Balancing the Mission Checkbook

Metablogging: Six Year-End Recommendations

Kate Barr December 30, 2015

Blogging about blogs, I guess it’s come to that as I look back at highlights and ideas from 2015. I’m a sponge for information, ideas, and insights and this has been a good year for all of them. No one wants me to send out an encyclopedia of what I learned this year, though, so here are six highlights.

Three of my favorite blogs posted this year by Nonprofits Assistance Fund:

Lessons Learned From Accidental Financial Leaders
“Financial management does not equal financial leadership.” Nonprofits Assistance Fund piloted a Financial Leadership Cohort designed to empower a small group of accidental financial leaders to feel confident in this role. By building their skills and confidence, we hoped to chip away at the fear of finance in the nonprofit sector and to develop financial leaders who would share their skills at their organizations and with their peers. And share they did.

Clear the Fuzzy Thinking About Nonprofit Reserves
How often do you have wishful conversations about “if only” we had reserve funds? I believe that fuzzy thinking about reserves is one of the barriers to building reserves. If we’re not clear about why a nonprofit needs reserves, or how reserves will be beneficial for the community, then why bother?

Deja Vu All Over Again - Nonprofit Survey Results
After reading the most recent survey about the financial health of nonprofits, I pulled some old reports out of the archives. The numbers may be different, but the themes stay the same: volatility is nothing new; there is no “normal”; and adaptability has always been at the core of nonprofit strategy and leadership.

Three other blogs that I love to read and recommend:

Brian Mittendorf is an accounting professor at Ohio State University who writes interesting and understandable posts about nonprofit finance at Counting on Charity. His topics range from Proposed Nonprofit Onion Headlines 2015 to Rose Colored Finance and the Fall of FEGS.

Nonprofit consultant and writer Alan Cantor parlays his long experience and perspective into smart posts about governance, philanthropy, and strategy. Two good posts this year were Goldilocks and the Three Boards and The False Allure of Charitable Endowments. If you’re interested in Donor Advised Funds, read Alan.

And, of course, Nonprofit with Balls, by Vu Le. His irreverent weekly posts are honest, powerful, and fun to share, like this: All right, everyone, we need to freak out more about nonprofit leadership.

Happy New Year everyone. More to come.


Kate Barr believes that every nonprofit financial question relates to strategy, structure and mission impact. She enjoys interpreting financial information to find stories numbers can tell. She loves writing, teaching, and talking with interesting people.