This section serves as a reminder that a VOPE may need an annual operating budget as well as project-specific budgets for special projects.
A budget is simply an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time. This financial document is used to project future income and expenses and provides an estimate of whether the VOPE can continue to operate with its projected income and expenses.
A VOPE should prepare an annual budget to maintain control of the VOPE's finances. It enables planning and communication on how the VOPE plans to use the money received from members and donors. The budget includes the projected income and projected expenses for future periods. Actual income and expenses are monitored against the budget figures as the year progresses.
You may prepare your budget using paper and pencil, spreadsheet programs (e.g. Excel) or a financial application. If you do not have financial software, make use of the many budget templates available, for example the Microsoft office (included as a resource) and Google docs templates.
In its simplest form, the process for preparing a monthly or annual budget for your organization includes:
· listing of all sources of income: e.g. member fees, seminar fees, interest;
· listing of all required fixed expenses: e.g. utilities, phone, data, salaries (if any); and
· listing of other possible variable expenses.
Review your budget at regular intervals (most organizations will review the budget once a month, and may discuss it quarterly at Board level). Revise the budget at regular intervals to adapt to unforeseen events and changing circumstances.
If a VOPE hosts a special event (e.g. a bi-annual conference) or takes on a special project (e.g. the establishment of a new journal), it may be necessary to develop a detailed budget for this specific project that could be shared with potential donors, and used to raise funds for the event.