Disbursing From An ICA Fund
Let us continue our discussions on managing an Internet café association (ICA) and we will tackle in this blog one of the most important issue in the course of running a non-profit, non-stock organization, the disbursement of funds. As I have said in a previous blog, the leaders of an ICA must be always above suspicion in all their decisions especially about disbursing the money of the association. This is especially true if the ICA collects money from its members as source of funds to keep the association going.
When an ICA collects money from its members to fund the affairs of the association, the amount is usually the same for everybody. Ordinary members and officers pay the same amount of money as their contribution to its fund. In such a case, no one is above anyone and therefore anybody has the right to ask how his money is being spent. Usually when an ordinary member exercises this right, some officers of the association gets irritated because they take it as questioning their integrity and capacity to run the association in an honest way.
For the reason cited above, some ground rules have to be agreed and followed by the officers of the association to prevent suspicion that may arise in the transactions entered into by the ICA. On regular activities that will need some money like snacks and meals during board meetings and general membership assembly, it is best that the Board of Trustees decide on the amount to be spent per attendee.
For some other expenses like purchasing office furniture and equipment or settlement funding special projects with the aim of raising more funds for the association, getting quotations from at least three (3) reliable suppliers and getting the board to decide which is the best offer must be done. It is further suggested that at least one (1) quotation must be from an outsider or an entity not related to any member or officer of the ICA.
While buying a product or getting the services of an association member is encouraged, the award of the order or contract must be done after thorough analysis of the offers made to the board. It should only be after a majority vote by the members of the Board of Trustees attending the meeting when the decision has to be made that the disbursement of the fund should be made. All disbursements must be properly scrutinized and certified by the auditor of the association.
While the disbursement procedures described above are intended to ensure transparency in handling the ICA funds, there are other expenses which the board can pass a resolution such as a donation to member who suffered death of an immediate member of his family. Expenses on rent, utilities, taxes, licenses and other regulatory fees must be automatically appropriated from the ICA fund.
With the above established and getting followed by the officers of an ICA, I should say that irritants among members can be minimized and harmony will exist within the association. I wish to hear your comments on what I have said here.