Chip Schweiger

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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: …
An operating reserve is an unrestricted and relatively liquid portion of a not-for-profit’s net assets. Securing this reserve for use in emergencies or simply when your budget falls short is critical to your organization’s security and long-term survival. Long-Term Effort Building an adequate operating reserve takes time and should be regarded as a continuous project. Your board of directors needs to determine your not-for-profit’s policy on building an operating reserve, the desired fund amount and…
To err is human, but some errors are more consequential — and harder to fix — than others. Most not-for-profits can’t afford to lose precious financial resources, so you need to do whatever possible to minimize accounting and tax mistakes. Get started by considering the following five questions: Have we formally documented our accounting processes? All aspects of managing your not-for-profit’s money should be reflected in a detailed, written accounting manual. This should include how…
Done well, delegation allows not-for-profit executives to focus on their most important tasks, helps to build bench strength and gets staffers out of the office before midnight. But done poorly, it can create more burdens than it eases. Here are five practices all not-for-profit leaders should adopt. 1. Choose Tasks Wisely Always try to devote your time to the projects that are the most valuable to your organization and can best benefit from your talents.…
Insurance is the cornerstone of any not-for-profit’s comprehensive risk management plan. It can’t protect your organization from every contingency, but it’s critical to protecting the people, property, funds and support you depend on. Must-Have Policies Many kinds of coverage are available, but it’s unlikely your organization needs all of them. One type you do need is a general liability policy for accidents and injuries suffered on your property by clients, volunteers, suppliers, visitors and anyone…