The presenter of this session was terrific; very down-to-earth and realistic about what a commercial supporter expects, wants, and sometimes doesn't get when it comes to proposed budgets and reconciling after the fact. A lot of it comes down to perception, and the last thing a commercial supporter wants, especially these days, is a possibility that the perception could be that something isn't right. It's all about transparency and accountability.
A few takeaways:
* If you don't use it all, return the leftover funds. They'll go back into the pot and fund another activity.
* Don't be surprised if you're asked to reconcile your budget and account for line items after the activity. It is spelled out right in Standard 3.13 that you have to be able to document the details of your expenditures of commercial support.
* Don't inflate your fees.
* Don't include entertainment as a line item (!)
* Don't include one lump sum for faculty; break out how much each member will get so the commercial supporter can see that you're paying fair market value.
* Get rid of the "miscellaneous" line item. It could be anything from stamps to honoraria. Spell out what those expenses are.
* Keep your receipts, and make sure they align with your budget.
* Overages on honoraria and F&B are no-no's these days. Stick with what you have budgeted.
And, of course, keep in mind that these rules may vary from commercial supporter to commercial supporter. Still, I think most of these points likely would apply to most companies these days.