The CFO'S Perspective

How Nonprofits are Using Technology to Grow in a New Age

As in any industry these days, technology utilization in nonprofit organizations is on the rise. Nonprofits are using technology to shape everything from how they communicate to how they fulfill their missions with greater efficiency and effectiveness than ever before.

In a Harvard Business Review article on the smart tech transformation occurring in nonprofits, Allison Fine and Beth Kanter summarize,

“The use of smart tech by social service agencies and other nonprofits exploded during the pandemic. For example, food banks deployed robots to pack meals; homeless services agencies used chatbots to give legal and mental health advice; and fundraising departments turned to AI-powered software to identify potential donors. At many nonprofits, smart tech is becoming integrated into internal workflows, fundraising, communications, finance operations, and service delivery efforts, freeing up staff to focus on deeper societal changes that need to be made — such as addressing the root causes of homelessness in addition to serving homeless people. While smart tech helped scores of nonprofits to pivot to suddenly remote and digital delivery of programs and services at the start of the pandemic, it may also enable them to turn the page on an era of frantic busyness and scarcity mindsets to one in which nonprofit organizations have the time to think and plan — and even dream.”

Topics: Non Profit Organizations Trends Technology

Calculating Nonprofit ROI

It is not difficult to understand that a nonprofit organization needs money to accomplish its mission. And yet, in looking at nonprofits it is clear that they are so much more than the money they have to invest in programs and initiatives around a particular mission or cause. Nonprofits are made up of passionate people that care about making a difference and serving others with whatever resources they have available. But how much they need and how much donors are willing to give them hinges on understanding how they can use what they have to do what they do, which is called their Return on Investment (ROI).

Without knowing what kind of a return a nonprofit can achieve it cannot secure grants or attract donors effectively. So, how do you calculate nonprofit ROI?

Topics: Finance Non Profit Organizations Analysis

How Will a Recession affect Nonprofits?

While some economists and business analysts claim we are already in a recession, many more believe we will be in one by the end of the year. The general consensus is that whether we are already there, or it is coming soon, for-profit and non-profit organizations alike will be affected. The question is how will they be affected and what will those effects look like? Essentially, what should they expect and to what degree should they expect to be affected?

Obviously, nonprofit organizations will feel the effects of a recession differently than the private sector, but the types of issues they are dealing with right now are the same: changing consumer behavior (purchasing and donating), increased costs, labor market changes, and increased reputational risk. How will nonprofits be affected?

Topics: Non Profit Organizations Economic Trends Philanthropy Planning

How do Nonprofits Manage Cash Deficits?

As 2023 begins many nonprofit leaders are facing the reality of operating after the government funds that were provided during the pandemic have dried up. Organizations that regularly operate with minimal or moderate budgets are finding that they are in a cash negative position. How they respond now will determine what the future holds for their missions, staff, and the people they serve.

Topics: Non Profit Organizations Cash Flow

Nonprofit Hiring Trends

Current data from CFO Dive indicates that the hiring woes companies and nonprofit organizations are experiencing will continue well into 2023 (or even beyond). The question for nonprofit organizations is how do you overcome today’s challenges?

Luckily, there are several key trends emerging that are enabling nonprofits to hire well despite the market’s current challenges. These trends span areas from how pay is communicated to how employees work, and everything in between.

Topics: Non Profit Organizations Hiring

Grant Management Best Practices

Grant management is one of the fundamental elements of effective financial management for a non-profit organization. There are many components of grant management, and while the degree of sophistication may vary from organization to organization, the fundamentals remain largely consistent.

So, why is grant management important?

The entire answer to this question depends on the organization, but here are the core reasons:

Topics: Non Profit Organizations Grants

Today’s Top Nonprofit Leadership Challenges

Nonprofit organizations are champions of challenge. They are inherently designed to recognize, address, and overcome challenges of all kinds. And while there has been a tremendous amount of buzz over the last two years about the kinds of social and political challenges that nonprofits across the country have been taking aim at, very few people have talked about the kinds of fundamental organizational challenges that are keeping nonprofit leaders up at night. These kinds of challenges are not newsworthy or exciting, because despite everything else that has changed in this post-pandemic society we are living in, these challenges have remained the same.

Yes, today’s top nonprofit leadership challenges are yesterday’s challenges continued. Every organization regardless of size, location, or focus area has the same core hurdles that their leadership team needs to address. And how leadership handles these challenges can make the difference between whether an organization thrives or closes its doors.

Topics: Non Profit Organizations Leadership

Understanding Nonprofit Reports & Reporting Best Practices

At any nonprofit organization reporting tells the story of what is happening and why. But reports are not simply a snapshot of where the organization is today. They are a critical piece of information to predict where the organization will be tomorrow.

All nonprofits do some combination of financial reporting, management reporting, and board reporting. Internally these reports help organizations manage risk, evaluate current efforts against performance objectives, make strategic operational decisions, and prepare for what is coming next. Externally these reports communicate with key stakeholders and rally supporters. As such, reporting is extremely important for any nonprofit organization.

Topics: Non Profit Organizations Financial Reports