Posts Tagged ‘money’

More money for chapters

Congratulations to three chapters who were recently awarded Chapter Grants for their upcoming programs! DePaul University will host a symposium about women in sports journalism, Texas A&M San Antonio plans to hold a workshop about developing community news sites and Delaware Pro will host a series of hands on FOIA programs around the state.

Don’t forget – your chapter can apply to receive a grant, courtesy of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, during our next round of applications due in February. For more information, visit the Chapter Grants section of the website.

A new round of Chapter Grants dishes out more cash

Congratulations to the three chapters who were awarded Chapter Grants this month! Each chapter was awarded up to $500 to put on their unique, amazing and brilliant journo program. Once they’ve finished, we’ll post a recap here so you can steal some great ideas.


Grants were awarded to the following chapters:

1. Louisville Pro

2. Oklahoma Pro

3. Kennesaw State University

Congrats again! Now go do great stuff!

Two more chapters get cash in May

Two chapters have been awarded funds for their awesome programs thanks to SPJ Chapter Grants. We ended this years program on a great note by dishing out the cash to SPJ South Florida and the Fort Worth chapter for some great ideas.

According to their grant application, “SPJ South Florida and the Miami chapter of NAHJ are following the lead of their national organizations- who are joining forces for EIJ this summer in Anaheim – and we’re sponsoring our own mini-conference on Saturday, July 13, at the Mayfair Hotel in Coconut Grove.” For more information on the event, visit their website.

The Forth Worth chapter plans to host an in-depth program about investigative journalism at the request of many of their members. They also hope to help out the community and had this to say: “By providing in depth training, the community will benefit as journalists apply theskills learned to report on the misuses and abuses as well as the beneficial events occurring in ourarea as well as beyond it for those reporters who take these skills with them into other areas.”

Either way, both chapters are set to provide quality programming with some extra in their wallets. Look for information about the next round of Chapter Grants in the future and congrats to these two great chapters!

Two chapters receive cash for programming

Congratulations to the two chapters selected to receive Chapter Grants for the month of January! They submitted stellar programming ideas and were rewarded accordingly, each receiving $250 to fund their upcoming event.

Don’t forget, your chapter can get cold, hard cash, too – just by applying. February applications aren’t due until Feb. 6, so apply now!

The University of Arizona was awarded a grant for their upcoming program, the Future of Investigative Reporting – With a Pulitzer Prize Winner, which features Ryan Gabrielson, a Pulitzer Prize winner for Local Reporting in 2009. Gabrielson and another University of Arizona Journalism School alumnus reported on Arizona’s controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio. According to Susan Knight, who applied for the grant on behalf of the chapter:

Their reporting on the sheriff’s illegal-immigration operation showed that other crimes, such as sexual assaults, were going un-pursued. In addition to winning the Pulitzer, the package of stories titled “Reasonable Doubt” won the George Polk Award for justice reporting, the Best of the West first place award for investigative reporting and the Arizona Press Club’s Don Belles award.

The chapter will invite Gabrielson to host a workshop on investigative reporting, give a public lecture and speak to several reporting classes about doing investigate journalism and new economic models in the news industry.

Alabama Pro, the second chapter awarded a grant for the month of January, “makes no bones about the fact that we are stealing this idea from the Minnesota chapter.” They plan to host their program, Freelance Love, in response to massive layoffs in their area, an effort to help people over the difficult hump. In their grant application, the chapter notes:

Alabama just suffered massive layoffs in the newspaper industry and there are more freelancers looking for work than ever. The Birmingham News, Huntsville Times and Mobile Press-Register laid off hundreds of people last summer, so the media industry here is in a state of shock.

The program aims to connect freelancers with potential employers and will be held at DISCO, a program in an “underserved neighborhood that helps students write, and keeps them off the streets.”

Congratulations to both chapters!

Another way to check out finance tips

We’ll be posting this Prezi to the website soon, but wanted to give you an early look at this Prezi all about chapter finances.

A few weeks ago, we posted some best practices for chapter finance to the Leading Edge, where you commented with ideas and corrections. Don’t forget – these are just suggestions. As chapter leaders, you’ve got to do what works best for your chapter.

And now, we’ve wrapped all that up into an interactive tutorial. Enjoy!

Last call!

Today is the deadline for the first round of SPJ Chapter Grants. So if you don’t get on the ball, you’ll have to wait until the next round, which ends Sept. 5.


  • Apply online
  • Have plans for a unique, cool or amazing program
  • Proposals should be submitted for programs occurring within 90 days of the cycle deadline
  • Grant proposals must be submitted for each deadline, they do not automatically rollover
  • Chapters selected will receive funds AFTER the chapter submits the required grant program recap, along with receipts, within 15 days of the completion of the program

Want some inspiration from the past? Check out what past grant recipients have done with their cold, hard cash.

Questions? Email Tara Puckey, Chapter Coordinator.

Finance feedback

Earlier this week, you received an email with some financial “best practices,” collected and compiled by chapter leaders from across the country. In case you missed it, here it is again:



As a board member it is your legal responsibility to keep tight oversight on chapter funds – even if you aren’t the treasurer.

By understanding and implementing some of the following recommendations, you can greatly decrease your exposure to misappropriation of chapter funds and other problems.




  • Require two signatures on all checks. Designate another officer/board member or two as online banking administrator(s) to routinely review the account(s).
  • Circumstances may dictate that only one person, the treasurer, sign the check, but having a separate online banking administrator or two is still highly recommended.
  • Require officer approval of any expenditure over $25; board approval of any expenditure over $100.
  • Income and expenditures should remain separate in your records. If you receive $100 for a pizza party and spend $50, you received $100 and spent $50, not received a net of $50.
  • Avoid credit/debit cards; they are too easily abused.
  • If a card is necessary, check with your bank to see if you can restrict the card’s use for large expenses only. For example, more than $100 but not more than $500 or only for bills above $500.
  • Have the treasurer transfer funds from the chapter PayPal account to the chapter’s general checking account after each event for which the PayPal account is used. Have someone else monitor the account.
  • If the board votes on a money matter directly affecting a board member, that board member should recuse themselves, even leave the room to allow a full and frank discussion.
  • When depositing funds in the chapter bank account, use a “For Deposit Only” rubber stamp on the back of checks. No individual should sign a check made out to the chapter.
  • One person should fill out a deposit slip. Someone else should actually make the deposit and return the slip to the person who filled it out.


The treasurer maintains the following financial records:

1.)                A paper check stub for each check written, or copy of self-duplicating check.

2.)                A computer record (Excel or Quicken) of each check written, with a detailed breakdown of specific amounts for various purposes.

3.)                Electronic and printed copy of each monthly bank statement.

4.)                A file of receipts, each notated with the check number for payment

5.)                Information needed for financial section of the annual chapter report to national.

6.)                The chapter’s federal (and state, if required) tax records, including Employer Identification Number and letter verifying tax-exempt status. SPJ chapters typically are subordinate entities of the national organization and are tax-exempt nonprofits, typically under Section 501(c)(6) of the IRS code. Some chapters are 501(c)(3). Know the difference.

The treasurer prepares and/or files these reports:

1.)                Monthly report to the chapter board, detailing income and expenses.

2.)                Financial section of annual report to national.

3.)                Annual Form 990, EZ 990 or E-card 990 with the IRS.

4.)                Any state or local forms required of nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations.

We recommend keeping critical records in a single three-ring binder as well as on your computer.


  • Create a budget, using the last 5 years of expenses as a guide. Plan for the worst year.
  • Examine whether you’re on budget each quarter. Spending/fundraising over or under?
  • Monthly treasurer’s report should discuss the state of the budget. Do you need an

emergency fundraiser or cut back on spending?

  • Scholarships are an ongoing commitment. Do your best to have 10 years of funds on hand.


The annual report to national headquarters of your chapter’s activities requires a brief synopsis of your chapter’s finances.

  • Appoint a committee of three to review the financial section of the annual report and have its members sign a statement attesting to its accuracy.
  • The three reviewers should include the chapter president (or designee), a member of the board who is not an officer and a third party with some financial experience (e.g., a local financial reporter, a senior accounting major or local accountant willing to provide pro bono service).
  • The regional director will review the annual reports and verify with at least one member of the review panel that the chapter’s finances were reviewed.

After she had a chance to look it over, Liz Enochs, the President of the Northern California chapter, had a few important thoughts. Here’s what she had to say:

On this:
One person should fill out a deposit slip. Someone else should actually make the deposit and return the slip to the person who filled it out.

That item strikes me as impracticable. It’s challenging enough to get one person to go to the bank and make a deposit — having to coordinate w/yet another person seems like an unnecessary obstacle.
Here’s what our chapter does: We have two signers on our account – the president (me) and the treasurer. Anytime I make a deposit I have our bank email a copy of the deposit slip to myself and the treasurer, and if further explanation is warranted, I email that to the treasurer.
On this:
Require officer approval of any expenditure over $25; board approval of any expenditure over $100.

I understand the sentiment, which is that oversight and constraints are needed, but that has to be balanced against the possibility of nickel-and-dime approval requirements turning things into a bureaucratic nightmare. Rather than following a specific-dollar-amount mandate from national, I would say the important thing here is for the full board to be involved in monitoring finances and setting limits and guidelines on how chapter money is to be spent.

Do you have thoughts you need to share? Post a comment here! We’d love to hear from you.

Money, money, money

Doesn’t that just make you want to sing? Free money! Well, kind of.

SPJ knows that your chapter is bursting with great ideas for interactive, energetic and unique programming. We’re sure your ideas about diversity, ethics, access and advocacy are brilliant. And because of that, we want to make sure those ideas translate into real-life, amazing chapter programs.

So – we’re offering your chapter some cash. Up to $500, to be specific.

Check out all the details about Chapter Grants and apply for the first cycle – the deadline is Aug. 8 so start getting those ideas together. As always, if you have questions, email Tara Puckey, Chapter Coordinator.



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