Your organization’s financial health depends upon sound financial management. Nonprofits have an obligation to act as responsible stewards in managing their financial resources. Nonprofits should use their financial resources to accomplish their missions in an effective and efficient manner. In addition, an organization is accountable to its board, staff and the general public to know how much revenue it is receiving and how that money is being spent. It also needs to ensure that grants and all other income are spent in the manner intended. Establishing clear policies and practices to regularly monitor how funds are used will make managing your organization’s finances simpler and easy to account for.

A great place to start is creating and following an annual budget. Look at your budget as a plan that identifies the financial resources to achieve your objectives. Once constructed, this plan assists staff and board in managing the organization financially throughout the year. Unique accounting standards require that nonprofit organizations report contributed income in one of three categories – unrestricted, temporarily restricted, or permanently restricted. It is a good idea to track the revenues by fund category.

It is important to plan ahead for difficult financial times. The demand for services is increasing at the same time that traditional sources of funding are shrinking and changing. Nonprofit leaders know that it will take creativity, innovation, and focus to weather this period. Adapting to these challenges also demands leadership and an open mind. A wise choice would be to develop a reserve fund as well as an investment policy for your organization.

Auditors have always considered the quality and sufficiency of internal controls as a component of an audit. When weaknesses in internal controls are observed, audit firms are more likely to highlight organizational shortcomings by submitting a management letter to an organization’s board of directors citing weaknesses and recommending action. Establishing appropriate internal controls will help prevent improper use of funds and to ensure that costs are controlled. Establishing these controls will also assist your organization in an audit or financial review

Financial Management will help you understand basic practices and build the basic systems and practices needed in a healthy business. For more information visit the Center for Nonprofit Success website at

Courtesy of BPT