First Thoughts

Arts Finance. Building stronger nonprofits.

When is a surplus not a surplus?

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Your organization’s preliminary end of year financial statements become available and woohooo! The income statement is showing a $20,000 surplus! It is remarkably easy to conclude, in such a case, that your organization is $20,000 stronger, or $20,000 healthier, or $20,000 more financially stable, than it was at the end of the year before. But you have (at least!) one …

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Oh! For Koh Lipe!

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Financial statements are simply methods to communicate certain financial conditions. However, their appearance at board meetings has been known to trigger beads of cold sweat, elevated blood pressure, temporary lapses of consciousness, and the occasional yearning for a tropical beach, far, far away. The fundamental accuracy of these statements may be spot on. However, it is possible that what’s presented …

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First where, then what and how

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There was a time when nothing beat a couple of good spreadsheets to make a director of an organization feel as though all the critical information for the org was at their fingertips. But not so much anymore. In fact, the proliferation of spreadsheets has produced a heightened probability that an organization could be losing its effectiveness in managing strategic …

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Beware, the unbudgeted gift!

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Annual Fund goals are tough challenges to meet. Unexpected gifts in support of your operations are wonderful windfalls for your Annual Fund campaign. What do you do, however, when a donor offers your org an extraordinary, unsolicited gift, with an attached restriction requiring that your organization take on an unbudgeted project? This is a very important donor (what donor isn’t?), …

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