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A GLANCE AT

1 Membership of the Society

Membership is open to all those who seek to live their faith loving and committing themselves to their neighbor in need.

Members of the Society are part time, unpaid voluntary workers, who freely undertake to devote their time, talents and resources to the service of the less privileged people of our Society and their neighbor. The Society as a subsidiary part of their lives, cannot take precedence over their obligations to their livelihoods, their own family or legitimate interests. But subject to these overriding considerations, serving one's neighbors implies giving of one's best.

Members of the Society are united in the same spirit of poverty and sharing. They encourage one another to live a profound spiritual life and spirit of prayer. For this purpose, the role of a Spiritual Adviser is very important. (3.13)

2 Use of Money & Property for the Poor

Vincentians should never forget that giving love, talents and time is more important than giving money. Nevertheless, the Society uses money and property to help relieve the suffering of those in need.

The Society’s funds must be handled with utmost care, prudence and generosity. Money must not be hoarded.

Decisions regarding the use of money and property are to be made after reflection in the light of the Gospel and Vincentian principles.

Accurate records must be kept of all monies received or spent.

The Society may not allot funds to other organizations, except occasionally to other branches of the Vincentian family, save under exceptional circumstances.

3 Membership Fees

The preferred level of the voluntary members' annual contribution will be specified from time to time at the National Council General Meeting. (17.1)

Out of the Conference income,
o Conferences will remit 15% to the Particular Council
o The Particular Council will in turn remit 10% to the Central Council
o The Central Council in turn remits 5% to the National Council
o All remittances to be made by 30 April each year. (17.2)

The National Council on receipt of the membership fees from Central Councils will ensure that some of the money is remitted to Council General by 30 September each year. (17.3)
Membership of the Society

4 Secret Bag & Subscriptions

The traditional means of contributing to the Society's funds is by a Secret Bag passed around during a Conference meeting. A Secret Collection must be taken, and the amount collected announced by the Treasurer. (2.4.8)
Open monthly or annual subscription system by a Conference is also acceptable.
A fixed members' annual subscription may be requested but not imposed, as this must remain voluntary and the Secret Bag must be used for these contributions.
National Council may require collections to be held for the poor and for the structure both within Zambia and internationally. (2.1.3)

A Conference has a right to appeal for help outside its locality without prior approval from higher Councils. This need not prevent higher Conferences with better resources helping poorer Conferences (2.1.4)

5 Support to Higher Councils

Particular Councils should ensure that a percentage of Council's income is remitted to the Central Council at the stipulated time, being financial support to the Central Council. (3.1.4)

PARTICULAR COUNCILS HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO SUPPORT THEIR CENTRAL COUNCIL FINANCIALLY. (3.2)

CENTRAL COUNCILS HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO SUPPORT THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FINANCIALLY (4.4)

6 Fundraising Projects

The Rule requires each level of the Society to engage in sustainable forms of fundraising activities to cushion their administrative expenses and support for the poor. In addition to such projects, the members are expected to take a leading role in contributing to local funding as Ozanam and his colleagues used to do. Leaders must lead by example in all fundraising efforts

“All Conferences, Particular Councils, Central Councils, and the National Council are under obligation to initiate sustainable fundraising projects all the time for the purpose of raising money to support the needy people and for their administration requirements.” (18.0)

Some of the projects undertaken by Conferences and Councils include, e.g. Charcoal sales, Coffin Making, Cake sales, Tea Parties, Dinner Dances, Breakfast meetings, Book sales, Fundraising sponsored walks, Raffles, etc. etc.

7 Refund of Expenses

Vincentian members entrusted to undertake duly authorized tasks for the Society are entitled to refunds of administrative expenses incurred. (13.0)

8 Assistance to Members

As a general principle, members should not be excluded from receiving assistance just because they are members. All people in need, of whatever status, are eligible for assistance by the Society.
(14.1 – 14.9)

9 Property and Distribution of Unused Funds

Conferences and Councils may own property for either accommodating needy people or fundraising. All such properties must be reported to and be registered with the National Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

The National Council will assess annually the quantum of unused funds held by each Conference or Council, and will accordingly determine the allocation of such excess funds, to the service of the poor in their own areas or abroad

10 Annual Finance and Activity Reports

The Society's funds must be handled with utmost care, prudence and generosity. Money must not be hoarded.

Accurate records must be kept of all money received and spent (3.14)

The Society shall preserve its good reputation for honesty and responsible stewardship. It will produce Finance & Activity Reports at least annually at 31 March each year. Such Reports shall be prepared from permanent source documents, e.g. a daily Cashbook and shall be presented in the format approved by the International Council General, highlighting:

• Types of income received
• Different heads on which the income has been spent

Reports are expected to be sent to Diocesan Bishops to keep them informed of the Society’s work.

All expenditures should be approved during full Executive meetings for transparency at each level.

It is also highly recommended that the person holding the position of Treasurer should have basic numerical skills in order to better cope with the demands of that office

11 The Treasurer – Duties and Responsibilities

Under the authority of the President, the Treasurer is responsible for the financial management of the Conference or Council. The Treasurer ensures that:
• Conference or Council funds are safely and securely held
• Routine Bank reconciliations are carried out in order to identify every entry on the Bank Statements
• Proper records of Income and Expenditure are maintained
• Financial Statements are prepared and submitted to relevant recipients
• Annual Budget Proposals of expected Income and Expenditure are carefully drawn up and presented to the Executive Committee for consideration and possible adoption
• Bills for services are attended to
• Contributions to higher Councils are made on time
• Donations as voted are disbursed as soon as possible
• Where possible, acknowledgements for donations received are made
• Financial policies of the Conference or Council are properly implemented

12 Overall responsibility

Presidents and Treasurers hold the overall financial responsibilities in Conferences and Councils. However, every member shares in those responsibilities by actively participating in developing policies and taking decisions on all incomes and expenditures as guided by the Rule.

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