It’s management’s fault! This is a common phrase in the business world and no matter how hard we work as managers it is challenging to wear a multitude of hats and keep everything perfect while maintaining a cool head and being the inspirational leader that gets things done.

In a Nonprofit, the role of a manager offers different challenges compared to a for-profit organization. In this article, we at Lescault and Walderman want to offer all those hard-working managers a little guidance and help or at least offer some helpful information to reflect on when meeting daily challenges.

  1. Financial Management = Financial Stability

It’s all about the bottom line of the financials. This is and always will be the focal point for any business but with a Nonprofit organization, generating revenue requires a different approach compared to any other business.  If you have ever worked in a Nonprofit you will know the pressure of trying to get enough donations in to achieve a program goal.

In order for the Nonprofit to achieve its mission statement, financial management and cash flow are the 2 top priorities for managers. This and overcoming the skills shortage for specialized functions within the organization can really test the guile and problem-solving skills of the management team.

Financial concerns around running a fundraising campaign are at the forefront of any manager’s mind. They know that all the staff are counting on them to deliver a goal. If the manager isn’t able to show the knowledge and resilience to overcome these challenges it can lead to doubt, frustration and stress among the team members which is a poison to company culture and a surefire way to fail.

Thankfully we have a solution to help you keep on top of your financials.

What is the solution:

Get your financials in order and know your numbers for everything.

It’s important to sit down and really work out the numbers so you know where you are and where you want to be. This will give you an idea of what success looks like and you can share this vision with your team members so they buy into your Nonprofits strategy.

Here is a checklist to get you started.

  • Get your current operating budget vs actual figures
  • The success rate of your recent campaigns
  • How many monthly donors do you have and expected value of donations 
  • How many one-time donors you have had in the past year
  • Any unforeseen expenses in the last year
  • Any planned major expenses coming up this year

Next, Implement strategic budgeting:

Because you have no profits to continually reinvest into the business it is important to run your Nonprofit like a start-up business at all times which means keep the Nonprofit operations as streamlined as possible with minimum operating expenses. Automating tasks and investing in tools that make the job quicker and easier with fewer errors is a great starting point.

Plan out how you going to drive donor engagement for those ever-important donations. Think about easy to implement and cost-effective campaigns that have low investment but high return. Thank-you campaigns are always good to show your donors the fruits of your labor with their donations and make them feel part of your Nonprofit’s mission statement.

Once you have your figures, you have seen the future from the financials and mapped out how you going to get there its time to sell your workers into the strategy so that they can help you save money and drive donations. If you empower your workers and volunteers you will be amazed with the results.

Do you need help in forecasting and scenario planning for your Nonprofit? Click here for help to get you started.

  1. Membership Retention

Managers should always be focused on donor engagement. Building and maintaining the donor base is the key to driving the revenue line of your financials. 

No matter the size of your Nonprofit, recruiting and maintaining your membership base is always going to be a challenge. That is why it is important to have a mapped strategy on how you will keep members engaged and grow your membership year on year.

Do you need help in building and managing your donor base? Click here to read our helpful guide in 2023.

  1. Volunteers and Employee Management

Staff and volunteers are the foot soldiers of your Nonprofit’s mission statement. They have decided that they want to help you and are invested in the goal.

That said managing people will always come with its challenges and it is important to take note of this and have processes and plans in place to firstly protect the Nonprofit against unscrupulous staff members and secondly, know how to maintain a positive company culture filled with appreciation from management.

If you have an HR department or not you need to know that you will have to manage many HR challenges when you employ people. Make sure you have all the standard requirements in place including a disciplinary code and employment contract.

Remember your staff and volunteers are the spokespeople for your Nonprofit. They have the power to make or break you when they are out in the field so ensure that you show your appreciation for all their hard work. This can be as simple as a few kind words and a genuine thank you from the management. Learn the art of showing appreciation because a little can go a long way.

Finally and most importantly business culture is everything. Make your staff feel valued, treat them as assets and never liabilities no matter what happens as everyone deserves a second chance if they make a mistake, coach them and help them, and create an environment of encouragement so everyone feels accepted and engaged. These things don’t cost money and all it takes is a little humanity which is in abundance for people who work in Nonprofits.

Do you want downloadable, free guides from a coaching and leadership expert to help you manage your Nonprofit teams?

Click here for a guide to developing deep active listening skills to help show appreciation to your team.

Click here to learn how to give constructive feedback for a positive team culture.

  1. Demonstrating Nonprofit’s Impact

Showing results is not as simple as a mailer and some promotional material that shows the programs in action. As a Nonprofit you need to demonstrate how you are achieving your social objectives and the impact that it is having, this can be a far more in-depth analysis that requires expert calculations.

Do you need a helpful guide on 13 ways you can accurately measure your nonprofit’s impact? Click here.

  1. Leveraging Technology To Win

Technology and the growing demands from the modern era to use it and use it well in order to be successful is one of those things that change daily and require a constant finger on the pulse of a given industry. 

With all the errors from manual data entry and having paper-based processes that are outdated and costly Nonprofits have been offered groundbreaking software from Sage to automate tasks and provide accurate financial reports.

Luckily, to get Sage you don’t need in-house IT infrastructure and staff to manage it as this can all be outsourced and cloud-based for easy access to your financials from anywhere in the world. Being agile and able to make quick decisions for the benefit of the Nonprofit will keep you streamlined and able to maximize results from donations.

To learn more about the Benefits Of A Streamlined Cloud Accounting System For Nonprofits click here.

To learn more about Sage Accounting Software for Nonprofit Organizations click here.

  1. Informed Decision making

Call in the managerial fire department to put out those operational fires that you didn’t bank on is a common reactive approach found in Nonprofits and for-profits. When you base all your decisions on what is achievable in the present and not by looking to the future creates a reactive not proactive environment and that reflects poorly on management as it derails the organization from the line of their mission. There is nothing worse than having to pay out for a large unexpected expense when that money was allocated for a program, this creates major setbacks and damages staff and donor trust.

So the question is how do you mitigate this risk and make the right decision? 

  1. Get your financials in order so you know exactly where you currently stand.
  2. Create a detailed strategy analyzing all aspects of the business and do in-depth scenario planning. Plan for everything you can think of and best and worst-case scenarios.
  3. With all this information you can now make an informed decision and set your mission in accordance with the vision.
  4. Communicate this mission in a way that is easy to understand by all stakeholders. 
  5. When making decisions ensure to stay in line with the mission and avoid mission creep whereby you overextend your goals past the initial mission. This can quickly escalate and you won’t be able to manage the added tasks leading to potential damage to your brand.

Do you have an in-house accountant and want to know if your Nonprofit will survive if he resigns? Click here to take our risk assessment.

  1. Collaboration and Partnerships

Let us face it, everyone needs help now and then, this is the foundation of why Nonprofits exist. That said, even Nonprofits need help from each other from time to time and collaborations and partnerships with other Nonprofits are a great way to reduce the workload to meet your mission.

In today’s competitive space there are a lot more Nonprofits now than ever before creating a new set of challenges in building these partnerships. A strong branded nonprofit will look for other like-minded Nonprofits to partner with as they need to protect their reputation.

This is why it is more important than ever to keep your Nonprofits financials transparent, accurate and up to date to ensure you are meeting all the regulatory and auditing requirements. This is known to stand in a nonprofit’s favor even as you build your brand as we all have to start somewhere and being open, willing and easy to work with are traits organizations look for in partnerships.

Remember to watch out for the Watchdogs as you always want to remain on the right side of the law.

To learn more about Nonprofit Watchdog Groups click here.


Taking the time to review these common challenges and keep ahead of them will only empower management as they are at ready for “unexpected” changes.

Trying to keep ahead of all these challenges and keep your Nonprofit on course toward its mission can become a momentous task when you operate with skill and staff shortages.

Due to this many Nonprofits look to outsourcing their accounting, bookkeeping, technology and financial management to expert providers like Lescault and Walderman. We can save Nonprofits between 30%-40% in expenses meaning you have more money to achieve your mission.

At Lescault and Walderman we have a team of over 30 accountants across 18 states to help your Nonprofit organization become financially compliant, meet donors and the board’s financial reporting needs and be financially agile in difficult times.

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