Finance for Poets
Many nonprofit leaders advance in their careers because of their programmatic excellence. They are tireless advocates, gifted clinicians, and imaginative designers of services. Their frontline 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.
- 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Bring your good spirits, your open mind, your unpublished haiku, your art history degree, and the questions you were afraid to ask anyone else.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.
Rising nonprofit managers with little or no background in financial management, non-classically trained financial staff, wearers of many hats.
About the Trainer
David Stolow joined the Boston University School of Management in 2011 as the Faculty Director for the Public and Nonprofit Management Program. He teaches courses on nonprofit financial management, fundraising and philanthropy, and social entrepreneurship for MBA students and undergraduates. He is also a lead instructor for BU’s certificate program in nonprofit management and leadership for mid-career nonprofit professionals.
Prior to joining the Boston University faculty full-time, David served from 2001-2011 as Director of Strategic Development at Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit network of extended-day and after-school programs. David was primarily responsible for securing resources and managing partnerships with national foundations and federal agencies such as the Corporation for National and Community Service and the National Science Foundation. He also helped to lead Citizen Schools’ Teaching Fellowship, which recruits 200+ aspiring educators to serve for two years as front-line teachers, mentors, and community builders in high-need schools.
Prior to joining Citizen Schools, David worked for 11 years in nonprofit financial management in the Boston area. He served as Director of Finance for TERC, a developer of innovative math and science curriculum. He served as Chief Financial Officer for City Year when City Year launched its national expansion. He then worked as Chief Financial Officer for Boston Community Capital, a leading Community Development Financial Institution. At The Home for Little Wanderers, one of New England’s largest child welfare agencies, David was the Director of Financial Strategy and later Chief Financial Officer. David has served on the Board of Directors of Bright Futures Adoption Center, the Massachusetts Youth Service Alliance, Boston Children’s Services, Health Leads, and Generations Incorporated and he currently serves on the Loan Committee of Boston Community Loan Fund and the Board of Trustees of the Aloha Foundation. He has conducted trainings on financial management, nonprofit governance, and social entrepreneurship for diverse organizations and audiences, including New Sector Alliance, OnBoard, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Health Leads, the Posse Foundation, Net Impact, and Hebrew College.
David graduated summa cum laude from Yale University and holds a Master’s Degree in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Management.