Resources for Friends Groups
From the Chapter Handbook that contains governance materials to trackers and fact sheets, sample documents and suggestions, this Resources page is intended to help PPFF chapters (and other volunteer organizations) manage their daily lives. Something missing? Get in touch with Pam Metzger from the Foundation and let us do our best to provide the tools that help you!
The Handbook is your best resource for information on forming and managing the chapter. It contains the financial policies and processes you must follow, many of which are excerpted below.
Fundraising-Policies, Forms, and Acknowledgments
The basics: the policies and forms you need to submit your deposits and request payments and reimbursements:
- Financial Policies for Friends (excerpted for convenience from the Chapter Handbook) (Deposit Forms and Check Request Forms available here.)
- Financial Policies for Park or Forest Accounts (Deposit Forms and Check Request Forms available here.)
Check out the “Deposit Tracker” accordion below for a spreadsheet package to consolidate your deposits through the year. It makes preparation of your annual report financial page a snap!
Specialized fundraising like raffles (small games of chance) and silent auctions have their own processes:
- Fundraising Policy for Raffles (adopted 2014)
Before applying for a grant, from whatever source, check in with PPFF:
If you are required to perform an inventory of sales merchandise, this is the reporting form:
In early 2022, we did a few policy review Zooms. Check them out:
- January 2022: Treasurers’ Processes
- February 2022: Small Games of Chance, Silent Auctions, and Grants
- Acknowledgement Sample How-To
- Downloadable Acknowledgment Letter
- Downloadable Acknowledgment Letter (In Kind)
- Sample Letters to Members and Donors
- Fun, Personal Sample Letters
- Solicit by Letter (don’t forget the IRS language)
- IRS Language for Receipts/Solicitations
Miscellaneous Helpful Forms/Items:
Chapter Board Meetings
Deposit Tracker Materials
This spreadsheet looks complicated – no question! However, if you use it regularly when year-end reporting time arrives it will have done all the math you need for the financial pages of the annual report. Get in touch with Pam for a little lesson on making it work. It’s really magic!
Annual Report & Supporting Documents
Each December, the annual report required to be filed by each chapter can be found here in both Excel and pdf form. The Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Statements must be filed by each chapter board member every year in order for your board to be covered by directors and officers liability insurance and your Chapter to remain in good standing.
In 2022, the requirement for a twice-yearly inventory of all sale items was instituted at the request of our auditor. Perform the inventory at the end of June and the end of the year and you’ll be able to track what items are selling (or not) and what your costs and profits are as well.
- Annual Report Form (Excel)
- Annual Report Form (PDF)
- Conflict of Interest Policy (Review Annually)
- Affirmation of Compliance with Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Statement (Sign and Return Annually) (Complete a Google Form online if you would like)
- A Video Tutorial
- Chapter Sales Items Inventory Tracker
Event Prep and Planning
Our new decision tree will help Friends gather all the information you need to administratively plan your event.
- Event Planning Decision Tree
- 5k Run/Walk fact sheet (helpful suggestions from Friends who know)
- Live Music
- Food Vendors
- Hayride Requirements (Department of Agriculture website)
- Silent Auctions and Raffles
- Special Event Insurance Endorsement Form
- Friends of Pine Grove Furnace Sales Tax/EIN Form (for tracking vendor IDs)
- Mary Soderberg of the Friends was kind enough to share their tracking form and this explanation:
- The Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park organize an annual two-day festival every fall. Normally we have about 90 food, craft, and non-profit vendors. The PA Promoters License requires us to document that each of our vendors has an 8 digit sales tax number and that is tracked on the spreadsheet provided. [Note: PPFF revised the form to add a space to collect an EIN so that IF a vendor is to receive a check from PPFF for any purpose and it is necessary to provide a W-2 at year end, the information is on record. This makes check-cutting and taxes much easier!)We clearly have more information on this spreadsheet than the Department of Revenue requires for a Promoters License, but I find it very helpful to have a single page that summarizes the number of vendors we have, what kinds of products they sell, and how much we have generated in vendor fees. And, having the vendor emails on the spreadsheet makes it easy to generate group emails. In addition to this summary file, we maintain a paper copy each of the applications/contracts in a vendor notebook.Note that there are separate tabs for food, craft, and non-profit vendors. Having separate listings enables us to track how many of each type of vendor we have and what types of products they will be selling and to generate mass emails to a group of vendors. It is also helps in preparing the vendor site maps since the food vendors are grouped together in specific sites and the non-profits are usually located in smaller spots or grouped in the history area.Immediately after our festival, I begin to prepare for the next year by setting up a new vendor spreadsheet and notebook. Since most of our vendors return year after year, I make it easy on myself by using the prior year spreadsheet as the basis for the next year’s files. As each vendor submits their application/contract, I either update the existing information or enter the new data into the spreadsheet. If a vendor submits an application without a sales tax number, I reach out to them and walk them through the process of obtaining their sales tax number. This is the link to obtain a free sales tax number myPATH – Pennsylvania Online Business Tax Registration.”
- Thank you, Mary and the Friends!
- Mary Soderberg of the Friends was kind enough to share their tracking form and this explanation:
- Liability Waiver and Photo Release (Individual Waiver)
- Liability Waiver and Photo Release (Multiple Signers Waiver)
Creating a Simple Budget
On January 11, 2022, Friends of Pine Grove Furnace Chair Andre Weltman and Vice Chair Mary Soderberg conducted a Zoom training session on creating a simple budget for your chapter using the information you already track for your PPFF annual report.
The Powerpoint slides and a video recording of the session can be found in this accordion, as well as a sample budget template and an Excel spreadsheet for merchandise sales. The budget template follows closely the process Mary outlines in the slides.
The spreadsheet is what the Friends of Pine Grove Furnace use to track their firewood sales (a lucrative undertaking for their chapter), but you can use it for other merchandise sales as well to give an overview of what comes in and what goes out – and what your bottom line is.
It has space for monthly entries in 2022 through 2026 and automatically generates a chart for those visual thinkers among us!
Thank you to Andre and Mary for this informative presentation AND generously sharing their materials!
Fact Sheets & Other How-Tos
- 5K Run/Walk
- Art in the Park
- Bark in the Park
- Car Shows
- Community Open House (including sample program/flyer, invitation, and press release)
- Easter Egg Hunts
- Facebook Privacy/Anti-Scam Procedure
- Firewood Sales
- Online Tee Shirt Sales
- Barriers Checklist (Assessing for Accessibility)
- Needs Assessment (Assessing a Gateway Community)
- How to Perform a Mail Merge
- Notes from 2018 Chapter Retreats (Ideas from Your Peers)
- Notes from 2019 Chapter Retreat (Including Some “Brags”)
- Guide to Setting Up a Facebook Page
- Hours Tracker (Excel) and (pdf)
- Volunteer Liability Waiver and Photo Release (group)
- DCNR Conservation Volunteers sign-up online
- Incident Report Form
- Volunteer Management and Recruitment (ideas from the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management)
- Community Relations
- Working With Volunteers (wisdom from those who have been there – our park managers and district foresters)
- A good volunteer event recruitment email courtesy of the Friends of Michaux
- Leadership Programs Across the Commonwealth
Love My Parks Week and Get Moving PA (2022)
Love My Parks Week is an initiative by the National Association of State Park Foundations designed to draw attention to the impact of state parks across the nation. Daily social media forms the basis of much of the event content this first year – a soft launch.
Love My Parks is also a part of a social media campaign PPFF is calling GetMovingPA. Find out more about what’s these ideas are about in a 4/12/22 video.
Social Media Posts to share:
Fundraising Training with Chad Barger
Photo & Liability Release Forms
Samples & Other Helpful Materials
- Advocacy (More Information)
- Board Development
- DCNR Meeting Facilities
- ERA50 Press Release Template
- Media Relations
- Social Media
- Participating as Viewer in a Live PPFF Stream
- Kings Gap Membership Form
- Kings Gap Renewal Card
- Kings Gap Renewal Letter
- Lyman Run Membership Brochure
- Lyman Run Membership Letter
- Parker Dam Membership Brochure and “mail in” insert
- Pinchot Membership Letter
- Pinchot Membership Brochure
- Ridley Creek Membership Brochure
- White Clay Creek Renewal Email
- Friends of Pinchot
- Individual Chapter Template (contact Pam for yours)
- Friends of Kings Gap events calendar
Chapter Training Videos/Notes
- 11/3/2023 – Hayride Certification Process with Walt Remmert, Department of Agriculture
- 11/4/2023 – Morning Session
Chapter Dialogue Notes and Video
- 1/11/18 – Planning the Chapter Retreat
- 2/1/18 – Notes for Chapter Chairs
- 7/23/20 – Social Media Tips from Sarah (YouTube video)
- 2/22/2023 – Treasurers’ Training (YouTube video)
- 3/8/2023 – Secretaries’ Training (YouTube video)
- 3/22/2023 – Social Media Training (YouTube video)