Balancing the Mission Checkbook

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.

IRS 990: What’s in it for me?

When nonprofit organizations complete the IRS 990, the standard federal reporting requirement for nonprofit organizations, most probably aren’t thinking about how they will use the form. The 990 is essentially a compliance document, explaining to the IRS the mission, governance, program activities and financial situation of an organization for the prior year. The IRS uses the form to not only make sure the organization still exists, but also to check to see that the organization is meeting the rules for charities, and basically doing the things that it said it would do.

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:

Déjà Vu All Over Again: Nonprofit Survey Results

Déjà Vu All Over Again: Nonprofit Survey Results
“It’s been a rugged three years for Minnesota’s nonprofits, years characterized by economic instability, management uncertainties, and fundamental shifts in a once-familiar external landscape. Still reeling from significant financial downturns, many nonprofits have used the last few years to take a long, hard look at their internal capacities and financial requirements.”

Nonprofit Outreach Specialist (VISTA)

The Nonprofits Assistance Fund AmeriCorps VISTA project will help culturally-based nonprofits build and strengthen financial health and stability with training, one to one guidance and counsel (technical assistance), and financing for working capital and facilities.

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