My experience/advice

I was interviewed by Blogher

I was recently interviewed by Beth Kanter, an amazing blogger who I really admire and respect. Beth is author of Beth's blog and contributing editor for Blogher. Thanks Beth!! 

What I'm learning about Fiscal Sponsorship for Nonprofits

I'm going to this workshop this afternoon at the Foundation Center about Fiscal Sponsorship. It seems like I have been spending the last couple of months thinking about Fiscal Sponsorship not only from the perspective of a nonprofit that provides Fiscal Sponsorship, but also looking at start-up nonprofits and what fiscal sponsorship means to them.  Here's what I've learned so far.

First, I learned that fiscal sponsorship is not something that nonprofits should just jump into quickly. When I came into Aspiration, we had a fiscal sponsorship agreement in place, however after working with my Attorney and reading the book, "Fiscal Sponsorship--6 Ways to Do It Right" by Gregory Colvin. I realized that we needed to have a stronger agreement with the new organizations we were sponsoring. We are what the book defines as Model C--"A Preapproved Grant Relationship" with the new organizations we sponsor. It took us a while to get all this figured out and we are still working to do this the right way.

Budgeting for Nonprofits

If your fiscal year is July-June then you already have your annual budget in place, however for those of us that have a fiscal year January-December the budgeting process has begun!

I have a 3 step method for preparing the annual budget for my organization.

1. I make a list of the staff for the organization and then I figure out how many hours each staff person will spend working on each program, as well as how much time they will spend on administration and fundraising time. I do this through conducting a time study--seeing how each staff member spends their time for one particular week, or by looking at staff time allocation from the previous year.

Advanced Degrees for Nonprofit Professionals

Being a young nonprofit professional, I am very appreciative of the people and opportunities that have helped me to excel in my nonprofit career. One of those opportunities is earning my Masters of Management in Nonprofit Administration degree from North Park University in Chicago. This degree program taught me the skills needed to excel in my nonprofit operations jobs as well as opened the door to additional opportunities.

It is exciting to see how many recent college graduates are choosing to work in the nonprofit sector and also earn nonprofit management advanced degrees. 

Nonprofit Operations vs. Programs

Several folks have asked me to blog about Nonprofit Operations vs. programs. I will attempt to explain what I mean by Nonprofit Operations.

Nonprofit Operations is a broad term that I use to describe running the behind the scenes of a nonprofit.  These duties include, Administration, Finance, Fundraising, Human Resources, Risk Management, Marketing and more.  Nonprofit Operations is often the work that nonprofits' constituents or the general public do not see.

Nonprofit Operations and program administration are very intertwined. It is hard to run the behind the scenes of a nonprofit without doing some sort of program administration, for example, when I do all the logistical planning for an Aspiration event, I do both program and operations work.

Should my nonprofit do a Review or an Audit?

A common question that comes up for many nonprofits-Should my nonprofit do a review or an audit?

Since I just finished submitting Aspiration's financials to our accountant who will be filing our annual 990 tax return and conducting our annual review, I thought it would be a great time to answer that question.

A financial review is when an accountant asks the organization to submit a series of financial documents. The accountant then reviews those documents and presents the financial reports to the organization in which it is good practice for the Board of Directors to vote on the review presented by the accountant. Review’s generally cost $2-6k or less.

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