Developing and Managing a Student Organization Budget

The first step to building a healthy financial structure is to develop and maintain a budget. It is a good practice to have all executive board members work together to develop a budget in order to explore the full range of funding sources and projected expenses.  Referencing budgets from previous years can be helpful when developing a current or projected budget for an organization.  Student organization officers can access previous budgets in theHub under the documents tab.

When developing a budget, it is important to be both realistic and conservative.  A well-organized budget has two components - income and expenses. Income may include fundraising revenue, UC grants, departmental funds, and any other planned revenue sources. Calculate projected income and as a general rule, subtract 10% in case a funding source falls through.

Expenses include any funds the organization plans to spend throughout the course of the year. Project expenses for all planned events, regardless of size, and be sure to consider and include potential costs for supplies, promotional materials, HUPD details, ticketing, AV/media, custodial fees and licensing.

An organization will stay on track toward reaching its goals if it maintains a budget that accurately reflects income and expenses. It is fiscally responsible to make every attempt to stay within your set budget.  Keep track of all expenditures, deposits, and other income and work to ensure financial transparency.

While most organizations elect a treasurer or other financial officer to manage financial matters, it is important that more than one person understands the financial operations of the organization. Make sure organization members, especially event organizers or program chairs who spend money understand the organization’s financial operations for events and initiatives.  If more members understand revenue potential and expenditure constraints, they will be more willing to work within them.

It is not uncommon for budgets to change and shift throughout the year. If expenses not accounted for at the beginning of the year come up or are more expensive than anticipated, which does happen, organizations should work to reallocate available funds or seek out additional funding sources to cover costs. 

Budget & Financial Management Resources