Financial Guidelines for ASN Workshop Organisers

ASN financial principles

ASN is an entirely voluntary-run and non-profit making organisation. Organisers of individual workshops held under the auspices of the ASN are responsible for agreeing developing and agreeing a financial plan with the Treasurer. As a rule, organisers should aim to cover all costs and make a small surplus (around £30). This will help us to keep sufficient money in the ASN bank account to cover organisational overheads such as running the website, and allow for the risk of occasional losses.

Workshop organisers should estimate their costs and the number of participants needed and send to the treasurer at the time they plan the workshop. This will ensure that nothing is overlooked. Please let the secretary know how bookings are going on from time to time, including 5-6 weeks before the workshop. If an insufficient number of bookings have been made a week before the date of the workshop, the organiser should notify the treasurer. The treasurer, chair and secretary will collectively decide whether the workshop should proceed. If we cancel the workshop, we will refund any fees paid but may still be liable for the hall hire.

Fees and refunds

Our cancellation policy is on the website, ie:

  • Cancellation more than four weeks ahead: full refund
  • Cancellation more than two weeks but less than four weeks: 50% refund
  • Cancellation two weeks or less before the event: no refund.

For most workshops we offer reduced fees for those who can’t afford the full fee. We don’t want anyone to be prevented from coming for money reasons alone, provided the event pays for itself. A few people are postal subscribers as they have no email. They pay £5 per year and can claim this back from their first event in the year. The Treasurer or Secretary can confirm who they are.

The best ways to ensure financial success are an easily accessible location for the workshop and lots of advance publicity. In addition to ASN publicity through emailed newsletters and the website, the organiser(s) should advertise their event through local churches and networks and in relevant newsletters. It is usual practice to produce an A5 flyer to email to members to publicise in their own churches etc.

Producing a financial plan

Income

Income for workshops is usually through participants’ fees. There is a standard fee of £25 per person for workshops held in the Greater London area; for those held elsewhere a lower fee of £20 may be more appropriate.(Jan 2009) The standard fee does not include lunch although it does include basic refreshments. If lunch is to be provided by the organisers then a donation of e.g. £5 is usually asked in addition.

The standard fee may be waived or reduced at the organisers’ discretion if a potential participant asks for a reduction on grounds of financial hardship. Publicity materials should include a note to this effect. The fee may also be halved if one or at most two assistants are needed for larger events to e.g. serve refreshments, wash up and clear away materials or help pastorally or with administration. At smaller events (e.g. a dozen or less) this is not usually necessary as participants normally all pitch in. Organisers / leaders do not pay a fee.

Your financial plan should indicate the number of full fee-paying participants expected plus any planned half-price assistants.

There is currently a scheme in operation whereby friends of ASN who are not on email receive periodic mailings for a cost of £5. The £5 is then knocked off the cost of the first workshop they attend. The secretary will supply a list of names to the organisers in advance of the workshop.

When we hold free events, voluntary donations are usually invited.

Costs

Costs come under 5 headings: hire of premises; leaders’ travel expenses; refreshments; art materials; administrative.

Premises: self-explanatory, normally paid to the venue on or after the event.

Leaders’ travel expenses: travel to and from events and planning meetings. Costs are kept low when leaders live close to the proposed venue! Receipts should be provided to the treasurer.

Refreshments: leaders bring tea, coffee etc and biscuits. If they are not providing lunch then a good model is to bring basics e.g. bread, cheese, fruit and ask participants to bring vegetarian food to share. Receipts should be provided to the treasurer.

Art materials: some basics e.g. brushes, boards, scissors are held by ASN members on behalf of the ASN (there is no “store” for these items). Please speak to the chair or secretary if you want to use these. Other materials will need to be purchased and brought along by organisers. Items that are purchased solely for the event will be reimbursed in full. Items that are only partially used e.g. paints, pencils are either kept for use in future workshops or, if the organiser wishes to use the leftover materials for other purposes, are reimbursed proportionately. The organiser should estimate what proportion of the materials have been used for ASN. Again, receipts should be provided.

Administrative: usually the cost of printing posters and flyers, postage costs etc. where applicable; these will also be reimbursed on production of receipts.

Occasionally the ASN may feel it is appropriate to pay an honorarium of £20 to a workshop leader if there are particular financial issues. Please speak to the treasurer, chair or secretary if this is the case.

If ASN has been invited to lead an event for another organisation or in conjunction with another organisation, that organisation could be invited to share or pay some costs if appropriate.
Sometimes the host organisation handles booking and charges for rent and refreshments (either flat rate or per person). The ASN and host organisation need to share publicity. ASN can receive a contribution to central funds: flat rate (eg £20 or per capita). The facilitator may be paid a small honorarium if funds allow (flat rate or per capita), plus travel and materials expenses.

Settling the accounts

All income should be sent to the treasurer for payment into the ASN bank account. You will save the treasurer a large headache if all monies go through the account. If fees are paid in cash on occasions when the treasurer is not present, the treasurer prefers that the organiser takes the cash home and sends a cheque to cover. If cash is used to pay or part pay expenses on the day it is not impossible but can make things very complicated.

All items of expenditure should be receipted where possible.

The ASN bank account requires two signatories for each cheque (two of treasurer, chair and secretary). If two of the signatories are not present on the day, cheques will be sent out as soon as possible after the workshop on production of the account and receipts. The account should simply be a list of items of income and expenditure under the headings listed above.

N.B. IF IN DOUBT: PLEASE ASK! The network is here to support one another.

The ASN Finance Guide (Mar 09) may also be downloaded as a Word document.

View here an ASN Blank Workshop Budget and an Excel ASN blank workshop budget may be downloaded