Latest Articles

Some of your not-for-profit’s communications are of interest only to a select group of your supporters. But your organization’s annual report is for all stakeholders — donors, grantmakers, clients, volunteers, watchdog groups and the government. Some report elements are nonnegotiable, such as financial statements, but you also have plenty of creative license to make your report engaging and memorable for its wide-ranging audience.…
It’s no secret that this is a challenging time for charitable fundraising. In its annual Giving USA 2019 report, the Giving USA Foundation noted a decrease in individual and household giving, blaming such impersonal factors as tax law changes and a wobbly stock market. So why not fight back by making personal appeals to supporters? Requests from friends or family members have traditionally been significant donation drivers. Even in the age of social media…
Borrowing isn’t just for businesses. Many not-for-profits borrow money for major capital purchases, new program funding and even to manage current cash flow. But if you’re hoping to borrow, it’s important to understand that there are likely to be obstacles ahead, including finding a lender that offers reasonable rates.…
As in the for-profit world, sometimes not-for-profits need to spend money to make money. This is particularly true when it comes to planning a fundraiser. At the same time, you need to resist the temptation to overspend or your special event may not raise the amount you were hoping for. Here’s how to stay on budget.…
Based on the number of SEC comment letters publicly published, the overall volume has been steadily decreasing for the last nine years. We looked at the most common issues raised in an SEC comment letter; the table below shows 10 of the top issues discussed in these letters over the past three years. It is important to note that, in many cases, more than one issue is mentioned. The major topics in 2018 were similar…
Do you want to control costs and improve delivery of your not-for-profit’s programs and services? It may not be as difficult as you think. First, you need to know how much of your not-for-profit’s expenditures go toward programs, as opposed to administrative and fundraising costs. Then you must determine how much you need to fund your budget and weather temporary cash crunches.…
Most not-for-profits are intensely focused on present needs, not the possibility that a natural disaster will strike sometime in the distant future. But because a fire, flood or other natural or man-made disaster could strike at any time, the time to plan for it is now. You likely already have many of the necessary processes in place — such as evacuating your office. A disaster or continuity plan simply organizes and documents your processes.…
If your not-for-profit’s board is like most, its members lead busy lives. They may not get to every board meeting or perhaps they’re able to attend meetings only via teleconference. That’s why it’s important to periodically bring everyone together in a relaxed setting. But to be successful, your board retreat should be planned to the smallest detail.…
In recent years watchdog groups, the media and others have increased their scrutiny of how much not-for-profits spend on programs vs. administration and fundraising. Your organization likely feels pressure to prove that it dedicates most of its resources to programming. However, accounting rules require that you record the full cost of any activity with a fundraising component as a fundraising expense. How then can you maintain an appealing fundraising ratio? That’s where allocating joint costs…
Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance enables board members to make decisions without fear that they’ll be personally responsible for any related litigation costs. Such coverage is common in the business world, but fewer not-for-profits carry it. Not-for-profits may assume that their charitable mission and the good intentions of volunteer board members protect them from litigation. These assumptions can be wrong. Here are several FAQs to help you determine whether your board needs D&O insurance: …