How to Prepare for a Digital Giving Season
Fundraisers certainly have their work cut out for them this year. Coronavirus. Racism. Unemployment. Riots. Business closures. Natural disasters. A contentious election year. All of these make for a super challenging fundraising environment. So, what’s a fundraising organization to do with giving season right around the corner?
Here’s our CEO’s most recent article addressing this issue: Raise More Money - 4 Financial Secrets for Fundraisers. And, here are a some of our favorite resources from social impact leaders we trust:
Keep in mind that fundraising is just the first step to grow (and these days sustain) your nonprofit. It’s what you do with those funds (how you manage and leverage them) that’s key to organizational sustainability. That’s where our team at Blue Fox comes in handy. We’re like a swiss army knife – each service we offer designed to streamline your back office and manage your financials in the most effective way possible.
Please enjoy these resources and if you’re interested in hearing more from us, subscribe to our newsletter today!
Nonprofits, When to Apply for PPP Loan Forgiveness
So, you received PPP funds.
What do you do now?
How do you make sure your loan is forgiven?
If you're asking these questions, you're not alone!
What we know:
As always, our team is happy to answer questions and help your organization navigate current financial challenges. Give us a call at (321) 233-3311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raise your hand if you love being audited.
We didn’t think so.
At most companies, audit time causes anxiety and panic. And, the pressure doesn’t stop there. As a financial services and advisory firm, we’re under the microscope too.
For many nonprofit organizations an audit is an annual occurrence (often mandated in the bylaws or by state law). From a fundraising perspective, a clean audit can demonstrate sound financial stewardship and pave the way for increased donor trust and giving. That’s why our team at Blue Fox views a client audit as a management and marketing opportunity, as well as an important financial management exercise.
Using the right tools and technology, we’ve reduced the tedious audit process from an average 10 hours down to just 2. That’s an entire workday saved – you’re welcome! How did we do it? One app: Bill.com.
We’re such big fans of Bill.com’s audit effectiveness that Bill.com asked our CEO, Chantal Sheehan to write about it on their blog.
In the full article, How to Help Your Clients Get a Clean Audit, she highlights 3 key features at Bill.com that help our clients get clean, fairly painless audits each year:
(1) Digitized, paperless records
(2) Enforcement of internal controls
(3) Audit trail feature
The full article gives specific details and examples. It’s a must read!
Is your organization looking for nonprofit audit preparation services? Give us a call at (321) 233-3311 or email. We’ll get you sorted! Then you can focus on what really matters: your mission and serving your community.
5 Tips to Get You A Clean Audit Every Year
Nonprofits - It's Time to Automate Your Back Office
10 Reasons to Outsource Your Nonprofit Accounting
Fundraisers certainly have their work cut out for them this year. Coronavirus. Racism. Unemployment. Riots. Business closures. Natural disasters. A contentious election year. All of these make for a super challenging fundraising environment. So, what’s a fundraising organization to do?
Chances are, you’re already making lemons out of lemonade. We applaud all of you nonprofiteers for a quick pivot to digital fundraising, virtual events, and redirecting your focus on personal donor communication strategies. Strong relationships are more important than ever. And, our team at Blue Fox would like to offer: “What if those relationships are paired with strategic financial knowledge? How much more effective could your fundraising team be?”
Our CEO, Chantal Sheehan recently wrote a guest feature article for Bloomerang addressing this exact question: 4 Finance Secrets to Help You Raise More Money.
(1) Know Your Burn Rate
(2) Be Transparent and Fluent in Financial Data
(3) Demonstrate Financial Resilience
(4) Understand How to Frame Overhead as Programmatic Support
The full article gives specific details and examples. It’s a must read!
If your team could use guidance implementing these suggestions, our friendly team at Blue Fox is here to help! Give us a call at (321) 233-3311 or email. We’ll get you sorted! Then you can focus on what really matters: your mission and serving your community.
6 Step Guide to Build Donor Trust
Our Favorite Resources for Nonprofit Fundraisers
Kindness Leads to More Profit and Productivity
[PREFACE: This blog article was started pre-coronavirus pandemic. That’s why the first sentence doesn’t start, “During these difficult times,” and the context doesn’t talk about COVID-19 throughout. However, it’s important to note that building a financially sustainable nonprofit is your best shot to keep services running during tough economic times such as these. So, let’s get to work.]
In the nonprofit world, nirvana is achieved through financial sustainability. We’re talking about a level of sustainability that most organizations only dream about: fully funded operating reserves, available lines of credit, multiple revenue streams, and a full understanding of when the money flows in, how to leverage it, make it grow, and how it is best spent.
Financial sustainability creates its own beautiful cycle. It breeds proactive leadership, strategic direction, and organization growth. Why? Because social impact leaders with a comprehensive understanding of their financial operations can confidently communicate, empower and build trust with their stakeholders. And, trust leads to increased financial support. [6 Step Guide to Build Donor Trust]
This high-performing type of organization is 100% possible! We know because we’ve seen countless organizations transform, including many of our clients.
So, where does a nonprofit start?
Here’s a model of the 4-part system that our CEO, Chantal Sheehan uses to help nonprofits achieve financial sustainability. It’s a cycle. It’s a system. The flow creates continuous improvement and continuous analysis.
Let’s break it down…
Simply put, stewardship is nurturing, supporting, and taking care of something. Its time spent thinking, planning, talking, and taking action to ensure long-term viability.
Ask yourself. Does your team steward your financial operations as much as other organizational activities? Think about how much time your team spends each week on fundraising? How much time do you spend cultivating donors? How much of your time is spent chasing donations and grant money? 50% of your week? 70%? Maybe even 90%?
Now, how much time do you spend analyzing how those hard-fought dollars are used? Do you have regular meetings with your team about finance? Do department or program heads talk about budget in real-time and regularly? In most cases, the time spent on financial management (stewardship) is not even close to the time spent raising the funds. It’s time to change that dynamic and take one huge leap closer to financial sustainability.
“Sustainability starts with a commitment to apply the same principles and stewardship to finance as we apply to fundraising and donor relationships.” – Chantal Sheehan, Blue Fox CEO
The use of modern financial technology is a critical support mechanism for financial stewardship. Tech platforms have come a long way in the last decade. They are more cost-effective and affordable than ever, and it’s time for nonprofits to get on board. Using financial technology appropriately is no longer just a plus for nonprofits… it’s a must. FinTech or bust! [Our Favorite Back Office Technology Solutions]
Some reasons why social impact organizations should adopt or seek out best of breed financial technology:
* Side note on “cloud-based”: Let’s get coffee if you think we’re talking about actual clouds here :)
Data. It’s not just a word for nerdy back-office folks crunching numbers. Data is a word used by proactive smart leaders. Data is what gives nonprofit executive directors, CEOs and board members the ability to make reasoned, educated decisions. Data is the pencil that draws the blueprints for strategic planning. If your last organizational decision was made by intuition, why not generate some data to check yourself and provide evidence? Data breeds buy-in too.
When it comes to collecting data, our CEO always says, “Garbage in, garbage out.” If your FinTech is working for you the way it should be, avoiding bad data should be straightforward. But here are some operational decisions for your team to consider to ensure your data is squeaky clean:
Now that your data gleams, it’s time to use it to generate insights. Data tells you what happened. Insights tell you why something happen, why something failed to happen or what might happen next. Insights result from analysis and discussion. One of the best ways to analyze and discuss data is to make it visual whenever possible.
Here are some tools that make financial data visual and encourage your team to generate insights to aid in organizational decision making:
Once you’ve taken your data from snooze-fest to wow-fest, you’ll notice a fairly immediate shift in how your team discusses it. Insights will begin to reveal themselves, giving you the capacity to make informed decisions and strategic moves as needed.
Stewardship (Yes, Again)
It’s time to close this loop of continuous improvement and analysis. Let’s talk about, plan for and become proactive (a.k.a. steward) about your financial situation to put your organization in a more sustainable position.
Data and the insights they reveal show you what financial risks and opportunities exist. Now, relate those to your external and internal environments. Determine what changes you can make now so that your organization is stronger and better able to mitigate risks. Think about how these new insights should inform changes to your current fundraising initiatives, revenue goals, operational plans, and program strategies. Then plan for a rainy day. Shore up any potential cash flow weak spots by acquiring a line of credit and creating an operating reserve (5 Key Elements Your Operating Reserves Policy Needs). Do this year after year, and you will watch your organization shift from reactive to proactive, and sustainability will follow.
As always, if your team could use support implementing this system at your nonprofit, Blue Fox is her to help! Give us a call at (321) 233-3311 or email hello@yourbluefox. Feel free to learn more about our philosophy, clients, services and our team before you make that call. Now, let’s get to work!
By: Blue Fox CEO, Chantal Sheehan and Marketing Guru, Chelsea Clementi
A Letter From Our CEO, Chantal Sheehan
I’m over it.
The government screw ups.
The conspiracy theories.
The unemployment rate.
The food supply.
The feeling of loneliness.
The worry. About everything. All the time.
Oh look, murder hornets.
I’m so over this s#!t. I know you are, too.
That’s why I’ve decided it’s time to break up with COVID-19.
As leaders and business owners, we have a job to do. Yes, we must acknowledge and accept the reality we now find ourselves in, but we can’t afford to lose touch with each other and perhaps more importantly, ourselves. We can’t afford to sacrifice today and tomorrow’s opportunities because a virus just gave the world a horrible, epic swirlie and we’re glued to a device watching things fall apart.
It’s time to break up with COVID-19.
This is a defining moment in time, no doubt. How will this moment come to define you?
Remember: we have work to do. We must get up every day, lead our teams, take care of our families, and provide services and support to communities and people who rely on us. (And hopefully, find toilet paper somewhere in between.)
Need inspiration, or a reminder of why your work matters? Here’s a sample of the amazing things our clients have been up to – also known as why we get out of bed every day:
What are you up to? Let us know and we’ll give you a shout out, too. We’re in this together.
Still in bed? Still feeling blue?
Let’s throw all the damn clichés in here at once and snap the hell out of it:
Just keep swimming.
Be in the moment.
Enjoy the little things.
Or tell someone you wish you could.
Fix something you can fix.
Clean something you can clean.
Make a good meal.
Then give it to someone else.
Rethink your career.
Consider your long-term plans for your business.
(Make a long-term plan for your business.)
Plant a garden.
Plant a tree.
Talk to your neighbors.
You’ve got this.
Here are some of our favorite resources right now for moving on and moving out of crisis mode.
Those of us who successfully break up with COVID-19 and end our internal toxic relationship with all that it brings will be better for it in the end. I know that sounds trite, naïve even. But it’s a hallmark of human experience that when disaster or tragedy strikes, we evolve in response. The exceptional among us turn horror into beauty, discord into order, and brokenness into wholeness.
Join me. Say sayonara to this stupid virus.
Become a stronger, better, more flexible, adaptable, sustainable person, and then empower and support those around you to do the same.
I’m with you.
The Nonprofit Transparency Transformation
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!
Blue Fox Teams Up With Bloomerang to Develop Nonprofit Resources
Blue Fox Earns Better Business Bureau Accreditation
Blue Fox Launches Protected By Logo
Blue Fox - The Origin Story