Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fundraising, Finances, and your Future

At the Catalyst Center for Nonprofit Management we are planning for this year's seminar topics.  When we look at the popular topics for past sessions, fundraising is always the most popular.  Topics around managing your finances are not as popular.

Why is this?  Fundraising seems to promise the possibility of more money.  Fundraising can increase revenues.  It may be also assumed that finances are harder to understand.  What is often overlooked is that financial management will impact your revenues and expenses.   Fundraising without proper financial management will be less effective.  You could increase revenues but still not increase your bottom line.

This article in the February 2014 issue of INC magazine tells the story of the Murder Mystery Company.  The business was growing rapidly but finances were out of control.  By getting a handle on the finances, the Company was able to decrease spending by tracking activity; capture revenue that they were losing; and develop a new revenue stream.

So as we look to the coming year we will still offer course in both fundraising and finances.  We hope to increase the attendance at the financial sessions.  We frequently get comments about our financial training from our attendees.  They note that the topics are taught in practical, easy to understand laymen terms.  We offer follow up assistance from our sister company the accounting firm Bee, Bergvall & Co.  Our goal is that our nonprofit community is better equipped to increase both the top line and the bottom line.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Lessons Learned from Knight Foundation's Digital News Study

This article from NonProfit Quarterly summarizes highlights from the Knight Foundation's study Finding a Foothold-How NonProfit News Ventures Seek Sustainability.   While the focus in on news organizations, the observations from the study are valuable to any nonprofit:

1- compare yourself to your peers and target those from whom you can learn
2-revenue diversity with a focus on individual donations is key
3-while some donations might be significant donations from high net worth individuals, most donations were much smaller
4-the correlation between stakeholder engagement and donations
5-attack your assumptions always
6-measure what matters

If you don't have time to read the whole report, the NPQ article is a great summary and the discussion of the recommendations at the end of the report are a quick but thought provoking read.