Collecting money

How do you collect money for your local XR chapter?

There are many ways you can start collecting money. It really depends on the stage of the development of your local chapter.

The early days

If you are just getting started, it's gonna be hard to ask for money. People first need to know you before they will give you money. So start by asking people who do know you.

Hamish from XR Hammersmith & Fulham advanced the money to rent the room for the very first meeting.

Alternatively, you can also ask your regional or national XR group. For example, any new local chapter in Belgium can file an expense to the national collective.

When people come to the meeting, you can pass a donation box to ask people to participate. It's important to share why you are asking money. What will the money be used for? At the early stage the money will be used for renting a meeting space, for supplies and materials for the art group, posters and stickers. If needed, funds collected could also be used to reimburse people who need financial support for their public transport. That could be particularly important if you create the first chapter in a given country or region and people need to come from afar. The cost of transportation shouldn't be a deterrent to be able to participate in meetings.

Note that to respect the values of XR, donations should be voluntary. No one should ever feel obliged or pressured to contribute. Because of that, it's important to pass the message that if people can afford it, please be generous as a way to pay it forward and to ensure that anyone can join the XR meetings.

The donation box itself could be a great Art activity. Ask people to be creative. You will need multiple boxes for the various events that you will organize.

So now you have some donations rolling in. What to do next?

Transparency is super important. Without transparency, there is no trust. So start a Google Spreadsheet to record how much money you are collecting at each meeting. Make sure you record the date, a short description (e.g. "cash donations from July 30th meeting at The Duchess Pub") the total amount and who is keeping the money (the person that is keeping the money may not always be present at all meetings, and that's ok. So you may end up with multiple "wallets").

Whenever you use the money for something, record it in the same spreadsheet. Bonus point if you can attach a picture to it. Simply upload the picture to a Google Drive or Dropbox and copy paste the URL in the cell of the spreadsheet.

Setting up a finance working group

Till now things were pretty easy. You only have to record at most once a week the donations you received and record the very few expenses that you have. So only one person could manage the entire process.

But as your XR chapter grows things will become a bit more complicated. You will have more and more transactions to record and more importantly, you will have to start making decisions on where to allocate the money.

It's time to create a Finance Working Group.

Chances are that at the beginning it will be just a group of one or two people. But at least you start delegating this task to someone else (and you empower other people in the community to take responsibilities, which always feels super good 🤗).

Mandate

The initial mandate is very simple: keep track of all donations and expenses. But it can quickly be extended to taking care of collecting donations (make sure there is a donation box at every meeting and event), reach out to different institutions and wealthy individuals to ask for financial support, manage expenses, etc. It's really up to your group to define the mandate.

It's always a good idea to keep mandates as short and as simple as possible. You don't want to tell a working group what to do nor how to do it (as long as they respect the 10 principles of XR). The primary goal is to make sure that other working groups know what their general mandate is. As the working group grows, a broad mandate will enable them to split into sub working groups.

Defining policies

One of the roles of the Finance Working Group (or circle) is to define the different policies: who can donate money? Who can file expenses? What should be the decision making process? What should be the reporting/transparency policy? Have a look at the "Expense Policy" section for more information on this topic.

Fundraising

How to raise money for your local chapter? There are many ways that come down to two main ways: offline fundraising (fundraising opportunities in the real world) and online fundraising.

Managing expenses

How to put in place an easy and transparent process to enable rebels to get reimbursed for their various expenses or to directly pay for something that you need? See the "Expense Management" section.