Ask District Finance: November 2020 Answers

By Linda Patten, D57 Finance Manager

Question: How can clubs spend the money they would usually use to pay for meeting room rentals and food / beverage? One idea was to create a new membership promotion by offering a green screen for a limited number of new members.  The cost is $20 (to $50) each.  Would this be an acceptable way to use club funds?

Answer: I would change who gets them.  I would have a membership drive / contest for the members of your club.  You can “win” a green screen for the most new members joining the club in a specific period of time.  Something else that could be a good prize would be books like Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds  or something like that. As a speaker gift, I have received some really cool masks too.  I personally gave a chocolate thank you gift to my guidance committee and other key people on my team.   

Question:  Can you use the funds to participate/donate to other charities (e.g. as a teambuilding event)?  Could you use the funds to host an educational event for club members (e.g. external expert)?

Answer: Unfortunately, you can’t use the funds for supporting a charity.  Here is what the policy says:

Unauthorized uses include: 

  • Donation of money or goods:
    • to outside causes or individuals
    • to individuals at any level of the Toastmasters organization
  • You can however,  provide
  • You can use the funds for educational /administrative materials for club/member use.  However, under no circumstances will a district pay for speaker fees.  This would be true at the club level as well.  This is covered in the SPEAKER/PRODUCT SALES AGREEMENT

The following examples are representative of non-routine expenses, but are not all-inclusive.

Category Limit
Tokens of Appreciation
  • Thank You cards
  • Flowers up to $25 USD
  • Toastmasters gift certificates
  • Toastmasters products
  • Gifts up to $25 USD
Expressions of Sympathy
  • Sympathy cards
  • Flowers up to $25 USD
  • Toastmasters products
  • Toastmasters gift certificates
  • Registration (i.e. Conference, TLI)

District Finance is in the process of filming three coffee chats with Michelle Peticolas, Chris Scrivani and myself.  The series will cover opening a bank account, how to accept money, and of course, Concur.