14.1 Basic Principles of 4-H Financial Policies and Practices

The Assistant Director of Extension - 4-H Program Leader has the final decision regarding all financial
policies for all 4-H entities, whether or not the policies are listed in the sections below.

14.1.1 Youth responsibilities

Youth learn important life skills (e.g., budgeting, record keeping, etc.) through managing financial
resources in 4-H Clubs. Youth therefore should be involved in collecting, accounting and distributing
funds. Financial institutions may require individuals to be at least 18 years old to be a signatory on an
account. This does NOT prohibit younger members from writing (but not signing) checks, recording
transactions, balancing the checkbook, and preparing treasurer’s reports, with adult guidance.

14.1.2 4-H Youth Extension Educator responsibilities

An Extension Educator is responsible for the 4-H organizations at the local level. The Educator’s fiscal
responsibilities include:

  1. Issue authorization for group or volunteer leader to carry out programs and activities using
    the 4-H name and emblem.
  2. Keep record of all 4-H organizations with this authority.
  3. Secure from each 4-H organization an annual report of its activities. Review each local 4-H unit’s
    activities to determine that the unit meets the particular 4-H program objectives for which it
    was established and that the 4-H Name and Emblem are used in accordance with the statute.

  4. Inform each 4-H unit’s leadership of the annual IRS Form 990 filing requirements.
  5. Ask each 4-H unit to submit an annual report of its financial activities using the Annual 4-H
    Unit/Club Financial Report template in the Financial Management Forms section.
    Recommended timeframe: January/February (allowing time for volunteers to obtain December
    financial records from their financial institutions).

  6. Establish the schedule for annual financial reviews/audits and notify the clubs of the
    review/audit date. Notification should be sent 10-12 months ahead of the time that the
    review/audit will be conducted to allow time for the volunteers to collect the necessary
    financial records. Recommended timeframe for financial reviews/audits: February, allowing
    time for financial records from previous year to be included in the documents submitted.
    Annually, a financial review/audit shall be conducted for one fifth of the county’s 4-H units
    resulting in a financial review/audit being conducted for each unit at least once every five years.
    A financial review/audit shall also be conducted any time there is a change in the primary adult
    volunteer working with the finances of the unit. A 4-H Unit/Club Financial Review/Audit form
    should be completed, signed and maintained for each club/unit (as conducted) in a file in the
    Extension Office. Financial reviews/audits may be conducted by an individual or committee
    selected by the local 4-H policy group (i.e., 4-H Council). Under no circumstances should the
    committee members be related to the adult volunteer who is a signatory on the account.

  7. Keep on file in the Extension Office copies of correspondence to each 4-H unit in the county
    requesting the unit’s financial information and activity records; financial reports; financial
    review/audit forms; and recommended actions for each 4-H unit/club.

  8. Review and approve 4-H Unit/Club fund raising activities prior to their implementation, to
    assure they are in line with state and federal policy (including the use of the 4-H Name and

14.1.3 4-H Unit responsibilities

Every 4-H unit (council, club, committee, project group, etc.) shall:

  1. Maintain a record of its activities (meetings, workshops, & other events involving 4-H
    members). This record may be in a form such as the sample included in the financial policies
    forms section, a calendar of events, or some other resource that details the activities of the
    unit. Activities of the unit are to be reported to the Extension Office prior to the time they are

  2. Maintain a record of the contributions it has received and expenses incurred; prepare and keep
    on file a record of its financial transactions; file all necessary state & federal forms, and submit
    an annual report to the Extension Educator responsible for the county 4-H program. A current
    financial report shall be made at each of the unit’s meetings to keep members of the unit
    updated on the unit’s finances.

  3. File an IRS Form 990 return annually, by May 15th. Please see additional instructions under the
    “IRS Filing and Reporting Requirements” heading later in this section.

  4. Due to the size of the accounts for most 4-H Affiliates, it is strongly recommended that the 4-H
    Affiliate secure the services of a professional tax preparer and/or financial accountant to help
    manage the financial aspects of the organization. An annual audit conducted by a professional
    accountant is highly recommended.

  5. If fund raising is conducted, submit all fundraising opportunities to the 4-H Extension Educator
    for review and approval prior to the implementation of the fund raiser.


14.2 Fund Raising in 4-H

The purpose of having a treasury in a 4-H club or organization is to provide funds to support the
activities of members and adult volunteers in their pursuit of educational and community service goals.
Funds raised/donated in support of the 4-H name and program are in public trust and therefore should
be carefully managed in order to safeguard the positive image of the organization for future

Fund raising should not be a 4-H unit’s major objective. Funds should be raised for specific purposes
that may include community service and assisting youth who do not have the resources to participate
without financial assistance.

Any fundraising program using the 4-H name or emblem must be conducted in compliance with federal

Any use of the 4-H Club Name or Emblem is forbidden if it exploits the 4-H program, its volunteers or
4-H participants, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Cooperative Extension Service, or
the land grant institution and its employees. Fund raising programs using the 4-H Name or Emblem
may be carried out for specific educational purposes. Such fund raising activities should be approved
by the appropriate entity as follows:

  1. Approval by the County Extension Service (either County Extension Director or 4-H Youth
    Development Extension Educator) if the fund raising activity is to be carried out in a single county.

  2. Approval by the Director of Extension if the activity is to be carried out on a multi-county level or
    state wide.

Under no circumstances may the 4-H Name or Emblem be used for fund raising purposes in any games
of chance including bingo. A game of chance is defined as risking money or other property for gain,
contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, or the operation of a gambling device. It is the
responsibility of the 4-H Youth Educator to inform 4-H organizations of this policy.

4-H units are discouraged from using Online fund raising/electronic payment sites (e.g. “GoFundMe”,
“Ziggedy”, “GiveForward.com”, “NetworkForGood”, “AmazonSmile”, Paypal, Venmo, etc.) due to the
inability to authorize their use of the 4-H Name and Emblem and because these types of sites are often
targets of fraudulent activity. Further, we are unable to guarantee that 4-H families’ personal
information will be protected when their information is shared with third parties.

14.3 Authority to use 4-H Name and Emblem

Each organization should be able to show proof of its authorization to use the 4-H name and emblem.

  1. For a 4-H Unit/Club, a 4-H charter signed by State Extension Officials indicating the group is
    organized in accordance with 4-H program objectives is sufficient. (See Section 11.5)
  2. For a 4-H Affiliate, a current signed Memorandum of Understanding with the county Extension
    Office is evidence of a group’s authorization to use the 4-H name and emblem.


14.4 Ownership and oversight of 4-H funds

4-H is a public organization; therefore, all funds raised in the name of 4-H (e.g., dues, fundraising, and
other sources) are 4-H property intended for the benefit of all members. No single member, volunteer,
committee or other group of individuals owns these monies.

As part of its responsibility as a Land Grant Institution to operate the 4-H Program for Indiana, Purdue
University has oversight over all 4-H Funds.


14.5 Distribution of funds after dissolution of 4-H entity

In the event of termination or revocation of a charter for, or dissolution of, a 4-H Club or other 4-H
Entity, all of the principal, income, and assets shall be transferred and assigned to the Purdue
Cooperative Extension Service Office in that County. These funds will be held to support future 4-H
educational program efforts, including the formation of new 4-H Clubs.


14.6 Handling of funds

To ensure accountability, all financial transactions related to the 4-H unit should take place by check or
money order rather than by cash. Debit or credit cards are not approved methods for 4-H units to
make financial transactions.

Funds should be deposited promptly after they have been received. Official, written receipts should
include the source of funds (e.g., car wash, candy sales), the date, and if possible, the name of the
person from whom the funds were obtained. The receipts are the back-up documentation for bank
deposits and they become a part of the group’s records.

4-H Units that wish to make online purchases may work through the County Extension Office to place
the order through the Purdue Extension Business Office.


14.7 Use of debit/credit cards and online portals

Debit or credit cards are not approved methods for 4-H units to make financial transactions.

Debit/credit card payments may not be accepted, even with new technologies such as chip readers.
Current technology available with these types of devices does not pass the security measures that the
University has in place to protect both the consumer and the University.

Payments may not be collected through online payment portals or mobile apps that are not supported
by Purdue University, such as Eventbrite, PayPal, Cash app, Venmo, etc.

Staff and volunteers who ignore this policy put themselves at personal risk if 4-H financial accounts are


14.8 Receipts for donations

The individual, business, or group that donates to the 4-H organization may be eligible to deduct the
contributions (bequests, legacies, devises, transfers, gifts) to these 4-H organizations on the donors’
federal tax returns according to the IRS code, pending the advice of the donors’ tax preparers (and
assuming the 4-H unit has maintained its federal tax exempt status).

Dated receipts should be provided to donors. A template for an appropriate receipt is provided in the
Financial Management Forms section.


14.9 Budgeting

A budget is a written plan approved by the members of the group to determine how money will be
obtained and spent. Once a budget has been approved by the group, approval for payment of
individual items is not required if the items appear in the budget. If a group does not have a budget or
an item is not part of an approved budget, the item in question needs to be presented to the group for
approval before payment. This assures that expenditures are made with approval of the group. It is
also a great way for members to learn how money flows into and out of the organization’s treasury.

No investment of 4-H funds is permitted without the expressed written approval of the State 4-H Program

13.10 4-H Sportfishing Policy Statement

Effective in the spring of 2004, Purdue University’s Risk Management team determined that certification of 4-H instructors for Sportfishing will no longer be required. There are some precautions related to the Sportfishing program however, that must be adhered to.

It is expected that any 4-H volunteer who wishes to conduct 4-H Sportfishing events or activities from a boat must have documentation to demonstrate successful completion of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Boater Safety Course prior to taking youth on water.

There is also an expectation that youth participating in any 4-H Sportfishing activity in which they will be boating, will be wearing an appropriate flotation device in accordance with Indiana law. A wearable type of Personal Flotation Device (PFD) must be provided for each person on board. In addition, boats 16 feet in length and over are required to carry a U.S. Coast Guard approved, throwable PFD.

13.11 Equipment Use Agreement

Some implement dealers and 4-H Volunteers in the Petroleum Power project areas (including Ag Tractors and Lawn & Garden Tractor) request proof that Purdue University provides insurance coverage for equipment that is borrowed for use at 4-H contests, workshops, and meetings at the county, area, and state levels.

Volunteers who receive a request for Purdue University insurance coverage should contact the 4-H Extension Educator for assistance with the Equipment Use Agreement.

13.12 4-H ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) Certification:

The following policy will be implemented beginning April 1, 2017 and will take precedence over previous published 4-H ATV policies.

4-H ATV instruction must be provided by a 4-H adult volunteer who has successfully completed the Indiana 4-H Volunteer screening process. ATV instruction provided in a classroom/workshop or similar style format that does not include participants riding an ATV is to be provided by an adult who the County 4-H Extension Educator has deemed to be knowledgeable of ATV safety. Adult volunteers should use the Indiana OHV/ORV (off-highway vehicle/off-road vehicle) Safety Course as an instructional guide. https://www.offroad-ed.com/indiana/

4-H ATV instruction provided in a hands-on style format that does include participants riding an ATV is to be provided only by an adult who has successfully completed the Indiana 4-H Volunteer screening process, successfully completed the Indiana OHV/ORV Online Safety Course, and has successfully completed an Indiana 4-H ATV Skills Assessment class provided by the State 4-H Office. Adult volunteers should use the Indiana OHV/ORV Safety Course as an instructional guide. https://www.offroad-ed.com/indiana/. 4-H adult volunteers assigned to the 4-H ATV Safety program by their county educator will be reimbursed the online safety course cost after submitting a copy of their completion certificate to the State 4-H Office.

4-H ATV instructors are certified to provide instruction to 4-H members (grades 3-12). ATV instructors are NOT certified to provide instruction to parents, siblings, other family members, or to the general public. This means that parents, siblings, other family members, and the general public may attend 4-H ATV workshops or other events, but they cannot be active participants by riding ATVs during these times. Liability insurance protection for 4-H ATV extends only to approved 4-H Volunteers providing instruction to 4-H members.

13.13 Movie License Procedure

Public law requires groups showing a copyright protected movie to obtain a license to show that movie to a group outside one’s home. This license is for not-for-profit groups showing movies indoors to invited participants and the organizer is not charging an admission fee. For 4-H purposes this includes events such as 4-H Round-Up, single and multi-county overnight camps, county sponsored movie nights, and other events. If a 4-H Volunteer wishes to show a movie as a part of a 4-H event, contact the County 4-H Extension Educator who will connect with the State 4-H Office for next steps.

13.14 Horse & Pony

13.14.1 Horse & Pony Helmet Policy

All 4-H members are required to wear a properly fitted ASTM or SEI standard F1163 (or above) certified helmet whenever mounted, or driving, at a 4-H horse and pony event, show, or activity. The 4-H member is responsible to see that this specified headgear is properly fitted with the approved harness fastened in place whenever mounted. Original tags must be present in all approved helmets.

This policy was placed in effect during the 2003 4-H program year and applies to all county, area, and state 4-H horse and pony events, shows, and activities.

Adults riding horses are also at risk of head injury; therefore, adults are also strongly encouraged to wear properly fitted, certified helmets when they are riding at any 4-H sponsored activity/event so that they will serve as role models of safe behavior, as well as protect themselves.

The helmet policy, along with other 4-H policies, are in effect during shows that have been organized, sponsored, and/or led by a 4-H entity (4-H Club, 4-H Committee, 4-H Council, 4-H Fair Board, etc.) –these include open Horse & Pony Shows that invite youth and adults to participate from within the county and beyond the county borders.

Concussion Safety in Sports Reference:https://www.usef.org/compete/resources-forms/rules-regulations/concussion.

13.14.2 Equine Liability Signs

Equine Liability Signs should be posted anywhere people are riding on the fairgrounds and at any equine business in the community. As part of the statute, the verbiage included on the sign must be posted in visible places on the grounds where people exposed to horses will see it.

At a minimum, one sign should be posted at each entrance to the barn and one on any riding area.

Signage may be ordered from a variety of sources.

13.15 Indiana 4-H Aggressive Dog Policy

The safety and well‐being of 4‐H members and volunteers is a primary concern with all Indiana 4‐H Program opportunities. Families should err on the side of caution in selecting a dog for the 4‐H member to exhibit. A dog that has a known history of aggression or biting is not appropriate for involvement in the 4‐H Program. On occasion, the 4‐H member may have difficulty managing their dog within the 4‐H Program. The following guidance has been provided for the Indiana 4‐H Dog Program as the owner/exhibitor of the dog bears responsibility for the dog’s actions. In the subsequent policy, the term “4‐H Dog Personnel” will include County 4‐H Volunteers, County Extension Educators, State 4‐H Staff and appropriate County and State Fair Directors.

A dog that bites a human or another dog at any 4‐H Dog Event must be immediately removed from that event by the 4‐H member and will subsequently be excused from the 4‐H Program. The member should be directed by 4‐H Dog Personnel on‐site to remove the dog if the member does not do so willingly. If a determination is made by the 4‐H Dog Personnel that a dog bit in self‐defense, it may be allowed to remain at the 4‐H Dog Event.

Dogs that display other signs of aggression, including but not limited to,barking and standing ground, growling, lunging and snapping will be give one verbal warning. They will be removed from the event after the second violation at the same event. To be removed from a 4‐H Dog Event, there must be two violations at the same event.

Any dog that is removed from a 4‐H Dog Event due to aggressive behavior will be placed on probation for 2 weeks. Written notification of the probation will be given to the 4‐H member. The 2‐week period will start upon written notification to the 4‐H member. While on probation, the 4‐H Dog Personnel and the 4‐H member and parents will work together to determine the best course of action for the dog. This may include (but is not limited to) working individually with the dog and 4‐H member,asking the 4‐H member to use a different dog or having the 4‐H member attend events without their dog. At the end of the designated probation period, 4‐H Dog Personnel will decide regarding the dog’s return to 4‐H Dog Events.

Dogs that are removed from a 4‐H Dog Event twice will be immediately excused from the 4‐H program and will not be allowed to re‐enter. Excusing a dog from the 4‐H Program is rare but could be necessary for the safety of 4‐H members, volunteers, and other participating dogs. Should a dog be excused from the program, it must be remembered that the action is against the dog and not the 4‐H member. 4‐H Dog Personnel should look at many solutions and encourage the 4‐H member to attend classes without their dog while training it at home or potentially bringing another dog to 4‐H events. 4‐H members will always be welcome in every other part of the dog project.

In the event that a dog is removed from a 4‐H Dog Event or excused from the 4‐H program, 4‐H Dog Personnel should report such to the State 4‐H Office so that the information is available at all county 4‐H dog programs and the Indiana State Fair.

The Indiana 4-H Aggressive Dog Policy Incident Reporting Form is included in the Risk Management Forms section.

13.16 Transportation Policies

Follow current transportation policies related to COVID-19 restrictions at: https://www.purdue.edu/transportation/.

13.16.1 Use of 12 and 15-passenger vans

In order to minimize the threat of personal injury and in keeping with Purdue University guidelines established in July 2001,12 and 15 passenger vans may not be utilized to transport more than eight (8) people (including the driver). This policy applies to all vans including,but not limited to,those owned, borrowed, rented, or leased and operated by Purdue University staff or volunteers. Proper vehicle seat restraints must be worn.Anyone who violates this policy will be deemed utilizing a vehicle outside of the University’s use policies, subjecting them to possible personal liability with no indemnification from the university.

13.17 Indiana 4-H Youth Development Camp Chaperone and Counselor Guidelines

Below are recommended practices for 4-H Camp groups in Indiana to follow related to chaperone and counselor housing and training.

13.17.1 General 4-H Camp Supervision and Training Guidelines

  • The 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator(s) responsible for oversight of the 4-H Camp are charged with insuring that adequate supervision is in place to provide a safe 4-H Camp environment at all times.
  • Adult Chaperones (paid staff and approved adult and youth volunteers) have the responsibility to provide adequate supervision and a safe environment for 4-H Campers throughout the duration of the 4-H Camp experience.
  • Volunteer Adult Chaperones must be approved through the normal Indiana 4-H Volunteer application and screening procedures. Placement of volunteers in these roles is the responsibility of the 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator.
  • 4-H Camp Counselors must complete the normal Youth Volunteer approval process, along with training that wilenable them to appropriately supervise the campers. Camp Counselors should be at least three years older than the oldest 4-H Camper. Placement of youth volunteers in the role of Camp Counselor is the responsibility of the 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator.
  • Prior to serving in a voluntary role at 4-H Camp as overnight chaperone/counselor, Adult and Youth Volunteers will have completed the Minors Safety Training related to the Operating Procedures for Programs with Minors university policy.
  • The recommended staff to camper ratio is 1:10 at a minimum (more staff is always preferred). Staff include Adult Chaperones (paid staff and approved adult volunteers) and 4-H Camp Counselors.
  • Adult Chaperones and 4-H Camp Counselors should always keep themselves above suspicion (see below) to protect both salaried and volunteer youth and adult staff from situations that potentially could occur in any 4-H youth program where there is potential for individuals to be accused of abuse. All Adult Chaperones (salaried and volunteers) and 4-H Camp Counselors should avoid one-on-one situations with campers whenever possible. If one-on-one conversations are necessary with a camper, they should be conducted in view of other adult chaperones.
  • All Adult Chaperones (salaried and volunteers) and 4-H Camp Counselors should also follow the modesty guidelines outlined below.
  • The 4-H Educator responsible for the overall coordination of the 4-H Camp will register the camp as a Program for Minors with the University.

13.17.2 Housing of Adult Chaperones, 4-H Camp Counselors and 4-H Campers

  • For the safety and well-being of the 4-H Campers, at least two approved adult chaperones should be housed in the same building as the campers, when the facilities permit them to do so. Trained 4-H Camp Counselors may also be housed with the 4-H Campers to support the Adult Chaperones.
  • When the facilities do not reasonably permit Adult Chaperones to be housed in the same building as the campers, Adult Chaperones should be housed in a building that is in close proximity to the facilities in which the campers and 4-H Camp Counselors are housed. In this case, at least two approved, trained Camp Counselors should be housed in the same building with the campers.
  • An individual adult chaperone or youth counselor should NEVER be housed by himself or herself with a group of campers. Always insure that at least two chaperones/counselors are housed with a group of campers.
  • When considering where to house adult chaperones, consider how you would answer these hypothetical questions:
    • Do you want to be the staff member on a witness stand with an attorney asking, “Why was there not an adult in a cabin full of youth at camp?”
    • Why would anyone think it is acceptable to leave a cabin full of young campers with teenagers and no adult supervision?

13.17.3 Above Suspicion Policy

  • The purpose of the Above Suspicion Policy is:
    • To provide a safe and caring environment for youth and adults in all 4-H program situations; and
    • To protect both salaried and volunteer staff from situations that potentially could occur in any 4-H youth program,including camps, trips, and other events, where there is potential for being accused of abuse.
  • At times, volunteers may need to stay in a room with 4-H youth in order to provide supervision. During those situations, there will be at least two or more adults in the room. All supervisory staff (salaried and volunteer) should avoid one-on-one situations whenever possible.

13.17.4 Modesty at 4-H Camp

  • In 4-H camp, “modesty” refers to the manner in which a person behaves while showering, getting dressed, and taking care of personal hygiene. Showering behind a door or curtain, keeping a towel/clothing over one’s genitals before getting dressed, and refraining from making any comments about your own or someone else’s body would be examples of modest behavior at 4-H camp.
  • Appropriate clothing should be worn by all youth and adult staff throughout the camp experience, fully covering the parts of the body that should not be revealed in a 4-H setting.
  • It is important that 4-H camp volunteers and paid staff –anyone in a supervisory role over youth campers –are aware of the importance of maintaining modesty at all times, especially when in the presence of other 4-H camp participants.

13.18 4-H Policy on Alcohol

Policy coming soon.


13.19 Operating Procedures for Programs Involving Minors

In 2015 the Purdue University Office of the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance implemented campus-wide policies related to programs involving minors. These policies are designed to ensure the protection of minors who participate in any University-supported program or activity. Purdue Extension programs across the State of Indiana are included in this policy, and were represented at the table when the policies were designed and implemented.

WHO: All faculty and staff working on behalf of Purdue Extension, approved Purdue University Adult Volunteers, and approved Purdue University Youth Volunteers.

WHATRequired“Programs for Minors Registration” for all programs involving minors.

WHEN/WHERE: Applies to all programs involving minors that started on or after May 1, 2015 and that are supported by Purdue Extension at the county, area, district, state, and national levels. Policies were revised in 2022 for all programs starting on or after May 1, 2022.

WHY: To ensure that programs involving minors are planned carefully and include safety as the highest priority.

HOW: Read on to learn about the steps necessary to complete the required training for faculty, staff, and volunteers and to register programs involving minor participants with Purdue University.

The Operating Procedures for Programs Involving Minors includes two primary steps:

  1. Completion of training by staff and volunteers
  2. Registration of program involving minors with the University
For more information about these policies, contact the 4-H Extension Educator.