Category Archives: Q&A

Changes Ahead

It’s time to dust off this website and start posting again. Questions aplenty are submitted each week, its time to start featuring some as Q&A posts so we can all learn. The Services and Training page have been updated so please be sure to look around. I’ll link here to my Best Of post, still some of the most popular topics.

More soon.

Manage What Risk

Why should we care about risk management in our nonprofits? Or maybe we should ask what is risk management in the first place? It is more than just an insurance policy and that list on your shelf about what to do in case of a fire. Anyone involved with money in a nonprofit is probably familiar with risk and managing risk; who signs the checks, reads the reports, makes sure those reports get filed to the right place at the right time? Anyone involved with the program side of a nonprofit is probably familiar with risk and managing risk too; who makes sure our volunteers are taken care of? Are we keeping our participants safe? Anyone on the board of a nonprofit organization is probably familiar with risk and managing risk as well; are we meeting our mission? Are we paying our top level staff correctly? Do we understand our financial reports?

I always try to stress that risk management is everyone’s job and there is no better organization to help us under stand risk and help us manage it that the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. Their annual Summit is coming up on September 18 – 20 in Seattle and I encourage you all to take a look at the programs they are offering this year. Members of The Nonprofit Center will get a discount on registration, and if you register before August 6 you will save even more. I look forward to seeing you there.

End of Year Donations

Is the end of the year the end of your year? We get questions like this all the time:

Question — The end of our fiscal year is December 31. Our offices our closed from December 31 through January 3rd. If funds are sent on or before December 31 but not received and deposited until after January 3, do those funds get credited for the previous fiscal year as a donation?

Answer — You should set a cut of date in January for when you start recording gifts as 2011 rather than 2010. A week to ten days in is usually sufficient. If funds are sent prior to 1-1-11 (I prefer to use the post mark on the envelope as a guide rather than the date on the check) I would definitely honor those as a 2010 contribution.

You would record those as 2010 income even though you deposit them in 2011. In QuickBooks, you would list each of the checks as a sales receipt and date them for the appropriate December date and have the funds go to Undeposited Funds (you may have to create or activate that account). Then record the bank deposit of those funds on the day they were deposited. The income matches the donor intent and your checking account will reconcile up nicely to the bank statement. Then all you have to do is get the donor thank-yous out so they can prepare their tax returns.

Other ideas out there? Questions? Ask them or tell us in the comments below.