Network Revenue Sources

Funding Sources for State Networks

Most state networks are funded in one or more of four basic ways:

  1. Funds are collected through fees charged to attend an event hosted by the state network, such as the annual conference or regional meeting.
  2. The organization solicits sponsorships or grants from institutions of higher education or other organizations, foundations, or businesses interested in supporting the advancement of women into leadership positions within higher education.
  3. Institutions of higher education pay dues to join the organization.
  4. Individual members pay dues to join the organization.

Appropriate provisions may need to be added to the organizational or operational documents to describe the sources of funding. Procedures for determining, soliciting, collecting, accounting for, and managing the funds should be adopted, implemented, and reviewed periodically in accordance with sound business and financial practices. An accountant should be consulted to create the appropriate accounting system for purposes of managing and safeguarding the funds collected.

Once the organization of the network governing body has been established and an employer identification number issued, the state chair and/or treasurer (as authorized in the organizational or operational documents) should open a bank account to manage the finances of the organization. We recommend having two individuals authorized to sign checks of a substantial amount, though double signatures are not necessary.

When the organization has excess funds, financial advice should be obtained to establish appropriate investment policies and strategies.

Dues and Fees

State networks may charge dues or a membership fee. Each state network should make its own decisions about dues and membership fees. We encourage state networks to explore equitable and affordable dues or fee structures to ensure that all women have access to the programs and resources the network provides.

How the network handles the issue of dues or membership fees becomes an important issue, as in some instances these fees may offer increased opportunities for state networks to develop programs and resources. Some state networks opt to make dues or a membership fee voluntary, and use those fees to support the work of the state network, distribute newsletters, and support special events.

State networks should also consider that collecting dues or fees may produce new fiduciary responsibilities. More formal bookkeeping and accountability to members—perhaps even incorporation—may be required. Clear rules about spending funds and liabilities should be included in a state network’s bylaws. In all cases, a state network should follow state laws, if any, governing volunteer organizations.

Check out examples from the field
Donations and Grants

State networks can seek donations (and may suggest an appropriate amount) to support the work of the state network. Supporters could be rewarded with a newsletter, a list of network participants, a special event or opportunities, and the like. Note, however, that donations must be made without the intent that the donor will receive a formal statement about making a charitable contribution as a deduction on the donor’s taxes. Unless the state network is incorporated as a nonprofit organization, such acknowledgement cannot legally be made.

State networks can, in their own name, solicit grants. In applying for grants, the state network should make it clear that the state network, not ACE, is soliciting the grant.


State networks may sell merchandise. Merchandise that is consistent with, and appropriate for, the shared missions of ACE and the state network may be sold by the state networks. State networks should follow state laws regarding sale of merchandise by nonprofit organizations, including sales tax, licensing, and permits.

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