I. The Executive Officer, the Administrative Office, and the Board of Directors
Relationship to Institutions Hosting the Executive Officer and the Administrative Office
The Society contracts with the host institutions to secure the time and talent of their employees to manage the affairs of the Society. According to the By-laws, the Board of Directors shall designate by their action the person or persons responsible for crafting the agreement and contracts between host institutions and the Society. The Board of Directors, or those persons given authority by the Board to sign such contracts, must approve the contracts.
By negotiating a contract like those written with granting agencies and foundations, the funds of the Society may be channeled through the host institution’s financial structure. The Society’s operations may then be recognized by the larger community as a part of the operation of the host educational or non-profit institution. Fringe benefits provided to the persons who work for the Society are the same as those provided to other employees of similar status in the host institution. The provision of fringe benefits in this fashion saves the Society from having to deal with negotiating separate contracts with health insurance, pension, and related fringe benefit providers. In addition, since the employees are paid through the host institution, the Society does not have to keep financial records on Social Security payments or withhold federal income tax. The host institution does this when it pays the employee.
The contract to host the Administrative Office provides the benefit to the University of Tennessee of a Graduate Research Associate position for a UTK graduate student and a sum awarded to the Department of Sociology for hosting the Society.
Salaries to the Administrative Office staff are paid by the Society through the University, according to guidelines set by the University for these positions. If the salary approved by the Society is higher than the guidelines approved by the University, the difference is paid directly to the person. All employees of the Administrative Office are considered employees of the University with rights, benefits, and duties associated with such appointments.
The Head of the Department of Sociology serves as the contract officer and has responsibility of making sure that the Society and the University fulfill the terms of the contract. The Society compensates the contract officer for these duties. The University of Tennessee agreed to waive the customary overhead on the contract. Fringe benefits for the persons filling the positions in the Administrative Office are the same as other employees of the University of Tennessee and are paid by the Society. The Executive Officer and the Board of Directors have the responsibility of reviewing the Administrative Office contract according to the By-laws.
In addition to the Executive Officer and the Administrative Officer, the work of the Society requires a full-time Assistant to the Administrative Officer, a half-time Information Technology Specialist, and a half-time 9-month Graduate Research Associate.
The Society provides the Graduate Research Associate's tuition waiver for three semesters (Fall/Spring) through the Department of Sociology and the Society will cover educational expenses for staff and reimburse the Department of Sociology should staff take classes during this contract period. All staff members and the Graduate Research Associate work remotely from home. The board approved that the Society should sign another five-year contract with the University of Tennessee, effective 1/1/22–12/31/26.
The Executive Officer is responsible for ensuring that the work of the organization is carried out and policies established by the Board of Directors are implemented. The Executive Officer is also responsible for representing the organization to the public and for coordinating with other organizations. The Executive Officer is responsible for supervising the work of the Administrative Officer. The Appendix contains the detailed job description for the Executive Officer.
The Administrative Officer and the Assistant to the Administrative Officer are the only full-time employees of the Society through the host institution. The Administrative Officer is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the organization. The Administrative Officer works with the Assistant to the Administrative Officer, Information Technology Specialist (part-time 12-month), and the Graduate Research Associate (part-time 9-month), and interacts directly with the Society’s officers, committee members, and the division chairs.
The Administrative Officer keeps the financial records of the Society according to the instructions of the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee and the auditors of the Society’s books. The Administrative Officer maintains records on the current activities of the Society. Prior to 2019, the Administrative Officer sent historical material (records more than 5 years old) to the Society’s archive in Special Collections at Brooklyn College Library. Following a conversation with the Associate Archivist, they no longer want to receive the Society's "non-archival" records. The Administrative Officer stores records in her home office for 5 years. After that time, the records will be properly discarded.
The Administrative Officer provides administrative support to the Executive Officer, if needed. Since 1993, the Administrative Officer has contracted with the Society to act as the Meeting Manager. If a separate Meeting Manager is employed, the Administrative Officer will serve as the key coordination point between activities of the Administrative Office and the Meeting Manager in preparing for the meeting. The Appendix contains the detailed job description for the Administrative Officer.
The Society for the Study of Social Problems does not pay indirect costs, overhead costs, or fees on any of its contracts.
The Administrative Office is responsible for maintaining current membership records gathered from the initial membership application and the membership renewal form. The database contains current membership information including: Member ID number, current membership year, the date the record was created (i.e., when the member first joined), division memberships, membership brochures requested, willingness to serve on various committees and elected positions; contact information including: name, address, country, home, mobile, fax, and work numbers, and e-mail address; demographic information including ethnicity, gender, and type of affiliation; privacy and communication preferences; and financial information that is tracked over time (since 2007) including: dues amount and dues category, contributions to various awards/funds, extra division fee, and international mail fee, method of payment, and payment date. Members can log in to the website and update their contact information at any time.
The Administrative Office communicates via e-mail blasts with members who indicate that they want to receive group announcements from SSSP. If a member selects: “I do not want to receive any group e-mails from SSSP, including division newsletters, preliminary program, and other announcements,” they are not included on the distribution list.
The Administrative Office is responsible for contacting members and urging them to renew their membership. In mid-October, the first renewal is sent via e-mail to all current members and members from the previous year, encouraging them to renew for the upcoming year. A follow-up renewal e-mail notice is sent in late Ocober. In mid-late November, an e-mail is sent to all current members informing them that the November issue of Social Problems is the last issue they will receive unless they renew. A follow-up renewal e-mail notice is sent in late November. Afterwards, a renewal form is mailed to those who have not renewed, and also to life members, emeriti and sustaining members who do not owe dues. Our system requires life members, emeriti and sustaining members to update their membership year and contact information annually. The Administrative Office sends additional renewal e-mail notices in mid-December, late December, early January, and mid-March. The membership renewal notices include a letter from the President. An automated receipt is sent by e-mail when members join or renew their membership. An automated welcome e-mail is generated when a new member joins the Society. An automated thank you e-mail is generated when a member makes a donation to one of our tax-deductible contributions.
In addition to membership renewal, the Administrative Office and the Executive Officer work with the Membership and Outreach Committee and the publisher of Social Problems to promote membership. The main tools used for membership promotion is the membership brochure and the promotional membership webpage. The Administrative Office, in cooperation with the publisher of Social Problems, the Executive Officer, and the Membership and Outreach Committee Chair, typically completes the design and contents of the membership brochure.
The distribution of brochures to potential members has been accomplished in a variety of ways. These have included: direct mail with a cover letter signed by the Membership and Outreach Committee Chair or President to membership lists purchased from other professional associations, lists exchanged with other organizations, or lists provided by members. Brochures are available upon request for members to distribute in their departments or at other social science organizations’ annual meetings. This method has occurred most frequently with regional societies. Brochures have also been mailed to Departments that have graduate degree programs in Sociology and to each SSSP member with a request that they pass them on to a potential member. The mailing of brochures is outdated and no longer used, unless requested directly by members.
In an effort to reduce promotional costs and increase membership, the Administrative Office in cooperation with the Membership and Outreach Committee developed a promotional webpage. Targeted e-mail blasts are sent to Graduate Program Chairpersons, SSSP Graduate Students, and SSSP Members (no students). The e-mail message encourages prospective members to visit the promotional website. The goal is to send messages that can easily be passed on to listservs and in social networking media. In addition to the targeted e-mail blasts, banner ads have been placed with OUP, Contexts, JSTOR, and Wiley. Recruitment of new members by existing members has been shown to be the most effective way to recruit new members.
The Administrative Officer sends the mailing list of those who request a paper copy of Social Problems to the press that publishes the journal shortly before each issue is distributed. According to the By-laws, members will be granted a grace period for voting for up to six months but will not receive Social Problems until dues are paid. New members begin receiving the current volume year at the time of application. All current members have electronic access to the current and back issues of Social Problems.
The Administrative Office receives membership list requests from publishers of books and journals. Unless the member has requested that his, her, or their name not be distributed, we rent our mailing list for a fee, on a one-time use basis.
Every year, following the annual meeting, the Administrative Office produces a roster of Officers and Committee members. Prior to 2013, the roster was distributed to those listed in it and to other members upon request via e-mail. Starting in 2013, the roster information was posted on the Society’s website and a link was sent to those listed in the roster. The roster is a valuable tool for working with the core leadership of the Society.
The Administrative Office will conduct a membership survey using comparable questions as used in the past to facilitate a longitudinal comparison. The Board of Directors approved that a survey should be conducted every five years. The next membership survey will take place in 2024.
The following mailings are processed by the Administrative Office: membership renewal notice, promotional mailings, special mailings requested by the President or Board of Directors, and the Call for Papers and the Student Paper Competition poster. Whenever possible and approved by the Board, the Administrative Office uses electronic distribution of publications and information for the membership.
The Society uses the bulk mailing permit of the current printer, if needed. Bulk mailings cannot be used for foreign addresses. This higher cost is reflected in the mailing fee charged to members outside of the United States.
At the 2012 Annual Meeting, the Board of Directors approved the development of a Society Listserv according to the following stipulations: that it is not moderated, accepts attachments, that it is digestible, and that the default response option will be reply to sender. Subscription to the Listserv is optional. Subscribers to the Listserv must be active members of the Society, and a subscriber will be dropped from the Listserv if their membership lapses.
The financial records of the organization are kept by the Administrative Officer and reviewed quarterly by the Executive Officer, the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee, and the Board of Directors. An annual audit of the financial records is conducted by an independent accounting firm in April. The accounting firm prepares the tax returns and advises the Society as to changes in tax laws pertaining to our operations. The audit is completed so that the results may be reviewed with the auditor by the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee during its annual mid-year meeting and by the Board of Directors during the annual meeting. Fees for the accounting services as well as maintenance of the accounting software are included in the annual budget for the Administrative Office.
The financial year of the Society runs from January 1 to December 31. The books for the preceding year are typically closed by March 1 of the current year. The Society uses the accrual accounting method and Open Systems Accounting Software to maintain the records of income and expenditures. The Society’s budget operates with accounts set to correspond to the major functions of the organization. Subdivisions within these major categories are added as needed in consultation with the accounting firm and the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee. Major sources of income are: Membership Dues, Journal and Publications, Annual Meeting, Contributions, Investment Income, Investment Income/Temporary, and Other Income. Major expenditures are: Executive Officer, Administrative Office, Journal and Publications, Annual Meeting, Committees, Program of Divisions, Board Governance, Investment Gains and Losses, and Board Restricted Expenses.
The Administrative Officer in conjunction with the Investment Advisor, Treasurer, and Executive Officer manages and monitors the Society’s reserve monies and operating accounts in checking, savings, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, mutual funds, and other accounts. The Investment Advisor is an appointed non-voting member of the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee. The convention has been to consult with the Treasurer and the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee Chair before making short-term investments. Long-term investment decisions are made by the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee and held directly by the Society. All investment decisions are subject to review and are guided by the statement of investment objectives and policies and the guidelines for investing the Society’s reserve funds in community development financial institutions adopted by the Board of Directors.
The Society is incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the state of Tennessee and reports annually to that state office. Accordingly, the Administrative Office must file forms each year with the appropriate state agencies in Tennessee, reporting on the activity of the corporation. The Society is recognized by the U.S. Government as a non-profit corporation and has 501 (c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service. In 2018, the membership voted that the Society would elect the 501(h) tax status. This change in tax status means that the Society would be held to a clearer standard regarding lobbying or other activities meant to influence legislation. Previously, the Society could engage in such activities if they were an “insubstantial” amount of its efforts, but the line between “insubstantial” and “substantial” is subjective and unclear.
Adopting the 501(h) tax status means that the Society will be held to a more objective “expenditure test” instead. The Society’s activities are well below the lobbying nontaxable amounts set in federal policy, placing the Society in a better position if questioned about the amount of lobbying effort it expends. Taking the 501(h) election does not change the Society’s status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit; it just allows the Society to opt out of the vague “substantial activity” test in favor of the objective “expenditure test” regarding lobbying activities. Appropriate tax forms detailing the financial activities of the Society must be filed each year. The accounting firm conducting the annual audit prepares these forms as well as those required by the state of Tennessee. The Society is also exempt from sales tax and registers to solicit funds for charitable purposes in the state of Tennessee.
The investments generate income to support the Society’s Purposes as set forth in its By-laws, Article II, Section 1.
The primary social objective of investments is to use the Society’s funds to foster a higher quality of life, social welfare, and positive social relations in society and the global community.
The primary long-term financial objective for the Society’s investments is to preserve the inflation-adjusted purchasing power of assets and income, after accounting for spending and investment management costs. Performance of the overall investments against this objective is measured annually.
As provided in the Society’s By-laws, Article VI, Section 5, the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee shall invest the Society’s reserves in socially-responsible/sustainable investment/environmental, social and governance (SR/SI/ESG) mutual funds and other SR/SI/ESG equities, fixed-income assets, and cash equivalents to best achieve the social, financial, and investment objectives consistent with the policies and requirements set forth in this statement, and subject to the standards of social responsibility and the business-judgment rule for fiduciaries of non-profit corporations.
The Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee will allocate new funds and redistribute existing funds on the basis of how well each SR/SI/ESG investment meets the social, financial, and investment objectives of the Society.
Asset Selection and Allocation
The Society’s portfolio may be invested in readily-marketable socially-responsible mutual funds and other SR/SI/ESG equities, fixed-income assets, and cash equivalents. The total portfolio shall be diversified to include investments in more than one SR/SI/ESG mutual fund, and a diversity of other SR/SI/ESG equities and fixed-income assets in order to limit risk.
SR/SI/ESG mutual funds should use social/ethical screens that seek out companies that do not foster or encourage exploitation, injustice, or inequalities among human beings and human beings as they relate to the natural environment. Such mutual funds should both avoid offensive investments and seek out positive investments that enhance the quality of life in the community, workplace, society, and international context.
Funding of Specific Society Projects. Investments in SR/SI/ESG equities and fixed-income assets should be made to maximize the positive social impact of the Society’s reserves. Such investments should seek to ameliorate existing social problems such as improving the quality of life among the economically and/or socially disadvantaged.
The purpose of investments in SR/SI/ESG mutual funds is to earn high inflation-adjusted total rates of return, to provide both long-term capital appreciation and current income in order to fund the Society’s on-going commitment to such efforts as the Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Fellowship, C. Wright Mills Award, and the Thomas C. Hood Social Action Award. In keeping with this purpose, investments primarily should be made in balanced SR/SI/ESG mutual funds that include holdings in both stocks and bonds. Generally, investments in growth SR/SI/ESG mutual funds that give primacy to capital appreciation should be limited due to their higher level of risk. Acceptable SR/SI/ESG mutual funds will include holdings in equities with high liquidity and/or investment-grade bonds.
Other Investments. Investment of most of the remainder of the Society’s reserves should be made in SR/SI/ESG equities and fixed-income assets in such a way that their impact on ameliorating existing social problems is maximized while maintaining at least the inflation-adjusted purchasing power of such reserves. Such investments may be at rates of return below market value for comparable investments provided that the rates of return at least equal the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Examples of such investments might include deposits with federally-insured, CDFI-certified community development credit unions or community development banks. CDFI institutions are certified by the U.S. Treasury and provide services and loans to people in predominantly low-income communities.
Investment in short-term, SR/SI/ESG cash equivalents is allowed to provide adequate liquidity for investment reserves and current operations and from time to time to serve as mutual fund, equity, and fixed-income substitutes for defensive purposes in adverse investment conditions.
The precise allocation of the Society’s assets between SR/SI/ESG mutual funds, equities, fixed-income assets, and short-term cash equivalents will depend upon the extent of the Society’s on-going financial commitments to efforts such as the Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Fellowship, C. Wright Mills Award, and other immediate needs and purposes of the Society.
The performance of SR/SI/ESG mutual funds will be evaluated relative to the Morning Star Performance and Sustainability ratings as well as the S&P 500.
Performance of SR/SI/ESG equities, fixed-income assets, and cash equivalents will be made relative to the rate of inflation. The investment objective is for these investments to equal or exceed the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
Proxy Voting Policy
The Executive Officer of the Society, in consultation with the Treasurer and the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee, will vote all proxies for the Society.
Review of Policy Statement and Investment Performance
This statement shall be reviewed by the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee on an as needed basis. Presentation on investment performance relative to the policies set forth in this statement shall be made annually to the Board of Directors.
The Society’s board-approved investment policy stipulates that the Budget, Finance, and Audit (BFA) Committee shall invest cash reserves that are not Board restricted in “SR/SI/ESG equities and fixed-income assets in such a way that their impact on ameliorating social problems is maximized while maintaining at least inflation-adjusted purchasing power of such reserves.” Over the past several years, the BFA Committee has opted to invest a portion of its cash reserves in U.S. Treasury-certified community development financial institutions (CDFIs).
CDFIs have economic development in low-income communities as their primary mission. CDFIs provide loans, investments, and basic financial services to individuals, businesses, and nonprofit agencies within low-income communities that would otherwise be denied these opportunities by mainstream financial institutions. In addition, financing often is linked to other developmental activities such as business technical assistance, job training, and home-ownership counseling. There are five types of CDFIs that differ according to their general purpose, financial products and services offered, sources of capital, borrowers, governance, and ownership and regulators.
Community development banks provide capital for targeted loans and investments to rebuild economically disadvantaged communities. Financial products and services provided include mortgage financing, home improvement loans, commercial business loans, loans to nonprofit community agencies, student loans, and traditional consumer banking services. Sources of capital include deposits from individuals and institutions, and funds from federal, state, and local governments. Borrowers include nonprofit community organizations, individual entrepreneurs, small businesses, and housing developers (i.e., institutional borrowers more than individuals). Community development banks are for-profit corporations owned by stockholders that have community representation on their boards of directors. These banks are federally regulated and insured by the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, and state banking regulatory agencies. There are approximately 1,000 banks that have been designated officially as CDFIs.
Community development credit unions cultivate ownership of assets and savings, and offer affordable banking and credit services to low-income people, with a targeted emphasis on economically empowering minority communities. Particular banking services include personal loans, credit cards, home rehabilitation loans, share and share draft accounts, and check cashing privileges. These institutions also make loans to individual entrepreneurs. Consistent with their purpose, community development credit unions also provide credit counseling and business planning services. Sources of capital include credit union member deposits, non-member deposits from social investors, and funds from federal, state, and local governments. Borrowers include members of the credit union, usually individuals. Community development credit unions are nonprofit financial cooperatives that are owned and operated by the lower-income people who are members of the credit union. These credit unions are federally regulated and insured by the National Credit Union Administration and state regulatory agencies. There are approximately 170 credit unions that have earned the designation of “low-income status” as defined by the Federal Credit Union Act, which allows them to accept deposits from non-member investors. 
The remaining three types of CDFIs are community development loan funds, community development venture capital funds, and microenterprise development loan funds. Investments in these funds are not federally regulated and insured, and rates of return tend to fall below competitive market rates. Much of the capital comes from foundations, banks, religious organizations, corporations, and individual donations rather than investments.
What follows below is a set of criteria designed to provide guidance to the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee in making decisions with regard to investment of the Society’s cash reserve funds in CDFIs. These criteria fall in three general categories–geographic, social, and financial.
The Society is a national professional society of activist scholars. Accordingly, it is important to insure that, over time, the Society’s CDFI investments be equitably distributed across the nine regions of the nation defined by the Census Bureau. It is recommended that the BFA Committee strive to place its future investments with CDFIs across all nine regions in an equitable manner.
The BFA Committee has attempted to maximize the racial-ethnic and urban-rural diversity of the low-income communities its deposits benefit. It is recommended that the BFA Committee target future investments to CDFIs that serve low-income communities and provide loans and other services to the diversity of racial-ethnic groups that exist in the region and to women.
In order for the Society’s investments to benefit the low-income communities served by recipient CDFIs, it is recommended that deposits be made for a minimum of three to a maximum of five years, provided that the Society does not need to use the funds to meet its other financial obligations. To maintain flexibility, deposits might be made in the form of one-year certificates of deposit, with the goal of renewing them for a minimum of three years. To meet its fiduciary responsibility to the Society, the BFA Committee should strive to make deposits in CDFIs that offer competitive rates of interest and where these deposits are federally insured.
In order to achieve the low-income status designation, and hence accept deposits from non-members, the credit union must serve a majority of low-income members. “Low-income members” are “those members who make less than 80 percent of the average for all wage earners as established by the Bureau of Labor Statistics or those members whose annual household income falls at or below 80 percent of the median household income for the nation as established by the Census Bureau or those members otherwise defined as low-income members as determined by order of the NCUA Board.
The purpose of this Operating Reserve Policy for the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) is to build and maintain an adequate level of net assets without donor restrictions to support the organization’s day-to-day operations in the event of unforeseen shortfalls. Operating reserves are not intended to replace a permanent loss of funds or eliminate an ongoing budget gap. The organization intends for the operating reserves to be used and replenished within a reasonable period of time. This Operating Reserve Policy will be implemented in conjunction with other financial policies of the organization (i.e., the SSSP Statement of Investment Objectives and Policies and the Guidelines for Investing SSSP Reserve Funds in Community Development Financial Institutions) and is intended to support the goals and strategies contained in those related policies and in strategic and operational procedures as outlined in the SSSP By-laws and Operations Manual.
II. Definitions and Goals
The Operating Reserve Fund is defined as the designated fund set aside by action of the SSSP Board of Directors. The minimum amount to be designated as operating reserves will be established in an amount sufficient to maintain ongoing operations and programs for a set period of time, measured in months. The operating reserve serves a dynamic role and will be reviewed and adjusted in response to internal and external changes.
The target minimum Operating Reserve Fund is equal to total operating costs from the prior year statement of change in financial position from the audited financial statements.
The reserves in excess of the minimum amount should be primarily (75%) put toward building endowments to support the long-term priorities of the Society. The remaining portion (25%) may also be used for one-time, nonrecurring expenses that will build long-term capacity, invest in increased financial stability for the Society, and align with the purpose and mission of the Society. Any decisions about how excess reserves are spent, or allocated to endowment funds, must be in alignment with the Society’s purpose and mission at the discretion of the Board of Directors.
In addition to calculating the actual operating reserve at the fiscal year-end, the operating reserve fund target minimum will be calculated each year after approval of the annual budget. These reserves will be calculated by the Budget, Finance, and Audit (BFA) Committee and reported to the Board of Directors.
III. Accounting for Reserves
The Operating Reserve Fund will be recorded in the accounting system and financial statements as Board Designated Operating Reserve. The Operating Reserve Fund will be funded and available in cash or cash equivalents. Operating reserves will be maintained in a segregated bank account or investment fund, in accordance with investment policies.
IV. Funding of Reserves
The Board of Directors may, from time to time, direct that a specific source of revenue be set aside for operating reserves. Examples may include one-time gifts or bequests, property sales, special grants, or special appeals.
The Executive Officer, in conjunction with the Board of Directors, will identify the need for access to reserve funds and confirm that the use is consistent with the purpose of the reserves as described in this Operating Reserve Policy. Determination of need requires analysis of the sufficiency of the current level of reserve funds, the availability of any other sources of funds before using reserves, and evaluation of the time period for which the funds will be required and replenished in conjunction with the BFA Committee. A baseline recommendation is a three-to-five year payback plan included in the formal request for reserve funds.
V. Authority to Use Operating Reserves
The Executive Officer will submit a request to use operating reserves to the BFA Committee. The request will include the analysis and determination of the use of funds and plans for repayment. The Society’s goal is to replenish the funds used within 36 to 60 months to restore the Operating Reserve Fund to the target minimum amount. If the use of operating reserves will take longer than 60 months to replenish, the request will be scrutinized more carefully. The BFA Committee will make a recommendation regarding the request to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will evaluate the request’s alignment with the Society’s mission and purpose and make a final determination on the request.
VI. Reporting and Monitoring
The Administrative Officer is responsible for ensuring that the Operating Reserve Fund is maintained and used only as described in this Policy. Upon approval of the use of operating reserve funds, the Administrative Officer will maintain records of the use of funds and plan for replenishment. The Administrative Officer will provide regular reports at the mid-year and annual meetings to the BFA Committee and the Board of Directors of progress to restore the fund to the target minimum amount.
The Executive Officer and Administrative Officer will annually discuss what additional risk factors might be considered for the organization, the impact of budgeting on operating reserve levels, and any requirements with funders or chartering organizations.
VII. Relationship to Other Policies
The Executive Officer and the Administrative Officer shall maintain the following board-approved policies, which may contain provisions that affect the creation, sufficiency, and management of the Operating Reserve Fund:
- SSSP Statement of Investment Objectives and Policies
- Guidelines for Investing SSSP Reserve Funds in Community Development Financial Institutions
VIII. Review of Policy
This Policy will be reviewed by the BFA Committee every year at minimum, or sooner if warranted by internal or external events or changes. Changes to the Policy will be recommended by the BFA Committee to the Board of Directors for approval. Revisions to this policy will be distributed to the Administrative Officer, Executive Officer, and Board of Directors. The BFA Committee is established by the Society’s membership to recommend financial policies, strategies, and budgets that support the mission, values and strategic plan of the Society. Its purpose is to ensure the financial health and integrity of the Society in pursuit of its mission.
The Society works under an annual operating budget authorized by the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee and approved by the Board of Directors. The Treasurer and Administrative Officer approve all purchases. The Administrative Officer selects venders, in consultation with the Executive Officer. The Administrative Officer receives all invoices, codes all expenses in Open Systems, and prepares all checks. The President, Treasurer, Executive Officer, and Administrative Officer are authorized by the By-laws to sign checks for the Society. Checks greater than $1,000 or those for the purpose of payment of salary of salaried employees must be signed by two of the four. Since 1990, the combination used for the two signatures has been the Treasurer and the Executive Officer.
Prior to April 15, 2009, the Executive Officer reviewed the invoices and all financial statements before signing checks. Following the 2009 Annual Meeting, the Treasurer reviews the purchases journal and approves the expenditures before the Administrative Officer prints the checks. This review serves as an appropriate segregation of duties for cash disbursements, considering the Society’s limited personnel available. The Administrative Officer makes all purchases and is aware of all items requiring accrual at end of periods. Some expense items are recurring, so the Administrative Officer checks for recurring items not received by end of period and scans expenses in comparison to prior year for other items that may require accrual.
Currently, we use digital signatures on all checks (one signature on checks under $1,000, two signatures on checks over $1,000, and checks for the purpose of payment of salary of salaried employees). The financial statements are reviewed quarterly by the Executive Officer and by the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee. All checks are processed through the Accounts Payable ledger and require an expense or asset coding for each payment. The Society rarely writes manual checks. On occasion, the Society makes a wire transfer. The Treasurer and Executive Officer review the information prepared by the Administrative Officer, and then the Administrative Officer executes the wire transfer with the bank.
The Assistant to the Administrative Officer opens the mail, codes each check, photocopies the checks, and prepares the deposit slip and a spreadsheet containing the name, check number, amount of check, and breakdown of each item. The Administrative Officer verifies the coding of each check for accuracy and makes the deposit. The spreadsheet is used to reconcile the revenue recorded in the general ledger.
The Assistant to the Administrative Officer processes credit card transactions received via the US Postal Service. All credit card transactions are processed through Authorize.Net. Authorize.Net closes and settles each batch daily. The Assistant to the Administrative Officer prepares a spreadsheet containing the name, credit card type, transaction amount, and breakdown of each item. The Administrative Officer verifies each spreadsheet for accuracy. This spreadsheet is used to reconcile the revenue recorded in the general ledger.
A significant portion of the Society’s revenue is generated from subscription sales of the journal, Social Problems. The Society contracts with Oxford University Press, who collects all subscription records from subscribers, receives payment and remits to the Society the Guaranteed Minimum for each Accounting Year in advance through wire transfers on April 1 and October 1. The Administrative Officer reconciles the remittance and cash deposited to statements supplied by Oxford University Press. After reviewing the Annual Statement from Oxford University Press (March 1) for the immediately preceding Accounting Year, if additional monies are due to the Society, they will be wired within 60 days of notification of acceptance. In addition, Oxford University Press makes an annual contribution to the Editorial Stipend by February 1 of each year and an annual contribution of $3,000 towards Annual Meeting Sponsorship following relevant invoice delivered by the Society. Starting in 2021, Oxford University Press will make an annual contribution to the Social Media Committee by February 1 of each year.
The Administrative Officer has custody of the checks but does not have custody of the credit card transactions received via the US Postal Service. The Administrative Officer reconciles the bank accounts to the accounting records monthly. The Treasurer reviews and approves the bank reconciliation of the Society’s checking account monthly.
The Society uses the accrual method of accounting and the Open Systems Accounting Software. Open Systems is a standardized ‘canned’ software package and the Society has not made any significant modifications to the system. The current accounting programs are in the same version as the Society’s. As a result, only the data requires physically copying to the recovery system. The existing data was moved and the Society’s data placed on the system. All mission-critical functions were tested, including general ledger transaction entry, reporting, and accessing of all prior years of history (1994-2022). Additionally, trial balance reporting and financial statement reporting were also tested. The accounts payable invoice entry, posting, and check processing functions were all tested. All tests were successful with no issues.
Should an actual situation occur where disaster recovery was in place, the data would be copied to the recovery system as well as 3 printer-related files that would ease the transition from one printer to another and maintain the Society’s special printer configurations. These files are contained within the folders that are backed up when performing the OSAS8.0 (entire folder) backup. The actual recovery time (time required to begin processing) should be less than one hour, depending upon the amount of data files being copied to the recovery system and any printer tweaking that might be involved.
The Society purchased the Administrative Officer a Maxtor One Touch Backup that enables the backup of the majority of the mission critical programs and data including the accounting programs and data. In November 2009, the Administrative Officer signed up with MozyPro, an online backup service. Since April 2012, the Administrative Office staff backs up with MozyPro. Carbonite completed its acquisition of Mozy, Inc. on March 19, 2018. In addition, the staff utilizes an external hard drive to create additional backups of essential files.
All SSSP owned, useable desktop and laptop computers no longer in use, should be formatted and donated to charity. If we haven’t identified a charity, Goodwill accepts all computer equipment. If donating to Goodwill, then we will take the extra step to use free-ware called dban or free licenses of blanco software to ensure our data have been removed prior to donating. For those that are no longer useable, the hard drive should be drilled and the desktop or laptop should be taken to Best Buy or another location that recycles electronics.