Welcome to Chapter Office! We are thrilled that you have taken this step. In the following pages you’ll find a great deal of information about filling your new post and tips for success. We encourage you to take advantage of the training opportunities offered at Regional Training Conferences (spring) and National Conference (fall).
The Executive Board serves as the leadership team for the chapter. Laying the foundation for a great chapter year starts with the Executive Board. The Executive Board consists of the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. This team will become a closely knit group of friends planning and working for common goals.
The Executive Board collaborates to compile chapter goals for the coming year. Once your goals are decided, you are ready to define the chapter structure needed to accomplish the goals. Your chapter may need to add key roles or, if your chapter is very large, you may choose to use a committee system.
President. The President leads chapter meetings and chairs board meetings. The President also supports and follows up to ensure tasks are completed. The President should be familiar with the chapter’s bylaws and optional policy guidelines.
Vice President. In many chapters, the Vice President is in training to be President the following year. The Vice President should be familiar with the chapter’s bylaws and optional policy guidelines.
Secretary. The Secretary is the administrative officer of the chapter. The Secretary keeps the chapter records up to date: bylaws, membership reporting activity, and corporate status of the chapter. The Secretary should be familiar with the chapter’s bylaws and optional policy guidelines.
Treasurer. The Treasurer is the financial officer of the chapter. This can be another officer or be combined with the Secretary responsibilities. The Treasurer should be familiar with the chapter’s bylaws and optional policy guidelines.
Chapter Board Meetings
- Board meetings are vital to the successful functioning of a chapter.
- It is the President’s responsibility to see that a board meeting is called at least once a month and at the time stated in the chapter bylaws.
- The Board of Directors is presided over by the President of the chapter, or the Immediate Past President, as provided by your chapter’s by-laws and policies.
- Your chapter’s Board of Directors is made up of the elected officers, the Immediate Past President and the directors (as described in your Chapter’s Bylaws). Whomever serves as chairperson of the board (you or the Immediate Past President) only votes in case of a tie.
- For all procedure topics not covered here or in the bylaws, please refer to Robert’s Rules for guidance.
Tip for streamlining your board meetings: “Two situations when adopting or accepting a report is never proper are in the case of a Nominations Committee report, which is always followed by nominations from the floor, and a Treasurer’s report, which is always simply filed for audit.” – Robert’s Rules for Dummies, C. Alan Jennings, Wiley Publishing.
The presiding officer’s responsibilities. It is the presiding officer’s responsibility to conduct meetings in a business–like manner. The members of the board should approach the problems at hand with an inquiring, open mind, considering the good of the chapter as a whole.
Confidential discussions. At the beginning of the year remind members of the board that meetings are for a frank and open discussion of chapter problems. Personalities are to be left out of such discussions if at all possible. Sometimes this cannot be done; therefore, remind the board all such discussion is confidential and not to be discussed outside the room with other members.
Voting. Remind the board that once a vote has been taken, this becomes the unanimous position of the board. A member whose position was defeated adopts the position of the majority. He or she does not have the privilege of saying, “I didn’t vote for it (or abstained), I won’t help.”
Timing. Sufficient time to review and vote upon committee proposals and to handle the business of the chapter must be allowed. A half hour board meeting preceding or following a regular chapter meeting will not get the job done. Follow a regular, prescribed meeting time as stated in your chapter’s bylaws.
Documentation. Taking minutes at regular chapter meetings is not necessary. However, when you conduct official business meetings and board meetings you should take minutes and keep them in your chapter’s records. The ARC does not keep chapter minutes of any kind and there is no reason to submit them.
Board authority and limit. The board runs the chapter, making the final decision on all matters except the four areas listed below (which can only be approved by a vote of the general membership at a business meeting).
- Change of meeting time or place.
- Change of dues structure.
- Adoption of a chapter money raising project.
- Adoption of a chapter community service project.
Required chapter business meetings. The four areas listed above that limit board authority must be referred to the general membership for a decision. Notice should be published in the chapter newsletter in advance of date scheduled for discussion and vote. If spirited debate is expected, call for a closed meeting of the members with no guests present.
To gain chapter cooperation on decisions which the board believes is for the best welfare of the chapter it must sell its ideas—and get a majority vote. Members will be more inclined to work and contribute when included in the decision process in these four important areas.
Reporting board actions. Report the actions of the Board in the chapter newsletter and/or at subsequent chapter meetings.
Accountability & Transparency
Accountability. AMBUCS chapters are charitable organizations and must conduct operations in a businesslike manner. Officers and members have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the organization. Trust but verify.
Transparency. Your chapter should have at least three officers. The Treasurer functions as the bookkeeper; primarily logging incoming and outgoing funds. The other two officers act as dual signatories for all checks. This provides the required checks and balances necessary for a transparent organization. In accounting terms, this is called “division of duties.” All officers are responsible for reporting accurate information to chapter membership and to the national office.
If your chapter already has checking account(s) established, please verify that the account(s) have dual signatories and at least two people authorized to view and access account records. If not, get it done! Banks may ask for your chapter minutes or a chapter resolution to make the change.
What can be done to improve accountability and transparency?
Chapter officers – you need to provide your membership with clear, timely and easy to read information, i.e.: financial statements, bank statements and records, minutes of meetings, contracts, etc.
Members – you should not hesitate to ask for this information. And ask for it regularly. We are all friends, but your chapter’s operation is a business. You wouldn’t allow your business to just operate without real oversight. It’s not hard or unpleasant. It’s necessary!
It is strongly recommended that monthly bank statement(s) be reviewed by a chapter member who has financial acumen. This person either approves the statement(s) or brings his or her concerns or findings to the chapter board. It’s recommended that statement(s) and reports be kept for five years. Again, division of duties.
If your chapter is involved in fundraising that handles a lot cash and currency, it’s prudent to always have two members count, record and document funds prior to depositing. This information is retained and then shared with the treasurer. Any discrepancies (bank deposit does not match accounting) should be addressed immediately. Chapters should consider obtaining a fidelity bond for the treasurer and any signers on accounts.
All of this might sound like we don’t trust our valued Treasurers. But, really, all these steps serve to protect both them and your chapter from the suspicion of wrongdoing.
Tips for smaller chapters
Consider requiring dual signatories for checks, even if one of the signatories is the Treasurer.
If you don’t conduct monthly chapter board meetings, find some way to get the bank statements in front of a chapter member who has adequate knowledge and expertise in this area. They could even be shared and approved digitally.
No matter what you do, please ensure that your chapter has some means of proving accountability and transparency.
Chapter Scorecards. This optional program honors the participating chapters who have had the most outstanding performance over the past year. Awards are given at each AMBUCS National Conference in the fall of every year. Award Guidelines are available.
If your chapter would like to participate in the Awards Program, complete each quarter’s scorecard at the last board meeting of the quarter. Fill out and submit your form on the website and print a copy for your governor and region director. See more in the Membership Forms section below.
Great strategy: Use the quarterly Chapter Scorecards as a check sheet for planning your year and noting chapter progress. Print all four scorecards and use them as a reminder as you make next year’s plans with the Board.
Achievement Awards. This optional program recognizes individuals and chapters in competition with others. Chapters can compete for these awards by submitting entries to the Region Director. Awards in the Achievement category are: AMBUC of the Year, Project Manager, Community Service, Local Charities, Newsletter, Visibility, Therapist of the Year and District Governor Newsletter. Award Guidelines and entry forms are available online.
Merit Awards. Merit awards recognize chapters which achieve excellence in performance. These awards are automatically calculated based upon AMBUCS Resource Center records for the chapter year June 1 – May 31. Merit awards are listed in the Award Guidelines online.
Great Sources of Information:
AMBUCS News. AMBUCS News is delivered electronically to all AMBUCS members each month. Covers important topics for the entire AMBUCS organization. It now includes information formerly included in “The Leader,” for chapter, district and regional officers.
Amtryke Catalogue. Published in print and electronically as evolving product demands.
AMBUCS Magazine. A quarterly AMBUCS Magazine is published in print and digitally.
www.ambucs.org. The AMBUCS website is another great source for information. Here you can find the chapter officer directory, conference information, program updates and member resources.
Chapter Directory. This is a highlight of our website. The chapter directory appears on a map. You can search to see chapters in an area and when you click on a chapter, viewers will see chapter leader contact info (as given to the ARC in Form 128).
National AMBUCS Facebook page. If you need a bit of a pick-me-up, the national facebook page is a great place to visit. Full of smiling faces and lives changes and chapter successes. You’ll find us at www.facebook.com/NationalAMBUCS
The President leads chapter meetings and chairs board meetings. More importantly the President is the head motivator, delegator, empowerer and cheerleader. They bring people together for a common goal, give everyone a part to play and support their efforts. They also make sure the work of the chapter is moving forward by keeping in good contact with the people filling Key Roles or chairing committees. The president should be familiar with the chapter’s bylaws and optional policy guidelines.
- Head motivator, delegator, empowerer and cheerleader.
- Runs chapter meetings.
- Ensure that all required reporting is submitted to the Resource Center and/or state government offices accurately and in a timely manner.
- Verify that Secretary and Treasurer roles are being performed according to bylaws to ensure sound administrative and financial management.
- Serve as an effective channel of communication between regional/national offices and chapter members so that information flows well in both directions.
- Ensure that the chapter presents itself in a positive light in the community at all times.
Presiding. Members’ interest in the chapter meeting depends in a large degree upon the morale, tone, quality of program or other efforts, and presiding ability of the President. He or she must conduct the meetings with intelligence, humor, and good taste, to the extent that the members enjoy bringing guests to the meeting because they are proud of the way their President handles the job. Off-color jokes and profanity will offend the members. A President’s conduct and appearance are important.
Remember, you’re competing with other organizations to attract volunteers. Your chapter is judged by them for purpose and structure as well as friendliness.
Agenda preparation. Each chapter meeting is chaired by the President. In his or her absence it is chaired by a designated Vice President. Especially if your chapter meetings are formal, it is advisable to prepare an agenda and give it the time it deserves. Don’t do it haphazardly and from memory, hoping to get everything in and accomplished. Get down in writing what you plan to do. Keep your members informed of coming events by having thumbnail reports from those filling Key Roles or committee chairpeople.
- Indicate time and order for each item.
- Write down names of all persons to be introduced.
- Don’t leave anything to memory.
- Your chapter may choose to not hold formal meetings. You may meet over the phone, online, at someone’s home or in a coffee shop or restaurant. You may never (or very rarely) have a speaker. All of this is perfectly fine.
- The meeting must be opened on time and closed on time. Even if there are only three members in the room, start on time. Starting promptly will encourage on–time attendance. Delayed starts usually cause delayed endings.
- A friendly atmosphere is essential: Visitors should be cordially introduced and new members made welcome.
- If you have a program, the speaker is treated graciously before, during and after the meeting. The speaker should be advised in advance of the meeting how much time is to be allowed (20–30 minutes) and of the adjournment time. Courtesy demands the speaker be allotted the full time. If the speaker runs over time, tactfully stop the meeting, permitting those members to leave who must; allowing those members to stay who have the time. In thanking the speaker, don’t try to sum up the talk. Thank him or her, perhaps present a certificate of appreciation and close the meeting. Some chapters give token gifts of appreciation.
- The meeting room and its atmosphere has a decided bearing on the meeting. A meeting place should be selected and prepared with care. The Secretary (or Sergeant-at-Arms if you use a committee system) is usually responsible for seeing that the meeting room is properly set. Of course a friendly attitude will go a long way to counter-balance any possible downside to a location, say, the background noise of a restaurant.
The Secretary is the administrative officer of the chapter. The Secretary keeps the chapter records up to date: membership reporting activity, bylaws and corporate status of the chapter. Or in other words, the Secretary is in charge of keeping up with members and the legal status of the chapter.
- Be the “guardian” of the chapter’s records – past and present – that may be needed to support claims of legal standing, longevity, contributions in the community, ownership, compliance, grant eligibility, etc. Essential records include, but are not limited to, copies of the chapter bylaws, articles of incorporation, solicitation certification, financial audit reports, and member contact information.
- The Secretary should be the chapter’s expert on its bylaws. Good governance practice is to make sure your chapter activities align with your bylaws. The standard bylaws should not be changed, since those are approved by the IRS for the Group Tax exemption. If your chapter needs additional guidelines, put those into your chapter policy documents.
- Notify the Resource Center on changes regarding members and progress toward chapter goals to confirm eligibility for corresponding recognition and awards.
- Bring celebratory attention to important dates/anniversaries associated with the chapter and personal milestones and achievements related to individual members.
All changes in your chapter’s membership (additions, deletions) must be approved at a board meeting. Following this meeting, make the necessary changes in the chapter records as soon as possible. Submit Membership Application Form 126 and/or Membership Deletion Form 130 via the website (all Forms).
Official membership records. A roster of your chapter’s members is carefully maintained at the AMBUCS Resource Center, but it is only as accurate as the information supplied. Official ARC membership records are the basis for:
- Holding office in your chapter – you must first be an official member in the ARC’s records.
- The quarterly Blue Chip Membership Report.
- Quarterly dues invoice sent to the Chapter Treasurer based on Blue Chip numbers.
- The AMBUCS Magazine and electronic newsletters mailing list.
- The annual Program Giving Goal of $40.00 per member is based on the official February 28th Membership Blue Chip report.
- Membership recruiting contest credit (Branding Time and Spring Round-Up).
- Big Hat sponsor credit.
Reporting period. The reporting period for adding and dropping members is based on a quarterly system. The four quarters are:
1st Quarter: June, July, and August – Reporting closes September 10th
2nd Quarter: September, October, and November – Reporting closes December 10th
3rd Quarter: December, January, and February – Reporting closes March 10th
4th Quarter: March, April, and May – Reporting closes June 10th
Membership closing. Membership closes on the 10th of the month following the last day of the quarter.
Any membership changes (adds or drops) must arrive at the AMBUCS Resource Center by the 10th. Information received late will be entered with current date and cannot be made retroactive.
ARC sends each chapter Secretary a current membership roster just before the end of each quarter. These should be checked against chapter records and the ARC should be advised of corrections prior to the close of membership.
Late reporting. Additions and deletion forms received after the closing date will be attributed to the following quarter and cannot be made retroactive. This policy, set by the National Board of Directors, has a direct effect on a chapter in two areas:
- Late deletion reports will cause the chapter to pay an additional quarter’s dues on a dropped member.
- Late additions can cause the chapter to lose awards for Blue Chip, Branding Time and Spring Round-Up.
Official Confirmation Reports. Every week, AMBUCS Resource Center processes batches of membership activity. When your chapter reports additions and deletions the Secretary and Treasurer are both emailed official confirmation reports of these membership changes. The new member confirmation is the invoice for the $10.00 new member fee.
After you report new members, the President will be mailed member pins for presentation at your next meeting. Big Hat star pins will also be included in this mailing for sponsors.
Membership activity batches for the beginning of the quarter will be delayed until after the previous quarterly Blue Chip Membership Report is published. That means the membership activity in June, September, December and March will not be processed until the end of that month. This delay is due to computer software limitations.
Quarterly, the AMBUCS Resource Center sends a roster of the chapter membership to the chapter Secretary. The roster details membership records, name, address and contact information of members. The purpose of this roster is to allow a periodic reconciliation of chapter membership records with the official ARC records. The Secretary should make necessary corrections or additions to the roster and return it to the ARC to be updated.
Secretaries will automatically receive a roster in August, November, February and May. Rosters may be obtained at any other time upon request.
Membership Reporting Forms
Returning the following forms ensures that we can get in contact with you and that your chapter info is reflected correctly on www.ambucs.org. These forms are submitted each quarter, generally by the chapter Secretary.
Note: Find all forms, both printable and online, on the website in the membership section under Forms.
Form 126 – new/reinstated member application
Form 128 – newly elected chapter officers
Form 129 – officer changes
Form 130 – member deletions
Form 131 – member address change
Form 126 New/Reinstated Member Application is available in two formats: 1) a printable version to mail or fax as well a 2) online form found on the website can be filled out and submitted electronically. It is important that the information on Form 126 is accurate, complete, and legible as it is used to establish a member’s permanent record. It is advised that you allow the member to complete the top half of the printable form application. It’s less work for you and ensures accuracy. This will allow you to complete the rest of the form and either mail, scan and email, fax, or submit the information online.
Below is an explanation of the questions you will find in form 126.
You will request one of the following activities:
Add a New Member. A new member is someone who has never been a member of AMBUCS. The new member will be issued an ID number.
Reinstate a Member. A reinstatement is a former member of AMBUCS who has been readmitted to the same or different chapter after more than 60 days. A member thus reinstated is entitled to readmission upon payment of a reinstatement member fee. The reinstated member assumes his or her original ID number. Big Hat credit is allowed for the sponsoring member.
Transfer a Member. A transfer is a member, in good standing, who transfers membership to another chapter within sixty (60) days of dropping from their original chapter. No new/reinstated fees are charged and no Big Hat credit is given.
Transferring members must be dropped from the original chapter. Complete the “transfer from chapter” portion of the membership application and communicate with the original chapter’s Secretary to ensure a smooth transfer.
Give Dual Membership. Dual membership in a second chapter generates another ID number, has no sponsor and does not receive Big Hat credit. If a dual member is also a Life Member, the member is only listed as a Life Member for one chapter. AMBUCS Resource Center keeps the Life Member designation with the member’s original chapter and member ID number, unless the member advises otherwise.
If dual members are involved in chartering a new chapter, only ten percent of the new charter chapter members may hold dual membership at charter date.
You will tell us the type of membership.
Active member. Active status is a member designation for national and chapter dues billing. An active member will be counted on the quarterly Blue Chip membership report and be billed quarterly national dues. Chapters can use this status to bill the member full chapter dues.
Associate member. Associate status is a member designation significant only for chapter dues billing. An Associate member will be counted on the quarterly Blue Chip membership report and be billed quarterly national dues just like an active member. Chapters can use this status to bill the member an adjusted dues billing (for instance if they do not attend meetings that include food).
Honorary. The chapter may elect honorary members that the chapter desires to confer special distinction on. Member is not required to pay member contributions of any kind. They will not be listed on the active roster of the chapter.
Emeritus. An emeritus member is one who has been a member for 20 years or longer, who is no longer able to attend meetings of the chapter regularly because of permanent physical disability. The member must be a member in good standing at the time of election to emeritus membership. Emeritus members may not vote or hold any elected office.
Military Service. Military service membership may be granted to a member entering a branch of the armed forces who is thereby unable to attend chapter meetings. Upon notice to ARC of the change, the member shall be deleted from the national rolls and chapter roster. District or National member contributions will not be payable during active military service. Upon completion of active military service, the member will notify the chapter of intent to resume active membership within 90 days after completing military service. Upon notification to the National Office, member will be reinstated with no additional fee charged. Alternately, the chapter can elect to take over paying the member’s national dues and keep them on the chapter roster.
Life member. When a member has completed the payment for Life Membership, the member moves to the Life Member status and national dues will no longer be billed; beginning with the next quarter. The chapter will no longer be billed for the member’s national dues. A life member is counted on the quarterly Blue Chip membership report. Chapter Presidents will receive a Life Member plaque and Life member pin for presentation to the member.
Remaining question explanations:
Sponsor’s ID number. The sponsor’s ID number is the ID number of the member who sponsored the new or reinstated member.
Member ID number. Member ID numbers are assigned by the AMBUCS Resource Center. The new member’s ID number will appear in the Secretary’s New Member Confirmation and Invoice, chapter rosters generated by the ARC and the member’s membership ID card. Transfer and Reinstated members keep their original ID number.
Sponsor’s chapter. The sponsor’s chapter section needs to be completed only if the sponsor belongs to a chapter other than yours.
Membership Effective Date. The date is the date that ARC records the new member, based on chapter submissions. Forms received after closing dates cannot be made retroactive.
Form 130 Membership Deletions.
Below is an explanation of the questions you will find in form 130.
Deletions occur because of:
- Suspension (owes back dues)
If the deletion is because of resignation, death or suspension, check the appropriate box. If the deletion is because of a member transferring to another chapter, enter the chapter’s name in the Transfer To section. If the chapter is not known, place an X in that section. If the member resigned because of moving to another community, please provide a forwarding address (if known) in the Moved To block. The ARC will check for an AMBUCS chapter in the new community and notify that chapter.
Dropped officers. If the deletion is an officer in your chapter, please note this on the form so that information and materials can be redirected to his or her replacement. Submit Form 129 Report of Officer Change.
Form 135/136 – Report of Charitable Giving and Annual Report must be completed and filed electronically by February 15 each year. This form is mandatory.
- Report of Charitable Giving. Provides a capsulated view of the chapter’s community service for the year. Collectively, this information illustrates the magnitude of your chapter’s community service, the human resources expended and the financial value.
- Annual Report. Collects data from chapters concerning good governance and best management practices. As a charitable nonprofit organization, we strive for transparency and ethical practices. The form serves to certify compliance with applicable rules, laws and regulations concerning our member chapters.
The Chapter Treasurer is the financial officer of the chapter. His or her responsibilities are of vital importance to the chapter’s successful operation. In preparation for your year as Chapter Treasurer, read your chapter’s bylaws carefully. The bylaws and optional chapter policy are broad workable documents which set forth the rules and regulations under which your chapter operates. It outlines the limits of chapter operation. You and your chapter President will be well advised to know these limits, for it promotes the democratic process within the chapter. You should have a copy in your chapter’s files. If not, request a copy from the permanent files of the AMBUCS Resource Center. The Treasurer is responsible for keeping the chapter’s financial accounting in order and safeguarding the chapter’s funds.
- The Treasurer reports to the board and chapter about the status of the chapter’s finances, including actual expenditures and income compared to budgeted amounts.
- Provides a consistent voice for fiscal conservatism and analytical decision making within the board.
- Attends all chapter and board meetings.
- Manages the bank account. Your chapter should track operating expenses and charitable funds separately.
- Uses a bookkeeping system to record your group’s income and expenses.
- Documents every bookkeeping transaction.
- Provides an expense reimbursement policy and an expense reporting form.
- Provides an annual budget and an annual financial review.
- Gives a yearly Treasurer’s Report printed in your chapter newsletter.
- File Form appropriate 990 with IRS within four months after the close of your fiscal year (either October 15 or May 15).
- Meet any reporting obligations required by your state. These may include charitable registrations and reports by nonprofit corporations.
- Form 135/136 – Report of Charitable Giving and Annual Report due February 15.
The Chapter Treasury
Initial audit. Each incoming President and Treasurer should make it standard procedure to see that each chapter fund is being handled in a business-like manner. They should insist upon an informal review or audit being made of the books before taking over the responsibility of their offices. Perhaps most especially if the timing is unusual, say, because the position was unexpectedly vacated. The audit need not be a formal audit conducted by a CPA firm. It can be a qualified chapter member. The Treasurer should offer bond to be paid by the chapter.
Yearly audit. For the yearly audit, the Treasurer should deliver to the chairperson of the Audit Committee, the following materials:
- Bank Statements and canceled checks
- Cash Book and Journal
- Paid bills
- Copy of monthly financial statements
- Any other material requested by the committee
When the audit has been completed, the Treasurer’s Annual Report and the Auditor’s Report are presented for acceptance to the Board of Directors. The financial information in the annual report is to be used to complete IRS Form 990 (due four months after the close of your fiscal year – either October 15 or May 15).
Transparency. The Treasurer should provide bank statements to the board or a member with financial acumen each month. These statements should be signed off on and kept for five years. It’s prudent to always have two other members count, record and document funds prior to depositing. The ARC recommends that all chapters require two signatures on each check. Please see full Accountability & Transparency section above in the Executive Board section above.
Two funds. Chapters should maintain an operating fund and a charity fund. Separate bank accounts are not necessary, but funds should be accounted for in this manner. Chapter dues and fees are paid out of the operating fund, and all usual chapter expenses are also funded from it. Income from fundraising projects is placed in the charity fund which is used only for community service projects approved the membership. Additionally, funds may only be used for the purpose stated when they were raised. If the campaign was to put kids on trykes, you must use the funds to put kids on trykes. If it was raised for scholarships, it must be used to provide scholarships. If it was given for 100% Program Giving, it must be used for 100% Program Giving.
Bank deposits. Bank deposits should be made as often as possible and in such a way that all deposits serve as a double check on money that has been turned over for deposit. Make sure every donor receives an acknowledgement letter (see Fundraising for an example) and tax receipt (where applicable).
Group Tax Exemption
AMBUCS Group Tax Exemption – Group #8069. National AMBUCS, Inc. was issued a group tax exemption under IRS code 501c3 effective December of 1994. Local chapters of AMBUCS qualify under that group exemption as a bona fide 501c3 tax exempt organization. All newly chartered chapters are automatically included in the group tax exemption.
ARC will apply for newly chartered chapters’ EIN (Employee Identification Number). Chapters may NOT file for EIN numbers independently but must, instead, allow the ARC to apply – in order to be included in the AMBUCS’ Group Tax Exemption.
Chapters should follow the directions in the New Chapter Instructions provided by the ARC. This clearly lays out the necessary steps chapters must take to complete their qualification as a bona fide chapter of AMBUCS’ group exemption. These steps include:
- Adoption of Affiliation Agreement
- Adoption of Standard Chapter Bylaws
- Adoption of Chapter Policy Guidelines (optional)
The ARC will file articles of incorporation for your chapter in the state where chapter is located.
Form 990. Normal rules apply for filing the Form 990, which is the tax return for nonprofit organizations. All chapters must file a Form 990 or 990 EZ if their gross receipts are over $50,000 in a year. All chapters may instead file a 990-N e-postcard if their gross receipts are under $50,000. Gross receipts include all contributions, dues, and gross revenues from fundraisers. These forms are due to the IRS within four and a half months of the end of your fiscal year – either October 15 or May 15. (see Governance.)
Chapters should be careful to comply with all rules and regulations concerning charitable contributions. Obtain the latest information from the IRS.gov website.
National Fees, Dues & Invoices
- New member fee. The new member fee is $10. New member fees will be invoiced near the end of the chapter set up process. The invoice is emailed to the chapter Treasurer and a copy is also sent to the chapter Secretary.
- Reinstated member fee. The fee for reinstatement of a former member is $10 (see Reinstatement definition above). The $10 admission fee will be invoiced at the time of the reinstated members join date. The invoice is emailed or mailed to the chapter Treasurer and a copy is also sent to the chapter Secretary.
- Transferring member fee. There is no fee to National AMBUCS for transfer of membership from one chapter to another, providing the transfer is completed within sixty (60) days. After sixty (60) days, a reinstatement fee is required. (See transfer definition above).
- Chapter liability Insurance. Chapters are billed in advance $26.00 per quarter for Chapter Liability Insurance.
- Billing of National dues. $25.00 yearly, billed at $6.25 quarterly. Quarterly membership statements are sent to you about the 15th of the month following the close of the quarter. A quarterly dues invoice is included. Chapters are billed in advance for each quarter for all active members of record (Blue Chip Report). AMBUCS Resource Center records are considered official and billing is based on those records, as shown on the quarterly Blue Chip Report. NO ADJUSTMENTS ARE ALLOWED. This is why it is so important that a chapter keeps its records current with the ARC. Payment is due upon receipt. This expense does not require board action, and should be paid as soon as possible. Checks are payable to National AMBUCS. Delinquent National dues. National dues are considered delinquent if unpaid in thirty (30) days. A 2% late charge will accrue every 30 days for each past due invoice. If your chapter is declared “nearly not in good standing” the President is requested to contact the Treasurer and have the payment mailed to be received in the ARC by the 1st of the coming month. If National obligations remains unpaid at the end of the quarter, the chapter automatically loses its “good standing.” Meaning, it is not eligible to vote in national or district activities or at conferences or to make Amtryke purchases. Upon payment of obligation, the chapter will automatically be reinstated to “good standing” in the organization.
- Chapter Friends Dues and Renewals.
- Friends Individuals – membership renewal $25.00 (dues) billed directly to the Friend member.
- Friends of Chapters – membership renewal $25.00 (dues) billed directly to the chapter.
- Friends by Sponsor – membership renewal $25.00 (dues) billed directly to the sponsor of the Friend member.
- Friends Members are processed when their first $25.00 annual membership (dues) contribution is received by ARC. Payment must be received before membership is recognized. Your chapter receives Scorecard credit for Friends affiliated with your chapter or sponsored by your members.
- Friends members are then billed $25.00 annually for a renewal. The billing is directed to the various parties based on the Friend member type. Therefore it’s imperative that AMBUCS Resource Center have the correct status for each Friend member.
- Additional magazine subscriptions. Some chapters ask that their Honorary and Emeritus members receive the AMBUCS Magazine. At the beginning of the fiscal year, June 1st, a statement of $12 per number of these members is billed to the chapter.
- Official Confirmation Reports. Membership additions and deletions are verified through emailed confirmation reports (New Member Invoice or Dropped Member Confirmation).
- Amtryke invoices and AMBUCS Invoices. A numbered invoice is sent for each order from Amtryke and from the AMBUCS Store. Invoices are due upon receipt, a 2% late charge will accrue every 30 days for each past due invoice. For a chapter to be considered in “good standing” all Amtryke and AMBUCS invoices must be current. Amtryke and AMBUCS Store invoices are payable to Amtryke, LLC.
Note: Every 30 days you will receive a statement from us to help you stay on track. Statements are not billable. Invoices are.
Member Dues to the Chapter. Each chapter must have an adequate dues structure to operate. If dues and admission fees are too high, people cannot afford to belong. If dues and admission fees are too low, the chapter cannot perform its services for the members. The old rule of thumb was that chapter dues be at least $10 per month (plus meals if desired) but you may well find this is too much. When determining your chapter’s dues and your annual budget, be sure to include the cost of district and region dues. If you’re not sure what those amounts are, feel free to contact your district governor or region director.
Some possible operating expenses of the chapter could include software licenses, office supplies, fundraising expenses, speakers’ gifts, Treasurer’s bond, or conference expenses for the chapter officers and members. Standard items for inclusion in a budget are listed on in the Basic Chapter Budget Template on the website under Admin Documents.
TIP: We recommend the chapter collect the $25.00 yearly national dues from each member all at one time and then write one check for $6.25 times the number members to national each quarter.
Billing. Chapter membership dues are payable in advance and usually are billed monthly or quarterly.
It is important that statements be mailed / emailed regularly and promptly. It is equally important that no member be permitted to be more than two months in arrears. Establish a workable chapter policy on this point and adhere to the policy.
Delinquent dues. When these instances arise, the Treasurer must notify the Board. An Executive Board member would then call upon the delinquent member to find out what’s wrong and either collect delinquent dues or report suggested action on the member to the Board. Non-attendees and delinquent dues payments most often go hand in hand. Your chapter should work diligently to reactivate members when possible. Remember, it is easier to save a member than to get a new one.
Socials (optional). The chapter should have a policy as to the collection of any assessment for chapter socials. The policy should be strictly adhered to for each and every member.
Make sure one person or a group of people are responsible for selling tickets and collecting social assessments before the event. This helps in making food guarantees to the caterer. When pre-event tickets are sold, the Treasurer need only deposit the sales when receiving a complete recap of the event as to income and expenses.
Or your socials can be much less formal: going Dutch at a restaurant, a potluck, or paying for your own pour at a winery, etc.
Chapters also pay per capita dues to its district if they are located within a district. The District Secretary Treasurer sends statements of the dues on a quarterly basis, based on your chapter’s Blue Chip total. Prompt payment should be remitted to the District Secretary Treasurer. Life Members are not exempt from district dues.
The Region Director bills the district for dues to the region. Therefore, when your chapter pays its district dues, part of that amount goes towards reimbursing the Region Director for region expenses. If your chapter is not in a district, the region director will send a region dues invoice to the chapter. Not all regions have directors. A region must contain at least 250 members before gaining representation on the National Board.
A chapter not in good standing with the region, due to being in arrears, is also not in good standing with the national organization. There is a procedure in place for disputes and to help chapters get back on track. Please feel free to contact your region director, AMBUCS executive director or any member of the Executive Committee.
Regional Training Conference assessment. Some regions have a policy of assessment to defray the cost of the annual regional training conference in the spring. It is designed to protect host chapters financially, and to keep registration costs low. Ask your Region Director or district officers about your region’s policy.
Big Hat Club (BHC) Dues
On the 2nd quarter dues billing, you will receive an additional charge from National AMBUCS for annual BHC dues if members of your chapter have chosen to belong. These funds are used to pay for awards, pins, hats, etc. The current fee, as of June 1, 2013, is $10 per year for each Big Hatter on the Blue Chip Membership Report as of June 1st of that chapter year and is payable to the AMBUCS Resource Center. A late fee of two dollars is assessed if the bill is unpaid by November 15th.