The “S” Word: In Pursuit of Sustainability

The term “sustainability” and its variations are everywhere in management articles, research reports, and conference presentations throughout the nonprofit sector. I’ll confess that I use it all the time, too. We can joke that this is just the newest buzzword, but the impetus is real. Leaders and advocates in the nonprofit sector are driven to find ways to ensure that valuable work can continue.

"Without NAF's partnership, we probably would've had to invest in finance consultants to get us where we needed to be. These deeper relationships are highly valuable and really significant for local nonprofits."

Rob Simonds, Executive Director, The Cedar Cultural Center

Lessons Learned From Accidental Financial Leaders

One of Nonprofits Assistance Fund’s goals is to build financial leadership in the nonprofit sector, and we know that financial leaders come from many backgrounds. When I first joined a board of directors three years ago, I probably couldn’t have told you the name of an income statement or balance sheet, much less the difference between the two. During my first year on the board, my goal during the finance portion of the meeting was to not say anything stupid. But with time and practice, I’ve started to grow into my role as an accidental financial leader.

"The people there are a delight to work with. They're responsive, personable, extremely knowledgeable about their subject, and they understand where you're coming from because of their own experiences."

Bob Peskin, Executive Director, Minnesota Chorale

The Value of Evaluation – What we Learned About Our Work

“They’re going to do whatever they can to help you succeed.”

Earlier this year, we engaged a consultant to conduct an in-depth evaluation of our programs. We wanted to learn more about the real impact that our work has with our nonprofit clients. We set out to answer the following questions, and more:

"There were times when we couldn't even make payroll... One Friday afternoon, we had something like $500 left and I said, ‘What am I gonna do?’ Janet told me, ‘You have $500, you're gonna have to make that last!’ And that’s just the kind of relationship we have."

Liz Reed, Chief Operating Officer, Turning Point

Core Strength for Nonprofits: Financial Lessons from a First Time Marathoner

Over the past year I have been enthused by a newfound passion for long-distance running, which began innocently enough as a fifty-something guy cautiously running a mile and a half. While logging many miles since then, I’ve had time to reflect on parallels between my fledgling ardor for running and my long-established passion for nonprofit finance. Running buddies of mine, who are far more experienced in this realm, have taught me that developing core strength is a key to longevity in running. This lesson is true in the nonprofit world as well.

"Many of the people at NAF weren’t always finance people—they're people who came from nonprofits. Whether it's arts, education, health, etc., you get the sense that they've been in the trenches. They want you to succeed, they want you to meet your mission. They're just wonderful."

Dr. Diane Halpin, Executive Director, Lionsgate Academy

The Innovation Sector

Innovation is essential to community and economic health. You often hear about innovation coming from the tech community—but what about in our sector? Nonprofits are constantly creating new solutions to old problems, and new ways to deliver those solutions. That’s innovation. Let’s ignite the conversation about how our state and region can continue to innovate and improve.  Following are some nonprofits doing truly innovative work in our community. 

Cookie Cart – Baking Bright Futures

Join the NAF Team! Program Director Position

Nonprofits Assistance Fund is excited to welcome a new Program Director to our team. If you are interested in nonprofit financial management, committed to building strong relationships and have prior teaching or training program delivery experience, we'd love to talk with you. Applications are due August 31, 2015. A full description of the position can be found here