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How student groups are funded

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How student groups are funded

South Bank Students’ Union believes that every LSBU student has a right to expect and be able to access a Union which has a transformative impact on their study, their life, their University and their communities. 

We aim to do this by providing excellent extra curricular opportunities which creating a sense of community and belonging to help students thrive. The University provide the Union with an annual block grant to carry out this work alongside student representation.

An integral part of how SBSU does this is by supporting and empowering students to create and lead their own communities and student groups. This might centre around a shared interest, their faith, beliefs or identity, sports and fitness or their academic study. 

Building and maintaining communities requires an investment of time and resources from all those involved and SBSU aims to make these opportunities more accessible for students by providing funding and staff support to help run student groups. 

Before the start of each new academic year, student groups will be invited to submit their plans for activity across the year, including the funding needed to deliver these. The SBSU team will then meet with committees to discuss the plans, agree the budget and what staff support and resources will be needed from the SU. 

These activity plans will be reviewed by committee members and the SBSU team each semester and updated if necessary. If a student group has a suggestion for additional activity in year which is not included in the original plan, they can submit the plan for this and proposed cost to the team (within a reasonable turnaround time) for consideration. 

Completing an activity budget

SBSU wants to make sure that the students who are engaged with them through their student groups have an excellent experience, so when planning activity, group leaders should make sure they submit a financial plan which is going to meet that aim. The plan should include everything the group will need in order to fulfil its purpose – core activity. This could include, but is not limited too:

  • Equipment, kit, materials

  • Venues and facilities 

  • Coaches, external speakers, trainers etc

  • Expenses where applicable

  • Promotional materials and incentives

  • Cost of events

  • Required professional or accreditation fees (such as league entry, or registration)

When group leaders and the SBSU team discuss the plans, they will determine the required budget based on a balance of the need to provide an excellent experience for members, and their duty to act responsibly with the Union’s money.  

Membership fees

As the beneficiaries of the groups activity, its members will pay a fee which will be based on a proportion of the total running costs. Groups with lower running costs will pay a lower fee, than those with higher. It is important that access to these groups is available to as many students as possible, therefore, fees should be set at a reasonable price to encourage participation. This means that the majority of the groups running costs will be covered the Union, and the group’s income from members will be used to make a contribution towards that. 

In general, the income from members (in the case of sports teams 10% of income from members) will be set aside to provide for any additional costs which have not been agreed as part of their core activity. 

Examples of costs which might not be agreed as part of a core budget might be:

  • things which do not clearly allow you to meet the aims and objectives of your group; i.e a sewing club which wants to by a TV

  • Premium quality hoodies, which are considerably more expensive

  • Sending members to a local match in a taxi when public transport is available and reasonably quick

In these instances, the group could fund these activities from their membership fund, however, group leaders should always discuss funding for any activity with the SBSU team beforehand to see which fund should be used.

At the end of each year, any remaining membership funds  will be released back into the Union’s main budget to contribute to the core running costs. 

Other ways to raise funds

There may be occasions when a groups membership fund will not cover the activity planned. Therefore, the group can raise funds in other ways. This might be through specific fundraising events, sponsorships or through their members. Income from these will be added to a groups membership fund.

Any plans for fundraising activity must be submitted and approved by the SBSU team. As a registered charity there are a number of legal barriers and requirements around fundraising which must be adhered too so the team will make sure that your activity meets these obligations. 

This is especially important when it comes to sponsorships. As it has no official ‘legal identity’,  a student group can not enter into a contract on its own behalf, whether in writing or verbally, and doing so could breach the rules of its affiliation. Any sponsorship arrangement or similar can only be approved by a members of the SU’s senior management team.

Due to the complexities within charity law for non-profit organisations, it is unlikely that sponsorship arrangements in return for money will be agreed, instead provision of venues; kit, equipment, events might be more suitable. 

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