Financial Management Overview

Those who raise funds under the MU Extension program name, logo, and/or emblem are accountable and responsible for the appropriate use of the MU Extension brand. Under the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Missouri guidelines, the county Cooperative Extension office is authorized to monitor such accounts and request audit reviews of all transactions related to finances in MU Extension groups operating under a MU Extension program name/logo/emblem.

All employees and volunteers of the University of Missouri Extension have responsibilities for achieving compliance with the provisions and best practices of financial resource management of our program delivery support groups (i.e., Master Gardener, 4-H councils, etc.).

No MU Extension employee should have their name on or have signature authority for any financial accounts of organizations they work within their role as an employee of the University of Missouri without prior permission from their program director. MU Extension employees found to be in violation of this policy could face disciplinary action. However, one exception would be for a bonded County Extension office secretary to be listed on the account for informational purposes only to aid in information retrieval when necessary and bank account signers are unavailable.

University of Missouri Extension
MU Extension manages MU Extension revenue streams and assists county councils with office fiscal policies and administrative-accounting functions where they:

  • Receive and expend allocations from the University of Missouri, USDA, and other sources in accordance with pertinent statutes, agreements, policies, and procedures in support of extension and engagement programs.
  • Participate with the council to establish a budget to support facility and program costs necessary to house MU employees and deliver programs within the county.
  • Provide guidance to county councils for the furtherance of extension work.

County Extension Council
University of Missouri Extension is a cooperatively funded venture involving local (county), University (state), and federal (USDA) partners. Generally, the state and federal portions fund all or a portion of salaries and benefits for professional and educational assistant staff; training costs; specific program support, certain equipment purchases, and administrative costs. Missouri Revised Statutes, Sections 262.550 to 262.620, adopted in 1961 by the General Assembly, provide the establishment of a University of Missouri Extension Council in each county. Refer to the Best Practices Guide, MU Extension Financial Resource Management PDF for a complete listing of County Extension Council, Regional Directo,r and CES financial roles and responsibilities.

Click on each tab below to read more about the topic.

Popular topics on this page include:

  • 5.3 EIN Applications
  • 5.5 Retention of Financial Records
  • 5.8 Philanthropy
  • 5.9 Grants
  • 5.10 Conflict of Interest
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    5.1 Use of Funds Overview

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      A. Program-Specific Guidance

      Volunteers should work with local program employees for the appropriate process of financial oversight of group funds. The employee should work with their respective volunteers in understanding and adhering to program-specific financial policies found in the following manuals:

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      B. Accountability

      The group must be accountable to the MU Extension County Office and employees for the proper use of such funds. Volunteers or others responsible for handling MU Extension funds can be removed for misappropriation, inadequate reporting, or mismanagement of such funds.

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      C. Grants and Gifts Overview

      For grants and donations, it is extremely important that all MU Extension groups show the source or donor of any money they have raised and how it is disbursed (see sections 5.8 and 5.9 for more details). Funds raised in the name of MU Extension must be carefully accounted for and used only in direct support of the MU Extension program, and appropriate records must be maintained to remain in compliance with Missouri Sunshine Law sections 610.010 to 610.028 (see Section 6. Liability Tab 6.11 Topic G for public meetings and record retention requirements of the law). Copies of these records remain in the MU County Extension Office.

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      D. Expenditures

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    5.2 IRS Compliance

    Any group that wants to obtain a bank account must obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. In addition, groups are required to file annual financial documents with the local County Extension office. Follow the links in 5.1 above to review program-specific compliance requirements.

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    5.3 EIN Applications

    (Updated 1.1.2022) Any MU Extension group that raises funds must have an authorized checking account opened with an IRS EIN (Employer Identification Number) for accounts of $50 or more. The MU Extension employee responsible for the program should guide the volunteer group through the process.

    The following is taken from the Best Practices: University of Missouri Extension Financial Resource Management guide.

    Any Program Delivery Support Group (PDSG) that raises funds in the name of an MU Extension program must maintain a checking account with a financial institution under an EIN. The MU Extension employee responsible for the PDSG should guide the volunteer group through the process. There are two options for opening a checking account with an EIN:

    1. Option 1:
      It is strongly recommended that all county program groups use the EIN of the County Extension Council. The revision is proposed for the following reasons:
      • Due to changes to IRS policy in 2017, online applications require the applicant's SSN. Volunteers are not authorized to provide their SSN as part of the EIN application process. The concern centers upon any personal liability for volunteers as well as the frequent changing of volunteer's leadership and the difficulty at which names can be changed associated with these EIN numbers. Using the Extension Council's EIN eliminates this concern.
      • The County Extension Council is responsible for the MU Extension programming in the county to include 4-H, Master Gardener, Master Naturalists, and other volunteer-led groups, therefore the Extension Council is responsible for the financial oversight of the county's MU Extension groups.
      • This arrangement enhances the financial management of all county funds and provides for financial accountability and transparency.
      All new MU Extension PDSGs with no pre-existing EIN and those existing groups found not to be practicing sound financial management as deemed by the Regional Director, CES, and/or County Extension Council must use the County Extension Council's EIN. MU Extension groups with existing EINs where no financial management concerns were reported are encouraged to use the County Extension Council's EIN, as well.
    2. Option 2:
      If the program delivery support group has established their own EIN number, they remain accountable and under the direction of Extension Council and MU Extension in order to continue to use any logos, materials, curriculum, etc. A quarterly programmatic report to the Extension Council is required as well as an annual report submitted to the Extension Council to include:
      • Name(s) of individual(s) authorized to sign on the accounts or authorized to increase or decrease the value of the assets.
      • EIN (Employer Identification Number)
      • Physical location of assets.
      • Name(s) of individual(s) responsible for financial review/auditing the assets.
      • Board members/committee members, club managers and treasurers must carry out their respective responsibilities as defined in the rules and guidelines for handling finances and assets.
      • An annual financial review is required and an audit is recommended.
      • Programmatic summary of activity.
      Applying for a new EIN through mail or through the online IRS portal is not authorized. Extension groups must follow one of the above options.
      (4-H faculty and staff: More information on this topic is located in the 4-H Policy and Procedure Manual. Contact Stephanie Femrite if you have difficulty accessing the 4-H Policy and Procedure online manual.)
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    5.4 Tax-Exempt Status for MU Extension Groups

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    5.5 Retention of Financial Records

    As an institute of higher education receiving state funds, the University of Missouri must abide by the Missouri Sunshine Law regarding public and closed meetings, agendas and minutes, financial management, and public record retention. Therefore, all MU Extension program areas (e.g. 4-H Councils, and local Chapters) must follow all provisions of the Sunshine Law: Missouri's Open Meetings and Records Law sections 610.10 to 610.028 RSMo (Missouri Sunshine Law (PDF summary). See Liability section 6.11 Topic G for record retention requirements of the Sunshine Law.

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    5.6 Fiscal Responsibility and Reporting

    The volunteer-led MU Extension group is accountable both to the County Extension Council and MU Extension employees and administration. In addition to other requirements set forth on this page, all extension groups (under the County Extension Council umbrella) must adhere to the following policies:

    • Account Holders/Signers
      Two unrelated adults with signature authority are listed on the bank account if one exists. (In 4-H, a youth may have signature responsibilities if serving as a treasurer.)
    • Pre-Approval Required
      All expenditures of the group must be approved by group membership in advance or approved for payment after the fact before a check can be written to pay the expense. That approval, in either case, must appear in the group's minutes.
    • Financial Record Keeping
      The group will submit monthly financial reports (along with minutes) to the County Extension Office to be in compliance with the Missouri Sunshine Law policy (see section 5.1 above). This may be monthly or quarterly at the behest of the responsible employee.
    • Annual Audit Requirement
      The group will complete and submit an annual, external audit of all accounts. A copy of the audit will be kept at the County Extension Office.
    • Oversight of Program Employee
      The financial management of Extension group funds must be transparent. The employee responsible for the program has the authority to request copies of bank statements.

    4-H Clubs and 4-H Councils, 4-H faculty and staff: More information on this topic is located in the 4-H Policy and Procedure Manual. Contact Stephanie Femrite if you have difficulty accessing the 4-H Policy and Procedure online manual.

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    5.7 Recovering Personal Expenses

    By definition, volunteers may never be paid a stipend for time. They may be reimbursed for reasonable, pre-approved purchase made on behalf of an Extension program (e.g. buying project-related supplies). Volunteers should never make a purchase without prior approval. If an emergency occurs in which a volunteer is required to make a purchase, any purchases made must be in accordance with university purchasing policies with the understanding and advice of an employee.

    The favorable option would be not to put a volunteer in a position where the volunteer needs to be reimbursed. For example, the volunteer receives pre-authorization from the club or chapter and pays with the group's funds (The pre-authorization for use of funds would be recorded in the group's minutes and the purchase in the financial records). Whether paying by personal or group funds, the volunteer would be expected to provide the original, itemized receipt and possibly be asked to file a W-9:

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    5.8 Philanthropy

    Philanthropy is defined as caring for humanity. Most often it is associated with giving money to take care of others. One distinction between fundraising and philanthropy is that fundraising is about acquiring donations; philanthropy is about acquiring donors. MU Extension through the University of Missouri has a thorough process for doing philanthropy well; receiving cash and other assets as gifts, properly receipting gifts based on the requirements of the law, tracking and appropriately stewarding donors, and managing funds and handling the financial responsibilities for the expenditure of gifts. Therefore, the preferred method for receiving gifts would be to have them directed through MU Extension and the University of Missouri. There may be times when properly authorized volunteer groups may conduct fundraising activities for educational programs on behalf of MU Extension. Such groups are expected to follow the guidelines provided by MU Extension and the University of Missouri; and the regulations of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service for the conduct of fundraising from a charitable tax perspective.

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      A. Gifts

      The Internal Revenue Service requires qualified charitable organizations to provide donors with a gift receipt for their charitable contributions. According to IRS Publication 1771, Charitable Contributions–Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements, charitable organizations are required to provide a written disclosure to a donor who receives goods or services in exchange for a single payment in excess of $75. Further requirements may apply. (See

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      B. Fundraising

      Fundraising programs using the MU Extension name and emblem (4-H Name and Emblem and Extension mark) may be carried out for specific educational purposes. Such fundraising programs and use of the MU Extension name and emblem on, or associated with products and services for such purposes must have the approval of the MU Extension program leader or authorized employee. All monies received from MU Extension fundraising programs, except those necessary to pay reasonable expenses, must be expended to further the educational programs. Fundraising groups properly authorized to use the MU Extension name and emblem are to be held accountable to the program granting authorization. Only authorized volunteer groups may engage in employee-approved fundraising efforts for the purpose of supporting extension programming. The volunteer group provides a detailed plan to account for funds raised prior to authorization. Such a plan should be within the policy guidelines of the state for handling funds.

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      C. MU Extension Oversight of Funds

      Only authorized volunteer groups may engage in employee-approved fundraising efforts for the purpose of supporting extension programming. The volunteer group provides a detailed plan to account for funds raised prior to authorization. Such a plan should be within the policy guidelines of the state for handling funds. Additionally, the volunteer-group must provide an accurate and transparent account for collected monies to the employee as requested. Program-specific guidance can be found:

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      D. Crowd-Funding/Online Crowdsourcing

      Volunteers should work with their local extension employees to determine if crowdsourcing is appropriate. Volunteers must be authorized by an employee to engage in crowdsourcing when using the MU Extension program name/logo/emblem. All financial management and reporting policies apply.

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    5.9 Grants

    A grant is a type of assistance award (usually money) given by the government, organization, foundation, or corporation in which there is a scope of work and budget that needs to be followed to fund a specific project, program, or research. In other words, a grant typically involves promising specific activities and resources in exchange for funds.

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      A. Submitting a Grant Proposal

      As such, grant applications that are for MU Extension educational programs cannot be submitted by volunteers on behalf of MU Extension, and instead can be submitted only by MU Extension employee who (1) are responsible for the educational program, (2) have the approval of the appropriate Extension office (i.e., county, regional, or state level, as appropriate) to submit the proposal, and (3) submit the proposal following specified approval and signature processes within MU Extension. All grant monies awarded will be expended to further the Extension educational programs. Volunteers can play a vital role in helping MU Extension secure grant monies by helping to identify local grant opportunities, using their personal and professional networks to connect MU Extension employee to grant opportunities, assisting MU Extension employee with grant proposal preparation, and carrying out volunteer activities to support the educational programming that is described in grant proposals.

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      B. Use of MU Extension Identity

      Any reference to a MU Extension program within a grant proposal needs the approval of a MU Extension employee. Use of the University seal and/or an extension program's name/logo/emblem/identity to support a grant-funded program must follow University and MU Extension policy/procedures for proper use. For instance, National 4-H has a guide outlining the proper use/display of the 4-H name and emblem.

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      C. Record-Keeping of Grant Funds

      The volunteer group must provide an accurate and transparent account for collected monies to the employee as requested. Program-specific guidance can be found:

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      D. Equipment Purchased (if applicable)

      The volunteer(s) may be authorized by a program employee to make purchases with grant funds. All materials, supplies, and equipment purchased through grants linked with an MU Extension program are property of MU Extension and remain so indefinitely. In instances where a program volunteer purchases and secures equipment purchased with grant dollars (e.g. 4-H Shooting Sports equipment), the employee responsible for the program must have unfettered access to the equipment while the volunteer serves as a program volunteer and after said volunteer leaves the program for any reason. For example, storing equipment purchased on the personal property of the volunteer is strongly discouraged.

      Additionally, the volunteer(s) must detail the inventory to include: date of acquisition, how acquired (donation/ grant-funded/ purchased with club funds), brand name, model name/number, and serial/ identification number if available. For example, equipment and supplies whether donated or purchased in the name of 4-H and with funds raised by or granted to 4-H are to be used only for 4-H purposes and are the property of 4-H and Extension it does not become the possession of an individual. This applies to other program areas, as well (i.e. taking of inventory, possession, etc.

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    5.10 Conflict of Interest

    The following applies to program volunteers: From the MU Extension Conflict of Interest Policies site, University of Missouri Extension employees shall faithfully discharge their duties and shall refrain from knowingly engaging in any outside matters of financial interest incompatible with the impartial, objective, and effective performance of their duties. They shall not realize personal gain in any form that would influence improperly the conduct of their University of Missouri Extension duties. They shall not knowingly use university or University of Missouri Extension property, funds, position, or power for personal or political gain.

    For complete Conflict of Interest policies, refer to the MU Extension Conflict of Interest Policies site.

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      A. Contracts

      Volunteers (and employees) may not sign contracts of any kind on behalf of MU Extension, nor otherwise, obligate the University in any way. Likewise, volunteer groups (4-H clubs and Councils, Master Gardener and Master Naturalist chapters and the like) may not enter into a contractual agreement on behalf of MU Extension or the University.

      • Volunteers (individuals and groups) who enter into a contractual agreement for goods and services will be held personally responsible for all associated costs and associated liabilities.
      • The University assumes no risk.
      • At the very least, the volunteer(s) risk dismissal from the Extension program.
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      B. Private Sector Endorsement

      From the MU Extension Conflict of Interest Policies site, "Clarification of potential conflicts should be sought from the immediate supervisor. It is appropriate to publicly recognize and acknowledge private sector support, however, no endorsement of product or services should be provided.

      It is appropriate to accept monies from the private sector to support programs and objectives of University of Missouri Extension. Also, it is appropriate to recognize organizations' contributions, but acknowledge that acceptance of support is not an endorsement of contributors' products or services by the university or University of Missouri Extension."

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      C. Endorsements

      • Flyers, brochures, and promotional summaries from other businesses should not be included as an attachment to or within the content of University print or online media. For example, it is not appropriate to include flyers on club livestock sales or promotional summaries about fabric sales in MU Extension newsletters. Again, this appears as a University endorsement and is an inappropriate use of tax dollars.
      • The affiliation of a volunteer with a commercial activity or commercial product in a manner that implies MU Extension or University endorsement is prohibited.