Managing Money

How to use spend money, fundraise, budget and manage financial records.

Setting Up a Bank Account

Organizations may use the “banking” services provided by the UW Credit Union (Union, 1st floor, 1-800-533-6773) or any financial institution of their choice for non-segregated university fee revenue. If your student organization decides to open an account, it is recommended that the organization have a business checking account. You will need at least two signature holders (organization officers) and an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in order to set up a new account (apply for an Employer Identification Number online).

Bank Account Quick Reference Guide

W-9 Form Instructions for Student Organizations


Fundraising (Sponsorships & Food/Bake Sales)


One way to get your organization to receive resources is through sponsorship and co-sponsorships. If your organization is attached to a university department, talk to the department chair about making an investment in your group. Do not focus only on money; let them know what you can offer in return. Remember donations such as phone use, office supplies, copying, typing, and other free materials are helpful. If your club needs equipment, talk to local distributors about giving you a deal on the price in exchange for displaying the company name. Student groups contribute many things to the university, in addition to the surrounding community, so do some brainstorming and go find some sponsors!

Co-Sponsorships with Non-University Groups

Any co-sponsored activities must be consistent with the role of the University as a non-profit and educational institution. Sponsorship may be done for the benefit of any recognized charitable or educational group. It is normally expected that such groups shall submit a federal tax exempt status number or a statement on an official publication of the group identifying the group as tax exempt.

When sponsorship of Union facilities is undertaken by a student organization, the group assumes the full responsibility for compliance with all applicable University policies and any financial obligations relating to the program, including advance deposits when required. An authorized representative of the group must make arrangements with University officials and the event must be monitored by the group.


All food sale requests considered under this procedure must be from recognized student organizations at UWM for the purpose of fund raising. A Food Sales Permit Application can be obtained in the Union Event Services office, Union Suite 300.

Each student organization is limited to 5 food sales per semester. Only one food sale per day may be scheduled. Requests will be handled on a first come, first serve basis. Forms must be turned in at least 10 days prior to the intended event and no more than six (6) weeks in advance.

This procedure addresses single-day food sales held outside the UWM Union only. Bake sales held in the Union Building are coordinated by the Union Reservations & Event Planning Office. Continuous sales or selling of food longer than one day is not allowed at UWM.


If your organization received over $5,000 in a fiscal year, you will need to contact a financial tax specialist to determine if your group must submit a “Charitable Organization Annual Financial Report” (Form #308).

Charitable Fundraisers Co-Sponsored with Charity

Student organizations may conduct charitable fundraising activities c-sponsored with and on behalf of a charitable organization. For additional information and assistance, please contact Student Involvement at 229-5780 or at at least eight weeks prior to the proposed event date.

Fundraising: A PDF version of the video below.

Types of Fundraisers: A full breakdown of the various ways to raise funds for your organization.

Fundraising Planning Worksheet: Use this worksheet to help develop the goals for your event.

SAC Grants (Event, Travel, Operational)

The Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) SAC is a standing committee of the Student Association Senate and receives/allocates segregated fee funding to eligible student organizations. SAC will ensure that a diverse body of eligible student organizations receives funding. For the most current SAC information, deadlines, bylaws, requirements, etc. visit their website: HERE.

All requests must be submitted using the online grant forms accessible in Presence. Semester (Large) grant training is now provided by SAC in advance of submission deadlines.

Organizations requesting funds need to use one of three funding forms: Operations Grant, Event Grant, Travel Grant. SAC normally does not fund 100% of any requests. SAC encourages student organizations to fund raise, charge fees, or obtain other sponsorship to help defray costs of their activities. The grant allocation process normally takes three weeks or more to get funding approved, so groups need to plan ahead. Contact SAC at for forms and more information.

Spending (Including Spending SAC Event/Travel/Operational Grants & Reimbursements)

There are many policies and procedures that govern the use of state funds. Failure to comply with these policies and procedures may result in student organization officers being held personally liable for any obligations incurred by a student organization. The steps listed below have been implemented to help student organization officers navigate the State procurement process and MUST be followed in order to use state funds. 


  • Checks for purchase orders greater than $5000.00 and bus rentals – 30 days 
  • Checks for purchases less than $5000.00 – 14 to 21 days 
  • Paid performer or speaker Contract – 30 days 
  • Non-paid performer or speaker Contract – 14 days 
  • Payment to Individuals for services -21 days 
  • General Reimbursements – 30 days 
  • Credit Card Purchases – 7 days, plus vendors’ delivery time. 
  • Travel set-up – 21 days 
  • Travel Reimbursement Submission – 15 school days 
  • Travel Reimbursement Processing (after requestor signs) – 30 days 



To use a SAC grant to pay for expenses, an organization officer must complete a Create Expenditure form on Presence. This form works for Event, Travel, & Operations Grants. It is the organization’s way of providing direction and details for each planned expense. Once submitted, the Student Involvement Business Office will review and contact the organization with any questions or to set up a meeting, if needed.  

Be aware of deadlines! The Create Expenditure form will always list the deadlines for the current semester. Additional notes for the different Grant types: 



In addition to the Create Expenditure form, an officer of the student organization will need to do the following when planning an Event: 

  1. Complete the online Event Registration form located in Presence. 
  2. Schedule a meeting with a Student Involvement Liaison by calling 414-229-5780 or contacting your liaison directly.
  3. At the meeting, the Liaison will discuss event expenses and review all applicable University and State policies with the student organization officer. 
  4. The student organization officer must follow through with all action items identified during the event planning meeting with Student Involvement. Failure to do so may cause issues ranging from a delay in the event, to a loss of grant funding. 

Please note that many aspects of event planning can take a long time. The above steps need to be completed at least 45 days in advance the event. 


In addition to the Create Expenditure form, an officer of the student organization will need to schedule a travel meeting with Student Involvement. We will contact you once we receive and review your form. Please have some windows of time available which work for all members traveling. . 

  1. At the meeting, the Student Involvement will book and pay for travel arrangements, and go over pertinent information regarding University and State travel policies with the student traveler. The Student Involvement Business Office will not spend more than the dollar amount approved in the Travel Grant. Travelers should be prepared to pay for the balance of their trip at the meeting (example: if the approved travel grant is $500, but flights will cost $600; the organization will need to pay the balance at the time of the booking. Student Involvement will not put the group into debt). 

To take advantage of lower fares and ensure compliance with University travel guidelines, the above steps need to be completed at least 21 days in advance of your desired travel departure date. 


Officers should bear in mind the following items when completing the Create Expenditure form on Presence  

  • One form must be submitted per vendor.  
  • Consider the shipping times and availability of the item when you are researching online. Requests are often submitted for items which are out of stock with the vendor, or have shipping times which do not work with the organization’s needs. 
  • If you are requesting any office supplies for your organization, please use Staples for the vendor (this is a mandatory state contract; orders which use other vendors will be rejected). 
  • Please note that all items purchased with state funds are property of the state and must be stored on the UWM campus. Student organization officers must keep track of these items and will be required to complete an annual inventory review. Lost or damaged items must be reported to Student Involvement within 7 business days. 


If you believe the Presence form will not suit your needs, please contact the Student Involvement Business Office at (414) 229-5780, or, to discuss special circumstances.   


Reimbursements are only allowed in very specific situations, and must be approved by the Student Involvement Business Manager prior to the expense actually being incurred. Please do not make any purchase with the expectation of being reimbursed by SAC grant funds or revenue funds as we may not be able to facilitate this. Contact the Student Involvement Business Manager at 414-229-5780 with any questions regarding reimbursements and we are happy to help you make your desired purchase.  

Travel FAQ's
  1. Can we use the grant to go to a different conference than the one requested on the grant application?
    • No, grant funds can only be used for the specific purpose approved by SAC. If you prefer to use your grant funds in a manner other than what you had originally requested during the grant application process, you can submit a SAC Request for Funding Redistribution form.
    • Note: Requesting does not guarantee SAC approval
  2. Do I have to book a travel meeting to use my travel grant?
    • Typically yes, we require a travel grant meeting when booking flights. If your are not requesting flights, and your Expenditure request form is thorough, we may be able to complete the transaction without a meeting. We will contact you after you complete the Expenditure request.
  3. I received funding for flight, but I use Amtrak instead.
    • No, you need to ask for a redistribution, because you are changing the transportation type which was not originally approved by SAC.
  4. I got funding for a flight, but I want to be reimbursed for a uber as well to take us to the airport. Can I use my grant?
    • No, SAC funds only one type of transportation.
  5. One of the students on the grant application can no longer go. Can another student go in his place?
    • Yes. The students going on the trip do not have to match the names on the grant application. However, only UWM students can use grant funds.
  6. We were approved for 4 students but can we send more than 4 on the trip?
    • Yes.
  7. One of our members can’t go on the trip anymore. What happens?
    • The grant funds get reduced proportionately. Ex. $1000 grant approved for 4 students, but now only 3 students are going on the trip. The grant would be reduced to $750.
  8. Can we use unused Operations or Event grants for travel?
    • No. Grant funds can only be used for the specific purpose approved by SAC.
  9. Do all our travelers (1-7) need to meet with Student Involvement at the same time? We have busy schedules.
    • If you want to use grant funds, yes, you have to find a way to meet with Student Involvement as a group. We would prefer everyone have a travel meeting, because this creates less confusion, especially when booking flights and hotels. You can schedule up to two meetings. Email us at with any concerns.
  10. Can we book a campsite?
    • Yes, but you will need an invoice and need to book directly through the campsite. Email us in advance at so we can make the payment for you.
  11. Can we book a rental car through student Involvement?
    • No, because any student using our contract to travel is not insured. Student Involvement cannot book rental cars. UW-System has a “non-business-use” contract with Enterprise Rent-A-Car which you may use, however, we ask that you select insurance which will cover you as an individual (you would not be covered by UW-System insurance). Any car rentals would need to be paid by the traveler, and then reimbursed (if car rental was approved by SAC). UW-System Non-Business Use contract
  12. Any more questions?
    • Email
Taxes and Non-Profit Status


Organizations that sell items, charge admission for entertainment events, or collect fees for other services that are considered taxable in the State of Wisconsin must collect and transmit sales tax to the State. Organizations must be aware that they may be liable to pay sales tax on some of their fund-raising efforts. Even if your organization has a tax-exempt number, sales tax is to be collected on the following items and services:

1. Amusement Services in excess of $500 per year (e.g. live or recorded performances, movies or plays, exhibits or displays, and spectator sports).

2. Ready-to-eat food items.

3. Items for resale (T-shirts, posters, decals, etc.).

4. Rental of tangible personal property.

Student organizations should get a temporary sales permit from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue 1-608-266-2776 or visit their website. Most minor fund-raising projects will qualify as Occasional Sales. Organizations should read the Occasional Sales rules from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, to determine if they qualify for exemption from paying state sales tax.

All groups that sponsor entertainment events, have revenues of $2,500 or more annually, or annually hold more than three fund raising activities, must obtain a Sellers Permit. Applications and assistance in completing permits are available from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue at 1-608-266-2776, or from the Technical Services for Sales Tax line at 1-608-266-3873. Holders of Sellers Permits are required to file tax reports quarterly, annually, or monthly as specified by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Failure to do so may result in fines and/or penalty fees.

Organizations that have been granted tax exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service are not assessed sales tax on goods they purchase. Such organizations are still required to collect tax from those who pay to attend their events or
buy goods or services from them.


Student organizations may solicit donations or host events where donations are collected. Student organizations should contact the Federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and State Department of Revenue for specific information or requirements for how this money may be used. If segregated university fees paid for a portion of the event or activity where the donations are being collected, then all the money donated must be deposited in the organization’s state agency account in Student Involvement. Any fundraising or other money deposited in a State agency account will be treated and maintained as State funds. State funds cannot be used for gifts, donations, or contributions.



An organization which solicits and receives contributions in excess of $5,000 annually must register with the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing. A charitable organization means a business entity that is described in section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, or a person who purports to be established for a charitable purpose. Charitable purpose means a purpose described in section 501(c) (3) of the internal revenue code or as benevolent, educational, philanthropic, humane, scientific, patriotic, social welfare or advocacy, public health, environmental conservation, civic or other eleemosynary objective. See the Internal Revenue Service website at

        Non-profit (not-for-profit) Charity Status for registered student organizations

To apply for non-profit status, all registered student organizations be organized on a not-for-profit basis, as demonstrated by evidence that the organization uses any income or profit for organizational purposes, not for any individual or commercial gain. The term “not-for-profit” as used here is not the same definition as used for state or federal tax purposes.

Registration as a student organization will not automatically result in exemption from state or federal income tax or state sales tax. If an organization has obtained tax exempt status from taxing authorities; however, documentation of that status would demonstrate that the organization is organized on a “not-for-profit” basis.


Student organizations with a Tax Identification Number (also called a TIN or EIN) issued by the Federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are impacted by the information below. All organization accounts held at banks and/or credit unions MUST have an EIN on the account and are therefore impacted by this information. Student organizations are responsible for their tax filing and payment obligations to both the Federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue; it is the obligation of the organization members and officers to be aware of and comply with applicable tax codes.

With the enactment of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, beginning in 2008, small tax-exempt organizations whose gross receipts are normally $25,000 or less that previously were not required to file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) using Form 990 or Form 990EZ will now be required to file an electronic informational notice to the IRS: Form 990-N (Also known as the e-Postcard).


Applying for Non-Profit Charity Status through the Federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The Form 1023-EZ, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service is a form designed by the IRS to streamline the non-profit charity application and simplify the process for small and medium size organizations. This includes any organization that has gross receipts in each taxable year of normally not more than $5,000.

Only certain organizations are eligible to apply for exemption under section 501(c)(3) using Form 1023-EZ. To determine if you are eligible to file Form 1023-EZ, you must complete the Form 1023-EZ Eligibility Worksheet which is available on the IRS website.

Financial Responsibilities

Every student organization is governed by the standards and regulations defined by the Segregated University Fees policies established by the University of Wisconsin System. Officers of organizations are responsible for making sure their groups are financially sound. Student organizations are responsible for contacting the Federal Internal Revenue Service and Wisconsin Department of Revenue for specific information on income tax requirements and other filing requirements. Student organizations may be liable to pay sales tax on some of their fund-raising efforts. The University is not responsible for debts or other liabilities of student groups. All new and continuing members of groups, as well as businesses where products and services are ordered, should be informed of this. Officers of groups may be held liable for financial obligations incurred by the group.


Students are subject to local, state, and federal laws and ordinances. The University expects that all student organizations will prevent unlawful actions in connection with their activities. Failure to do so could subject student organizations, the officers and members to disciplinarian action. The organization acknowledges that its activities, including some of which may occur on the campus of UWM, are not eligible for liability protection under the State of Wisconsin Self-Funded Liability Program and need to obtain a special-event(s) liability policy at its own expense.


Student Organizations with outstanding debt are considered to be not in good standing with the University. Such organizations will not be permitted to re-register (renewal) for a new academic year until the debt has been addressed.

Student Involvement holds student organizations financially responsible in the following situations and will send invoices:

    1. If the group is ineligible for or does not have segregated university fees but wants to use University services;
    2. If the student organization has overspent its segregated university fee account;
    3. If the student organization violated university policy and is sanctioned to repay any segregated university fees related to the violation.

If the student organization fails to pay the amount due it may lose its charter, recognition and University privileges. Organizations that do not pay their debt may have holds put on their officers’ records and/or referred to the Dean of Students for disciplinary action.

The University is not responsible for debts or other liabilities of student groups. All new and continuing members of groups, as well as businesses where products and services are ordered, should be informed of this.  Officers of groups may be held liable for financial obligations incurred by the group.

Debts Owed to the University by Student Organizations

Organizations failing to pay for services rendered by the University, such services having been properly authorized by the group, shall be denied the use of University facilities and placed on an “outstanding debt” list until such time as the debt is cleared or satisfactory arrangements for payment have been made.

Budgeting and Recordkeeping : A PDF version of the video below.

Record Keeping Essentials: A guide for knowing what to keep and for how long.