Financial terms defined

Glossary of finance terms

Allocated Funds

Funds in the federation/council budget that are designated for a specific purpose and carry forward from year to year.

Annual federation/council budget

A budget developed annually by the county 4-H financial management/advisory team for the federation/ council.  This budget needs to be reviewed, discussed and approved by the federation/council.


The process of buying and selling products or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids and then selling the item to the highest bidder.

Budget line item

Identifies amounts of funding designated for a specific purpose.

Chart of account / class list

A standard financial list used to categorize all income and expenses.  The chart of accounts cannot be altered.  The class list provides flexibility to add sub-classes under parent classes (these cannot be altered) to more closely align activities and events with the budget.


Legal agreement between two groups or organizations outlining the terms of the exchange.  All 4-H contracts must be reviewed and signed by the University’s Office of General Counsel.

Dissolution of funds

Guidelines for disbursing funds when a 4-H club or federation or council disbands.


When a person, group, business or non-governmental agency transfers money or property, and it is not not intended to result in direct economic benefit or any other tangible compensation or return consideration to the donor.


A charge for membership, generally a set amount paid at the beginning of the program year.

Employer identification

A federal tax identification number, also known as the Number (EIN) Employer Identification Number (EIN), a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service for banking, tax filing, and other business purposes. Every federation/council and club that manages money must have an EIN.  

End-of-year reporting

The end-of-year financial report is a comprehensive report on the federation/council financial activities  from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. This report is sent to the University of Minnesota through the Federation/Council Charter Renewal form.  Federations and councils also use them to file the 990 income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service.


Not required to report; the organization is free from the obligation or liability.

External funding source

Funds that come from outside the University system. Sources may include gifts, donations, grants, sponsored projects, program agreements and external sales.


In the context of the financial document, fundraising events refer to activities in which the general public is invited to participate so that financial gain may be realized.

Facilities use agreement

Documents required for the use of the facility or property.  All facility use agreements must be approved by the University of Minnesota.


The amount that a person pays to participate in a 4-H educational activity.

Financial management team

A group of people who are responsible for accurately handling and accounting for funds, keeping accurate reports and reporting regularly to the federation/council or group. 

Financial review

An internal examination of the 4-H group’s financial transactions for the past year (October 1- September 30).  All 4-H groups must review their financial records at the end of each fiscal year and whenever a new treasurer and/or adult advisor to the treasurer is elected/appointed.

Food sales

Operating any county fair food stand or other dining facility, a meal advertised to the public (pancake breakfast or hog roast) or food sold at a public event (bake sale, food sale at an auction).

Fiscal year

The 4-H fiscal year is the same as the 4-H program year, October 1 through September 30.


A planned activity to raise funds for a specific educational goal.

Gross receipts / revenue / sales

Total funds raised through an event or sales before expenses are deducted. 

Net revenue or sales

Revenue or sales after all expenses have been paid.  

Non-allocated funds

 Money that is not designated for a specific purpose.  These funds can be used for general planning purposes.

Nonprofit / not-for-profit

An organizations formed for the purpose of serving a public or mutual benefit other than for profit. Minnesota 4-H has non-profit status through a group exemption administered by the University’s Tax Management Office. 

Product sales

The sale of a tangible item, such as plat books, calendars, candy, fruit, T-shirts or other 4-H items.

Public organization

 An organization that is owned by or receives much of its of funding from federal, state or local government sources. The 4-H program is a publicly-owned program authorized by federal statute through the United States Department of Agriculture. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), an agency within USDA, authorizes the use of the 4-H name and emblem to the University of Minnesota Extension, which runs the Minnesota 4-H.

Service activities

Activities that provide a service, such as car washes, yard clean up, and garage sales.

Signature card

Bank documentation that identifies who is authorized to receive information about specific federation/council accounts.

Solicited donation

A planned approach to request donations of money or products from multiple locations and/or a large amount from one location.

Transaction forms

Forms used to document financial transactions; both revenue and expenditures.  Must include: source of payment, date, check or receipt number, amount, description, budget line item and signature of person who completed document.

Unsolicited Donation

A group or person approaches the 4-H program offering to donate money or non-cash items.

Zero-based accounting

At the end of the 4-H fiscal year, September 30, all non-allocated funds or line items in federation and council accounts are “zeroed out” and the remaining balance becomes the starting balance.  This is the amount the Financial Management Team uses to create the budget for the new 4-H fiscal year.


Pat Morreim, program manager,, 763-427-5428