Want to increase your not-for-profit’s revenue? First try analyzing current income as a professional auditor might. Then, you can apply your conclusions to setting annual goals, preparing your budget and managing other aspects of your organization. Compare contributions Compare the donation dollars raised inpast years to pinpoint trends. For example, have individual contributions been increasing over the past five years? What campaigns have you implemented during that period? You might go beyond the totals and determine if the number of major donors has grown. Also estimate what portion of contributions is restricted. If a large percentage of donations are tied up in restricted funds, you might want to re-evaluate your gift acceptance policy or fundraising materials. Measure grants Grants can vary dramatically in size and purpose — from covering operational costs, to launching a program, to funding client services. Pay attention to trends here, too. Did one funder supply 50%...[ Read More ]
Current financial pressures mean that your not-for-profit probably can’t afford to pass up offers of support. Yet you need to be careful about blindly accepting grants. Smaller nonprofits that don’t have formal grant evaluation processes are at risk of accepting grants with unmanageable burdens and costs. But large organizations also need to be careful because they have significantly more grant opportunities — including for grants that are outside their current expertise and experience. Here’s how accepting the wrong grant may backfire in costly and time-consuming ways. Administrative burdens Some grants could result in excessive administrative burdens. For example, you could be caught off guard by the reporting requirements that come with a grant as small as $5,000. You might not have staff with the requisite reporting experience, or you may lack the processes and controls to collect the necessary data. Often government funds passed through to your nonprofit still carry...[ Read More ]
In times of turmoil, your board of directors should be your not-for-profit’s rock-solid foundation. But what if your board is understaffed or simply doesn’t provide the leadership your nonprofit requires? Think about rebuilding it — and the sooner the better. Financial, public health and other challenges are likely to remain a reality for the foreseeable future. Assess what you have Start the rebuilding effort by assessing your current board. Ask the following questions: Does the board have too few, too many or the right number of members? The right board size depends on many factors, including your organization’s size and complexity of operations. Does its makeup represent a range of diversity and inclusiveness? Diversity can cover gender, race, religion, geography, age, expertise and other factors. Inclusiveness is how well the board’s makeup mirrors your organization’s mission. How does each member align with your nonprofit’s mission? Ask members to provide personal statements that define...[ Read More ]
One of the strongest predictors of a not-for-profit’s long-term survival is multiple revenue streams. Many organizations with only one or two found that out that the hard way when they failed during the 2008 recession. The same is likely to be true for nonprofits that do — or don’t — survive the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Road map to diversification Financially stable nonprofits have a good mix of revenue sources, with no one source accounting for more than 25% or 30% of the budget. If you aren’t there, take steps to achieve the proper mix: Perform and present your initial evaluation. Your board should evaluate current revenue streams as well as future plans and associated expenses. You can help board members understand the benefits of diversification by presenting them with multiple scenarios where costs are compared to revenues with and without current revenue sources. Nudge reluctant directors to embrace greater...[ Read More ]
Not-for-profits sometimes team up with other entities to boost efficiency, save money and better serve both organizations’ constituencies. This can be a smart move — so long as your accounting staff knows how to report the activities of the two organizations. How you handle reporting depends on the nature of your new relationship. Collaborative arrangements The simplest relationship between nonprofits for accounting purposes may be a collaborative arrangement. These typically are contractual agreements in which two or more organizations actively participate in a joint operating activity. The nonprofit that’s considered the “principal” for the transaction should report costs incurred and revenues generated from transactions with third parties on a gross basis in a statement of activities. The principal is usually the entity that has control of the goods or services provided in the transaction. Payments between participants are presented according to their “nature,” following accounting guidance for the type of...[ Read More ]

Is your nonprofit’s tap running dry?

Posted September 18, 2020

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has put enormous financial stress on many not-for-profits — whether they’re temporarily shut down or actively fighting the pandemic. If cash flow has dried up, your organization may need to do more than trim expenses. Here’s how to assess your financial condition and take appropriate action. Put your board in charge Ask your board of directors to lead your review and retrenchment efforts. In addition to having oversight experience and financial expertise, board members have a passion for your organization and will do whatever they can to assist. They may already have employer backing for your nonprofit, and those companies may be willing to step up their financial support. Or board members may be able to tap their social networks. The first order of business should be to review programs relative to your nonprofit’s mission. If you identify one that isn’t critical to your mission...[ Read More ]
Factors such as wealth level, education and even whether people volunteer, probably will tell you more about potential donors than their generation. But some broad generalizations about age can help not-for-profits target particular groups for support. The newest generation of adults belong to what’s being called Generation Z, and it’s possible to draw some conclusions about this otherwise diverse demographic. Charitably inclined digital natives Members of Generation Z typically are either in school or just beginning to launch careers. According to a study conducted by one market research firm, their contributions represent only about 2% of total giving. And their average donation tops out at $341 per year. Yet approximately 44% of Gen Zers have given to charity and they may be more driven to pursue social impact than earlier generations at their age. Many young people are hyperaware of what’s going on both in the world and their own...[ Read More ]
Charitable contributions aren’t always eligible for tax deductions — even when the not-for-profit recipient is tax exempt and the donor itemizes. Take “quid pro quo” donations. These transactions occur when your organization receives a payment that includes a contribution and you provide the donor with goods or services valued for less than the total payment. Let’s take a closer look. Meeting obligations Quid pro quo arrangements create an obligation for your nonprofit. If you receive more than $75 and you provide a benefit to the donor, you must advise the donor that it’s a quid pro quo contribution. In such cases, provide written notice to donors that they can deduct only the amount in excess of the value of the goods or services they receive in return. Also provide donors with a good faith estimate of the value of the goods or services provided in return. This written acknowledgment must...[ Read More ]
  Many businesses are donating to charity in light of the pandemic. In order to encourage giving, the CARES Act made some changes to the rules. Under one change, the limit on charitable deductions for corporations (generally 10% of modified taxable income) doesn’t apply to qualifying contributions made in 2020. Instead, a corporation’s contributions, reduced by other gifts, can be as much as 25% of modified taxable income. No connection between contributions and COVID-19 is required. In another change, for food inventory contributions made in 2020, the deduction limit increases from 15% to 25% of taxable income for C corporations and 15% to 25% of the net aggregate income for other businesses.
  Did you recently file your tax return and receive a refund that was smaller than you were expecting? Or did you wind up owing additional tax when you filed your return? That might mean it’s time to check and adjust your withholding. This might be necessary due to changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act or because something in your situation is different this year (for example, you got married, divorced, purchased a home or had changes in your income). The IRS has a withholding calculator where you can perform a paycheck checkup. You can access the calculator at https://bit.ly/2OqnUod.  Contact us if you need help determining whether you should adjust your 2020 withholding.