Balancing the Mission Checkbook

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.  Then I got t

Getting Past Simple Answers

In a blog post a few months ago, Getting Past the Overhead Ratio, I wrote:

If we in the nonprofit sector want to bust the overhead myth and bring attention to the things that really matter, then it’s our responsibility to take the lead by communicating differently and better. In order to take that lead, don’t wait for the question to come in and then argue why the ratio isn’t important or meaningful. We have to replace it.

What has stalled implementation of the Minnesota Pay for Performance bond pilot?

Some recent articles in Time Magazine and Huffington Post about the promise of Pay for Success financing have brought the topic forward again and I’ve been asked what happened to the Minnesota pilot to try pay for performance based funding. Good question.

From Data to Impact… and Beyond!

Last week, Adrian Bordone of GuideStar gave the keynote address at our annual Nonprofit Finance and Sustainability Conference, where he extolled the bold use of data to counter the overhead myth.  He encouraged the sell-out crowd of nonprofit executives, finance leaders, and board members to use data to craft a sophisticated case demonstrating the positive changes our nonprofits are making in the world.  Most of those present were already savvy to the message – nonprofit leaders are keenly aware that in

Getting Past the Overhead Ratio

I made a presentation to a group of executive directors recently about how to communicate financial information in a way that supports mission, impact, and transparency. We talked a lot about connecting the dots from money to mission, and moving past the standard pie charts. Then a director said what everyone in the room had experienced. “After I speak with a group in our community about our great work, the stories of people we help, and the impact we have on their lives, someone always asks, “Yes … but how much do you spend on overhead?” Sigh.

Subscribe to Blog