Bright Ideas and True Confessions: How and What to Do and Why


Local Dues, the Fiscal Year, and Other Things You Should Know

Can we charge local dues?

No, but you can encourage local contributions. Remember that active officers are contributing financially already. Don't make them feel guilty for not feeding the coffers. There are some groups scattered about who refer to "local membership." There is no such thing. Local newsletters are by subscription, and membership is centralized. The group you belong to is determined by where you live and where you get your mail. With the exception of college students who choose to leave their membership either at home or at school all year, rather than have it follow for the three summer months, I know of no moral or chivalrous reason to try to mislead people by having your address of residence be different from where your membership is listed. If anyone does know a good reason, please write and let me know, and I'll quit saying this. Send your good, chivalrous reasons for lying about your residence to: Sandra Dodd, 8116 Princess Jeanne NE, Albuquerque NM 87110. [1]

Is the Society's fiscal year the same as the Society year?

No. The SCA year begins May 1, but the fiscal year begins January 1.

Should we get double-signature checks?

A few years ago the corporate treasurer recommended against it, but some places kept doing it because of problems they'd had in the past, and I don't think there's a corporate policy against it. As I write, the corporate treasurer is someone who once lived in a barony where two treasurers in a row made off with large amounts of money, so I think she would be sympathetic to the idea.

All SCA accounts should be accessible by more than just one person, or by more than one pair of people. You'll need to change the signature cards whenever you have a change of officers to match. It's best if those who sign are always SCA officers, and it's pretty standard that it be two out of three of the seneschal, treasurer and baron or baroness (in a barony) or some three stable officers in a shire. If you have a very responsible local who's not one of those major officers but people trust him to be a long-term signator, make him a deputy treasurer.

Two-signature accounts won't absolutely save you from problems. Our barony has used this for longer than I've been around. Sometimes one of the signators has to go out of town and will sign a half-dozen checks in advance. Once a treasurer forged the baron's signature and made herself a large loan (which seems to have been repaid piecemeal).

What is "newsletter liability"?

When we accept money for a publication, we have to fulfill the contract, by delivering the number of issues advertised (or for the amount of time advertised), or refund the money. Your group should never spend down to below the amount of your newsletter liability. The SCA Inc. has to maintain assets in the amount of their own liability for T.I. and newsletters, and if the SCA Inc. dissolved you'd get a refund of however much of the subscription part of your membership was left. That's why they're careful to say that of a $20 membership, $10 is for publications, and $10 is for administrative costs.

For a local group, say for example that your newsletter is $6 a year. That's 50c a month. At the end of the year when it's tax report time you'll be asked to calculate your newsletter liability. Freebies don't count here; just paid subscriptions. You figure out how many months each person has coming on his subscription, add all the months up and multiply by 50c.



[1] A post office box in Arizona (or wherever) can create the illusion that one is living where he isn't, and such illusions have been used by various people in the past. It's not honest and it's not honorable, and no one is really fooled (except maybe the person who took the box fools himself into thinking that it doesn't bring scorn on him and the kingdom that condones such nonsense.) This is a digression. Sorry.
Copyright © by Sandra Dodd, 1991
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