We’ve discussed in length before of the importance of financial intelligence among the entire team. Businesses work at their best when each department is aware of how their duties affect the bottom line, and C-level executives can make better business decisions when the entire organization is on board. The same ideology goes for non-profits, with some minor variances. A good way get an entire non-profit organization on the same page is to engage different departments in gathering financial data to discuss at team meetings. This way everyone can contribute, and it allows the whole organization to get a better sense of their mission, where they are headed and how the work they do directly impacts the organization’s success.
Unlike for-profit businesses that can generally use year over year analysis to estimate their annual budget, non-profits have a lot of other variables to consider for financial planning. For one, there is no guarantee a non-profit’s budget will stay the same year over year due to fluctuations in the number of donors, fundraising activities, and the cost for programming. Additionally, many non-profits rely on government grants and corporate foundations. Since these funds cannot be guaranteed each year, it is important for non-profits to have financial meetings with the whole team frequently to help keep the organization on track.
The following are some of the key data that management should compile prior to attending their non-profit financial meetings.
The non-profit CFO is responsible for the “big picture” of the financial status of the organization, and therefore should have access to all of the organization’s budgets and accounting reports. Oftentimes the CFO works hand in hand with the executive director in making key business decisions. However, all staff members ranging from membership, development, and even communications and community relations should be able to see the overall financial resources and status of the organization. This knowledge can influence productivity and outreach among staff members and provide a better sense of where the organization is headed during the year.
The director of development or development manager will have the data for the status of current fundraising efforts as well as a plan for upcoming events. Besides mailings, phone-a-thons, and email campaigns, the Development Department is often in charge of major events such as fundraising dinners, galas, and community programs. Analyzing how much cash has come in for the year in comparison to the schedule of events to come can help teams adjust their budgets, alter future plans and make better decisions for the rest of the year and years to come.
Some non-profit organizations do not have the luxury of having an in-house human resources professional. Oftentimes they outsource HR processes like payroll and benefits administration, or assign the responsibilities to another job. For instance, the operations director may also be placed in charge of employee related matters. Either way, staff information is an important factor in financial reporting. Getting payroll information from the outsourced provider or having a snapshot of employees, job descriptions, and vacancies can help non-profits plan for hiring and possibly provide incentives to employees to stay on board.