Raising a Treasury
Early on, your committee will realize that they need to raise funds for postage, printing, deposits, and other business matters. Now is the time they need to commit themselves to planning the reunion. Explain that eventually they will be paying to attend the reunion, so request of the group that they pay their fees now. If you still need more money to get started, don't be bashful about asking your more successful classmates to pay early.
Opening an Account
Your committee is enough of an organization to own an account, and need not incorporate, file a fictitious business name form with the local government, nor qualify as an exempt organization with the Internal Revenue Service. Have committee members ask their own financial institution about opening an account for the committee as a charitable organization and see where you get the best deal. Try and avoid any service charges, in fact, you might be able to earn a little interest.
Earning Interest and Obtaining an Employers Indentification Number (EIN)
Your class can earn interest if you are able to find an interest bearing account. The interest earned belongs to the class, and you do not need to declare it on your own tax return. But you must supply the the financial institution with the reunion committee's Employer Identification Number, which you obtain with an application form, SS-4. and the instructions on the Internet. After completing the portion of the form necessary, find the IRS Service Center and telephone number for your area, which is listed in the instructions. Call, obtain the EIN, then submit the form. Supply this number to the financial institution instead of your Social Security Number when you open the account.
Checking vs. Savings Account
Class reunion committees write very few checks, and emergency expenses are rare, if ever. You have plenty of time to write to the financial institution to ask for a withdrawal. You will need money for the following: deposit on the facility where the reunion will be held, reimbursement for out of pocket expenses for stationery, postage, etc.; deposit for the reunion photographer; the disk jockey may ask for a deposit; payment of the anticipated dinner expense; and final payment on the memory books. If you open a checking account, you must pay for the printing.
Accounting for Deposits
Class reunion committees traditionally ask for the payment in advance in order to better gage the final count and to meet current expenses. Make sure that every one who pays is credited and you have everything in place on reunion night. If you are using a database, create fields for the date, ABA, and amount of each payment. Write a database report listing the deposits which you can send to the financial institution along with the checks. If you make any mistakes, someone processing your deposit will be calling you. Be sure and invest in an endorsement stamp.
Many reunion committees instruct the financial organization to require two or more authorized signatures on a check before honoring it. But the misappropriation of the deposits could happen just as well as writing a check for personal use. Perhaps some other safeguard would be better. If you are concerned, have the financial institution send the statements to a committee member who has no financial control, but knows what is going on, for example your reunion committee secretary.
Guarding Your Treasury
Someday, you will have a bank balance large enough to get you started on the next reunion. But be vigilant lest your money vanish. You could loose your hard earned money simply by doing nothing. The State of California, and no doubt other states as well, claims the right to "dormant" accounts, i.e. accounts with no activity for more than 12 to 18 months. Banks and other financial institutions are required to notify the state and turn the money over to them. The automatic posting of interest on an account does not constitute activity. The following can keep your account active, even if done only once a year: using a passbook for posting of the interest; or depositing or withdrawing a small amount, even $5.