A checklist to get you ready for the end of the fiscal year!
It’s time to talk about budgeting and the end of the fiscal year! Are you amped? Are you hyped?! Are you “lit AF” just thinking about looking into your financial data?!?
Okay, we’re not even sure what “lit AF” means, especially in this context, but we’re betting you’re not actually excited about this topic. In the world of nonprofit organizations, the fun, splashy stuff involves making big changes and helping people – and maybe picking a venue for a fundraising banquet or perhaps adding funny cat GIFs to your company emails. The dry financial stuff? Eh, less fun.
But hey, it’s still important, so here are a few tips to help you keep your finances in order.
Account for Your Overhead Costs: Your offices, your supplies, your software… you likely have a good amount of lines in your budget that repeat monthly. Take a closer look at fluctuations, and examine where you can trim. Even a few dollars from each category will help you chip away at your budget. For example, can you limit your mailers in favor of more email blasts? You’ll save on paper and stamps, and hey, you’ll be doing your part for the environment, too.
Be Realistic: If you’re drawing up a budget for a brand-new organization, stay reasonable with your expenses and profits. Account for a worst-case scenario to avoid any messy situations down the line; you can always be pleasantly surprised when you’re more in the green than you expected! If you’re creating a budget for an established organization, use last year’s numbers as a starting point, but factor in the present economy when you’re considering donor contributions. On our blog: Defining Success for Your Organization.
Monitor Throughout the Year: Don’t save all your budgeting for the end of the fiscal year. Set times – perhaps quarterly – to look through your finances and determine if you’re on-track for the year. That way, you’ll avoid a big (and possibly unpleasant) end-of-year surprise. Think about how your needs as a nonprofit change throughout the year, too; should you be shifting funds during certain months?
Check in with Your Strategic Plan: Now is the perfect time to look into how much progress has been made toward your goals. Go back through your strategic plan with a fine-tooth comb and measure your successes and opportunities. Use data for tangible results, but don’t forget about the more nebulous progress you might have made, as well. Use your findings to tweak your budget as needed.
Share with Shareholders: Write up a report to give your shareholders a clear picture of what’s going on at your nonprofit. They’ll want all the nitty-gritty details, so don’t skimp on the facts and figures. However, it’s always humanizing to include a personal story or two to show the impact your organization has on individuals.