VCU Foundation finances
As of FY2022, all alumni constituent organization funds are held by the VCU Foundation. Staff liaisons hold credit cards tied to each organization’s VCU Foundation account, with an established spending limit. Constituent organization expenses and purchases that may exceed the spending limit should be coordinated in advance with the staff and finance team so that charges can be made successfully.
Constituent organization budgets and expenses
Constituent organizations receive an allocated budget each year from the Office of Alumni Relations based on their level. Organizations may apply for funding on a quarterly basis through the Alumni Council Grants and Awards Committee review process. Reach out to your staff liaison for more details.
- Once approved, funds are allocated to the organization’s VCU Foundation account for that fiscal year’s expenses.
- Funds must be spent on endeavors that fulfill the mission of the Office of Alumni Relations and/or the Alumni Council: engaging alumni constituents, encouraging philanthropy toward VCU or representing VCU Alumni for the betterment of VCU, its students or the local community.
- Funds cannot be spent on the following restricted items:
- 1099 contractors, service providers or employment of individuals whose services are available through the VCU Office of Development and Alumni Relations
- Containers of alcohol for serving (i.e., wine bottles, liquor bottles, canned beer from a retail or wholesale vendor)
- Cash gift cards
- VCU, the Office of Alumni Relations and the VCU Foundation are exempt from state taxes. A tax-exempt form can be shown to vendors to omit this charge from purchases.
Constituent organizations should budget at least quarterly to prepare for event purchases and communicate with staff about vendor needs, contracts, deposits, etc.
Contracts and deposits
Some event purchases, activities and vendor bookings may require a signed contract. If a signature is needed, your staff liaison will work with the VCU Foundation to acquire one. This process requires advance notice to have the documents returned to the vendor on time. If a deposit payment is needed, alumni staff and the VCU Foundation finance team will work with the constituent organization and the vendor to ensure the services and booking are retained.
Purchase payments and preauthorization
Because alumni staff as cardholders cannot always be present for a constituent organization’s program, at times, using a form of payment that does not require an in-person transaction is best.
- Credit card preauthorization: The staff liaison can work with the vendor or venue to complete a credit card preauthorization form. Many restaurant venues offer preauthorization or online payment setup.
- Checks and invoices: The VCU Foundation is able to write checks for payment with at least two weeks’ advance notice. This option should only be used if other methods are not possible. Checks for invoices can be made out to the vendor with advance notice; turnaround time should be clearly communicated to the vendor.
- Online payments: Electronic payment with a credit card is an option for constituent organization expenses.
For more information about payment to vendors prior to an event date, work with your staff liaison to reconcile payments in the best manner for your event and vendor.
In the event that a volunteer incurs personal expenses from an organization-related event, the VCU Foundation will send a check for reimbursement to the volunteer. This process can take up to three weeks from the time staff receive the receipt of purchase. The option for volunteer reimbursement should only be relied on in emergency circumstances.
Tips and gratuity
If gratuity or a tip is appropriate, offering up to 20% of the purchase price is acceptable. Only tip if gratuity is not included in the bill.
Many alumni events involve offering alcoholic beverages to guests. For the safety of alumni guests and constituent organizations’ liability in circumstances surrounding alcohol consumption, a few guidelines are in place for such events:
- The purchase of alcoholic beverages outside of an ABC-licensed vendor, venue or establishment is prohibited
- The constituent organization should offer no more than two drink tickets to each attendee age 21 or older. Other drinks should be purchased by event attendees separately.
- Alcohol line items on receipts for events should be in alignment with the attendance report for the event.
With the proper approval, constituent organizations can accept sponsorships or external support for events, programs, publications or other activities. For more information on soliciting sponsorships and maximizing sponsorship results, contact your staff liaison.