I have written before about creating policies for your nonprofit. Now nonprofits have a new tool they can easily use to create their own financial management policies and plans. The Nonprofit Risk Management Center has a new tool called My Financial Management Plan where users can go through up to 21 different modules on nonprofit financial and accounting topics to create a variety of policies and procedures to help manage, organize and streamline their financial operations. From the Risk Management Center:
Nonprofit leaders have spent countless hours developing the necessary components of a financial management plan. But for many organizations the components, from an annual budget, return on investment strategy, cash flow planning tool and more, remain disparate. The nonprofit lacks a cohesive plan that reflects the organization’s commitment to the effective stewardship of its assets. My Financial Management Plan was created to guide leaders in updating the components of their financial management systems and integrating these components into a cohesive plan. This powerful system features covers topics such as Board Fiduciary Obligations, Managing Fraud Risk, Managing Cash Flow, Return on Investment Analysis, Cost Allocation, Classifying Net Assets, Managing Cash Flow, Budgeting, the form 990 and Grants and Contributions.
My Financial Management Plan is a powerful tool to turn financial management strategies, policies and protocols into a plan that will help your nonprofit demonstrate both competence and accountability. Use the “Plan Modules” feature to go through the 22 system modules. Each module offers the opportunity to upload existing material from your financial management system, create new content (based on our templates or created “on the fly”), or skip sections you don’t wish to use. Use the “Manage My Plan” feature to edit your draft plan, upload supporting PDF files and view/download your plan. The system also features a classroom with easy-to-understand articles and resources on a wide range of financial management topics.
I was fortunate enough to work on this project and create a lot of the module content. I know that this will be a great tool for nonprofits to learn about what they need know about with regards to their nonprofit’s finances and creating the appropriate policies and procedures to ensure good financial stewardship. For those not ready to buy access to the program you can register with the site to receive periodic email updates on nonprofit financial issues.
If you have any questions or comments about the program please let me know via email or in the comments below.
Posted in Governance, IRS, Nonprofit Accounting, Policies and Procedures, Q&A, Risk Management, Tax Forms
Tagged 990, Accountability, Board of Directors, Contributions, Cost Allocation, Donation Transactions, FASB 117, Gifts in Kind, Instructions, Investment Policies, Manuals, Records Retention, Restrictions, Training, UCOA
How do you create a culture of risk management in your nonprofit? And what is a culture of risk management?
The Nonprofit Risk Management Center had a really nice piece last week about the culture of risk management in nonprofits, and how to establish it. From their article:
When nonprofit leaders reach out to the Center for advice on weaving risk management into the fabric of their organizations they often assume that what’s missing is a long list of policies. While adding new or updating existing policies may be in order, a bigger-picture issue almost always requires more immediate focus. That issue is the culture of the nonprofit, which may be either receptive or hostile to risk management. And, while culture change is a long term effort, starting as soon as possible will lend credence to everything else that follows.
As the article states, risk management isn’t just a list of policies or your insurance policies (that is risk financing, a part of risk management). But it is the tone that is set by board and management. The nonprofit’s ethics also come into play here. If the CEO walks out of the office with a ream of paper under their arm, what does this tell the staff? If the Executive Director says to the staff, “We can’t let the Board know anything is wrong!” what message are they communicating?
To me, and as the above article illustrates, a culture of risk management is one of always asking questions about our organizations. Typical risk management questions like, “What’s the worst that could happen?” to perhaps less typical questions such as:
- What would would happen to our event twice the amount of people showed up as we expected?
- How do we reward staff? Are we doing enough?
- Is there a better way to present out financials that will make them easier to understand?
- Are we being honest in our communications with our stakeholders?
A nonprofit organization faces risk every day just by opening its doors. If a nonprofit serves a vulnerable population such as children or the elderly they can face even greater risks. But clearly we are not letting that stand in the way of doing needed work. Managing the risks nonprofits face is critical to the success of meeting our goals and missions. The more we can make risk management a part of our daily processes, of creating that culture of risk management, the better our organizations will be.
Do you have any other ideas of questions we should be asking ourselves? Post them in the comments below. If you would like to immerse yourself in nonprofit risk management issues in a lively, intelligent and entertaining way please check out the Risk Management Center’s 2009 Risk Management and Finance Summit for Nonprofits.
Today I just have a short round up of interesting items from the last few weeks. But I first want to say thanks to the Nonprofit Congress Blog for mentioning this blog in the Nonprofit Blog Carnival it recently hosted.
This piece is from mid May but it is worth another mention. The article is on administration costs and charity ratings from the Good Intentions Are Not Enough blog. The premise is that the focus on administrative costs can do harm than good, and I agree with the author’s arguments.
This article from the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group is a nice wrap up of the President’s Stimulus plan and its possible effects for the nonprofit sector. From helping organizations stay afloat to expanding others, there is a lot to know about the plan.
Our sector is not immune to questionable ethical decisions. This article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review highlights some of the issues specific to the nonprofit sector and ways to promote ethical behavior in charitable organizations.
When groups talk about saving money all options should be on the table. But eliminating Directors and Officers liability insurance is a risky option. This article gives some good reasons why you shouldn’t cut it and some tips about judging your own coverage or shopping for other coverage. Here is a good resource for D&O insurance and other organizational coverages.
Nonprofit Resources – Three helpful items
Have a question about a nonprofit issue?
BoardSource has a really nice Question and Answer section. Some of the items are member only but there is plenty of free information available. This site also has a bunch of Q&A’s here.
How does a nonprofit go out of business?
While there may be some state specific rules you’ll need to look up, the IRS recently published this piece on how to terminate an organization.
Private Inurement, Excess Compensation, Intermediate Sanctions, and Rebuttable Presumption
This free publication from GuideStar outlines what the IRS expects of charities and how we can comply with the rules that govern 501(c)(3) organizations.