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Financial Planning Hints

Air Force Protocol
from 'Til Wheels are Up'

Financial Planning Hints:

Recognize that each member of the unit sponsoring the dining-in is a host responsible for the evening's success and the impression made on the guests. Military personnel of the unit customarily pay their own way and share the expense of all formally invited guests. The funding status of the personnel outside the sponsoring organization should be clearly designated in the invitation. Wording such as "come join us" connotes a paying member and should be followed with an estimate of the cost. Any wording in the invitation, which states "guest", indicates a formal guest of the sponsoring unit and therefore does not pay. The Guest Speaker is always a formal guest and does not pay. Recently there has been a push to help defray the cost of these events so as junior enlisted personnel can afford to join in the festivities without incurring financial hardship. It is proper to solicit financial support from groups such "Chiefs Group" or a downtown organization in the form of monetary donations. Donations are the applied to create a reduced cost, multi-tiered price structure applied according to grade. This is an accepted practice; however, consult JAG before soliciting for outside funds for current legal guidance.

An exotic menu, elaborate decorations, engraved invitations, and a fancy program could result in an exorbitant cost to the members of the mess. Remember that the dining-in is for the members of the mess, and their desires should be taken into account. If some of the traditional trappings are too expensive, unavailable, or simply not desired, disregard them. With some imagination, create some relatively simple decorations. A simple but moving patriotic ceremony can make a dining-in a first-class event without excessive costs. A dining-in at reasonable cost to each member is usually more enjoyable than an expensive extravaganza.

Once tentative costs are determined, the person charged with handling the finances should develop an operating budget. Knowing what the expenditures are likely to be is necessary for determining the approximate cost to each member.

Establish a procedure for collecting and depositing the money. A separate bank account just for the function is advisable. For a large function, it might be best to have key workers within the various elements of the unit. They would be responsible for taking reservations and collecting the money or club card numbers, from their assigned unit, and turning these over to the planning committee.



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