Are you a mission cruncher?

In moments of indiscretion, some people have referred to me as a number cruncher. I understand. For non-finance folks, it’s easy to have the perception that those of us who work in nonprofit finance spend our days poring over formulas and spreadsheets (which, let’s be honest, is partially true). But the reality is, our passion for this work is driven by the missions of the nonprofits we serve and the broader causes they’re supporting.

Mind the Gap: True Program Costs

Imagine this budget planning conversation at a human services nonprofit:

“The county wants to expand our contract! Isn’t that great?”

The easy answer is: Yes! We can provide more services in our community! But the smart answer is: It depends.  In this example, we’d need to ask ourselves a couple financial questions:

It's Never About the Donuts

I felt sick to my stomach. After a month of avoiding a serious look at our budget and a reforecast for the next six months, I was seeing a deficit of ($80,000). I knew that grant funding had not come in as expected and that donations were slower than previous years. I knew that we had included more stretch goals than baseline fundraising goals. I rechecked my forecast as the dread and fear sunk in.

6 Takeaways From This Year's #npfinance

It’s been a couple of weeks since the 4th Annual Nonprofit Finance and Sustainability Conference that Nonprofits Assistance Fund co-hosts with Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, and I’m still thinking about the topics, questions, and discussions from that day. The conference could not have had a better start than the keynote from Rodney Christopher, a Director on the Capital Deployment Team at F.B. Heron Foundation, on building strong nonprofit enterprises. Rodney invited us all to “let our nonprofit finance geek flags fly” and then provided us with inspiration and aspiration, with a strong dose of reality.

Want a nonprofit with flexibility, resilience, and durability? If only …

The #1 issue for almost half of the nonprofits included in a national survey is "achieving long-term financial sustainability." The most common responses for what they need to achieve long-term financial sustainability, are: “more revenue”, “more grants”, or “more general operating support.” If only we had more income ... If only.

Programmatic Sustainability: Are we there yet?

How do you know your programs are sustainable? Do you have the tools to tell you how you are doing, or are you like the kid in the backseat wondering, “Are we there yet?”

New how-to resource to understand the true cost of programs – coming soon!

We are excited to announce that we're putting the finishing touches on a new program budget and allocation tool. Sign-up for early bird notice of the new resource and you’ll be among the first to receive our new guide and spreadsheet template that breaks down the process of understanding true program costs.

Budgeting time for collaborative budgeting

At Nonprofits Assistance Fund, we teach that a budget is just another version of a mission statement or strategic plan expressed in a different language, the language of numbers. In this post, Curt Klotz encourages nonprofits to use a collaborative budgeting approach in order to create a budget that best reflects your mission.

Don’t be embarrassed to budget for a surplus

Stephanie Jacobs pulls inspiration from our conference about how nonprofits shouldn't be embarrassed about budgeting for a surplus.

Depreciate your way to a healthier nonprofit

Depreciation is seldom given the respect it deserves. For many who are first encountering the term, it is a mysterious financial concept best considered only by CPAs. At Nonprofits Assistance Fund, we hold depreciation among our favorite tools for building reserves and planning for the future stability of an organization.