3 = $333). The president buys 10 mircophones for $30 each (cumulative cost: $300).  A bit later, he wants to buy a lectern for $50. That transaction must be approved by members, since the cumulative cost of the lectern and the previous purchases would be $350, which exceeds the 1/3rd rule.
       
    • A club starts the FY with $1000 (1/3 = $333). The president presents and gets approval a plan for organizing a contest with a budget of $600.  He proceeds to buy a projector for $400 and 10 microphones for $10 - a total of $500. None of these transactions require approval. Then he wants to buy a set of books, valued at $50, for the club. This transaction has to be approved,since the total cumulative cost is $550 ( > $333), and this transaction is not related to the contest.
       
    • A club starts the FY with $1000 (1/3 = $333). The president presents and gets approval a plan for organizing a contest with a budget of $600.  He proceeds to buy a projector for $400 and wants to buy 10 microphones for $25. Buying the microphones would result in total non-operating costs of $650 - above the previously approved budget - so members must approve that transaction.

     
  10. Clubs may not accept anonymous donations, or donations from third parties whose ideology or actions run against Agora Speakers International's ideals, principles, mission and goals.
     
  11. Clubs may not hire employees.
     
  12. All goods or services purchased by the club must be for the operation of the club itself. Clubs may not use funds for any operations whose sole purpose is increasing the funds of the club. In particular, the clubs may not engage in investment activities of any kind, including securities, commodities, foreign exchange, futures, options contracts and real estate, regardless of whether they are publicly traded or not.
     
  13. Any spending or financial approval that club members might give will last for at most one year. When the year is over, another vote will be necessary to extend the approval for the next year.
     
  14. Upon dissolution of a club, all remaining funds must be donated to a legally-recognized charity approved by the members. If no agreement can be reached, then the funds will be donated to Agora Speakers International.
     
  15. Any assets that clubs acquire must be used exclusively by club members or meeting guests, for club-related activities aligned with the mission and purpose of Agora. Such usage of acquired assets may not be subject to additional charges.
     
  16. These rules may change from time to time. Clubs must be compliant with the new rules within six months of the change.
     

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Page last modified on Thursday February 14, 2019 09:57:12 CET by agora.