4-H Charter Overview
“A 4-H Charter indicates the 4-H club or group is organized in accordance with the objects of the 4-H Youth Development program in the state of Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension grants 4-H Charters which formally authorizes the club or group to use the 4-H name and emblem for educational purposes in accordance with laws and regulations established by Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
Okay, so you might be thinking “What does this mean for me?” In short, 4-H Charters are a State requirement that must be renewed each year if your club or group wants to continue to be recognized as a 4-H affiliate. This Charter also gives you the freedom to use the “4-H brand.” Read below for the Rules of Charters:
- All clubs must be chartered, have an EIN number and submit to an annual financial record audit.
- All groups (committees, boards, etc.) that hold any financial accounts must be chartered. If a group does not hold accounts, it must be held accountable underneath the La Crosse County 4-H Leaders Association.
- All chartered clubs and groups qualify for federal tax exempt status. Please contact the La Crosse County UW-Extension office if you are in need of the 4-H General Exemption (GEN) number.
Annual Renewal Paperwork
Each year in September and October, all clubs and groups must fill out and submit to the Extension office the following paperwork in order to remain chartered:
- Charter Renewal Packet
- Bank statements
- Completed Audit Checklist
- Current Bylaws (template here)
- Planned calendar of meetings (template here)
- For all the latest versions of the current paperwork, please visit the state site here: https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/wi4hvolunteers/clubs-and-groups/charters/
This paperwork must be done completely and with thought and input from the whole club. It is encouraged to involve youth officers and leaders in your group as much as possible through the whole process. If there are pieces missing or not completed to the satisfaction of the State auditors, you will be asked to re-do it or risk losing your status as a 4-H club/group.
New Clubs and Groups
All new clubs and groups must get chartered before they can begin formally meeting. Please contact the UW-Extension office if you are interested in starting a group – there is a special charter application different than the renewal documents above that will need to be completed with help from Emily, our 4-H Educator.