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Handbook for Student Organizations

Developing a Budget

Sound financial planning is a major source of organizational strength and stability. Fiscal responsibility attracts members and adds permanence to your organization. It earns respect from vendors and other groups with whom you work. Budgeting is an important planning tool and an integral part of program planning. A budget is a projection of income (revenue) and expenses (disbursements). Budgets may be revised in the event the financial plans of an organization or program change. Prepare budgets for annual operations of an organization, fundraising events, committee activities and special events.


  • Income for organizations usually derives from such sources such as ticket sales, donations, fundraising activities, membership dues or special funds.

  • Expenses for an organization are typically operating expenses such as national or regional membership dues, rental or office space, postage, duplicating and telephone charges. Salaries, where applicable, are also included. For special activities or programs, expenses or disbursements can include speaker/entertainer fees, space rental, travel, lodging, publicity, reception costs, and Wisconsin sales tax.

  • A budget summary shows income or deficit after expenses have been deducted. It is perfectly normal for the balance to be zero because student organizations are not profit-making entities.

    example budget