We will keep thinking about how to be a better ally to and advocate for the LGBT community – will you? - Chantal Sheehan, Blue Fox Founder
Pride is a funny word.
It’s what we want our kids to have in their work. It’s how we feel about our friends or loved ones when we see them perform heroic acts or take brave risks. It’s also what may come before our fall, according to some.
June is National Pride Month – a time of year when we celebrate the LGBT community and its movement for equality. For some who were born before words like “ally” and “inclusion” were normalized in American society, it can be hard to imagine a time when being gay was a crime let alone when it was simply socially unacceptable. And yet that was the case not long ago.
Today we know that the LGBT community makes up roughly 4.5% of Americans. (Interesting interactive map of LGBT data by state is here, if you want to understand your home state population better.) That means if you know 50 people, at least 2 of them are LGBT. Think of those 2+ people in your life. Do you advocate for them? Do you support them, emotionally or otherwise? If they work at your organization, do you empower them at work?
As leaders and doers in the social impact space, we are on the frontlines of everyday movements for justice and equality – social, racial, environmental, and sexual. But do our management and leadership values reflect a commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion? What do our hiring practices reveal about our values? Does our board makeup indicate an understanding of and commitment to those populations who need our support the most?
If you have never considered these kinds of questions, they can be a challenge at first. For those of us who are personally accepting and inclusive, it may feel like a stretch to think about ways to institutionalize our commitment to diverse communities.
But it must be done.
We cannot tout our commitment to our mission and simultaneously ignore the need to bake in diversity and inclusion into our organizational culture. We cannot advance one cause while sidelining another. The net effect of that approach is negative rather than positive.
So in the spirit of Pride month, here are a few resources to get you started on the path towards building a more just, equitable, and inclusive work environment.
In the words of Malcom X, “If not now, then when – if not me then who?”
It’s easy to change your branding to rainbow colors for June, or make the pride symbol your profile pic for the month. It’s hard to make real change in our lives, workplaces, and communities.
We will keep thinking about how to be a better ally to and advocate for the LGBT community – will you?
Author: Chantal Sheehan, Blue Fox Founder & Chief of Client Happiness
"Getting data you need for a grant request all comes down to the setup of your financial systems."
You sit at your laptop staring at the screen. You know that you need to finish this grant request, but you’re stuck. The narrative is coming along, but your roadblock is the financial justification for the grant. You flip through spreadsheets on your computer, you try to read the financials from the last month. But your eyes are crossed – you’re just not seeing what you need to make the case.
Grant writing is stressful enough without the added burden of working with bad (or at least useless) financial data. If you are an ED or a development professional who’s tasked with writing grant proposals, you’ve probably thought to yourself: there must be a better way.
And you’re right.
Getting data you need for a grant request all comes down to the setup of your financial systems.
Most US-based small to medium-sized nonprofits use some version of QuickBooks for their accounting. It has its quirks, but it’s a solid piece of software. One of my favorite features of QuickBooks is chronically unsung and under-utilized. It’s called CLASSES. Prepare to be wowed.
In the for-profit world, classes are often used for cost center or location-based tracking of revenue and expenses. Easy example: a retailer with more than 1 store. The management needs to see what stores are profitable, right?
Here’s what a (very simplified) profit and loss report using classes might look like in that case:
PROFIT & LOSS BY CLASS (LOCATION) YTD
Being able to analyze income and expenses according to location allows management to make better decisions about where to invest staff, time, and money to ensure profitability and sustainability.
Brilliantly, this same classes tool in QuickBooks can be used to track program revenue and expenses. (Can you feel the excitement building?? #nerdalert)
Using this method, you can allocate a percentage of staff salaries, general overhead, and direct program costs to each program WITHOUT adding a gazillion lines to your Chart of Accounts.
Here’s what that might look like for an environmental education nonprofit:
Do you see the leverage and empowerment that comes with this kind of accounting setup? If you were writing a grant for this organization’s adult programs, you’d be able to easily make the case for shortfall and demonstrate the need, right?
On the other hand, if you were writing a grant for the expansion of your K-12 programs, you could evaluate the estimated cost of that expanded reach based on the annual spend in that class.
Once you have your accounting system set up in this way, you can budget by class, run regular reports by class, and get valuable insights as to what is/is not sustainable from a revenue perspective. This not only assists with grant writing, but it will also lead you to have deeper and more honest conversations about things like program fees, fundraising goals and campaigns, and program budgets.
How game-changing would this type of reporting be for you? Imagine the possibilities.
A couple of caveats and words of caution:
Does it sound like we know our stuff? We do! The Blue Fox team will help get those financials in order and make grant writing a breeze!
Is your organization ready to outsource the accounting function (here’s how you know)?
If anything, let’s review your chart of accounts and class set up. We are happy to include that in our free consultation? Let’s schedule time! Call us at (321) 233-3311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re like us, your daily inbox is jam-packed with newsletters and educational opportunities from like-minded social impact leaders. These spectacular humans work around the clock to foster positive change in their communities. Then, somehow, find time to share their story with fellow nonprofit enthusiasts. We tip our hat to them!
Here are just a handful of our favorite nonprofit resources this month:
Thanks for stopping by to read our picks for top nonprofit news this month! If you’re interested in hearing more from us, subscribe to our newsletter today!
About Blue Fox: Our team provides customized, boutique financial and back office services for social impact organizations. Services range from standard bookkeeping and payroll services, to coaching and consulting, to comprehensive virtual CFO services. Our mission is to disrupt the traditional accounting model through technology, innovation, and a radically client-focused approach that truly empowers nonprofits and social enterprises. For more information call (321) 233-3311, email email@example.com, and visit www.YourBlueFox.com.
Welcome to the Blue Fox Blog! A fairly entertaining source of info and news related to our company, nonprofits, social sector trends, and, of course, accounting. Enjoy!
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