Budgets, Fiscal Controls and Financial Policies

Your budget is a projection of how you plan to raise and spend money in the coming year. It’s your strategy for how you plan to provide member benefits. The budget is a statement of your priorities: it says that you’ve chosen to fund certain things and not others (written in finances rather than words).

What Should A Budget Include?

  • Revenue, by source (membership, events, grants, advertising, etc.).
  • Program Expense, by benefit (street fair, mixers, website, etc.) not by line item.
  • Administrative Expense (staffing, IT, insurance, accounting, etc.).
  • Comparison to previous year’s budget and actuals.
  • Budget Narrative that explains the budget priorities, member benefits, assumptions, level of aggressiveness, etc.


Steps to Stay on Budget Throughout the Year?

As Treasurer, you’re the guardian of the budget and your job is to monitor revenue and expense throughout the year. This includes stopping expenditures that are outside the budget, reminding the board what was agreed to when the budget was approved and ensuring that everyone follows internal controls on spending. If your district spends more than budgeted and doesn’t raise more, it will dig itself a financial hole.


There are four main tools for staying on track:

  1. Fiscal Controls: Fiscal controls establish who can spend money and how. This must involve more than one person and includes checks and balances that prevent out-of-budget freelancing and fraud.
  2. Regular Financial Reports: Monthly financial reports to the show if revenue and expenses are on track. They help you to catch problems early. They’re also part of your legal fiduciary duty as board members.
  3. Communication & Monitoring: Your budget is only useful if the people organizing projects follow it. Make sure staff, board and project leaders understand the budget and its limits. Remind them as the year goes by.

Midyear Adjustment: Halfway through the year, review the budget and make changes to your strategy and budget based on actual revenue and expenses.

Let Venture Portland Help!

Financials are complicated. Venture Portland is here to help you! We can:

  • Review your existing budget, fiscal controls and financial policies and make recommendations for FREE
  • Share legally-approved templates and best practices you can use for Budgets, Fiscal Controls and Financial Policies for FREE
  • Draft your Fiscal Controls, review them with your board and facilitate the adoption process as part of our Fee for Service Consulting
  • Get Organized! Venture Portland offers Corporate Document Storage for your finances and other important documents
  • Contact Venture Portland at info@ventureportland.org or 503.477.9648 to get started