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Entries with Blog Label Nonprofit Finance .

December 18, 2019

The Importance of Understanding Your Nonprofit's Cash Flow

Understanding the concept of the “business model” for your nonprofit has become a more integral component to maintaining organization sustainability within the nonprofit sector. Nonprofit leaders, grant makers and stakeholders want more insight behind the business and financial foundation of how a nonprofit organization is able to deliver according to their mission drive initiatives.

When discussing the nonprofit business model, often times it will include topics such as, cost to deliver services, mix of sources of funding, and key drives of financial results. Discussions around the financial stability and sustainability, more times than not, focus on the overall health of the balance sheet and operating results of a nonprofit. While each of these are essential components to have a better understanding of an organization’s finances and business model, these types of conversations can lose sight of a critical part of any business—the day-to-day operations. For example, the way a nonprofit organization does business can have a major impact on cash flow.

Cash flow is the net amount of cash and cash-equivalents being transferred into and out of a business. At the most fundamental level, a nonprofit’s ability to create value for shareholders in determined by its ability to generate positive cash flows, or more specifically, maximize long-term free cash flow. Managing cash flow is primarily consisted of questions: when will we pay our staff; when is this bill due and when will this grant payment come in? While there are variety of nonprofit business models, each one has a particular bearing on these types of questions.

A nonprofit business model has two main components: what kinds of programs and services nonprofits deliver, and how they are funded. Each of these components have implications on organizational cash flow that should be understood in order to have effective financial planning.

Below are a few helpful strategies to use when addressing cash flow issues:

1) Understand where funding is coming from: Each type of income stream can have certain implications and challenges for cash flow, so if a business model is built primarily around one type of funding, you will need to understand and plan for those implications and challenges.

2) How to balance cash going in and out: In order to meet operating cash needs in the absence of adequate cash reserves, a nonprofit can turn to a line of credit to meet the temporary imbalance between available cash and expenses due. Credit lines, when used responsibility, can be a useful and vital tool for cash flow management.

3) How to manage cash across your organization: While it may be impossible to ensure that cash is coming into the organization exactly on time and on target to keep things on autopilot, it is possible to plan for those times when it isn’t, and make decisions to be sure that bills and staff are paid on time.

Being informed, strategic, and collaborative in cash flow management can help to ensure that a nonprofit’s long-term strategy isn’t hindered by avoidable and short-term obstacles.  

For more information on this topic, please reference this article: https://www.propelnonprofits.org/resources/managing-cash-flow/

November 14, 2019

[Webinar Recording] Accounting for Nonprofit Grants and Contributions

Last year, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) released Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2018-08, which clarifies the accounting guidelines for contributions received and contributions made—focusing on the grants and contracts awarded by the government and other entities to nonprofit organizations.

You can now listen to the webinar on-demand to learn how to determine if an asset received should be accounting as a contribution or as revenue from customers.

This on-demand webinar will explore how to:

  • Distinguish between reciprocal (exchange) versus nonreciprocal (contribution) transactions.
  • Determine whether a contribution is conditional.
  • Dictate when these amendments should be applied.
  • Decipher the three scenarios that illustrate the possible differences that may affect how the standard will impact your organization.

This webinar is part of UST’s efforts to educate the nonprofit sector. For more learning opportunities, tips and legal updates just for nonprofits, sign up for our monthly e-News today!

October 29, 2019

[Webinar Recording] Trends and Forecasts for Charitable Giving

Giving in the U.S. in 2020 will be different in many ways than previously—mainly because of campaigns, economic conditions, and tax law implications. Don't miss this deep dive into the trends and forecasts of giving in the United States presented by Melissa S. Brown, Principal of Melissa S. Brown & Associates.

This on-demand webinar shares insights into how tracking these trends can help identify future opportunities as well as insights into:

  • 2018 "Giving Pie"
  • Multi-Year trends to help identify what donor types give and where
  • Methods to identify donors using DAFs or Foundations for Giving
  • Tools to inspire more gifts from donor-advised funds, required minimum distributions, and other tax-advantaged giving

For access to more learning opportunities, tips and legal updates just for nonprofits, sign up for our monthly eNews today!

October 08, 2019

How an Executive Director Becomes a Financial Leader

What is an executive director? An executive director is “responsible for overseeing the administration, the program and the strategic plan of a nonprofit organization. Other key duties may include fundraising, marketing, community outreach, and this position reports directly to the board of directors.” As we all know, an executive director is required to wear many hats and needs to wear them all equally. Leadership styles have a huge impact on how well an executive director can carry out their duties—committed executive directors can set themselves apart when they’re able to evaluate their own leadership styles and seek input from others.

In this role, you’re tasked with the responsibility of both leadership and management and each duty requires a distinct skill level in order to be fulfilled properly. Leaders offer visionary qualities that can provide an overall scope to the organization’s specific problems and future planning. They tend to be a charismatic communicator and have the ability to motivate the team in anticipation of achieving future goals for the organization.  Managers are very hands on—they make sure things get done. Not only do they manage people but they also manage property and assets helping to fulfill the goals that management and the board of directors have set before them. They are the busy bees of the organization, who control, organize and monitor day-to-day activities of the operation. Think of an executive director of a nonprofit organization as being the “jack of all trades”.  

Along with managing and overseeing everyday tasks, an executive director is responsible for monitoring the finances for an organization—they oversee the development and on-going maintenance of the business model. This ensures the organization produces exceptional mission impact and sustains financial health. To make sure this is done successfully, the executive director has to be aware of the necessary business concepts.

Here are a few key business principles that could help guide financial leadership practice for your nonprofit:

1) Remain high-level and thoughtful with your board.

2) Make sure you’re managing your risks the right way.

3) Be sure to plan for your nonprofit’s reserves.

Executive directors learn that leading a nonprofit requires a constant balancing of current needs, external demands, and planning for the future. Financial leadership is crucial to the role and can not be fully delegated. Certain principles can help executive directors become accustom to the demands of the changing environment and maintain the balance needed for the organization.

September 27, 2019

[Webinar Recording] Fundraising Registration 101

Thousands of nonprofits have registered with their states in order to legally solicit donations... do you know what state requirements extend to your organization?

Presented by Affinity Fundraising Registration and hosted by Maia Lee, President of Relations, this on-demand webinar explains the essentials of fundraising registration and what you must do to ensure that you’re registered before filing your next Form 990. With over a decade in nonprofit marketing and development experience, Maia understands the challenges nonprofits face in fulfilling their missions with limited resources and is committed to educating nonprofits about charitable solicitation registration requirements.

 

You’ll learn crucial details needed to raise funds legally in any state with key information surrounding possible exemptions and how you may be subject to fines and penalties.  

Watch the webinar recording today!    

Want access to more learning opportunities, tips and legal updates just for nonprofits, sign up for our monthly eNews today!

August 07, 2019

​​​​​​​[Webinar Recording] National Nonprofit Benefit Study

 

Nonprofit professionals face a challenging job that is made even more complex by industry dynamics and a competitive talent marketplace—requiring even more attention around compensation factors that include benefit portfolio offerings. While benchmarking data exists in the corporate sector, detailed benefit data has been lacking in the nonprofit sector, until now. Work for Good has produced one of the most comprehensive national studies on nonprofit benefit offerings to date.

 

Presented by Karen Beaver, CEO of Work for Good, this on-demand webinar shares their findings from the 2019 Nonprofit Benefits Coverage Index Report, and reveals how you can take action now to prepare for what’s ahead.

 

This educational webinar recording outlines some of the top employee benefits trends shaping the sector this year and presents practical takeaways to inform strategy around:

  • Competitive benefit plan offerings
  • Current benefit trends
  • Strategies for 2020

For access to more learning opportunities, tips and legal updates just for nonprofits, sign up for our monthly eNews today!

May 10, 2019

​​​​​​​Lessons Learned from Implementing ASU 2016-14 – Functional Expenses

Are you familiar with the Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2016-14 issued by FASB? It’s a standard created to offer solutions to simplify and improve how a nonprofit organization is able to classify its net assets, financial statements, liquidity, financial performance, and cash flows. Now, that organizations have begun to apply this new standard, they are encountering implementation issues that were not anticipated. 

When organizations are gathering and preparing their financial information, they’re being faced with making difficult decisions on how to best present this information. For example, an analysis of expenses by function and natural classifications can be presented in multiple ways however, what is the most efficient and most beneficial method to do so?

Tammy Ricciardello states “Our advice on the presentation? Keep it simple. Yes, the analysis of expenses by function and nature should show the natural expenses of the entity by program and supporting activities, but this doesn’t mean that every type of expense should be presented on its own line. A straightforward approach will prevent the presentation from becoming overly complex and unwieldy.”

It's important to remain focused on the information that is most useful and make sure that the one reading your financial statements can clearly understand the costs of each activity and where that activity is being allocated to. Remember, keep it simple.

To learn more about the best practices for implementing ASU 2016-14 functional expenses be sure to read the full article here.

Article provided by Tammy Ricciardella, CPA, Technical Director at BDO.

November 08, 2018

Exercise Your Nonprofit’s Tax Exemption for 2019

With holidays on the horizon, this is the time for holiday shopping, family gatherings and ringing in the New Year. With so much on our plates, time can get away from us—causing us to miss important deadlines.  As a 501 (c)(3) organization, November is the deadline month to exercise your state unemployment tax exemption for 2019. This means time is running out.

Unlike for-profit organizations, 501(c)(3) nonprofits have the unique opportunity – as allowed by Federal law – to opt-out of the state unemployment tax system and instead only reimburse the state, if and when they have an actual unemployment claim. It can be a savings opportunity for many nonprofits who have lower claims than what they pay in state unemployment taxes—which are often driven up by for-profit organizations and other companies that go out of business, as well as state fund deficits and improper payments made in error.

UST helps nonprofits to better manage their cash flow through proper claims administration and various funding options. With access to e-Filing capabilities, state-specific claims advice and a plethora of on-demand HR services, UST participants are able to streamline operations and reduce back-office paperwork burdens.

Last year alone, UST helped program participants save $26.2 million in unemployment claims costs. That’s millions of dollars more for the nonprofit sector and the communities they serve.

More than 2,200 of your nonprofit peers are already exercising their unique tax alternative with UST. In a time of such uncertainty and ongoing legal changes, shouldn’t you investigate whether UST can help your organization safeguard valuable time and funding?

Submit your FREE Cost Analysis Formno later than November 15th in order to meet the state deadline for 2019 enrollment – which for most states is December 1st. Unfortunately, if a nonprofit misses the state deadline, they have to wait until the following year to exercise their tax exemption and join the UST program.

August 01, 2018

Nonprofit Toolkit Offers the Top Guides for Managing Unemployment

UST releases 2018 UI toolkit to help nonprofit organizations better understand unemployment insurance options and claims management best practices.

UST, a program dedicated to providing nonprofits with workforce solutions that reduce costs and strengthen their missions, announces the release of their 2018 UI Toolkit– comprised of UST’s top unemployment guides for managing unemployment. These tools provide valuable information that can help nonprofit organizations better understand the ins and outs of unemployment from the employer's perspective.

The 2018 UI Toolkit provides exclusive access to unemployment claims management tips, how-to-guides and an informative webinar recording. Plus, it showcases the top 5 things nonprofits must know about unemployment insurance, as well as best practices for protesting claims.

For a limited time, the toolkit is available for a free download, and here are some of the highlights:

  • 5 Things Your Nonprofit Must Know About Unemployment Insurance
  • 10 Ways to Minimize Unemployment Costs
  • 4 Things You Can Do To Help Prevent Retaliation Claims
  • Case Study: Council of Community Clinics

“Here at UST, we want to provide nonprofits with the top resources to better manage their unemployment needs,” explains Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “This UI Toolkit provides the insight nonprofit organizations need to know when it comes to managing claims and avoiding costly liability.”

Be sure to download your free UI Toolkit today!

Want access to more nonprofit toolkits, checklists and tips? Sign up for UST’s Monthly eNews.

July 13, 2018

Nonprofits Receive Over $3.8 Million in Cash Back Through UST’s Claims Management Services

UST is giving 532 nonprofits $3,869,249 in cash back for their ability to reduce their anticpiated unemployment claims within the year.

UST, a program dedicated to providing nonprofits with workforce solutions that help reduce costs so that they can focus more on their missions, announces that it will be dispersing $3,869,249.80 in cash back to more than 532 of their program participants. After accruing all of their claims savings, audited state returns and cash back throughout the last year, UST members will have $30.1 million filtered back into their nonprofits’ pockets.

UST aims to provide 501(c)(3) nonprofits with the latest HR training, outplacement resources and unemployment claims management tools they need to stay compliant with the state and federal laws, while also helping to reduce paperwork burdens.

One of UST’s most popular programs, UST Trust, helps reimbursing employers build a reserve—protecting their money on the front end—so they don’t experience the steep ups and downs in their cash flow due to unexpected unemployment claims. Unlike their for-profit counterparts, UST Trust participants can receive cash back through UST when their organization is able to reduce their unemployment claims and still maintain a healthy reserve balance for future claims.

“The $3.8 million we are returning to UST participants can offer their organizations the flexibility they need to execute additional mission-driven initiatives,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “Here at UST, we are pleased to be able to continue returning funds to our members and further supporting the communities in which they serve.” 

These refunds are just part of how UST serves its mission of “Providing nonprofits with workforce solutions that reduce costs and strengthen their missions.”

To learn more about the UST program for 501(c)(3) employers, visit www.ChooseUST.org. If you’re a reimbursing or tax-rated nonprofit, and looking for innovative ways to save money, fill out a free Unemployment Cost Analysis form.

June 26, 2018

UST Nonprofit Members Utilized Over $1.1 Million in Cloud-Based HR Resources

UST helps 501(c)(3)s lower their unemployment costs & maintain HR compliance, providing resources to help refocus on mission objectives.

 

UST, a program dedicated to providing nonprofits with workforce solutions to help reduce costs and focus on their missions, today announced that their 2,200+ participating nonprofits saved more than $1.1 million dollars in human resource expenses within the last year through its value-added UST HR Workplace program.

 

UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR, provides nonprofit professionals with the guidance they need to streamline HR procedures, maintain best practices, and ensure compliance with state laws. By providing expert HR advice, thousands of HR templates, hundreds of training courses and an award-winning online library for all workplace concerns, UST HR Workplace gives nonprofits the knowledge they need to avoid costly risks and liability issues.

 

“Regardless of the size of a nonprofit’s HR department, UST HR Workplace provides an invaluable sense of security—helping nonprofits save both time and money,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “This on-demand HR service helps nonprofit HR professionals avoid costly litigation and stay up-to-date on evolving HR best practices and legal changes.”

 

Staying on top of the latest HR laws and educating employees on organizational policies can help mitigate volatile unemployment claims and reduce costs long-term. Last year, UST members took over 5,900 online training courses and submitted close to 1,200 HR questions. The most popular resources included Sexual Harassment Prevention for Employees training, hotline inquiries regarding compliance and compensation, the Employee Handbook Builder and downloadable HR forms and policies.

 

UST HR Workplace has been a go-to resource for UST’s participating nonprofit employers since its launch in 2014 and is a robust support system that helps to save time and money—offered at no additional cost to UST members.

 

To learn more about how nonprofits can get a free 30-day trial of UST HR Workplace, click here.

June 20, 2018

UST Uncovers $2.8 Million in Potential Unemployment Claims Savings for 135 Nonprofits

UST helps 501(c)(3)s lower their unemployment costs & maintain HR compliance, providing resources to help refocus on mission objectives.

UST, a program dedicated to helping nonprofits ensure compliance and protect assets, today announces it has identified $2,839,940 in potential unemployment liability savings for 135 eligible nonprofits.

 

For 35 years, UST has been helping 501(c)(3) organizations exercise their exclusive nonprofit tax alternative, as allowed by Federal law, to pay only for their own unemployment claims which can save them thousands annually. Because they are no longer subsidizing for-profit companies in the state tax system, and are receiving expert claims guidance, UST members can efficiently manage their unemployment claims while mitigating liability.

 

“UST has continued to identify potential unemployment claims savings for multiple nonprofits across the United States,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “It’s incredibly rewarding to know that the UST program continues to provide financial relief to such hard-working nonprofits and the communities they serve.”

 

UST offers exclusive access to a variety of resources, ranging from a live HR hotline and job description builder to e-filing capabilities and claims hearing support. By utilizing their dedicated claims representatives, cloud-based HR resources, and outplacement services, these nonprofits can refocus their saved time and money on what matters most—achieving mission objectives.

 

If you’re a 501(c)(3) looking for ways to help your nonprofit save money, benchmark your unemployment costs by filling out a free Unemployment Cost Analysis form today.

May 31, 2018

70 Nonprofits Choose UST as Their Primary Nonprofit Workforce Solution

UST helps 501(c)(3)s lower their unemployment costs & maintain HR compliance, providing resources to help refocus on mission objectives.

 

Santa Barbara, CA (May 31, 2018) – UST, a program dedicated to helping nonprofits ensure compliance and protect assets, today announces that 70 nonprofit organizations from across the U.S. decided to join more than 2,200 of their nonprofit peers and enroll in UST’s cost-saving program.

For 35 years, UST has been helping 501(c)(3)s manage their unemployment claims in a safe, efficient manner. Whether a nonprofit is tax-rated or reimbursing, UST is here to help nonprofits manage their cash flow and streamline their day-to-day operations.  Just last year, UST found $2,839,940 in potential unemployment cost savings for eligible nonprofits.

UST’s newly added members now have exclusive access to a variety of resources, ranging from a live HR hotline and job description builder to e-filing capabilities and claims hearing support. By utilizing their dedicated claims representatives, cloud-based HR resources, and outplacement services, these nonprofits can refocus their saved time and money on what matters most—achieving mission objectives.

“With more than 2,200 organizations now participating in the Trust—and growing—I have no doubt that we can continue to provide our incoming members with the tools and education they need to further advance their missions,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST.

If you’re a 501(c)(3) looking for ways to help your nonprofit save money, benchmark your unemployment costs by filling out a free Unemployment Cost Analysis form today.

May 03, 2018

UST Launches New Website to Unveil New Branding & Nonprofit Programs

In an Effort to Provide More Robust and Readily Accessible HR and Unemployment Resources to the Nonprofit Sector, UST Launches a New Website that Acts as a One-Stop-Shop for Workforce Solutions.

Santa Barbara, CA (May 4, 2018) – The Unemployment Services Trust (UST), a program dedicated to helping nonprofits ensure compliance and protect assets, today announces the launch of their NEW website: www.chooseust.org.

For 35 years, UST has helped nonprofit employers to better manage their unemployment funding, maintain HR compliance and maximize employee bandwidth. WIth UST's recent revamp of the UST Support program, as well as the latest addition of UST's new insurance program, UST Secure, UST decided to give their webiste a fresh look and feel to mimic their evolving nonprofit services.

“We hope this enhanced website can serve as a one-stop-shop for nonprofit organizations nationwide—helping them to streamline day-to-day operations and stay on top of the latest best practices,” says Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST.

This new website will provide nonprofits the ability to readily navigate the many UST resources and tools that can help them reduce overhead costs, manage their claims and access HR & outplacement tools.

To determine which UST programs will best suit your needs, please submit a free Cost Analysis form today. (Use Priority Code "2018PR-LAUNCH" to expedite your request).

April 27, 2018

Creating a Cash Flow Business Model for Your Nonprofit

Using a business model has grown to become an essential tool when making any business or financial decisions within the nonprofit sector. When incorporating a new business model, a few key components should be discussed to ensure the business model will not only provide financial stability but also further the growth of operations within your organization. Along with understanding the financial side of a new business model, it is important to factor in the daily tasks that occur in a business, including cash flow—money being transferred in and out of an organization. 

Cash flow can be simply defined as a movement of money within the organization’s accounts. It is where the numbers and financial reports show how the money has moved and how it’s been accounted for. When managing cash flow, the question you will be asked repeatedly is “When?” —when do you pay your staff, when will you be receiving a grant payment or  when is a particular bill due. And while all nonprofit business models are different in one way or another, they all rely on the “when” with the movement of money. 

When creating a nonprofit business model, there are two main components to factor in—what kinds of programs and services does your nonprofit offer to the community and most importantly, how are they funded. Each of these components require the understanding of organizational cash flow in order to have effective financial planning. To further understand what kinds of programs and services a particular organization offers, you would look at where and how money is being spent.

When looking at how an organization is funded, this can provide a better understanding of what’s to come in terms of cash coming into the business. If by chance the cash flow doesn’t quite match up with the services offered, this could be further explained by how the organization receives its funding. Each type of income varies based on certain implications and challenges for cash flow, so if a business model is built primarily around one type of funding, this will have to be factored into the structure of the business model.

Creating a smart and strategic business model requires you to be informed and collaborative in cash flow management. This will ensure that your nonprofit’s long-term strategy isn’t hindered by obstacles that could have been avoided. 

August 17, 2017

Nonprofits Experience $27.8 Million in Unemployment Claims Savings With UST Program

Utilizing State-Specific Unemployment Claims Administrators, Who Help Protest Unemployment Claims and Attend 100 % of Hearings, UST Participants Save More than $27.8 Million in Unemployment Claims Costs.

Santa Barbara, CA (August 14, 2017) – The Unemployment Services Trust (UST), a program dedicated to helping nonprofits reduce paperwork burdens and protect assets, today announced it has identified $26,219,466.13 in unemployment claims cost savings plus an additional $1,592,247.82 in errors that are refunded to UST participants.

Since 1972, 501(c)(3) nonprofits have possessed the exclusive ability to opt out of the state unemployment tax system and instead pay dollar-for-dollar for their own unemployment claims—as allowed by federal law. UST provides nonprofits the tools they need to exercise their unique tax-exemption status in a safe and cost-effective manner, through dedicated administrative support, e-Filing capabilities and expert claims advice.

UST participants are able to efficiently combat improper unemployment claims, meet important deadlines and prepare for claims hearings by utilizing their state-specific claims representative—helping them to avoid costly penalties while offsetting the administrative headache. UST’s claims administrator equips more than 2,200 participating nonprofits with the guidance and resources they need to confidently manage their claims process.

“In a sector where employee bandwidth and funding is often stretched, it’s beyond rewarding to know that UST provides such significant savings to our nonprofit members,” says Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “We know this money filters right back into the nonprofit community and that’s what the UST program is all about—strengthening nonprofits’ missions.”

501(c)(3) nonprofit employers with 10 or more employees can submit a free Unemployment Cost Analysis form to readily determine whether their organization is overpaying in state unemployment taxes. Those who enroll in the UST Program will receive instant access to expert claims advice.

June 22, 2017

Webinar Recording: How to Best Prepare for Your Fast-Approaching Audit

It’s June once again, and for many of you that means the year-end closing of the books on June 30th—which means the AUDITORS will soon be coming!

Presented by Jay Azar, Lindquist, LLP Director of Not-for-Profit Practice Services, this on-demand webinar reveals how your organization can better prepare for the year-end audit and make the process more beneficial for you.

Jay provides expert TIPS on:

  • Administrative planning for the audit
  • Internal control and systems documentation reviews
  • Preliminary trial balance and general ledger reviews
  • Drafting financial statements
  • Supporting schedules for accounts on the Statement of Financial Position
  • Communications before, during and after the audit
  • Handling audit findings during the process
  • Keeping the process moving after audit fieldwork
  • Audit reports and responses to findings

Watch the webinar recording today and learn how you can get the most out of your upcoming audit.

Watch Webinar Button orange

This webinar series is part of UST’s efforts to educate the nonprofit sector. For more learning opportunities, tips and legal updates just for nonprofits, sign up for our monthly e-News today!

October 08, 2016

8 Simple Nonprofit Cost Cutting Ideas

Working on a restricted budget isn’t easy. But you can take some simple cost-cutting measures to free up some more dollars for your mission. Here are UST’s top 8:

1. Get discounts by joining a nonprofit association. You can find one here. Most associations offer their members special benefits and discounts on everything from office supplies to insurance. In fact, UST is partnered with 80 national and state nonprofit associations whose members receive a waived enrollment fee when they join UST.

2. Get group discounts and share resources. If you can combine orders with other nonprofits or companies you work with or who share your building, you’ll receive better bulk pricing on all kinds of products. You can also share the costs of maintenance with others in the same building. You may even consider piggybacking on local businesses by asking if you can include your fundraising materials in their mailings. They may welcome the good will it generates for their company.

3. Is your organization a 501(c)(3)? Are there 10 or more full-time employees? If you answered yes to both, be sure to check out UST’s alternative to paying into the state unemployment tax system. It can save thousands annually because you no longer share in the state’s pooled tax system that is often driven by for-profit companies’ unemployment claims. Watch the one-minute informational video.

4. Save on printing. Today most people are used to receiving electronic communications in lieu of bulky printed pieces in the mail. Direct mail may still be an important part of your fundraising, but perhaps you can move to an e-newsletter to cut down on printing or provide electronic versions of your board book for board meetings. You can also use lower-weight paper to reduce printing and postage costs.

5. Try teleconferencing more often. Sometimes a video or phone conference is all you need to nail down specifics of a discussion, and it will save you big time on travel costs. (It works for job candidates and board members too!)

6. Save on employee training. Use videos, online training and/or another employee to provide training to new and existing employees. Self-paced training is typically best received by employees. And if you’re already a member of UST, you receive hundreds of online training courses for free through ThinkHR, which saves you about $6,000 annually.

7. Use public relations and social media to get free publicity. Talk to local media about covering an upcoming event, or provide guest columns or blogs to be published. And yes, you must be in the Twitter-verse nowadays for free PR. Don’t have an expert on staff? Recent college grads are a good place to look for social media expertise. Just make sure for interns or new hires that you create a social media policy so they don’t accidentally tarnish your reputation.

8. Use your board. Your board members should be part of your fundraising strategy. They should be able to help find sponsors for your events, and they shouldn’t be afraid to make the “ask” during fundraising season. In addition, they should be helping you find service providers and individuals who can provide the goods and services you need.

Got more ideas? Tell us on Facebook!
August 15, 2016

Free Resources for Nonprofits

Sometimes the hardest part of being a nonprofit isn’t fulfilling your organization's mission — sometimes it’s just making sure there are enough supplies for everyone to use to get their jobs done. Luckily for you, there are lots of organizations that help nonprofits meet the needs of those they serve by providing free or reduced cost items.

Although we always suggest starting your search for free or reduced cost supplies and services by talking to state and national associations (check out our 80+ association partners here), sometimes you need more.

Looking for extra technology resources?

Check out Techsoup, Google for Nonprofits, Microsoft’s Technology for Good program, the Salesforce Foundation, and Citrix, all of which provide free or discounted tech services to nonprofits.

Looking for financial management help?

Check out The Wallace Foundation, which offers helpful resources on planning, monitoring, operations, and governance.

Also check out 501Commons, which has assembled a vast library of tools & best practices for nonprofits, and the Nonprofits Assistance Fund which was specifically created with the goal of helping other nonprofits thrive.

Want to help your employees achieve their professional dev elopment goals?

The Stanford Social Innovation Review makes select webinars for professional development available for free. And, since the Review is constantly adding new things, they offer a great way to continuously access up-to-date information and resources.

Need nonperishables like apparel, books, toys, personal care products, or office and school supplies?

Good360 has been helping connect companies with nonprofits that need inventory that the retailer has found to be slow-moving, obsolete, and seasonal since 1983. Now, Good360 is considered the nonprofit leader in product philanthropy and distributes goods on behalf of America’s top brands.

Still need more?

Other sites like Grassroots.org, which provides information about free resources to help charities, provide a wide array of resources in one place from team collaboration tools to project tools to marketing and administrative tools. Similarly, the Foundation Center provides a resource called the “Nonprofit Startup Map” which localizes links to state resources on a state-by-state U.S. map.

Want more free resources? Run a quick Google Search for the term “free resources for nonprofits” and see what you come up with!
July 24, 2014

Budget Today, Succeed Tomorrow

Nonprofits are constantly looking for new ways to develop and achieve their mission-driven objectives. Unfortunately for smaller organizations, big aspirations aren’t generally matched by a big budget. So how can nonprofits manage financial restraints while also maximizing organizational sustainability?

Taking the time to plan out one’s budget, on a more consistent basis, can help an organization better identify, prioritize, and build towards their goals. To create an effective budget, follow these 6 simple steps:
 
  1. Build a Budget Committee—Committee members should be familiar with budget and goal history, as well as future objectives. The committee often includes the Board Treasurer, CFO, Executive Director, and other finance-oriented positions.
  2. Create Deadlines—Pinpoint the deadline for final approval, as well as mini-deadlines leading up to it. Delegate tasks to each committee member to ensure that everything is accomplished in an efficient manner
  3. Analyze Last Year’s Budget Do’s and Don’ts—Look for patterns in past budget fluctuations and identify potentially unrealistic goals. Which budget items were allocated too much/too little money? How have goal priorities shifted this year?
  4. Draft a Budget Structure and Timeline— Map out target goal dates for each objective, as well as their individually estimated costs. Don’t forget to include a reserve for miscellaneous expenses and potential emergencies.
  5. Present Budget to the Board—Because the Board often must approve the final budget, allow additional time for feedback and questions.
  6. Review Throughout the Year—After everything is finalized, continue to track your budget’s progress throughout the year. Comparing the estimated costs with your actual expenses will help determine the overall soundness of your budget.


In order to grow within the nonprofit sector, organizations must learn how to construct and abide by their determined budgets. Serving as a roadmap to achieving annual objectives, a well thought out budget can help nonprofits succeed without sacrificing excess funds.

Learn more about the importance of nonprofit budget planning here.
June 27, 2014

The Importance of Operating Reserves

The very idea of a for-profit company existing without a reserve operating budget would send investors running for the hills. So why is it that there is so much pressure on nonprofit organizations to scrape by without even a hint of a reserve operating budget?

Despite the pressure to constantly face their imminent demise, the smartest nonprofits—the ones that are best positioned to make a long-term impact on their mission—carefully build and manage a healthy operating fund, as well as an ample operating reserve fund. By protecting their organizational finances against sudden or dramatic cash flow changes, these organizations can continue to provide services in the toughest times.

Having a healthy operating budget provides your nonprofit with a more solid base by setting aside unrestricted net asset balances and investing them in the organization’s programs. The greater this reserve, the greater your organization’s ability to grow current programs and promote your mission.

The operating reserve portion—the portion set aside for emergencies and unforeseen circumstances that negatively affect your financial operations—protects your employees and your mission in the direst of circumstances.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one set benchmark for how much money a healthy nonprofit should have set aside as an operating reserve budget.
 

To help your organization determine a healthy reserve fund, we’ve gathered the following resources from across the web.



The Importance of Operating Reserves for Nonprofits- Read the article here.

Nonprofit Operating Reserves and Policy Examples- Visit the webpage here.

Maintaining Nonprofit Operating Reserves- Download the whitepaper here.

Reserves Planning: A step-by-step approach for nonprofit organizations- Download the whitepaper here.
 

For more information on strong financial management for your nonprofit, we suggest these resources.



Budgeting “Best Practice” Tips for Nonprofits- Download the PDF here.

Financial Management- Visit the National Council of Nonprofits financial management resource list here.
May 22, 2014

The Headaches of Applying for & Receiving Grant Money

If your organization is dependent on government contract pay or grant pay, chances are you already know all about the headaches that come with actually getting that money. But two separate studies released in May by the Urban Institute and the National Council of Nonprofits shed light on how bad the situation really is.

Highlighting the biggest problems that the delays in funding create, including reducing and/or putting staff pay on hold, the reports aim to introduce public policy proposals that would streamline the contracting process.

Some of the top findings from the survey included identifying the primary places and reasons contract payment is delayed and that:
 
  • 72% of nonprofits feel that the government reporting process is time-consuming and complex
  • 44% of nonprofit organizations have experienced changes to a grant or contract midstream
  • 45% of groups had experienced late payments which caused 42% of those groups to draw on their reserve funds, forced 14% to reduce the number of people they served and just over 1/2 to reduce or freeze employees salaries

Read more about the summary findings here.

Read the full study by the National Council of Nonprofits here. And read the full Urban Institute study here.
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