Service Options

Financial Leadership & Literacy

Financial Leadership Model

Strong nonprofit leaders support their organizations’ missions and also possess the requisite financial knowledge and skills to maintain impact. The sessions described below are geared toward the senior leadership of nonprofit organizations. Common among them is the 30,000 foot view of nonprofit finance, and how Executive Directors, Finance Directors, and Board Members can develop the necessary tools to become effective financial leaders and strategists. The image that follows depicts the framework that we subscribe to when engaging nonprofit clients in workshops and consulting projects.

There are many platforms for accomplishing the objectives below such as virtual webinars, in-person workshops, and long term coaching and/or consulting engagements. If you resonate with our approach and reasoning, don’t hesitate to reach out to build a custom project.

Workshops, Trainings, & Webinars

5 Tenets of Financial Leadership

Executives Directors in partnership with the board serve as the financial leadership of their organization. Yet, all too often they get bogged down in the jargon and process of accounting without really understanding their role as a leader and how to be a user of financial information. This session removes the jargon, breaks down the fear of numbers and provides an overview of the basic principles the board and staff should follow in their roles as financial leaders.

  • Determine your organization’s connection between mission and money.
  • Break down your nonprofit’s business model.
  • Assess the financial health of your nonprofit organization.
  • Implement a series of strategic inquiries to guide your financial decision making.

Understanding & Assessing Financial Health

To truly be a financial leader, one must first become financially literate. This session is designed to increase the financial literacy of senior leaders by removing the jargon so they can read and understand financial statements. This session will dive deeper into nonprofit accounting, highlighting the importance of monitoring cash flow. We’ll also use the financial statements to calculate key ratios to assess both immediate and long-term financial health. Finally, we’ll highlight the importance of reserves and lead a discussion on an appropriate level for reserves.

Participants will be able to:

  • Differentiate between cash and accrual accounting.
  • Describe ways to monitor cash flow.
  • Define and highlight the importance of reserves.
  • Use financial statements to calculate key ratios (ie: current ration and quick ratio) to assess immediate and long term financial health.

Financial Leadership for Executive Directors

Executive Directors serve as the financial leaders of their organizations. Unfortunately, all too often they are provided extensive reports that offer little context or analysis. This workshop explains the essential elements of nonprofit financial statements and what questions leadership should ask to strengthen the immediate and long-term financial health of the organization in a straight-forward, easy-to-understand manner.

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify key ratios and questions to analyze financial statements and cash flow.
  • Read key financial documents EDs often receive including the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow projections.
  • Explain programmatic profitability in the context of a nonprofit and the dual-bottom line.
  • Calculate reserves and determine when to strategically build or use them.
  • Identify steps to improve the immediate and long-term financial health of your organization.

The Art & Science of Budgeting

Organizational budgets are meant to be the numerical expression of the organization’s program plan for the coming year. To do so, they need to be an inclusive process. These sessions will walk participants through the five stages of budgeting including roles and timeline in putting together the budget.

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the five stages of budgeting (ie: defining the context and goals, estimating costs, forecasting revenue, striking the balance, and approving the budget and ongoing monitoring).
  • Establish roles and set a budget calendar.
  • Create a staffing plan that can be used for both budgeting and common cost allocation.
  • Develop plans to forecast income.

Dashboard Driving

Nonprofit boards and senior management are bombarded with financial and programmatic reporting that they may or may not understand and are left to analyze on their own. This course aims to cut through the clutter with a clear, visual dashboard that will engage users and focus the discussion on the most important programmatic and financial items requiring attention.

Participants will be able to:

  • Explain key metrics and organizational priorities using dashboard reporting.
  • Determine the metrics that are right for a given organization’s priorities.
  • Implement a process for compiling and revisiting your organizational dashboard.

Consulting & Cohorts

Individualized Executive Advising

Evolving into a financial leader may begin through one session or webinar, but true transforming requires deep content knowledge, confident technical skill, and time to learn from implementation. That’s why Spectrum partners with leaders to apply financial principles to organizations’ unique challenges. We build long-term relationships with nonprofits as trusted teachers, advisors, and objective outside voices. We work with Executive Directors, CFOs, and board members to:

  • Determine appropriate governance and fiscal structures to support impact.
  • Clarify the board’s role in the overall financial strategy of the organization.
  • Analyze financial systems and help implement best practices to strengthen sustainability.
  • Develop a shared understanding of the organization’s finances using thoughtful communication tactics.

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