Roles of the Finance Committee
The finance committee is charged with overseeing and keeping the board of directors informed of an organization’s overall financial health. Ideally, this entails more than simply scanning financial reports. The most valuable finance committees take a strategic role when it comes to oversight and planning. Active involvement not only pays off with robust financial governance, […]
Effective Governance — How Important is It Really?
Kelly H. Buchheit
Board Operations The value of an involved board of directors (governance) cannot be emphasized enough. Any well-run organization, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, has a layer of controls beyond management to ensure that there are appropriate checks and balances over management’s responsibilities. This also means that governance should be completely independent from management. In other words, […]
Effective Altruism Gains Momentum: Donors Are Looking for the Most Bank for Their Buck
Proponents of so-called “effective altruism,” also known as strategic giving, have gained footing in recent years. That’s evidenced by the growing role of organizations like GiveWell and The Life You Can Save, which help so-called effective altruists select organizations to support. That help is based on objective data about the organizations’ effectiveness at helping others. […]
2018 Yellow Book and New Independence Rules for Auditors
Many organizations are subject to reporting under generally accepted government auditing standards, also known as the Yellow Book. This reporting applies to all organizations that are subject to Single Audit reporting, HUD audits, most charter/contract schools and many social service agencies that receive state funding. The 2018 Yellow Book was recently updated and includes a […]
Newsworthy Notes for Not-for-Profits
Cryptocurrency Donations pose problems It’s hard enough figuring out how to manage donations of art or other nonfinancial assets — now some not-for-profits must navigate the challenges that come with cryptocurrency donations. According to Bloomberg, several colleges and universities have recently received crypto donations. These can raise accounting questions, complicate tax filings and require special […]
Giving Study Yields Disappointing Results A new study based on data gathered over 15 years from more than 9,000 U.S. families offers an in-depth look into charitable giving during that period. It also includes some discouraging data. The Philanthropy Panel Study is conducted every two years by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy […]
Accounting for Grants
Sarah G. Widlock
With the release of the Financial Accounting Board’s (FASB) Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2014-09, Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, there was some confusion on how it would affect the not-for-profit industry, specifically how entities recognize grants. Even before the issuance of ASU 2014-09, there has been diversity in practice in recognizing grants, but […]
Signs of Financial Trouble for Board Members
Charles J. Burke
A key fiduciary duty of a not-for-profit’s board of directors is to oversee and monitor the organization’s financial health. Some financial matters may jump out at board members, such as the loss of a major funder or a successful fundraising event. But other financial factors are less flashy. Here are some to consider. Watch for […]
Rightsizing Your Board: How Many Directors Do You Really Need?
Caitlin G. Gibbs
State law typically sets the minimum number of directors a not-for-profit must have on its board. But as long as that requirement is fulfilled, it is up to each organization to determine how many total board members it needs. While there is no “sweet spot” that will work for every organization, several guidelines can help […]
Landing Corporate Backing Requires a Game Plan
Marva M. Flanagan
When the economy is good, corporations tend to be more generous with their donations to not-for-profit organizations, but the competition can be tough. Not-for-profits that make detailed, compelling pitches to corporations and provide support for their requests have the best chance at securing corporate backing.