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ACM Student Chapter Manual: Part 3

Financing Chapter Activities

A successful student chapter requires resources -- financial, material, and service support for its programs and member services. In this section, some of those resources will be discussed; suggestions on how to get them will be offered.

The student chapter will likely need computer resources for maintaining its databases of membership and mailing lists. It will need access to photocopying equipment, telephone service, meeting space, and space for storing files of chapter records, correspondence, publicity materials, application forms and other chapter property.

The chapter will need financial resources to cover local arrangements for ACM lecturers, for refreshments at meetings or special events, for publications (printing and distribution of a student chapter newsletter, for example), for awards sponsored by the chapter, for travel to conferences, and for other expenses in conjunction with your Chapter programs.

Almost all of the funding to support these activities must be found locally. One source of possible funding is your school's student organization office. Most campuses allow student groups to petition the institution, often through its student government, for a share of the student activity moneys. Recognition and funding by the institution may require modifications in the Student Chapter Bylaws to accommodate school restrictions. Please keep in mind that bylaws changes must be reviewed and approved by ACM prior to adoption by the chapter.

Support is often available from academic departments. This may take the form of secretarial services, support for necessary phone calls, and even partial support of local expenses for an ACM lecturer, especially if the department was consulted concerning the choice of the speaker and scheduling of his/her visit. In many instances, cooperative support is also available from the campus or department computer center. Possibilities here include an account email alias for your chapter, and permission to use the message of the day to announce various student chapter events and activities.

An obvious source of revenue is chapter membership dues. These dues should be kept reasonable, since chapter members are already paying Association dues. Your chapter can decide what is reasonable, but we suggest you make an effort to consult as many members as possible before determining the yearly dues.

One of the most common sources of funding for a student chapter is from chapter fund raising activities. The possibilities here are limited only by the imagination of the chapter members. Examples of successful fund raising projects at student chapters include the following:

  • Bakeouts and sales of t-shirts in and around the dormitories
  • Sales of computer produced art
  • Holding a local technical meeting.

Student Chapter Responsibilities

This manual makes clear that ACM considers student chapters an important and integral part of its operation. In addition to the privileges for both student members and their institutions inherent in an ACM student chapter charter, however, the chapter incurs certain responsibilities. These responsibilities include:

  • To further the purposes of the Association in a responsible way,
  • To promote ACM membership,
  • To educate others about the value and importance of ACM,
  • To encourage active involvement in the ACM by your college,
  • To foster the professional development of the membership,
  • To plan and execute an active and regular program of events.

In particular, to assure its continued existence and support from the Association, every student chapter must meet certain minimum. Minimum requirements include:

  • Maintenance of student membership of not less than 3 (whom are the officers)
  • Sponsorship of at least two general chapter functions per year,
  • Submission of at least one Student Chapter Activity Report each year, and
  • Records

The chapter must maintain financial, membership, and correspondence records. The financial records should include dues records of members, the expenses and income of each chapter fundraiser and the expense of each chapter activity. The membership records should include accurate school addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses, ACM membership numbers, and special related interests of members. The correspondence records of the chapter should include chapter correspondence to and from speakers, ACM headquarters, Membership Activities Board Chapter records should also include copies of the chapter bylaws, the letter of petition to ACM, the letter of chapter recognition by ACM, and the chapter charter certificate. These records should be kept in a place easily accessible to all the chapter officers. A chapter office is ideal; if your chapter does not have an office, you may be able to arrange for file space in the department or program office -- ask your chapter sponsor to help!

Financial Responsibilities of ACM Chapters

Overview of Policies

All ACM chapters collect and disburse their own funds. ACM Bylaw 9, Sections 4 and 5, and ACM Bylaw 6, Section 5 provide the most complete information regarding the rights and responsibilities of ACM chapters regarding financial matters. A summary of those rights and responsibilities are as follows:

  1. Any chapter that collects, holds or disburses funds on behalf of the Association or any of its branches must submit an annual accounting of such funds.
  2. Chapter funds will be accounted for in the Association's IRS return unless the chapter specifically desires to file a separate return with the IRS. If a chapter chooses to file its own return, it must provide a copy of the return to the Treasurer.
  3. Failure to submit financial reports is grounds for revocation of charter as provided in the Constitution and Bylaws of the Association.
  4. Any chapter desiring to solicit funds of more than $5,000 cash or equivalent goods or services from a single source must obtain approval from the ACM in advance. Solicitations of donations of small magnitude for a specific goal of a specified time do not require presidential approval. Contact the Local Activities Program Director with questions.
  5. Disbursements of funds for those expenditures necessary for the normal operation of the chapter do not require presidential approval. Any chapter desiring to disburse funds beyond those necessary for normal operations must obtain advance approval of the President of the Association.
  6. Upon dissolution of a chapter or revocation of a chapter's charter, all assets of the chapter become the property of the Association. The only exception to this rule is in the case of certain student chapters, whose educational institutions require that such assets be transferred to them for a purpose within the contemplation of section 501 (c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

Statement of Cash Receipts and Disbursements

The Statement of Cash Receipts and Disbursements must be prepared annually by each chapter. A copy of the form is located in the appendix of this handbook.

As shown on this form, the chapter's name, address and federal employer identification number is requested, along with an accounting of all cash receipts and cash disbursements for the ACM fiscal year (from July 1 to June 30).

To aid in completing the form, it is suggested that each chapter maintain its detailed financial records to conform to the classifications of cash receipts and cash disbursements shown on the form.

The purpose of the Statement of Cash Receipts and Disbursements is twofold; to make ACM aware of the financial activity of each chapter on an annual basis, and to enable ACM Headquarters to file the Group Form 990 Return with the IRS. The specific authorization for including a particular chapter in the ACM Group Return is made on the authorization form sent along with the Statement of Cash Receipts and Disbursements. On the authorization form, the treasurer and chairperson of the chapter either authorize ACM to include the chapter with the Group Return, or state that the chapter will be filing a Form 990 Return with the IRS independently of ACM. ACM encourages all chapters to file with the ACM Group Return.

Chapter's Relationship to the IRS

501 (c) (3) Status

ACM is exempt from federal income taxes under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 since the Association is organized and operates exclusively for scientific and educational purposes. This exemption was granted the ACM on March 21, 1957 (see copy of IRS determination letter in the appendix). Although ACM is not required to file income tax returns, the Association is required to file an annual informational return (Form 990). The Association also files Group Form 990 Returns for chapters. ACM is also required to file an annual Form 990-T Return with the IRS for any unrelated business income.

The IRS returns are due on or before November 15 of each year, covering information for the prior fiscal year ended June 30. The financial data reported to ACM Headquarters by each chapter on the Statement of Cash Receipts and Disbursements must be compiled and summarized. An organization that fails to file a Form 990 Return with the IRS by the due date can be charged with a penalty. It is therefore essential that chapters respond to ACM Headquarters by August 30 to enable ACM to file the Group 990 Return by November 15th.

Group Exemption:

ACM has a Group Exemption Number (number 1931) which recognizes the ACM chapters as sharing in our 501 (c) (3) exemption status, and thus recognizing them as exempt from all federal income taxes. To maintain this group exemption, ACM Headquarters is required to send an annual update to the IRS with information regarding changes in chapter addresses and chairpersons, and a list of newly chartered or non-chartered chapters.

Sales Tax Exemption:

ACM has been granted an exemption from New York State local sales tax. ACM chapters have the same right to be exempt from State and local sales taxes in those states and localities which grant such exemptions; however, each chapter must apply to the authorities in the state in which they operate. Chapters should contact their state department of revenue for the necessary forms, and should contact the Director of Finance at ACM Headquarters with any questions.

Investigate getting state tax exemption and/or postage permit where applicable. A quarterly update on sales tax exemption information for all states and Canadian provinces is available.

Federal Employer Identification Number:

ACM has a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is similar to an individual's social security number. This number is required by the IRS for purposes of filing informational or any other type of return with the IRS. Each ACM chapter is required to have an EIN as well. Each year, ACM Headquarters applies for EINs on behalf of the newly chartered chapters and chapters that have not been assigned EINs. Headquarters will notify the chapters of their EINs when they are received. The chapter's EIN should be used when opening bank accounts, and should be noted on the annual financial report filed with ACM Headquarters.

Responding to IRS Requests:

The IRS may send your chapter blank tax returns each year. Since most chapters choose to be included in the ACM Group 990 Return, these forms should not be prepared. The IRS may also send chapters reminder notices, and in some cases, delinquent notices. If your chapter receives such a notice, send it to the Local Activities program Director at ACM Headquarters, who will have the ACM Director of Finance respond to the IRS.