Finance for Poets
Many nonprofit leaders advance in their careers because of their “programmatic” excellence. They are tireless advocates, gifted clinicians, imaginative designers of services. Their front-line experiences enhance their effectiveness as managers. They become trusted leaders of programs and people. Too often, however, the nonprofit leader’s career path leaves an “experience gap” when it comes to financial management. Although leaders may have dealt with budgets and funders at the program level, when they move into executive positions they need to adopt an unfamiliar organizational perspective and a strategic approach to financial matters. For many nonprofit leaders, this experience gap is a source of anxiety and frustration. For some, it fosters avoidance of financial issues – even when the leader knows that these issues are crucial to the organization’s health and service to the community.
If this scenario resonates with you, then this workshop is for you.
The Finance for Poets workshop is designed for nonprofit leaders who do not have formal training or deep experience in accounting or financial management. It is especially focused on helping these leaders overcome the barriers of jargon and intimidation that obstruct them from engaging fully in financial discussions with colleagues, board members, and external stakeholders. We won’t talk down to you. Rather, we will respect your intelligence and boost your confidence so that you can embrace financial management rather than avoid it.
Specifically, in the workshop:
We will explore the budgeting process through hands-on exercises and lively discussion. We’ll see that the core idea of budgeting is planning and that communication is more important than calculation. If you can plan a family vacation, you can lead an effective budget process.
We will explain the basic financial statements that every corporation – from a telecommunications giant to a neighborhood soup kitchen -- uses to tell the story of its financial condition and performance. We’ll also identify the many issues that financial statements do not address.
We will explain the value of an independent audit and how it is conducted.
We’ll provide time for questions and open, collaborative discussion.
Bring your good spirits, your open mind, your unpublished haiku, your art history degree, and the questions you were afraid to ask anyone else. Together, we’ll get past the jargon and focus on what nonprofit leaders need to know and do in the domain of financial management to build strong organizations.