Service Options

Nonprofit Financial Management

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 financial management, 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.

nonprofit financial management

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 to nonprofit financial management, don’t hesitate to reach out to build a custom project.

Workshops, Trainings, & Webinars

Strategic Financial Leadership for Finance Professionals

As finance professionals progress in their careers, organizations demand from them increased competency in leadership and strategy skills. This session aims to connect the work of finance professionals as bookkeepers and associates to the mindset required of strategic financial leaders. We’ll present several key principles that financial leaders can practice in their roles, and lead participants in exercises and through sample documents that implement these principles. Finance professionals leave with concrete ways to engage their program-focused peers in understanding the financial health of their organizations.

Participants will be able to:

  • Understand their organizations’ connections between mission and money.
  • Determine and explain the profitability of their organization’s programs.
  • Communicate the financial health of their organization by calculating key ratios.
  • Activate their budgets, planning processes, and staff teams to assess challenges and future opportunities to build financial strength.

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.

Participants will be able to:

  • 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.

Fiscal Strategy

To lead organizations that accomplish their missions through strong programs and have the fiscal strength necessary for innovation and sustainability, senior leadership and board members need to bridge the chasm between financial statements and organizational strategy.  This session enables leaders to make strategic decisions with financial information by building a shared foundation of financial literacy.  Beyond just understanding the organization’s financial statements and fiscal strategy, we’ll offer ways to assess the financial health of the organization.  Lastly, to strengthen financial health we’ll introduce frameworks to better understand the financial drivers of the organization and how these connect with impact drivers to create sustainable organizations.

Participants will be able to:

  • Read and communicate main messages of nonprofit financial statements.
  • Use financial statements to calculate indicators of short and long-term financial health including key ratios and programmatic profitability.
  • Explain foundational principles of nonprofit sustainability, business models, and adaptive strategy

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

An organization’s budget is meant to be the numerical expression of the its program plan for the coming year. To do so, budgeting needs to be an inclusive process. We will describe the characteristics of an inclusive budgeting process and explain how the process can be implemented.

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify and describe inclusive budgeting strategies and tactics.
  • Establish roles and set a budget calendar.
  • Develop plans to forecast income.
  • Create a staffing plan that can be used for both budgeting and common cost allocation.

Telling Your Financial Story: Dashboards & Reporting

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 session 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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