Process Improvement and Managing Change with Margaret Chapman

Process Improvement and Managing Change with Margaret Chapman

Nonprofit leaders, when is the last time you did a process improvement audit for your organization? Does just the thought of it make you cringe or give you all the thoughts of overwhelm? If so, fear not! Today, you’re in luck because we have a special guest, Margaret Chapman, who is an expert in implementing strategic and meaningful changes in nonprofit backend processes. She’s going to break down some strategies for us and give us a wealth of information starting with strategic planning. 

Margaret shares with us strategies for making your strategic plan a tactical document your organization will actually use, instead of putting it together once every three years, shoving it in a closet, and never looking at it again. If this is your organization, there is no judgment here! It happens a lot more often than you think. That’s why we are so excited to dive into process improvement for backend systems with Margaret! 

Read the podcast transcript here.

About Margaret

Margaret Chapman, MBA, MA, CNAP has spent the last 20 years of her career helping organizations with their finance, operations, fundraising and overall programmatic strategy. From national candidates and multi-billion dollar nonprofits to small start-ups, she leverages what’s unique about each group to ensure they are able to leap to the next phase in their growth.

Specifically, Margaret focuses on using strategic planning methods in building robust back office systems that fit the needs of the organization. Rethinking staffing, accounting, and operational structures are her specialty.

Throughout her career, Margaret has worked to make financial analysis, processes, and all things money approachable for all audiences. Dealing with numbers is often anxiety-producing but Margaret translates finance-speak into easily understandable concepts and practices that every organization can efficiently implement and feel confident in sharing.

Episode Summary

On today’s episode, you’ll learn strategies for process improvement and leveraging your organization’s strategic plan including:

• Common challenges nonprofits are seeing right now (12:55)

• What components your strategic plan needs to have to be a successful, tactical document (16:00)

• One of the most common missing pieces of a nonprofit strategic plan (18:00)

• One strategy for getting the bigger picture of what is going on in the organization (22:50)

• Proven strategies for managing change in an organization (27:00)

• What happens when you empower your team members (30:00)

• Creating a culture of improvement (36:05)


“I think strategic planning is a lot more about what you’re not doing often times than what you are doing.”

“I’m not sure that we could get any more inefficient than that, having someone physically drive checks across the city for a signature. But that’s the way that they had always done it.”

“Change is hard, even if it’s a change that we know will probably improve our lives and our ability to do our work.”

“It’s really engaging the people who are having to do it every day and saying, what are your ideas for how to do this better?”

“This is how we’ve always done it is not always a bad thing. I think the key is to continuously review and continuously think about is there a way that we could iterate and make this better, or is this process working really well?”


• Follow Margaret on Instagram: @jamstrategies

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• FREE Cash Forecast Spreadsheet: 

• Keep up to date with the podcast: @100degreesconsulting 

• Follow Stephanie on Instagram: @stephanie.skry

• Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn: 

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Participatory Budgeting: How to Create Your Best Budget Yet

Participatory Budgeting: How to Create Your Best Budget Yet

Nonprofit leaders, are you looking for a better way to budget this year? A process that actually builds morale instead of squashing it? Sounds too good to be true, right? It doesn’t have to be! In this episode, Stephanie discusses the participatory budgeting process. She does a deep dive into what exactly participatory budgeting is, and equally, if not more importantly, what it is NOT. Hint: it is NOT a free-for-all.  

Participatory budgeting is an innovative way for nonprofits to include their team in a process that has often been part of a power dynamic in organizations. This approach helps leaders to dismantle this power structure present in the organization where one party holds all the money and the power. It’s also an excellent way to boost morale and buy-in as well as encourage accountability and transparency.

While collaborative budgeting is an excellent strategy for nonprofits to implement, that’s not to say it doesn’t come with its challenges. Stephanie has worked with countless nonprofits throughout this process and has seen her fair share of the challenges they face. With her expertise and guidance, she has helped these nonprofits overcome these obstacles. Now, she’s sharing these proven strategies with you! 

Read the podcast transcript here.

Episode Summary

On today’s episode, you’ll learn strategies to help you create a more collaborative budgeting process including: 

• What participatory budgeting is (5:00)

• What participatory budgeting is NOT (7:05)

• What to do before putting a single number on a spreadsheet (9:00)

• How to include team members in the budgeting process (11:45)

• How to avoid getting back 15 different spreadsheets that all look differently (13:00)

• How to keep morale high during this process (15:15)

• Challenges with participatory budgeting (18:45)

• Creating a line item wish list (21:30)

• Tips for making participatory budgeting successful (23:00)


“Nobody knows those line items in those departmental budgets better than the people who are actually running those programs.”

“What is most important here is transparency.”

“What we need to take away from this is that not every single thing that people suggest and people want is going to happen.”

“We are actively working to dismantle the innate power structure present in the organization where one party holds all the money and the power.”

“We want to have more meaningful dialogue organization-wide on the direction that the organization is going.”


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Podcast Episode 122.5 Jess Campbell (1)

BONUS: Creating Winning Fundraising Email Campaigns with Jess Campbell

Are you looking for ways to hit your fundraising goals and nail your donor communication? You’re in luck! In this special bonus episode, Jess Campbell lays it all out, step-by-step.

Jess Campbell is the founder of Out in the Boons, a small shop helping nonprofits discover donors in their email list. She has been a nonprofit fundraiser for 18 years and has raised over $17M+ working from New York to California in organizations big and small. She is also the founder of The Raise More Together Summit which to date has educated more than 3,000 nonprofit leaders and fundraisers. 

Before starting Out in the Boons, Jess was the Director of Development for LIFT-LA, a national organization that empowers families to break the cycle of poverty. 

Jess has an undergraduate degree from The University of Colorado-Boulder (go Buffs!) in Communication and a Masters degree in Nonprofit Management from The New School in NYC. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband, 6 year-old daughter and their rescue pup, Billy. Come find her on Instagram @outintheboons_.

Read the podcast transcript here.

Episode Summary

On today’s episode, you’ll learn how to leverage email to hit your fundraising goals, including: 

-How you can use storytelling in your fundraising efforts in an authentic, genuine, sensitive, and ethical way (10:00)

-Why you should tell your story over and over again (14:00)

-What should fundraisers be thinking about right now to prep for year end goals (16:00)

-Where you can get solid fundraising information and expertise from real nonprofits doing the work (21:50)

-Why Giving Tuesday should not be the only thing on your mind going into Q4 (30:10)

-How to free up your time and energy to meet one on one with donors (32:50)

-How to use storytelling with financials and translating numbers into impact (38:00)

“I’ve literally had donors after several meetings or getting to know them, be like, ‘We’re considering a million dollar gift.’”

“The other thing I think nonprofits really miss is that you can tell the same version of the story over and over again… you could tell that story every hour of every day and your readers will never, ever, ever get bored.”

“As a fundraiser, I’ve found that the most impactful stories I tell are the ones that infuse the numbers.”


Connect with Stephanie on Instagram

-Connect with 100 Degrees Consulting on Instagram

-Connect with Jess on Instagram

-Learn more about out in the boons

-Learn more about the Raise More Together Summit

Grab your ticket for the Raise More Summit for only $27!

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Using the Agile Framework in Nonprofits

Are you searching for ways to streamline the often chaotic grant writing process? Or interested in fostering a stronger sense of community in your nonprofit? Look no further. Join us on a transformative exploration with Diane Leonard, a seasoned Agile, Scrum, and grant management professional. Through her enlightening insights, you will discover how to simplify grant management, build an engaged team, and cultivate a prosperous nonprofit organization in an ever-evolving landscape.

Agile Methodologies and Scrum Principles: Tools for Efficient Nonprofit Management 

Diane’s successful track record in securing over $104 million in competitive grant awards since 2006 testifies to the efficacy of her approach. She champions Agile methodologies and Scrum principles as catalysts for efficiency and adaptability within nonprofit operations. Diane’s philosophy revolves around the value of adaptability, responsiveness to change, and the use of Agile techniques to streamline grant writing and improve team efficiency.

Building a Robust Community: The Heart of Agile Nonprofits 

Transitioning to Agile methodologies is not without its challenges. Resistance can arise, often rooted in fear of change. Diane underscores the importance of nurturing a supportive community of practice to help nonprofit leaders navigate these transitional waters. Such spaces foster collective learning and provide a safe environment to experiment with Agile elements.

The Grant Life Cycle: Ensuring Sustainable Funding

Drawing on her extensive experience, Diane introduces the grant life cycle model. This approach, reminiscent of the water cycle, highlights the ongoing nature of the grant process. Its cyclical nature demands attention at every phase – from grant readiness and research to relationship building, writing, and financial and programmatic reporting. Diane’s methodical approach ensures continued success with funders and contributes to smoother grant management processes.

Prosperity and Empowerment in Nonprofits: A New Vision 

Diane’s view of a prosperous nonprofit is far from the typical image of a large budget or a specific mission. Instead, she envisions a diverse array of passionate nonprofit professionals working towards impactful change. For her, prosperity lies in creating an environment that empowers each team member to thrive and contribute meaningfully to the organization’s shared vision. And, of course, embracing Agile values!

Nonprofit Wellness: Breaking the Silence 

In her conversation with Stephanie, Diane also delves into the often-neglected topic of wellness in the nonprofit sector. Advocating for self-care, Diane walks the talk, sharing her personal wellness activities and encouraging others to prioritize their well-being. The concept of wellness, they agree, should not be an afterthought but a lived value in every nonprofit organization.
Through these valuable insights from Diane, nonprofit leaders gain a fresh perspective on implementing Agile methodologies, proactive grant management, and fostering a prosperous and wellness-oriented work environment. As we navigate the dynamic nonprofit sector, these lessons can steer our organizations toward a more agile, community-centric, and sustainable future.

Read the podcast transcripts here.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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Behind the Scenes of Our Annual Team Retreat

We are back! Fresh from our annual team retreat in sunny Phoenix, we’re brimming with insights and heart-warming memories. As someone who deeply values the transformative impact of retreats, I’m thrilled to lead you on a behind-the-scenes tour of our journey, replete with enriching experiences and key learnings.

The Magic of Team Retreats

Team retreats serve as catalysts for personal and professional growth. Despite my peculiar physiological reactions (voice loss and scratchy throats, anyone?), these occasions undeniably foster powerful team dynamics and heighten effectiveness. We aim for our retreats to be nothing less than extraordinary, offering meaningful value while strengthening our connection as a team and with our organization.

The Art of Retreat Planning: Balancing Relaxation with Engagement

We crafted our retreat and centered our thoughts on the atmosphere we wanted to cultivate. The underlining intention was to fortify connections within our fully remote team and reinforce our commitment to our mission: empowering nonprofits to reach their maximum potential. Our recipe included a healthy mix of professional development, team bonding, and mission connection, all lightly sprinkled with leisurely undertones.

A Tapestry of Learning, Unwinding, and Mission Alignment

The retreat commenced with an enlightening session helmed by an experienced auditor. Her deep dive into compliance issues and new regulations shaping the nonprofit sphere gave us practical insights to better aid our clients.

We were privileged to host the incredible Pam Slim, who led a riveting discussion on introverted leadership. Considering our team comprises predominantly introverts, this session was a valuable asset. It taught us to channel our introverted attributes into powerful leadership, drawing from Pam’s experience with Susan Cain’s Quiet Leadership Institute.

Following a day of intellectual enrichment, we welcomed an evening of relaxation. The team could unwind as they wished—whether through a rejuvenating swim, touching base with loved ones, or indulging in leisurely chats about life and work. These tranquil moments amplified the retreat’s value, offering much-needed rejuvenation.

Immersion in Our Mission

The retreat’s second day offered an exclusive opportunity: a visit to one of our clients, Neighborhood Ministries, a multifaceted nonprofit in downtown Phoenix. Direct involvement in their initiatives and programs strengthened our mission allegiance. It helped us establish a more intimate relationship with our clients.

A Natural Culmination: Embracing Arizona

Our retreat’s finale was a collective embrace of Arizona’s exquisite natural beauty, undertaken through a local hiking trail. This outing allowed us to engage with each other. Against the backdrop of the desert landscape, weaving together an unforgettable shared experience.

The Comfort of Home, Away from Home

Our retreat’s accommodation contributed significantly to the relaxed and intimate vibe we sought. A spacious VRBO rental served as our home base, offering private spaces for personal relaxation and common areas for organic, laid-back interaction. As we journey through the dynamic terrain of the nonprofit sector, our retreat stands as a cherished milestone, blending professional development, team bonding, and mission alignment. These shared experiences keep us grounded, united, and inspired by the enduring power of our shared mission. Thank you for joining us on this journey, and here’s to our collective growth and future adventures!

Read the podcast transcripts here.

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Building Lasting Corporate Partnerships

In the complex maze of the nonprofit sector, the prospect of establishing strategic partnerships and diversifying revenue often seems overwhelming, clouded by doubts and uncertainties. However, this comprehensive narrative aims to demystify these intimidating aspects. Unfolding the journey of the indomitable Eliza Pesuit, the driving force behind Global Glimpse’s success, we will highlight how strategic partnerships and revenue diversity can serve as powerful catalysts for transformation, elevating credibility and ensuring sustainable growth. 

Eliza Pesuit: Revolutionizing Nonprofit Leadership

At the heart of Global Glimpse is Eliza Pesuit, a passionate advocate for shared experiences and diverse backgrounds. Eliza’s leadership has empowered Global Glimpse to stand out as a beacon for most low-income and underrepresented students, fostering a global perspective among the youth. With a diverse portfolio of corporate alliances and a laser-sharp focus on transparency, Eliza is setting a new precedent for nonprofit leadership.

Transforming Nonprofits through Corporate Partnerships and Revenue Diversity

Eliza’s visionary approach toward corporate partnerships and revenue diversity offers a unique perspective for nonprofit leaders. At Global Glimpse, diverse revenue streams are developed through a mix of earned and contributed revenue, akin to a university’s sliding scale system. She has also built formidable alliances with industry giants like United Airlines, Expedia, Snap, Inc., and Away. These successful partnerships are the result of aligning the companies’ business needs and values with the organization’s impact.

The Power of Transparency: A New Way Forward

Transparency, according to Eliza, is a transformative tool for nonprofit success. From budget development and board dynamics to people operations, Global Glimpse has implemented an all-inclusive approach. This not only enhances decision-making but also builds trust among all stakeholders. Eliza firmly believes in breaking down patriarchal systems within the organization, enhancing equity, and creating an atmosphere of open communication and shared responsibility.

Leveraging LinkedIn for Nonprofit Success

Eliza is not only a champion of strategic partnerships and revenue diversity but also a pioneer in leveraging LinkedIn for nonprofit success. She has debunked the misconception that nonprofits need high-profile board connections to succeed, proving that strategic, persistent outreach can result in fruitful partnerships.

Driving Success through Authentic Outreach and Persistence

Eliza’s strategic method leans heavily on authentic outreach and dogged persistence. It involves a patient outreach process, follow-ups, and seizing opportunities when they arise. Her relentless pursuit of value-adding partnerships, even without an extensive corporate network, is a testament to her strategic tenacity and a lesson for nonprofit leaders globally.

Fostering an Inclusive and Prosperous Nonprofit

When it comes to her vision of a prosperous nonprofit, Eliza envisages a place of work that not only impacts communities but also fosters an atmosphere of abundance rather than scarcity. In her vision, prosperous nonprofits operate with the support and resources they need to do their work effectively, fulfilling their mission and positively impacting their communities.

In conclusion, Eliza Pesuit’s leadership at Global Glimpse serves as a testament to the power of strategic partnerships, revenue diversity, innovative digital networking, and transparency in the nonprofit sector. Her story is a powerful reminder that with resilience, planning, and unwavering commitment, it’s possible to create lasting impacts and ensure sustainable growth in the nonprofit world. Eliza’s insights serve as a valuable guide for nonprofits,

offering a practical blueprint that combines the art of forming strategic corporate partnerships, developing diverse revenue streams, and fostering a culture of transparency.

Nonprofit Leadership: A Blend of Strategy, Transparency, and Innovation

Eliza’s strategic approach to corporate partnerships has created formidable alliances with industry giants. Her use of LinkedIn has opened doors to new collaborations and formed a cornerstone of her innovative leadership style. Through a vision that started over a decade ago, Eliza’s story provides an illuminating example of how nonprofits can form meaningful and mutually beneficial partnerships.

At the same time, transparency has played a pivotal role in the internal workings of Global Glimpse. Eliza has striven to break down traditional power structures within her organization and the sector. She has fostered an environment of openness and mutual trust by sharing the same information with the team as with the board. Global Glimpse’s comprehensive transparency has enhanced decision-making and built confidence among all stakeholders, from financial planning to people operations.

Strategic Partnerships and Revenue Diversity: A Win-Win Formula for Nonprofits

The dynamic blend of strategic partnerships and diverse revenue sources is vital to Eliza’s success. Through partnerships with corporate giants, Global Glimpse has secured a stable and varied revenue stream. Simultaneously, the organization’s adoption of a sliding-scale system for contributions has fostered a sense of agency among its students.

Eliza’s strategy of combining authentic outreach with strategic persistence has resulted in a powerful formula for nonprofits. She underscores that success in this field is about more than having everything perfectly aligned from the start. But about gradually improving your approach and consistently demonstrating value to potential partners.

Building Trust: The Power of Transparency in Nonprofits

In the world of nonprofits, trust and transparency are indispensable. Eliza’s conversation highlights this principle by demonstrating how openness in budgeting, operations, and future planning can create an atmosphere of inclusivity and prosperity. By involving department leads in budget development and creating transparency in decision-making, Eliza has nurtured a culture where every team member understands the organization’s financial dynamics. 

In terms of people operations, Global Glimpse has partnered with diversity, equity, and inclusion consultants to ensure clarity around development pathways, compensation, and performance evaluations. Eliza believes that providing clarity in these aspects ensures team members understand their position and the path to progress in their roles.

Eliza’s experience as a liaison between the board and the team reveals her efforts to break down patriarchal systems within her organization. By sharing the same information with her team as with the board, she has fostered an environment of openness, equality, and mutual trust.

In conclusion, Eliza Pesuit’s leadership journey offers an insightful roadmap for nonprofits, interweaving the crucial elements of strategic corporate partnerships, revenue diversity, digital networking, and transparency. Her unwavering commitment to strategic persistence, authentic outreach, and organizational openness has paved the way for sustainable growth and impact in the nonprofit world. These insights are a valuable resource for nonprofit leaders looking to navigate their journey toward creating a prosperous, inclusive, and impactful organization.

Read the podcast transcripts here.

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How Data Can Improve Your Bottom Line

In the dynamic world of nonprofit organizations, the journey between facing a daunting deficit and reaching an unprecedented surplus can often be bridged with access to accurate, timely, and insightful data. This intersection of data and decision-making is a principle that Kaitlin Windle, founder, and CEO of Apte, a data and analytics software company, understands deeply. Yet, equally important is the organization’s most valuable asset – its people. This key aspect often gets overlooked, creating an unspoken gap where people-oriented metrics should be.

From Pirouettes to Pivot Tables: A Unique Journey

Kaitlin’s career transition is as unique as it is enlightening. From a disciplined ballerina to roles in the financial sector at Pantheon and JP Morgan, she brought her precision and commitment into every endeavor. Her unique path took an unexpected turn when she entered the nonprofit sector as the Development Director for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. It was here that her journey to harness the power of data for nonprofits truly began.

Unleashing the Power of Data

At Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Kaitlin recognized a significant gap in dynamic data analysis. Despite having a wealth of information in their CRM, Raiser’s Edge, it wasn’t translating into actionable insights. Undeterred, she turned to Excel for a more granular analysis, transforming static data into strategic intelligence. This resulted in the Ballet achieving its most successful fundraising year ever.

Kaitlin then replicated this strategy at another nonprofit. Within six months, the organization bounced back from its worst operating deficit to its best operating surplus. These experiences underscored the transformative potential of data-driven analytics within nonprofit organizations. They sparked the idea of Apte, a company dedicated to revolutionizing data analysis by offering automated, visual insights for leadership teams and boards.

The Overlooked Metric: People in Nonprofit Success

However, during a revealing conversation with Stephanie Skryzowski, a nonprofit financial strategist, Kaitlin recognized an overlooked dimension in nonprofit management – its people. They noted that while financial health is critical, employees’ well-being and satisfaction are equally important. Yet, personnel satisfaction and well-being measurements often need to be more consistently applied in the sector. This neglect raises a critical question: how can an organization flourish if its people are not thriving?

Moreover, Kaitlin emphasized the cost of employee turnover – not just financially but also in terms of time and mission-focused distraction. It became clear that for nonprofits aiming for sustainability, team retention is crucial. High-performing organizations with low employee turnover rates exemplify this, highlighting the need for strong leadership, focus on the team and mission, and simplicity of tasks.

Bridging the Gap: Data Visualization and Employee KPIs

Despite numerous successes, Kaitlin identified a persistent need for data visualization and timely tracking within the nonprofit sector. Automated KPIs and other data tools can free up teams to concentrate on other critical areas. However, Stephanie pointed out that while financial and programmatic KPIs are prevalent, people-oriented metrics often lag. This imbalance in performance measurement needs to be addressed, given the pivotal role employees play in an organization’s success. 

Potential KPIs for employees, such as salary growth, number of donor meetings for fundraising personnel, and the provision of anonymous surveys for two-way feedback, can provide an in-depth understanding of the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind operations. When nonprofit leaders understand these numbers and feel comfortable with them, it can significantly enhance their decision-making processes. 

The Transformative Power of Data and People in the Nonprofit Sector

In the final analysis, data, and analytics in the nonprofit sector represent more than just a collection of numbers. They serve as powerful tools

for driving strategic decision-making, enhancing financial health, and empowering nonprofit leaders to concentrate on what truly matters – their mission. Importantly, this also includes understanding the people driving your mission and devising ways to support, motivate, and retain them. 

Kaitlin’s software, Apte, addresses this concern. Automating board report creation and data analytics processes allows team members to concentrate on their strengths, such as fundraising and donor engagement. Apte’s guiding principle is to “keep it simple, standardize it, and automate it,” a mantra that removes friction and makes the whole process more approachable and less daunting.

A well-executed budget is a strategic tool for performance evaluation, setting future targets, and fostering transparency. Additionally, adept cash flow management improves nonprofits’ visibility, sustainability, and responsiveness to budget shortfalls. Kaitlin and Stephanie further stress the importance of building surpluses into various accounts to prepare organizations for unexpected circumstances, setting them up for success and growth.

Prioritizing Employee Well-being: A Strategic Imperative

Stephanie and Kaitlin advocate for prioritizing employee well-being in the sector. They argue that without a strong foundation of satisfied and motivated employees, an organization’s programmatic impact may be short-lived. This calls for a shift in mindset where taking care of staff is seen not as an afterthought but as a strategic imperative.

The Way Forward: A Simplified Approach to Data and People Analytics

For nonprofits ready to embrace data and analytics, understanding where they currently stand with their data and their next steps is crucial. This could involve working with a service provider like Apte or developing their data strategies in-house. The key is to recognize the role of data in driving organizational success, including the acknowledgment that data is not just about numbers on a balance sheet. 

In the realm of nonprofits, embracing this people-centered approach could be the missing link to sustainable success. If you find your organization overwhelmed by the complexity of data, remember: simplicity, standardization, and automation are the keys to turning this challenge into an opportunity.

In conclusion, the power of data-driven decisions and people metrics in nonprofits has transformative potential. When leveraged correctly, these tools can drive strategic decision-making, enhance financial health, and, most importantly, ensure the well-being of the individuals driving your mission.

Read the podcast transcripts here.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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The Nonprofit Audit: How to Set Yourself Up for Success

It is common for leaders in the nonprofit sector to perceive audits as a daunting or intimidating process, often overshadowed by the fear of making mistakes or not having the correct documentation. However, in this comprehensive guide, we aim to shift that perspective and demonstrate that audits can actually be a powerful tool for growth, bolstering credibility, and unlocking new funding opportunities.

Understanding the Need for an Audit in Nonprofits

  • The need for an audit typically arises from three key factors:
  • Your state’s regulations
  • The requirements of your funders

Your organization’s spending of federal government money

Each state has distinct regulations concerning nonprofit audits, and many foundations and government agencies necessitate audited financials during the application process or as a condition for grant renewal.

An audit is certainly required if your nonprofit is spending over $750,000 in federal government money annually. The Council of Nonprofits offers a comprehensive list of state law nonprofit audit requirements, providing an invaluable resource to determine if your organization needs an audit.

Viewing Audits as Opportunities

Once it’s clear that an audit is necessary, changing how you view the process is crucial. Audits should not be seen as a dreaded challenge but rather as an invaluable learning opportunity.

Audits offer a chance to glean from the expertise of skilled CPAs who are well-versed with all the latest tax and accounting regulations for nonprofits. Their insights can then be applied within your organization, ensuring you adhere to best practices and regulatory standards.

The Benefits of an Audit

Embracing the audit process offers several benefits. Not only does it serve as a means of regulatory compliance, but it is also a best practice that promotes financial transparency. Audited financials bolster your organization’s credibility and instill confidence in your funders.

Moreover, having audited financials can unlock new and diverse funding opportunities. Many funders require audited financials as part of the application process, and having these at your disposal makes your organization eligible for such funding opportunities.

Charity watchdog organizations such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar consider audited financials a critical factor in their rating process. A high rating can boost your credibility among potential donors, giving your organization a competitive advantage.

Choosing the Right Auditor and Building Strong Relationships

Selecting the right auditor is a key part of this process. Recommendations and referrals from other nonprofits can be a helpful starting point, but working with a professional, licensed CPA firm specializing in nonprofits is crucial.

It’s also important to consider the cultural fit between your organization and the audit firm. Remember that they will likely interact with your board or finance committee, so there must be a positive connection. Establishing an ongoing relationship with your auditor, rather than a once-a-year engagement, will also make the process smoother. Regular communication and consultations, particularly around significant financial operations, can help prevent misunderstandings and issues down the line.

Audit Preparation: A Year-Round Process

Audit preparation is not a one-time event but rather a year-round process. By taking proactive steps throughout the year, such as adjusting grant revenue or organizing folders in Google Drive, you can significantly reduce the stress of preparing for the audit.

While audits may initially seem daunting, they offer a fantastic opportunity for improvement and growth if approached with the right mindset and preparation. By choosing the right auditor, building a solid relationship, and preparing year-round, audits can become a valuable tool for your organization’s growth.

Remember, each step you take toward a more efficient audit process is a step toward the growth of your organization. To further assist you in this journey, we have a resource for stress-free audit processes available for free. By signing up, you will gain access to a trove of information that can aid in navigating the audit process more effectively. This guide intends to change the narrative around audits and position them as a catalyst for growth and success in the nonprofit sector. Let’s turn audits from a source of dread into a tool for growth and prosperity.

Read the podcast transcripts here.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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Stop Settling for Crumbs in Nonprofit Fundraising

Kailee Scales, the dynamic CEO of Pencils of Promise (PoP), has carved a distinctive path in nonprofit fundraising and leadership. Raised in Queens, New York, Kailee fostered a passion for music alongside a desire for global change. Her commitment to social transformation was ignited during a Congressional campaign in Brooklyn, marking the start of her journey in leadership.

Kailee’s profound impact began as an entry-level fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), where her knack for galvanizing support led to record-breaking funds. Her role at PoP now involves breaking down educational barriers for children worldwide.

Beyond PoP, she founded Think Free Global Strategies to offer equity solutions for organizations, extending her influence to 17 countries. From a music enthusiast to a global change catalyst, Kailee’s journey is a masterclass for those in the nonprofit sector. 

Embarking on a path of social change from an early age in Queens, New York, Kailee Scales has emerged as an emblem of transformative leadership in the nonprofit sector. As the CEO of Pencils of Promise (PoP) and founder of Think Free Global Strategies, her approach offers invaluable insights for nonprofit leaders. Here, we distill key elements of Kailee’s philosophy that can guide your journey toward more impactful leadership.

Unleash the Power of Fundraising

Kailee views fundraising as more than a means to an end; she sees it as a force for societal transformation. Adopt her confidence in articulating the potential impact of donations. This perspective can help you connect with donors on a deeper level, driving greater engagement and commitment.

It’s crucial to transcend the conventional ‘scarcity mindset’ that often pervades the nonprofit sector. Instead, embrace Kailee’s ‘abundance mindset,’ viewing resources as plentiful and fundraisers as advocates for a fair share. This paradigm shift can create a more positive, expansive perspective that ultimately attracts more funding.

Make Storytelling Your Secret Weapon

Kailee emphasizes the human element in fundraising, underscoring the critical role of storytelling. This approach fosters a connection between donors and the lives their contributions can transform. Infusing your fundraising efforts with compelling narratives will cultivate a sense of contribution among donors, amplifying your impact.

Foster Collaboration

In the nonprofit sector, collaboration is more than teamwork; it’s a cornerstone of successful leadership, as exemplified by Kailee Scales. Kailee acknowledges the need to distribute tasks effectively, recognize each team member’s strengths, and ensure everyone’s contribution is valued and recognized. To adopt her collaborative leadership style, prioritize an environment where each member feels valued, heard, and crucial to the mission. By doing so, you can cultivate inclusivity and build stronger strategies for change. This intentional shift towards collaborative leadership can drive your organization towards greater efficacy and impact.

Create a Vision for Prosperity

Kailee’s vision of a prosperous nonprofit entails three key components: a clear message, a clear intervention, and a found tribe. Implementing this vision means forming a deep connection with your supporters and communicating your mission effectively. It’s about taking your tribe on a transformative journey, using their voices for advocacy, and expanding your community of supporters.

Stay the Course: The Nonprofit Marathon

Just as Kailee likens nonprofit work to a marathon, it’s essential to understand that your organization’s journey will involve continuous growth and adaptation. Success involves:

  • Regularly revisiting your communication strategies.
  • Keeping your tribe engaged.
  • Reminding them they are integral to your mission.

Embrace Kailee’s Transformative Journey

Kailee Scales offers an unconventional, abundantly rewarding perspective on nonprofit leadership. Embracing her insights into collaboration, storytelling, the abundance mindset, and the marathon nature of change can help you steer your organization toward prosperity. Use these guiding principles to inform your leadership style and foster a transformative, impactful, and abundant approach to your mission.

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How to Create a Donor Customer Experience Journey to Rave About

Today, I bring you a peculiar yet insightful experience that unfolded during an unexpected rendezvous with my dentist. Yes, you read it right – the dentist! Though seemingly unrelated, my recent dental visit ended up shedding some invaluable light on the critical aspects of nonprofit donor engagement.

A Brush with Transformation 

The dentist, a place often associated with discomfort and dread, had been on my procrastination list for a while. But as life often surprises us, a chance conversation led me to book an appointment at a nearby clinic. The compelling online presence of the dental practice, the empathetic booking process, and the personalized approach toward my visit piqued my curiosity. 

As I stepped into the clinic, it became evident that the office’s spa-like ambiance was just the tip of the iceberg. From the technologically advanced facility to the non-judgmental approach of the staff, the entire experience was a refreshing break from my past dental traumas.

This led me to draw several parallels that I believe will resonate with many nonprofit leaders:

Leveraging the Power of Referrals 

Just as my conversation steered me to a new dental practice, referrals in the nonprofit world are incredibly potent. They’re not merely potential donors; they’re the validation of our efforts, indicative of the impact we make. As nonprofit leaders, we must harness this power and cultivate relationships that generate these valuable referrals.

Building a Strong Digital Footprint 

A robust online presence, as seen in the dental practice, can make or break the first impression. Websites and social media channels are the first touchpoints for potential donors. Ensuring a sleek, user-friendly online experience is as critical for nonprofits as it is for any modern dental practice.

Recognizing Donor Preferences

An empathetic approach to understanding individual preferences goes a long way in creating lasting relationships. In the same way that my dentist’s office had an empathetic questionnaire to understand my past experiences and fears, nonprofits must acknowledge donor preferences and address their pain points, making them feel seen, heard, and valued.

Crafting a Seamless Donor Journey 

Each touchpoint with the donor should make them feel part of something bigger. Are we inundating them with solicitations, or are we genuinely appreciating their contributions? Just as I felt welcomed and valued at the dentist’s, nonprofits must ensure their donors experience the same appreciation.

Creating an Exceptional Donor Experience 

The spa-like experience at the dentist’s office led me to ask, ‘What does it feel like to be a part of our nonprofit community?’ Once our donors are “inside,” how do we make them feel special? How do we show them the impact of their contribution?

Adopting a Non-Judgmental Approach 

As my dentist focused on improving my dental health without judgment, nonprofits must adopt the same approach with their donors. Are we making them feel guilty for not donating frequently or in large amounts, or are we accepting them for where they are and working with them to improve the causes they care about?

Integrating Modern Technology 

The efficient technology at the dentist’s office was impressive. Are we, as nonprofits, stuck with outdated systems, or are we utilizing modern technology to streamline our operations and provide an efficient donor experience?

Ensuring a Thoughtful Departure 

The last touchpoint at the dentist’s office was as pleasant as the first. Similarly, nonprofits need to ensure that their gratitude towards donors is expressed meaningfully and thoughtfully, encouraging a continued relationship.

The journey of a donor with your organization should mirror the transformative dental experience I had – from the initial contact to a seamless online experience, understanding preferences, creating multiple positive touchpoints, offering an exceptional insider experience, adopting a non-judgmental approach, employing efficient technology, and finally, a thoughtful departure. 

Every element is crucial in crafting an unforgettable donor experience, ultimately leading to donor retention.

So, as we navigate the complexities of donor engagement, let’s remember to take a page from our seemingly unrelated experiences. After all, a dentist’s office was the last place I thought I’d find insights into the world of nonprofits!

Read the podcast transcripts here.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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  • Leave us a review! Click here, scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Let me know what you loved most about this episode!
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