Business Operations and Financial Support
The RUAA encourages all chartered organizations to apply for an individual Employer Identification Number (EIN) at IRS.gov (complete Form SS4). The EIN is normally issued immediately. Once the number is assigned, organizations are asked to provide the information by submitting a completed W9 form to email@example.com. Having the completed W9 on file is a requirement in order for groups to be paid funds from event registrations, grants, etc.
How to Manage Funds for Chartered Group Operations
REMINDER: All RUAA chartered organizations have agreed to the following:
- The organization will not collect membership dues.
- The organization will not enter into merchandise or other third-party contracts in which royalties are received.
- The organization will coordinate any financial solicitations through staff liaisons in partnership with Rutgers University Foundation annual giving and communications efforts. Solicitations for general operating expenses are not permitted.
Three Steps for Managing Operating Funds
- Prepare an annual budget
- Avoid unnecessary costs
- Generate revenue to cover unavoidable costs
1) Prepare an Annual Budget:
- Create an annual list of events with estimated costs
- Anticipate revenue vs. expenses; identify financial needs
- Plan cost-free and revenue-generating events to cover expenses
- View a sample annual budget here.
2) Tactics for Avoiding Costs:
Use resources provided by the RUAA
- Email marketing
- Group landing page (coming soon)
- Event registration system
- Giveaways for key initiatives
- Participate in RUAA signature events as a group to save the costs of planning your own event (Ex: Run for RAH, the Scarlet Knight Dinner, Experience Rutgers, Alumni on Location, etc.)
Plan cost-free events
- Host events such as game-watches, happy hours, and networking socials at local venues where participants pay their own way at no cost to the group
Use your alumni network
- Find out if any local alumni have connections with vendors, venues, attractions etc. (Ex: An alumnus who volunteers at a museum may be able to offer a free tour.)
Seek out community partners, event sponsors, and collaborations
- Contact local vendors to see if they are willing to provide free or discounted event space, food, and/or merchandise.
- Collaborate with other chartered organizations to share costs.
3) Tactics for Generating Revenue:
RUAA Grant Program
- Awards up to $1,500 for innovative programming
- Visit Ralumni.com/RUAAGrantProgram for full details and to apply
Charge event fees
- Unless there are special circumstances, always charge event fees that cover the cost of the event.
- Create a fee that not only covers costs but produces an excess to provide you with funds for future events and activities. (Ex: If a wine tasting event costs the group $40 per person, consider charging $45 or $50 per person. Keep it reasonable.)
- For long-standing events that have been traditionally free for attendees, consider adding a minimal and/or “suggested” fee to help offset costs.
- Consider charging additional fees for games/activities at the event.
- Activities such as auctions and raffles may require special licensing. Please look up the specific laws in your state:
Opportunities for financial support are made available through the RUAA grants program. To receive RUAA grant funds, chartered organizations must maintain a bank account. In the United States, banks require organizations to have an EIN on file.
Fundraising through Rutgers University Foundation
Separate from your operating funds, consider engaging your alumni by fundraising for charitable causes through Rutgers.
Solicit Funds for Passion Projects
- Fundraise for your passions: work with your RUAA and/or development liaison to determine which of Rutgers’ many existing funds might be the perfect choice for your group’s support.
- Include fundraising asks in broadcast emails, social media promotions, and any print mailings.
- If you have an idea for a fundraising project, ask your RUAA liaison about the possibility of crowdfunding through the foundation (Visit one.rutgers.edu to view current crowdfunding projects).
- Consult with your RUAA and/or development liaison to discuss possible fundraising event opportunities.
- Some chartered organizations have established scholarships for which ongoing fundraising is encouraged.