NC State Extension Publications


A. Examples of Revenue Generation

B. Rules and Regulations

  1. County Government Account
  2. Local EMGV Checking Account
  3. EMGV Association (county and statewide accounts)
  4. NC Cooperative Extension Service Foundation (county and statewide accounts)
    1. Enhancement Fund
    2. Endowment Fund

C. Gifts and Honorariums


There are multiple ways to generate revenue for EMGV programs, but specific rules and laws govern how funds may be deposited and disbursed. This section explains what EMGV program coordinators, volunteers, and association representatives need to know to ensure they are following state and federal regulations when volunteers raise money or charge fees for program support.

NC State EMGVs in Nash County develop support for an arboretum.

NC State EMGVs in Nash County develop support for an arboretum.

NC Cooperative Extension Service

A. Examples of Revenue Generation

The following sources are examples of ways EMGV programs raise revenue:

  • annual plant sales, raffles, or auctions
  • fees for services such as classes, workshops, and tours
  • sales of books, publications, and program-related products, such as compost bins
  • gifts and donations
  • grants
NC State EMGVs working at a plant sale in Brunswick County.

An NC State EMGV working at a plant sale in Brunswick County.

NC Cooperative Extension Service

B. Rules and Regulations

There are four options for handling the money EMGVs raise for program support:

1. County Government Account

Program funds may be deposited in county government accounts. The county may have restrictions on how and when the money may be spent. In addition, some counties may take all unspent funds at the end of each fiscal year.

2. Local EMGV Checking Account

In some counties, an individual has created a checking account for the EMGV program and finances are run through that account. This accounting approach is discouraged. It has liability and tax implications for that individual and a lack of security for the program as a whole.

3. EMGV Association (County and Statewide Accounts)

EMGV Associations have been established to financially support the EMGV program either in a particular county or statewide. These associations are independent organizations (not part of NC State) that operate under memoranda of agreement with NC State (appendix E). Fund-raising activities of these associations may include receipt of cash or in-kind donations. Often the donor assumes that these donations are tax-exempt. However, an association must meet specific legal requirements in order to accept tax-exempt gifts. The following is a summary of the different categories of current EMGV Associations in North Carolina. Each has restrictions as to how or if it may receive tax-exempt donations.

Non-Profit Corporation—this signifies that the association is registered with the Secretary of State as a non-profit. This classification does not allow the association to solicit or receive tax-exempt donations unless it is also designated by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Independent 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization/Foundation—may deposit tax-exempt gifts into an account held by the association. Checks must be made payable to the association and not to NC State, the NC Cooperative Extension Service, or _______ county Extension centers.

If the EMGV association cannot receive a tax-exempt gift because it is not a registered 501(c)(3) organization, the association should inform donors that their gift is not tax-deductible and this should be printed on any receipt issued to a donor. If the donor wishes to make a tax-deductible donation, it may be made through the NC Cooperative Extension Service Foundation (NCCESF) or the North Carolina Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association (NCEMGVA). All donations should be followed by issuance of a receipt.

4. NC Cooperative Extension Service Foundation (County and Statewide Accounts)

The NCCESF is an agent of NC State University that promotes, accepts, and manages all private gifts and private grants made to the NC Cooperative Extension Service. Overseen by a board of trustees and through services provided by the university, the foundation manages all gifts in accordance with the donor’s wishes within applicable state laws. They handle all tax requirements, investment decisions, reporting, and other administrative tasks. EMGVs may raise money and deposit funds or tax-exempt gifts into their county’s EMGV enhancement fund or endowment account. A portion of the interest earned goes to covering overhead expenses.

a. Enhancement Fund

Every county with an EMGV program either already has or may create an account at the NCCESF called the (Name of County) EMGV Enhancement Fund. Enhancement accounts function like checking accounts.

b. Endowment Fund

Every county with an EMGV program either already has or may create an endowment account. Money deposited in the Endowment account is invested in perpetuity; only the annual interest earned is used to support programs.

Checks must be made out to the NC Cooperative Extension Service Foundation and noted for support of a specific local EMGV program. In addition to the county accounts, there are also enhancement and endowment accounts for the North Carolina EMGV statewide program. More information may be found by visiting the NC Cooperative Extension Service Foundation.

Funds should never be deposited into an account held by an individual or organization other than the local Extension, the local EMGV association (assuming that the organization is a registered non-profit corporation), the NCEMGVA, the NC Cooperative Extension Service Foundation, or the NC State University Department of Horticultural Science.

Consider the following when managing money as an Association:

  • costs/fees direct (percentage of deposit) and indirect (fee for auditing, insurance, and other services.)
  • limitations on spending
  • risks (roll back at the end of the fiscal year?)
  • interest earned
  • implications of low bid

NC State EMGV plant sale in Burke County.

NC State EMGV plant sale in Burke County.

NC Cooperative Extension Service

C. Gifts and Honorariums

Occasionally a volunteer may be offered a gift or honorarium as a speaker. Volunteers may accept small gifts but not money. It is the responsibility of the EMGV to inform the person/group making the offer that no payment is expected or required. Donations to the county or state EMGV program are an encouraged method of handling "offered fees."

EMGVs preparing to give a presentation.

NC State EMGVs like these members of the Speakers Bureau in Mecklenberg County are not allowed to accept personal gifts.

NC Cooperative Extension Service


Extension Specialist, Urban Horticulture
Horticultural Science

Publication date: June 4, 2015

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