Club Budgeting

The regular semester budget and discretionary processes utilized in non-Covid semesters will not be taking place for Spring 2021. In the Fall 2020 semester, the SGA changed the typical budget process to better accommodate the flexibility necessary in a virtual semester. This worked well for clubs and the SGA, so the rolling process will continue into Spring 2021 with a few changes. Please see this PowerPoint for the review of the SGA’s Fall 2020 spending and refer to this Senate Resolution for confirmation of the process for Spring 2021.

For Spring 2021:

  • Each club will be guaranteed $1000 in SGA funding. To spend this budget, you may submit requests via this form starting from the beginning of the spring semester. These requests can come in at any time once classes begin and must adhere to the budget guidelines.
  • Requests up to $500 will undergo a 3-day asynchronous review process in a Slack channel.
  • Requests over $500 will be discussed at virtual Senate meetings by the Budget Committee.
  • There will not be a discretionary fund this semester and instead the funds typically reserved for these purchases have been combined with the club budget to create the $1,000 budget for each club. The discretionary fund is typically used for ad hoc purchasing, but the rolling budget process incorporates that flexibility and makes discretionary requests redundant.
  • We are planning to operate entirely on reserves again in this semester with the opportunity to expand funding if we do receive an allocation from the Student Activities Fee. If there is an allocation, we will be able to invest in broader club funding opportunities and in other projects to support the student experience. Those plans will be communicated to the campus if they should arise.

Reserve Funds

In an effort to reduce student fees as much as possible for the fall, the SGA is running entirely off of reserve funds. This means that the previous club budget plan sent out in May is no longer being implemented. It is likely that club plans have changed significantly since that May budget cycle, so hopefully this change in planning presents an opportunity to adapt to these new circumstances.

Fall Budgeting Strategy

We have created a new fall budgeting strategy which will maximize flexibility while also still providing funds for a great club experience. Our goals with this plan are to reduce financial burden on students, allow clubs to pivot throughout the semester, and stay effective in a virtual setting.

 Here is an overview of the plan, with more details below:

  • Club funding will still be divided into budgeted funds and discretionary funds.
  • Clubs budgets will be capped at $300 for the fall semester
  • The discretionary fund may be used to apply for additional funds beyond that budget cap in some circumstances
  • There will not be a strict "budget process" as usual– all budgeting will be done on a rolling basis
  • Beyond club funding, the SGA reserve funds will also support SGA salaries and reduced Executive budgets to maintain our operations. We will continue to advocate for you in this virtual setting.
  • There may be clubs that require reasonable exceptions to these new rules. If you think that may be the case for your club, please reach out to Liz Hay, the Financial Controller, at sga_fc@washcoll.edu to discuss possible alternates.

Club Budgets Details

Clubs are guaranteed funding for regular club events and activities up to $300 for the fall. We encourage you to plan ahead internally, but we will not require a formal plan for the entire semester. Instead, club budgeting will operate very similarly to a less-formal version of discretionary requests. Clubs will submit budget requests through this form. The FC and Budget Committee will review the request and notify the club of any comments. It will not be necessary for clubs to come to Senate for these requests, and budget comments will be back to you within 3 business days. The committee will be tracking club spending so that clubs don't overspend and ensuring that club plans are still in line with applicable guidelines.

Discretionary Fund Details

  • The discretionary fund totals $15k for the fall semester. As in other semesters, clubs may receive up to 10% of the fund* and make up to two requests. However, to ensure that the discretionary fund is used to benefit the greatest amount of students, there is a new collaboration requirement for this semester. Clubs must collaborate with at least one other club for these requests, but are welcome to collaborate with more than one if they wish. We hope that this fund will be used to make events like virtual speakers possible, and thus a club collaboration will increase attendance to those bigger events.
  • *The 10% rule will be applied as generously as possible in the case of well-planned collaborations where only one club's discretionary funding would exceed 10% but the other would not. For example: If Club A and Club B submit a discretionary request for $1000, and then Club A and Club C submit a discretionary request for another $1000, approving both requests would place Club A in excess of the $1,500 discretionary limit. However, it is likely that both requests will be approved anyway (provided they are both well-planned) so long as that approval does not put both Club A and Club C over the limit.

About the SGA Reserve Funds

  • At the end of every fiscal year, the money left unspent in club accounts returns to the SGA account and becomes what we refer to as "the reserve funds." The SGA relies on its reserve funds in normal circumstances as both a supplement to the semesterly Student Activities Fee allocation and as a pool with which to fund larger capital projects.
  • This first function is noted clearly on each semester's budget as the "Asset Supplementation" revenue line, and it allows us to fund clubs at a higher level than just one semester's SAF allocation would permit. The second function goes towards ongoing campus improvements like the water bottle refill stations and also allows for larger projects every few years. This was a year where the SGA would have the ability to fund a larger project due to accumulated reserves and we had just begun the brainstorming process when it became clear in the spring that large spending plans would have to be tabled. The reserves were also boosted by an unusually large pullback this year, due to the sudden freeze on club spending halfway through the spring. These unfortunate circumstances do have the positive effect that it now allows the SGA to support clubs in a reduced capacity on reserves alone.

Additional Notes

  • We anticipate that many club events will take place that do not require funding. We encourage you to utilize Campus Groups to register those events so your club activity is recorded and publicized.
  • Clubs with non-SGA assets are reminded that they can draw on these funds to cover additional programming or events that do not adhere to SGA guidelines. If you are unsure of your club's assets, please email sga_fc@washcoll.edu.
  • If your club is looking into a virtual conference, you may apply funds from your $300 budget to subsidize fees for attendance. The current circumstances call for a stricter SGA policy on high cost but low attendance events, but any club is welcome to request a review by the Budget Committee as specific cases arise.
  • This revised plan is designed to extend into the spring semester if necessary. We hope that, no matter the situation in the spring, clubs and activities will be able to function smoothly on SGA reserve funds throughout the 2020-2021 year.
  • The timeline/method for the Spring 2021 budget process will be determined later in the fall.
  • To accommodate the rolling budget process while maintaining transparency, the Financial Controller will report to the campus on SGA Fall 2020 spending at the close of the semester in lieu of sending out the budget plan at the beginning of the semester.
  • As always, please reach out with any questions to the Financial Controller at sga_fc@washcoll.edu.

Budget Guidelines

In Fall 2020, the Senate passed new, comprehensive Budget Guidelines, which can be found here. ALL club budget requests that use SGA funding must adhere to these guidelines. The document lays out the process and rules for the semester budget process.

Requirements for a Budget:

  1. Be on record with the SGA Vice President as an SGA-recognized club.

  2. Have a minimum of ten active members, verifiable through CampusGroups. Please contact the SGA Vice President with questions about CampusGroups.
  3. Have a club Constitution which includes a Diversity Statement. Please contact the SGA Parliamentarian with questions about club Constitutions.

Process

  1.  The process begins when the Financial Controller sends out a campus-wide email notifying clubs of the timeline for that semester’s deadlines. This usually occurs in October and March.
  2. First, an executive board member, preferably the Treasurer, must attend one mandatory information session held by the Financial Controller. This session will go over budgeting basics and any recent changes or additions to the process.
  3. Clubs will internally determine their budget and submit it to the Budget Committee via an online form by the due date set by the Financial Controller. Late budgets will not be accepted.
  4. For organizations requesting $1500 or more, there will be an additional mandatory meeting with the Financial Controller and Budget Committee members in order to receive funding for the semester. Failure to attend this meeting will result in no budget allocation.
    1. Clubs requesting under this amount have the option of meeting with the Budget Committee but are not required to.
  5. Following these meetings and committee approval process, the omnibus budget will be presented to the Senate by the Financial Controller. Anyone is welcome to attend this meeting of the Senate to hear the discussion or propose an amendment to their budget.
  6. The semester budget will then be sent out to the campus by the Financial Controller.

Discretionary Requests

Discretionary requests make it possible for clubs to get funding for unanticipated costs that were not included in their semester budget. A description of the discretionary funding guidelines can be found in Article III of the Budget Guidelines. The process for submitting a discretionary request is:

  1. Submit your request through this form before 5:00pm on the Monday prior to the Senate Meeting that you would like your request reviewed.
  2. The Financial Controller will contact you with information on the next steps for your request. This usually means arranging for a club representative to come to Senate at 8 pm on Tuesday to discuss your request with the Budget Committee.
  3. At the start of Senate, the FC will let you know how committee discussion will work.
  4. Following the discussion and recommendation of the Budget Committee, your discretionary requests will be brought up for a vote of the full Senate in order to be approved.
  5. If your request is approved, the FC will confirm the transfer of funds to your account with the Business Office and you’re good to go ahead with your purchase or event!

There are two ways to make club purchases. You may either:

  1. Contact the Financial Controller to use the SGA credit card. This is best for online, large, or reoccurring purchases.
  2. Get reimbursed. This is best for smaller purchases like buying supplies or food for a club meeting.

To submit for reimbursement:

  1.  Make sure that your purchase is in your club’s approved budget before purchasing.
  2. Keep all receipts. If the receipts are not itemized, write a description of what you bought on the receipt.
  3. Submit the receipts along with the completed reimbursement form to the Financial Controller. Completed forms with receipts can be dropped off in the Financial Controller’s mailbox, located outside the SGA office in Hodson, or emailed to sga_fc@washcoll.edu.
  4. The Financial Controller may be in contact with further questions. Reimbursement times vary, but you can generally expect to be reimbursed at the close of the following pay period.

 If your club has to change plans or cancel an event, you might want to reallocate these funds to another activity. To do so, please email the Financial Controller at sga_fc@washcoll.edu with a request for reallocation, including what event was cancelled or came in under budget, why that happened, and how you want to reallocate the funds. Clubs requesting a reallocation of $500 or more may be asked to discuss their request with the Budget Committee for approval.

We encourage clubs to fundraise independent assets so that they may fund events that are outside of SGA budget guidelines (e.g. giveaways, alcohol, etc.) and supplement SGA funding in areas where it is more limited (e.g. conferences). While the SGA does not fund fundraisers, there are ways to make them work anyway! The SGA Vice President has a list of recommendations for club fundraisers here.

How has COVID-19 impacted my club’s budget?

Please see the COVID-19 update above for information about the SGA’s budget response.

If my club is attending a spring conference but the registration fee is due in the fall, should I include that cost in the fall or spring budget?

Costs should be included in the budget for the semester in which the cost will be incurred, even if the event will occur in a different funding period. Therefore, in this case the registration fee should be in the club’s fall budget while any other costs (e.g. travel, food) should be in the spring budget.

Where does the SGA receive its money from?

The SGA receives a portion of the Student Activities Fee, which is charged each semester to students.

Can my club get t-shirts with SGA money?

Yes, clubs can receive a maximum of $15 per active member for t-shirts once every academic year.

My question wasn’t answered on this page — who should I contact?

You can email the Financial Controller at sga_fc@washcoll.edu at any time!

The Financial Controller

The Financial Controller is a paid member of the SGA Executive Board and operates in conjunction with the Budget Committee. The FC handles the administrative side of club budgeting. This includes handling reimbursements, drafting budget guidelines changes, scheduling the semester budget process, and other needs that arise.

The Budget Committee

This is the committee of the Senate that reviews and votes on semester budgets, discretionary requests, changes to the budget guidelines, and other budget-related agenda items. The committee is comprised of Senators and all class treasurers. If you want to join the Senate Bu