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Strategic Financial Management Webinar Series Begins April 15th

In today’s changing environment, it can be difficult for nonprofit leaders to access the tools and expertise they need to make sound, strategic financial decisions—the type of decisions that lead a nonprofit to long-term sustainability. To bridge that gap, Nonprofit Finance Fund has gathered some of its most accessible insights into a six-episode course on strategic financial management in the nonprofit sector. To develop the series, NFF drew on insights developed through thirty years of on-the-ground engagement with nonprofit organizations and its research and experimentation with the up and coming financing ideas that will define the sector’s next generation.

This series, which begins on April 15th, offers practical tools to help decision-makers navigate their financial management, and demonstrates an array of real-life examples and strategies to help inform data-driven decision making for nonprofit professionals. The sessions can be taken as a full financial management curriculum, or can be chosen a la carte for organizations seeking to address specific business challenges. You can find complete descriptions of each 60-minute webinar, as well as an FAQ, here.

Guidestar is happy to offer its readers a special discount on the series: use the promotion code “SAVE 10” to receive 10% off any full-price webinar! Be sure to select “Guidestar” when indicating how you were referred. These webinars are $75 each, and offered at a discount for the series package. Register here through Eventbrite!

The complete list of offerings is below—click on the videos for some exclusive sneak-peeks!

Spring 2014 Webinar Series: Unpacking the Nonprofit Manager’s Toolbox

April 15: Budgeting as a Communication Tool

This webinar provides nonprofit leaders with a review of key budget terms and concepts and demystifies the budgeting process by focusing on the essential nonprofit budget, which clearly depicts the organization’s true financial story. Although this 60-minute webinar is beginner level, the emphasis is not on how to create a line item budget. Rather, the focus is on creating a budget that appropriately communicates the organization’s economic realities. NFF concludes the webinar by pointing participants toward more advanced budgeting concepts, such as addressing key balance sheet needs.

April 22: Monitoring Cash Flow

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Planning in today’s uncertain environment requires that nonprofit leaders know where their organization stands financially. In this 60-minute webinar, NFF offers nonprofit managers the guidance they need to lead during challenging times, offering tips on managing cash flow through use of reports that will identify months of low cash. The session also identifies the ways in which cash flow management can be essential to accessing credit.

April 29: Assessing Program Profitability

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Every program impacts your organization's bottom line. Making informed decisions about critical organizational issues like hiring or fundraising requires a clear understanding or each program's profit or loss. Is it inherently profitable? Does it require subsidy? How does it fit together financially with other programs? NFF’s unique Program Profitability Model provides a clear-sighted way for nonprofit managers to answer these questions. Through real-life examples, this 60-minute webinar will explain how participants can use a program economic assessment to make adjustments and improve financial health with minimal impact on programs.

May 6: Scenario Planning

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At NFF, scenario planning balances exploration and dialogue with a tools-driven approach. As such, this 60-minute webinar introduces participants to several ways of planning through periods of uncertainty and focuses on the financial implications of future scenarios (with respect to the income statement as well as the balance sheet) during single year or over a multiple year period.

May 13: Managing to a Dashboard

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Increasingly popular among nonprofit boards, a dashboard is a reporting tool for communicating with an organization’s key stakeholders and leadership about mission-related goals, capacity-related goals, resource needs, and desired outcomes/outcome measurement. In this 60-minute webinar, NFF will discuss how to engage your organization in thoughtful and relevant conversations about its financial situation, needs, challenges and opportunities before it reaches a crisis point. Participants will explore two types of organizational dashboards that help to measure progress against goals and manage uncertainty.

May 20: Strategic Alliances, Collaborations and Mergers: This content is brand-new!

In a post-recession environment, nonprofits are increasingly looking to collaborate and some are even considering mergers. Through this 60-minute webinar, NFF will lead an informative discussion about how nonprofits can recognize the conditions that contribute to successful collaborations and when a merger would be warranted. Participants will gain an understanding of how partnerships, alliances and mergers can be positive, strategic decisions—and an incredibly powerful tool for two organizations with compatible missions and services.

The preceding is a guest post by Rebekah Caton, Analyst, Strategic Advice for Nonprofit Finance Fund. Rebekah joined NFF in March 2013 as Coordinator for the Eastern Region, where she is responsible for coordinating advisory service activities as well as office management. From 2010-2012, Ms. Caton worked as a TEFL instructor with Peace Corps Madagascar and as Program Coordinator for the Alpine Initiatives Village Sustainability Project. She was the Web and Audio Editor for PennSound, an audio poetry archive based out of the University of Pennsylvania, from 2008-2010, and again immediately prior to NFF. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

Nonprofits: Get Ready for Charity Navigator 3.0

One year ago, Charity Navigator announced its plans to incorporate a third dimension into its rating system as part of CN 3.0. In 2016 Results Reporting will accompany Charity Navigator’s two other dimensions: Financial Health and Accountability and Transparency.

How NOT To Waste Money on Branded Swag

You probably never thought twice about that pen you use that has your local bank’s name on it, but when you become the one ordering branded swag for your nonprofit, suddenly all you can think about are questions. Which branded swag is best? Should you order pens, or should you get T-shirts, car magnets or banners? All of the above? And when you order them, how do you stay within budget? Who designs these items? Is it you? If so, how do you know if you’re doing it right?

Comprehensive nonprofit data and information: There’s an API for that

I am thrilled to announce that GuideStar has a new suite of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)! This means:

Membership Management Software vs. Association Management Software

You’re searching for software for your organization, but two different types of software keep coming up—Membership Management Software and Association Management Software (or AMS). They seem to be similar, but why do they have different names? What are the differences?

Tools for Building a Strong Volunteer Program

VolunteerMatch is the web’s largest volunteer engagement network and has facilitated over 7.5 million connections between nonprofit organizations and interested volunteers since its founding. As part of the Community Support team at VolunteerMatch, I work with nonprofits like yours as you develop and improve your volunteer engagement programs. I love seeing volunteers all over the country reach out to connect with the causes they care most about.

You may have already heard that thanks to a new partnership between GuideStar and VolunteerMatch, GuideStar Exchange Gold or Silver level participants can now access VolunteerMatch’s premium recruiting tools at no cost. (To learn more about this and about using VolunteerMatch tools, we’ll be doing a free webinar on March 18 to help you make the most of your VolunteerMatch account!)

Taking your Volunteer Program Further

Of course, engaging volunteers isn’t as simple as posting your open volunteer opportunities online. Getting volunteers in the door is a great start, but it doesn’t end there.

How do you make sure a volunteer is the right fit for your organization? What’s the best way to provide training? How do you make sure the volunteer’s work is meaningful to them and furthers your mission? Is your volunteer program strategically positioned for future growth and success? How do you use social media to engage volunteers? What do you do when members of your paid staff resist the idea of working with volunteers?

VolunteerMatch is here to help with topics like these, with a full calendar of free 1-hour webinars designed to help nonprofit professionals successfully engage volunteers. The VolunteerMatch Learning Center also comes equipped with a variety of resources and tools to help with your volunteer program.

Staying Informed

The world of volunteer engagement is constantly evolving as organizations find new ways to leverage volunteer talent, connect with passionate individuals, use technology, and collaborate. The VolunteerMatch blog Engaging Volunteers, offers tips, news, best practices and stories about volunteering as a major focus in the nonprofit sector. Topics range from tough ethical dilemmas to creating a volunteer program budget to how college students are helping the homeless.

You can also connect with other organizations to share stories and tips through our active communities on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Engaging volunteers and using new technologies come with challenges. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to connect with the volunteers you need and build a strong volunteer program. So check out the resources at VolunteerMatch today!

What are your favorite nonprofit volunteer engagement tools and resources?

Shannon David

Are you already a GuideStar Exchange participant? Don’t miss out on the VolunteerMatch benefits for Silver and Gold participants. Learn more about putting them into action here.

The preceding is a guest post by Shannon David. Shannon joined VolunteerMatch in 2013 as the Senior Associate, Community Support, to support nonprofits in volunteer engagement and to help volunteers connect with causes they care about. She’s a long-time volunteer with 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing center for kids in San Francisco, where she currently co-teaches a journalism workshop for ages 8-11. Connect with Shannon on Twitter.

A New Way to Give Get

How often have you wished you had a way for your passionate supporters to contribute IN ADDITION to cash, especially when they don’t have disposable cash?

Data quality in the GuideStar Exchange


GuideStar Exchange logos

New Year, New Strategy: Activating Donors in 2014

The number of donors engaging with nonprofits has been declining over the past two years. In 2012, every 100 donors gained resulted in 107 lost, and the numbers were similar in 2011. As the donor population ages, nonprofit organizations must rethink fundraising strategies to reach donors of every generation. After all, it’s a new year - the very best time to start fresh.

Increasing donor support with Okanjo Nonprofit Solutions

A recent study by the Urban Institute and the Association of Fundraising Professionals had some scary results for nonprofits. While there was a 34 million dollar net growth in charitable donations from 2012 to 2013, 96% of those gains were offset by losses in giving. For nonprofit organizations, a 4% national increase in giving simply isn’t enough.