Chambers should have proper financial and legal procedures and safeguards in place, not only to stay within the law, but also as a measure of the organization’s health and to assure donors, members, and the general public that investments in the organization are safe and being correctly used. Chambers should employ sound internal financial procedures, maintain financial records carefully, and make financial statements available to the public. They should also have their financial records reviewed periodically by a qualified examiner who can certify that the organization is operating legally and according to generally accepted accounting practices. Chambers must be diligent that they are complying with applicable federal, state and local laws.
Financial and Legal
A. Financial Transparency and Accountability
1. FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
Members of the governing body hold ultimate fiscal responsibility for their organization and are to understand the organization’s financial statements and reporting requirements.
2. ANNUAL BUDGET
The organization’s annual budget is to be approved by the governing body, and is to outline projected expenses for program activities, fundraising, and administration. The Chamber is to operate in accordance with that budget.
3. INTERNAL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Internal financial statements shall be prepared regularly and provided to the governing body. Any and all significant variations between budgeted expenses and actual expenditures, and between budgeted revenues and actual revenues, are to be identified and explained to the governing body.
4. FINANCIAL POLICIES
The Chamber shall have established financial policies, suitable for the size of the organization, regarding the receiving and disbursement of financial resources, investment of assets, purchasing practices, internal control procedures (such as policies for signing checks), and so forth.
5. INTERNAL CONTROL PROCEDURES
The organization’s internal control procedures shall have a safeguard against a person having the power to issue a check to himself or herself, such as requiring an additional signature. The organization’s internal control procedures shall have a safeguard against one person being able to issue a check over a certain amount (such as two signatures being needed over $5,000) and shall have restrictions on checks made out to cash.
If the organization has substantial annual revenue, the accuracy of the financial reports shall be subject to audit by an independent, qualified accountant. Chambers with small gross incomes are to have a review by a qualified accountant. For Chambers with very small revenues, an internally produced, complete financial statement may suffice.
7. PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS
The organization shall adhere to professional standards of accountancy and audit procedures as stipulated by the law in its nation, and fulfill all financial and reporting requirements.
B. Legal Compliance
1. LAWS AND REGULATIONS
The organization’s activities, governance, and other matters shall conform to the laws and regulations of its nation and locality. (An Chambers may seek to change those laws and regulations, if such activity is consistent with its mission.)
2. ATTORNEY REVIEW
The organization shall obtain attorney review of the organizing documents of the Chambers to make sure that they are in compliance with existing laws and regulations, and shall make recourse to attorney services as appropriate to ensure continued legal compliance.
3. LIABILITY INSURANCE
The organization should consider having liability insurance, if available and applicable.
4. INTERNAL REVIEW
The organization periodically shall conduct an internal review regarding compliance of the organization with current laws and regulations and summaries of this review should be presented to members of the governing body.
C. Use of Funds
1. USE OF CONTRIBUTIONS
The organization shall ensure that contributions are used as promised or implied in fundraising appeals or for the purposes intended by the donors.
2. GRANT COMMITMENT
When the organization accepts a grant, it is entering into a contract to carry out the program activities in an agreed-upon manner, and has an ethical and legal responsibility to honor that commitment.
3. DONOR CONSENT FOR CHANGES
The organization may alter the conditions of a gift or grant only by obtaining explicit consent by the donor.
4. EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE USE
The organization shall ensure efficient and effective use of grants and charitable contributions.
1. TRACKING EXPENDITURES
The organization shall set up an organized system to track grant expenditures.
2. TIMELY REPORTS
The organization shall produce timely reports on the use and management of funds.
3. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Financial statements regarding donations shall be available upon request by the donor and interested parties.
E. Relationship with Donor
1. DONOR RELATIONSHIP
The directors, management, staff and volunteers of the organization shall not exploit any relationship with a donor or prospective donor for personal benefit or the benefit of any relative, friend, associate, colleague, and so forth.
Privileged or confidential information regarding the donor or donation must not be disclosed to unauthorized parties.
3. DONOR PRIVACY
A donor’s privacy shall be respected and an Chamber must safeguard any confidential information regarding the donor or the gift. Donors are to have the opportunity to remain anonymous, and to not have their names added to any lists that are sold, rented or given to others, unless the donor has had an opportunity to approve such lists or have their names removed.
5. UNETHICAL SOLICITATIONS
The Chamber or its agents must not use excessive pressure, coercion, undue influence or other unethical means in their solicitations.