The total budget for each Service Platoon is currently set at $5,000 per year for service missions and $2,000 per year for social engagements. Here’s a clear breakdown of how much money you receive, when you receive it, and how it should be used.
Service Mission Budget - $5,000 a year
To be used for:
- Service Events
- Food / Water
- Support Events
- Platoon Operations
- Planning supplies
- Shirts & Platoon swag
- Recruitment operations
It is important to remember that purchases made off of the Platoon budget need to be directed for service missions that impact the community. These should primarily be for Service Events, which you are required to do once every three months. If you do four Service Events a year, that gives you $1,000 a Service Event, with a remaining $1,000 a year to cover other expenses.
While you can use your budget for Support Events, the main goal of a Support Event is to get Platoon members to volunteer at other non-profits. It is discouraged, but not forbidden, from buying supplies or equipment for a volunteer project that is not planned or operated by the Service Platoon. If you have any questions about this, please talk to your Regional Platoon Team.
Other expenses could include buying gear and supplies for the Platoon Members, flyers for events, and other expenses to operate and grow the Platoon.
To best utilize your budget, try to procure In-Kinds for events. For example, getting supplies or equipment donated or loaned to the Platoon will help expand the impact of your budget. Contact your Regional Platoon Team on how to accomplish this.
If you have other questions about what Platoon funds can be used for, please contact your Regional Platoon Team.
Social Budget - $2,000 a year ($500 every three months)
To be used for:
- Social Events for:
- Platoon Members
- Platoon Family Members
Social Events are ways for the Platoon to come together, network and socialize. There should be one major social event to bring the Platoon together. Just like Service Events, you should try to get as much donated as possible. If you are able to get a Social Event donated and you do not use your $500, you can talk to your Regional Platoon Team about rolling over to a future Social Event or even moving that budget over to a Service Event.
Requesting Funds via Invoice
When planning an event ahead of time, you could have the opportunity for an invoice to be generated and submitted to your Regional Platoon Team. If this is done, you won't have to pay out of pocket and wait for a reimbursement. Because of our process, requesting funds should be done at least two weeks out from when payment is due to the vendor.
It should be noted that checks are issued directly to a vendor, only if there is a proper invoice.
For example, your Platoon is planning on building a community garden and trellis. A local lumber yard is going to give you a deal on the lumber and supplies, with a final charge of $150. They generate an invoice and you submit to your Regional Platoon Team. The Regional Platoon Team will then send to the Finance Team and a check is generated and sent directly to the lumber yard. You are then able to pick up your supplies and you have not paid for anything out of pocket.
You will still have to submit a copy of the invoice and receipt through the Budget Reporting Process, which is outlined below.
Purchases & Reimbursements
Platoon Leaders can make purchases for events out of pocket and then submit for a reimbursement. It is encouraged that you plan ahead and request a check to be issued for an invoice, instead of waiting for a reimbursement.
In cases that reimbursements are needed, please use the following steps:
- Before making the purchase, be sure that your CIM approves the purchase so that there will be no issues with reimbursement.
- Make purchases for the Platoons separate from your own. For example, if you are at Wal-Mart and buying supplies for the Platoon and groceries for yourself, please ensure one receipt contains only Platoon purchases.
- It is recommended that as soon as you make the purchase, take a picture of the receipt with your smartphone. If this is not possible, please keep the receipt until you have a chance to scan it into a computer. All receipts must be saved electronically.
- As soon as possible, submit a request through our Nexonia accounting system.
- Submit your request and upload the receipt with the request into Nexonia. Once the expense is approved, funds can be direct deposited into your account.
Contact your CIM if you need an update on where you are with your budget. They can pull this information from our accounting system.
Types of Expenses
Service Platoons expenses will fall into several classes. Each Platoon Leader will receive a list of expense classes along with the request for template and examples. use these classes to fill out the request form. Most expenses will fall under the Marketing, Service Projects or Social Events classes.
There are four categories that for your purchases:
- Social Event - comes out of the Social Event budget
- Support Event - comes out of the Service Mission budget
- Service Event - comes out of the Service Mission budget
- Platoon Operations - comes out of the Service Mission budget
There are also a sub-categories that is used by the Finance Team to track our budgets:
- Project Supplies
- Social Events
- Meals / Food
- Printing & Copying
- Postage & Delivery
- Lodging* - The Mission Continues will be coordinating your lodging for any travel to events or training. If certain incidentals are involved with the hotel invoice that are part of your duties as a Platoon Leader, they can be covered here. A good example would be an wifi internet charge.
- Local Transport* - per diems should cover the cost of any daily travel while in the role as Platoon Leader. If a vehicle or truck rental is needed for a large event, please contact your Regional Platoon Team. IMPORTANT: Volunteers for The Mission Continues cannot transport other volunteers via a rented vehicle that was paid for by Mission Continues funds.
- Airfare* - The Mission Continues will be coordinating air travel for your trips to summit and other events. If issues arise where you have to pay a baggage fee or other incidentals, we may cover that cost.
* While is not standard for Platoon budgets to be used for these purchases, we still need to keep track of it. Please contact your Regional Platoon Team about any purchases that may fall in this category.
The Mission Continues is dedicated to making sure that you have the resources to complete your mission and operate your Platoon. It is important to remember that all purchases are not guaranteed to be reimbursed. Please contact your Regional Platoon Team if you have any questions about purchases that you are unsure about.
Platoon Leaders must provide receipts for all expenses. The preferred method for sending receipts is scanning the receipt and sending a digital copy through the Platoons Budget App. If this is not possible, Platoon Leaders should provide a paper receipt (or a copy of the receipt). Receipts are necessary to ensure that donor funds are used for their intended purpose. As a responsible, transparent nonprofit organization, The Mission Continues completes a comprehensive financial audit every year, and expenses without receipts can complicate the audit.
We do not require receipts for items that are covered by your per diem.
Limitations on use of Funds
Platoon Leaders can use their budgets to pay for activities and supplies that support their Platoon’s Service Events or Social Events. There are a few restrictions:
- Platoon Leaders cannot use their Platoon budget to buy alcohol. Alcohol is allowed at Service Platoon events, but The Mission Continues cannot provide funding to buy it.
- Platoon Leaders cannot use their Platoon budget to buy cigarettes or (in states where it’s legal, e.g. Colorado) marijuana.
- Platoon Leaders cannot use their Platoon budget to pay for activities that might reflect poorly on The Mission Continues. When in doubt, Platoon Leaders should use good judgment and consult with a member of The Mission Continues staff.
- Platoon Leaders cannot use their budget to engage in political activity or support candidates for office. This includes lobbying or petitioning public officials about veterans’ issues. If there’s a question about whether an activity is considered “political”, Platoon Leaders should use good judgment and consult with a member of The Mission Continues staff.
- Platoon Leaders cannot use their budget to contribute to a private enterprise or individual. For example, spending the Platoon budget on supplies for repairs to a veteran’s private home would be unacceptable because those repairs would directly contribute to the value of that home, thus making the expense a transfer of money from a nonprofit organization to a private interest. When in doubt, Platoon Leaders should use good judgment and consult with a member of The Mission Continues staff.
- Mission Continues funds should not be used as donations to other non-profits direct fund raising initiatives. For example, it is acceptable for an organization to receive services and in-kind work / supplies. Such as a school receiving new books and shelves for their library. What is not acceptable is for Mission Continues to hand a check over to that school to spend on what they feel is necessary, even if it is under the guise of a fundraising gift. Examples of unacceptable expenses would be golf tournaments, fishing tournaments, raffles, carnivals, trivia competitions, or any other events that result in funds being raised for other non-profits.
- Platoon funds should not be used for personal expenses while volunteering as a Platoon Leader. For example the purchase of meals (not related to events) or transit (i.e., taxis or gas) are funded via the monthly per diem.
- Remember, the money in your budget is to make an impact in the community.