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Manage Your Money: 5 Tips to Manage the Grant Process

By | Grant Management | No Comments

Grant managers know that having policies, procedures, and internal controls ensures accountability and transparency throughout the grant process. Using grant software also helps managers track and measure their activities. Managing funds in accordance with the terms of each grant is vital to smooth operation of a nonprofit.

5 Tips to Manage Grants

It is necessary to have a strong structure in place to manage grants. Most grants are awarded for specific purposes rather than general fund grants, meaning they have to be used for specific programs or activities. Tracking expenses back to the activity and against grant funds is essential to comply with the rules of the grant.

The following five tips can help you manage your grants better to ensure both compliance and transparency throughout the organization. The better you manage your grants and grant process, the better prepared you will be to report your progress to the grant organization and to apply for renewal of funds later.

Better Grant Management: 5 Tips

  1. Share a copy of the original grant: Be sure that everyone working on the project has read the entire grant proposal and guidelines. Depending on the length and complexity of the original document,it may be necessary to have someone distill salient points into a simple guideline for everyone working on the program.
  2. Use true fund accounting software such as Abila MIP to manage documentation. Abila MIP fund accounting helps you manage grant funds against program accounts to keep funding separate from other sources and to ensure that every penny is tracked back to the program where it counts.
  3. Enforce deadlines among employees, especially when it comes to submitting program reports, funding information, and other materials related to fulfilling the grant.
  4. Make sure that all employees also understand the organization’s policies regarding grant management, funding, and adherence to the grant’s program designations.
  5. Monitor all areas of grant management and funding. Use your grant management and fund accounting program reports to keep a close eye on all expenses and revenues pertaining to the grant. If anything looks unusual, check on it immediately. 

Internal Controls

It’s also important to put into practice good internal controls pertaining to grant management, too. This includes:

  • Securing and safeguarding credit cards, banking information, and passwords
  • Monitoring grant fund use and tracking all expenses to the fund allocation
  • Training staff in grant processes and procedures
  • Safeguarding any grant-related resources such as paperwork, applications, and program data
  • Reconciling all bank and credit card statements regularly such as weekly, biweekly, or monthly, depending on the organization’s needs
  • Following up on any outstanding items that appear after reconciliation
  • Never keeping cash on hand related to the grant, or, if you must have petty cash, lock it up when it’s not in use and always have two people to count and witness moving cash into and out of lockboxes
  • Requiring two signatures on checks related to grant funds 
  • Changing passwords regularly and requiring higher security passwords on banking and other financial information

Grant managers, like their counterparts in accounting and finance, know the importance of safeguarding data and ensuring clear, careful, and concise tracking of fund expenses. Internal controls are an important part of grant management as is ensuring clear communication among the team working on fulfilling the grant obligations. Software such as Abila MIP Fund Accounting makes grant management much easier.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Three Ways to Get Board Members Involved in Fundraising Activities

By | Fundraising | No Comments

One common refrain heard among nonprofit management everywhere is “I can’t get my board to help with fundraising!”

Does this sound familiar? You’re not alone. Many board members perform their duties faithfully but fail to support or engage in fundraising activities. That’s a shame, because board members have a lot to offer an organization that they are deeply involved with and know very well.

It’s not impossible to get busy board members to help you with fundraising activities. The trick is to make it easy for them to say yes. Give them specific things they can do and the fundraising tools to help them and with the right amount of effort and support, your board can become your best advocate.

3 Tips to Get Board Members to Help with Fundraising

The key is to remove any objections they have to helping with fundraising. Common objections include:

  • “I don’t have time to help”
  • “I don’t know what you’d like me to do”
  • “I’m not good at fundraising”

To overcome each objection….

“I don’t have time to help”

 

  • Create a list of fundraising tasks you’d like help with and distribute it via email and at your next board meeting. Be as specific as possible. Break large tasks into smaller steps.
  • Ask people directly if they can help with one task. By asking them personally, rather than sending out a blanket “please help” message, you’re making it much more likely for them to say yes to the specific request.
  • If board members aren’t sure how to perform the task, offer to  demonstrate it, but avoid doing it for them.
  • Break tasks into small half-hour increments or things that can be completed in half an hour or less. After all, who doesn’t have half an hour each week to give to their favorite charity? It’s not much time  to give and it’s easier for people to agree to the request.

 

“I don’t know what you’d like me to do”

 

  • Asking for help with a specific task(s) on your list (see above) overcomes this objection.
  • Ask each board member to approach one friend as a potential donor.
  • If they aren’t comfortable asking directly for donations, ask them to provide you with a list of people they think might be willing to donate to the organization.
  • Spend time with board members writing appeals and solicitation letters. Provide them with templates and text to send out on their own.

 

“I’m not good at fundraising”

 

  • Offer support and training to help with the fundraising process.
  • Involve them at every step of the way: creating donor lists, approaching potential donors, writing appeal letters, reviewing donor marketing, etc.
  • Provide them with individual web pages they can use to process donations. This can be a simple way to track who is following up on fundraising activities and personalize the appeal for each board member.

 

Working with your board may seem like a  challenging process, especially when it comes to securing their help with fundraising activities.Although it’s an important task that they should embrace, they may not. You can help them become your best advocates by overcoming their objections to fundraising in a positive, proactive way.

Fundraising and Donor Software: Accountability and Transparency

Fundraising and donor software can help you track all fundraising activities including those in which your board members are engaged. The right fundraising and donor management software makes it easier view everyone’s activities and ensure accountability and transparency.

If you’d like a free consultation to discuss fundraising and donor software, please contact Welter Consulting.

Prepare for Spring Fundraising Season with These Handy Tips

By | Fundraising | No Comments

Spring may not strike you as the perfect time for fundraising, but in many ways, the longer days and warmer weather lends itself to creative fundraising events and activities. The holidays may be the peak donation time for many nonprofits, but spring may be equally as busy if you can maximize the fundraising opportunities.

Raise 4X more this Spring with MobileCause. Learn about our online Fundraising solution for Community Brands or schedule an online demo today. 

Spring Fundraising Ideas

Depending on your nonprofit, you may come up with other ideas. Feel free to pick and choose from among this list to find an appropriate fundraising idea that matches the spirit, tone, and brand of your organization.

Make sure you know the three most common fundraising pitfalls and avoid them as you plan.

Outdoor Fundraisers

With the warmer weather, people want to get outside. Indulge their need for fresh air and outdoor activities by hosting outdoor spring fundraisers. 

  • Garden parties offer an elegant outdoor event that can double as a fundraiser. A themed garden party, such as Derby Day (for the Kentucky Derby) or an afternoon tea may appeal to different groups. Event ticket sales, raffles, and door prizes are all great ways to add fundraising opportunities to the event.
  • Donation drives may be held outdoors for organizations collecting tangible goods. Animal shelters and charities can find willing partners to grant the space to set up tables and bins to collect dog and cat food, cat litter, bleach (always needed at shelters to clean the kennels), old towels, and related items; other charities can collect clothing, canned goods, or whatever they need using a similar strategy.
  • Sell outdoor products such as seeds, gardening tools, and plants. Plant sales are a great fundraising activity in the springtime as peoples’ thoughts turn to their gardens.

Adjust the Timing 

Fundraising solicitations may also be sent out to coincide with various spring holidays. Easter, Mother’s Day, and Earth Day are all opportunities to organize donation campaigns around a theme. Use your creativity and imagination. Time the communications so that they arrive several weeks before a holiday, especially if you are asking for donations to be given in honor of someone,  like a memorial plant for Easter, a gift honoring Mom, or planting a tree for Earth Day or Arbor Day.

Be Aware of School and Vacation Schedules

School and vacation schedules tend to be different across the nation, with some schools dismissing for the year as early as May and others much later. As the season draws closer to summer, their minds turn to trips, vacations, time at the pool, beach, or barbecue. Send email donation campaigns and snail mail donation campaigns out well before the end of the school year and the start of peak vacation time in your area.

Manage Fundraising Campaigns with Ease Using the Right Software

Manage your fundraising campaigns with ease using the right software. It’s difficult to track, monitor, and measure fundraising activities using spreadsheets. They can be cumbersome, and one error can throw off the entire spreadsheet and drive you crazy looking for it among all the cells. 

Instead, try fundraising and donor contact management software. It allows you to track and manage fundraising campaigns and donor contacts to ensure transparency and accountability. With the right fundraising software integrated into your accounting system you’ll find it easier to track, manage, and measure fundraising campaigns.

Spring is in the air, and with it, change. If it’s time to change how you conduct your fundraising activities, we invite you to explore fundraising and donor contact management software. Contact Welter Consulting for a free consultation.

FASB Delays Several Effective Dates: Credit Losses, Leasing, Hedging, and Long-Duration Insurance Standards Affected

By | FASB | No Comments

The Financial Accounting Standards Board announced at the end of 2019 that they were delaying several effective dates. These changes impact four areas: credit losses, leasing, hedging, and long-duration insurance standards.

You can find a chart of all the dates and standards impacted on the FASB website.

Who Is Affected?

If your nonprofit is considered a public business entity (PBE), it may be subjected to the same rules and requirements as PBEs. When looking at FASB ASU 2019-10, this would place nonprofits in “bucket 2” in the update, subjecting them to the same changes as other entities when it comes to reporting financial instruments such as credit losses, leasing, derivatives, and hedging.

What Are the Major Implications?

If your nonprofit is affected by ASU 2019-10, here are the critical points found in the standards update:

  • Credit Losses: If your organization is on a calendar-year end, and it is eligible for the deferral, the new effective date is January 1, 2023. Organizations can determine whether they are eligible to be ‘smaller reporting companies’ based on their most recent filing determination. This must be in accordance with SED regulations as of November 15, 2019.
  • Derivatives: Nonpublic business entities get a one-year deferral. If your organization is on a calendar year-end, and it is eligible for the deferral, the effective date is January 1, 2021.
  • Leases: All non-public business entities get a one-year deferral. This includes nonprofits that have issued, or are conduit bond obligators for securities that are traded, listed, or quoted on an over-the-counter market or exchange, as well as employee benefit plans that file or furnish financial statements with or to the SEC. If your organization is on a calendar year-end, and it is eligible for the deferral, the new effective date is January 1, 2021.

Why the Update?

According to the FASB report, there is a significant change to the underlying philosophy of the standards, thus necessitating updates to:

  1. Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments— Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments (Credit Losses)
  2. Accounting Standards Update No. 2017-12, Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815): Targeted Improvements to Accounting for Hedging Activities (Hedging)
  3. Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842) (Leases).
  4. Accounting Standards Update No. 2018-12, Financial Services—Insurance (Topic 944)

Is Your Nonprofit a PBE?

It is essential to note whether your nonprofit is considered a PBE, which would make the changes applicable to your organization. FASB amended its glossary of terms in 2013 to create one definition for PBEs.

Although nonprofits are left out of the general definition of PBE in the Master Glossary, specific nonprofits may be subjected to the requirements imposed on PBEs by specific FASB standards. When that occurs, nonprofits are differentiated using similar terms to those used for the definition of PBEs.

“Nonprofits that have issued, or is a conduit bond obligor for securities that are traded, listed, or quoted on an exchange or an over-the-counter [OTC] marketare held to the same accelerated effective dates and expanded disclosure requirements imposed on PBEs,” according to AICPA.

Your best recourse is to consult with the Master Glossary definitions and use these to evaluate whether your nonprofit fits in the PBE category. Then, check what disclosures are required. Nonprofits, for example, are required to disclose certain pension information only if the nonprofit is determined to be a public entity.

Fortunately, FASB has granted more time to adhere to the news standard. They’ve also provided plenty of clarifying information in the documents we’ve linked to help you understand the full impact of the changes and updates.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.