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Raising, holding and using funds

Your Finance Volunteer plays a lead role in ensuring that restricted income is handled appropriately, and that group trading activities are agreed and reported. They also advise your Coordinating Team on proper use of funds.

See Group Handbook B4: Managing your finances

  1. Restricted funds
  2. Trading activities
  3. Charging for group services
  4. Legacies
  5. What should our group fund?
  6. Reviewing your assets
  7. Contributing to our wider work
  8. Need support?

Restricted funds

Most donations your group receives will be ‘unrestricted’, meaning they can be used to fund any service or activity that supports our charitable objectives.

Occasionally, funds are ‘restricted’. This means that:

  • The donor has specified that their donation is used in a particular way
  • We have told the donor that their donation will be used in a particular way (for example, to buy a minibus)

Restricted funds must only be used for the purpose specified.


If you tell supporters that your group is fundraising for a specific project, then the funds you raise are restricted to that project.

You need to make it clear to your supporters what will happen to their donations if the project doesn’t go ahead, or if you raise more funds than the project requires.

You must ensure your promotional materials state that if funds cannot be used for the project they will be spent on providing other group activities.

  1. Find out more about Effective fundraising

Research and other national projects

If you receive funds that are restricted to research or another national project, you must forward them to our Finance Team for administration.

Restrictions we can’t accept

We can’t accept funds that are restricted to a service or activity that doesn’t support our charitable objectives. For example, we can’t accept funds that are only to be spent on MS Society members.

Can a restricted fund become ‘unrestricted’?

Contact our Finance Support Team for advice. We will work through the process with your Finance Volunteer.

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Trading activities

‘Trading activities’ are where you charge for goods or services, or provide corporate sponsorship in return for a donation. Some types of trading activities cannot be undertaken by charities, which is why you must seek permission from our [Finance Team]/node/2470/).

When you don’t need permission

  • Selling donated goods
  • Charging for services provided for people affected by MS
  • Selling MSS (Trading) Ltd goods
  • Selling goods manufactured by people with MS
  • Trading activities at certain fundraising events

When you do need permission

Your Finance Volunteer is responsible for obtaining permission for trading activities not listed above. These can include:

  • Giving something (more than a minimal or no value token of appreciation) in return for a ‘donation’
  • Allowing our logo to be used by a company in return for money or for goods or services

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Charging for group services

You may decide to ask people to contribute to funding the group services and activities they take part in.

We recommend that you suggest an appropriate donation, instead of setting a fixed charge. This helps ensure people don’t feel excluded because they can’t pay.

If your Coordinating Team does decide to charge service users, we expect you to follow these guidelines:

Who can use the service?

All people affected by MS must be charged the same rate, regardless of whether they are MS Society members.

Recording VAT

For every £10 you charge, £1.67 in VAT must be paid to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Your Finance Volunteer is responsible for recording this income in Online Accounting.

  1. Learn more about Using Online Accounting

Raising invoices

Contact our Finance Support Team if a service user asks you to provide an invoice or VAT receipt. We’ll do this for you.

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A legacy is when a person leaves money or property to us in their will.

Our Legacy Team is here to ensure we handle legacies correctly. Your Finance Volunteer is responsible for ensuring all legacy paperwork (including legacy cheques) is forwarded to our Legacy Team for administration.

  1. Get contact details for our Legacy Team

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What should our group fund?

Your Coordinating Team is responsible for ensuring that all the services and activities your group provides:

  • Align with our strategy and meet the needs of people affected by MS
  • Are available to the whole MS community you serve
  • Are safe and high quality
  1. See our Group requirements

Meeting our local priorities

We have worked with our volunteers and people affected by MS to identify our local priorities. All services and activities your group spends funds on must meet one of these priorities:

  • We provide social and peer group support
  • We support people with MS to be physically active
  • We offer emotional support to people affected by MS
  • We give information and signpost people to local services
  1. Find out more about Developing services and activities

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Reviewing your assets

At least once a year, your Coordinating Team needs to review whether the best use is being made of the assets held by your group.

Assets include funds held, property, minibuses or other vehicles, and any other equipment you own.

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Approval for new expenditure

Your Coordinating Team must agree on how you will use group funds, and we expect you to involve your Local Networks Officer if you plan to invest in an asset or other significant expenditure.

  1. Get contact details for your Local Networks Officer

Conflicts of interest

A ‘conflict of interest’ is any situation in which personal interests, or the loyalty you owe to another person or organisation, could influence, or appear to influence, a decision you are involved in making.

Under our Conflicts of Interest Policy, you must declare any potential conflict of interest and ensure that you do not take part in discussions or decisions made on that subject.

  1. Learn more about our Policies and documents

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Contributing to our wider work

If your group consistently raises more than you need to cover costs and your Coordinating Team doesn't have additional activities planned, we ask that you earmark those funds to our national work, or to helping other MS Society groups.

  1. Contact your Local Networks Officer to confirm areas of work that need funding

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Need support?

Online Accounting

You must use Online Accounting to record trading activities.

  1. Find out more about Using Online Accounting

Finance Support Team

Contact our Finance Support Team with any queries on raising, holding or using MS Society funds.

  1. Get contact details for our Finance Support Team

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