Yes, Nonprofits Assistance Fund offers Open Office Hours to help nonprofit managers and board members better understand their organization's finances. Our staff will listen to your story, answer questions, and offer guidance on your unique financial situation.
The most important thing is to seek out board members who are interested in your organization and committed to your mission. For financially savvy board members, look at the list of your supporters or volunteers for someone with a management or business background. Nonprofits Assistance Fund provides training and resources to help board members develop their understanding of nonprofit financial information, but we cannot bridge a gap in interest or dedication.
Here are some resources on board development:
Developing a realistic financial plan - a budget - is an essential skill for every nonprofit. Nonprofits Assistance Fund offers several trainings and some resources on budgeting. You can also contact us, a loan officer would be happy to talk to you about your budget process and answer any questions.
While there are some rules of thumb for setting operating reserve goals, they should always by accompanied by "it depends." Most standards are based on a formula to have enough unrestricted cash to cover operating expenses for a number of months. A commonly used reserve goal is three to six months' expenses. At the high end, reserves should not exceed the amount of two years' budget. At the low end, reserves should be enough to cover at least one full payroll including taxes. For more information, read our resource on Operating Reserves.
A loan from Nonprofits Assistance Fund is a tool that provides financial freedom so you can achieve your goals. This financing can help you expand your programs, buy much-needed equipment, manage cash flow, and much more.
But it's more than a loan. At Nonprofits Assistance Fund, we provide hands-on support during the application process and throughout the life of the loan. Our loan officers are available to answer questions about your financial situation, help you craft meaningful cash flow projections and budgets, and provide strategic guidance as you build a sustainable future at your organization.
Any 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Minnesota is eligible. We also serve adjacent communities, including Western Wisconsin, Northern Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. We do not lend to start-ups. If you are unclear whether your organization is eligible, please contact us.
No. Managing cash flow, new programs, growth, and change require good management and planning. Choosing to borrow funds is one strategy that astute and creative nonprofit leaders use to achieve their goals. For a more complete introduction to when loans are a good tool, and when they are not, Using Loans: A Guide to Borrowing for Nonprofit Organizations.
Generally, it takes two to four weeks from when we receive the application information until the loan decision is made. Once a loan is approved, the funds can be often disbursed in just a few days.
Although everyone is welcome to use our online resources, we only provide loans, training, and financial advice to nonprofits in Minnesota and its adjacent communities.
If you are a nonprofit organization outside of Minnesota, here are some resources that may be helpful:
- Opportunity Finance Network has a Member Locator to help you find a nearby CDFI
- Certified Community Development Financial Institutions (PDF list by state)
- National Council of Nonprofit Associations
There are many excellent accounting firms that provide audit and other services to nonprofits. When considering different firms, ask them for references from other nonprofit organizations that are similar to yours in size and field of service. The Minnesota Society of CPAs has an online referral service to help you find accountants that fit your organization.
No. There are some independent bookkeeping/accounting services for nonprofits, including MAP for Nonprofits. Word of mouth from other nonprofits is the best source for good recommendations.
Yes, QuickBooks software is easy to use and frequently used by nonprofits. Training classes at the Science Museum of Minnesota (search by subject area, Accounting).
No, Nonprofits Assistance Fund doesn't have services to help you start a nonprofit. However, there are a lot of other organizations that can provide assistance. MCN provides detailed information on their website; they also offer a training workshop, and a book to help you. MAP for Nonprofits provides legal and organizational services for startups. You can also read Get Ready; Get Set, a good resource to get you started from the Center for Nonprofit Management in California.
No, Nonprofits Assistance fund does not provide grants. Learn about grants and how to apply from the Minnesota Council on Foundations.
A CDFI is a financial institution whose primary mission is community development. A wide range of financial institutions can be CDFIs, including nonprofit community development loan funds, microloan funds, for-profit loan funds, banks and credit unions. For more information on CDFIs see the Opportunity Finance Network or the US Department of Treasury CDFI Fund.
In order to provide the kind of flexible financing available from Nonprofits Assistance Fund, we rely on financial institutions and foundations for long-term capital. Most of the funds used for the loan funds have been invested in the form of grant, Program Related Investments, and other long-term investments. See a list of our financial partners.