Section 8: 4-H Club Standards

8.1 Definition of a Club:  Policy

Nebraska 4-H and 4-H National Headquarters define a 4-H Club as: an organized group of at least five youth from three different families who meet regularly with adult volunteers or staff for a long-term, progressive series of educational experiences and have enrolled in 4-H Online.

8.2 Structure of a 4-H Club:  Policy

4-H Clubs in good standing are structured as follows:

  • Enrolls at least 5 youth members from at least 3 families.
  • Is advised by adult staff or volunteers who have been screened and trained in accordance with the Nebraska 4-H Policy and Procedure Handbook.
  • Conduct a minimum of 6 regular club meetings (virtual or face-to-face) per year, with many holding 9-12 regular meetings throughout most or all of the year, and often supplemented by project meetings, camps, fairs, and other 4-H learning activities.
  • Selects youth officers or youth leaders to provide leadership to the club.
  • Meets in any location — a home, community center, military installation, library, public housing site, school, afterschool program, and/or many other places.
  • Helps youth and parents/guardians adapt in cases of mobility — linking them to 4-H programs in other counties and states. Meets interests and needs of youth in same-age or cross-age groupings and using single project or multiple project formats.

If these components are no longer able to be maintained, clubs should work with 4-H staff to develop a plan tor return to good standing. 

8.3 Club Names:  Policy

  • Any organization that functions for the purpose of furthering 4-H objectives and programs and has been formally authorized to use the 4-H name and emblem by the appropriate representative of the Cooperative Extension Service must have names that:
  • Are specific to the 4-H club or organization either through a unique name or by identifying the county or location. Examples: Share-N-Win 4-H Club (unique name); Calvert County 4-H Horse Club (generic name with county);
  • Are not overtly religious or represent the beliefs of one denomination over another;
  • Do not imply that membership is limited or exclusive; and,
  • Are not offensive or generally seen as demeaning to any group protected by equal opportunity regulations. Refer to the 4-H National Headquarters Fact Sheet, Naming 4-H Clubs, for further information. 

8.4 4-H Club Charter:  Policy

A 4-H club must be chartered by 4-H National Headquarters at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska State 4-H office in order to be recognized as part of 4-H, and to be authorized to use the 4-H Name and Emblem. The Nebraska State 4-H office will maintain documentation on the issuance of Charters to 4-H entities within Nebraska. If a 4-H Club or an affiliated 4-H organization has been long established and verification of a valid Charter is not available, issuance of a new Charter is recommended. The New 4-H Club/Charter Application is to be completed by all new clubs.

8.5 Club Constitution and Bylaws:  Policy

All clubs are to function formally through a constitution and by-laws. These are the organizing documents of a club and describes how the club operates. A current copy of the club Constitution and Bylaws must be kept on file in the county extension office. A template for clubs to use is on the Club Resources webpage:

8.6 Club Finances:  Policy

Handling of money at the club level must comply with the Nebraska 4-H Council Handbook (Section 5 - Budget, Finance, and Resources Development) and Federal policy. Clubs that handle money are required to keep that money in a financial institution in a checking account and are required to submit a Year End 4-H Club Treasurer’s Report to the county extension office by January 31 of each year. A detailed spending plan may also be requested for clubs holding more than $5,000 in their account.

Clubs are also required to maintain active status (enroll at least 5 youth members from at least 3 families in the club) in order to have any money in the name of 4-H. In addition, IRS 990 filing (Form 990, 990EZ or 990N) must be completed annually by May 15. (See Section 12, Financial Management for detailed information on club finances and reporting requirements.)

8.7 Recognition:  Policy

The overall goal of 4-H clubs is to develop enthusiastic young people who boldly take action to demonstrate life skills as capable, caring, confident, competent kids of character, thus contributing to the improvement of themselves, their family, their club, their community, and their world. There are a variety of ways to recognize the successes of 4-H members and clubs. You can find those at

8.8 Dissolution Clause:  Policy

In accordance with laws governing non-profit organizations, if a 4-H club/group disbands, all funds in the club/group treasury and any other property can only be given to another 4-H non-profit organization, such as the local 4-H Council, not to individuals in the club/group.

8.8.1 Club Dissolution Clause to be included in Club Bylaws

Upon dissolution of the (insert club name) 4-H club, the members agree that all real property, including money, equipment and land, shall become the property of a recognized 4-H club or group with the approval of the local 4-H Council and the county Extension Educator responsible for 4-H. The last official duty of the club’s organizational leader shall be to transfer club property and club records to the Extension office. Disbandment of assets of the club will be handled following the procedures outline in the Nebraska 4-H Policy and Procedure Handbook.

8.8.2 Procedure for Disposing of Assets of a Disbanded Club

The 4-H Club/Group shall be terminated and dissolved by a simple majority vote of the membership in favor of dissolution and termination of the 4-H Club/Group. The members shall also vote on how to disburse club resources for a project or activity or contribution to the betterment of the county 4-H or state 4-H program.

When a 4-H Club or Group dissolves or fails to reorganize without a vote of the members, the resources become the property of the local 4-H Council or the Nebraska 4-H Foundation after a waiting period of one (1) year. During the one (1) year waiting period, the account will be maintained by the treasurer of the local 4-H Council.

Upon dissolution and termination of the 4-H Club/Group for any reason, the officers shall take full account of the 4-H Club/Group assets and liabilities and shall liquidate the assets and apply and distribute the proceeds there from in the following order:

  1. To the payment of the debts and liabilities of the 4-H Club/Group.
  2. To the setting up of any reserves which the officers may deem reasonable and necessary for any contingencies of unforeseen liabilities or obligations of the 4-H Club/Group. Such reserves shall be paid over by the treasurer to an escrow account designated by the officers to be held for the purpose of distributing such reserves and payment of any such contingencies at the expiration of such period as the officers of the 4-H Club/Group may deem advisable.
  3. The remaining balance shall be distributed to another 4-H club or group (such as the local 4-H Council or Nebraska 4-H Foundation) for the purpose of program development directly related to the enrichment of the quality of life of 4-H youth and volunteers. This can be given to any 4-H organization and/or a percentage to all.
  4. In the event that the local 4-H Council or the Nebraska 4-H Foundation does not qualify for funds or does not exist at the time of dissolution and termination of the 4-H Club/Group, the balance remaining shall be distributed among the local 4-H Council or Nebraska 4-H Foundation accounts (must be different from the organization mentioned above).
  5. Secure documentation and file it at the county office for the club file verifying the closure of the bank account.

Each of the members shall be furnished with a statement prepared by the 4-H Club/Group setting forth the assets, liabilities, and the distribution upon complete liquidation. Upon compliance with the foregoing terms and manner of distribution, the 4-H Club/Group shall cease.


Policy  Policy: not negotiable    Guidelines  Guidelines: strongly recommended    Procedure  Procedure: recommended implementation steps