Society Bank accounts

There are a few options for how to manage your society finances:

Society Finance Account

Societies registered with Cambridge SU can use the SU website to manage their finances. The SU holds funds on behalf of societies and banks with the Charities Aid Foundation. This is not a formal bank account so does not provide a card, chip & pin etc. but allows societies to make transactions easily, with the peace of mind that their funding is invested with an ethically-focussed bank. For more information or if you are setting up a new society just message the SU Activities Team.

Other Bank Accounts

If you'd prefer to open a formal bank account, we've teamed up with The Switch Cambridge to recommend the most ethical banking providers: 

if your society has a charity number, we recommend the Cooperative Bank’s Community Directplus account

if it doesn’t have charity number, we recommend Metro Bank Community account

Click here to find out more from The Switch Cambridge about switching your society account. 


Funding & Grants

Whilst the University wants societies to be as self-sustainable as possible, there is the opportunity for societies to apply for a grant. Cambridge SU's Activities Manager is here to give advice and help with your society's application, so read on to find out if you could qualify!


What are the grants for?

Grants may be given for the following reasons:

  • Launching Grants: small grants normally of around £100 or less to cover the start-up costs of a new society.
  • Capital Equipment Purchases: for purchasing equipment which will be of lasting and continuing benefit.
  • Special Activities: for events outside the normal activities of the society that are not feasibly self financing.
  • Guarantees Against Loss: often given on events (e.g. theatrical productions), or for the issue of a publication. These requests need to be submitted well in advance.
  • Annual Grants: awarded to fund a society's activities during the year, and are given on the merit of the application.
  • Annual Travel Grants: awarded to provide assistance with society's exceptional expenditure on travel.


Grants will not be given for:

  • Funding social activities.
  • A loan that may prove an unjustifiable financial burden on future officers of the society.
  • One-off competition entry fees.


For more detailed information, take a look at the University's page on Grants from the Societies Syndicate.


Who qualifies?

To qualify for funding your society must meet the following criteria:

  • Be open to all members of the university regardless of political, religious or social considerations
  • Be registered, or in the process of registering, with the Junior Proctor


How do I apply?

1. Choose the relevant application form:

Grant Application Form: PDF or Word Document

Guarantee Against Loss Application Form: PDF or Word Document

2. Submit your form (electronically), 10 days before the next scheduled meeting. Applications must be typed and sent by email to the Senior Treasurer for approval before onward transmission by email, direct from the Senior Treasurer, to the Secretary of the Societies Syndicate:

See the Societies Syndicate Grants page of the University website for meeting schedules.


Tips when Applying:

  • Clarity and detail are key.
  • Explain why you need what the grant will be spent on - why it is important for the society and its members.
  • Present a clear and well justified statement, include multiple quotes of costs and explanations for why the ultimate offer was selected.
  • If the money is for a piece of equipment, explain how long it will last and how it will be stored safely.
  • If your society is sport-related then clarify that you are either not registered with the Sports Syndicate, or if you are then why you are applying to the Societies Syndicate.

If there is any room for confusion, make it clear that this is not something which you will be repeatedly applying for - if it is then apply for an annual grant.


Society Bank Account

We offer our societies the chance to set up a bank account on our system which can be used for purchasing new equipment, paying to rent spaces, and/or getting reimbursed to pay for items for items.

Attached is our Finance Guide, where you can find out more information about what our banking system offers and how to use it. To set up a bank account on our system, please email us at


Vat and Your Society

Any society that has a turnover of over £81,000 legeally has to register for VAT with HM Revenue and Customs. If your society turnover is less than this amount, you can choose whether or not to register. if you society pays VAT on a lot of purchases and only a little on what you supply (e.g. concert tickets), then it might be worth considering registering.

For more information on VAT for charities, please go to HMRC Website or call their helpline on 0300 123 1073.