Get your financial house in order before you launch your next fundraising initiative!
Nonprofits everywhere equate fundraising with tireless event planning, digital crowdfunding, relationship building, and writing grants. But we would offer that before your staff gets to work, the finance and development teams should have a solid understanding of the organization’s financial position. That information can help light a fire with the staff and board, shape your giving goals, and inform the messaging of your appeals.
So, we put together this handy checklist to help you get your financial house in order before you launch your next fundraising initiative. We’re pretty sure this is the first list of its kind – so enjoy and let us know how we can help!
CLICK HERE to download the goods!
4-step Guide to Build a Best-in-class Brand
Building a strong brand is difficult but important for any type of services provider. But those of us in the financial services industry can struggle even more with marketing and the creative side of branding. Wouldn’t it be nice if clients just fell into our lap and we could spend our days crunching numbers in our cozy office? I mean… you didn’t go into finance as a creative outlet, right?! Don’t worry there is a method behind the marketing madness and we’re going to show you the way!
Recently our CEO, Chantal Sheehan wrote a guest article for Bill.com featuring a 4-step guide to help financial service firms build a best-in-class brand.
[Read Our CEO’s Article on Bill.com]
BONUS: [Subscribe here to get the next article in her branding series]
We won’t reiterate the entire article, (just go read it for in-dept commentary and step-by-step instruction) but here is the basic essence:
So, why is our CEO writing about this? Why is she helping other financial service firms with their marketing? Well, because it’s the right thing to do, and that’s what she does. Here is the rebranding story of Blue Fox which resulted in immediate and mentionable growth. This story of successful rebranding needed to be retold!
Even better, part 2 in this series is coming soon! Learn what to do with your new logo and graphics in hand. How can you leverage these visuals and messaging to reach new clients in the most cost-effective way possible? Subscribe here and we’ll send you part 2 of this series when it’s ready.
A Note From Our Founder...
In January, I had the opportunity to talk to 40 or so people in our local community of Melbourne, Florida about nonprofit financial sustainability. It was a lively discussion, especially when we got to talking about the key components of an efficient and sustainable nonprofit back office.
There was one key misconception in the room about implementing new technology that I thought I'd share with you here. A bunch of folks raised objections about technology saying it was expensive. It's true, there are lots of tech tools out there that are pricey and present budget barriers. But there are also TONS of free tools and programs which can help offset or even eliminate those costs. Here are some of my favorites:
- Google Suite & AdWords Grants
- Tech Soup (discounts on hardware and even free software licenses)
Careful, thoughtful investments in your back office tech is an essential part of an intentional approach to IT. You don't have to make huge investments or sweeping changes to see a big improvement in your internal workflows.
And as always, if we can help you think through some of your needs, especially on the accounting, payroll, and HR side of things, don't hesitate to reach out. That's what we're here for!
Taxpayers Should Register for an Identity Protection PIN Number
As Dwight Schrute (The Office) so eloquently puts it, “Identity theft is not a joke, Jim! Millions of families suffer every year.”
This is actually (and sadly) true. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. The IRS estimates that it pays out at least $1 billion in fraudulent tax refunds each year.
Each year, thousands of tax returns are filed fraudulently using legit social security numbers. Fraudsters get your social in the back alleys of the interwebs and then file fake information and link it to their bank accounts. You’ll only find out this happened when your tax return is rejected when you go to file it!
So, how do you prevent yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft and prevent your social from getting scammed out of a tax refund?
The IRS recommends that all eligible taxpayers get an identity protection PIN (IP PIN) to help prevent the misuse of their Social Security number on fraudulent federal income tax returns.
Who’s eligible for an IP PIN?
How do I get an IP PIN?
How do I use an IP PIN?
Just click right here to get all of those important details.
Shameless plug time:
Now, let’s say you personally or the nonprofit organization you manage needs assistance during tax season. Our team of tax experts and nonprofit gurus can help! Give us a call at (321) 233-3311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We make taxes look easy!
How to Start a Nonprofit?
Last week our CEO received a phone call that started like this: “Hi Chantal, I’m staring a nonprofit in Delaware and could use some support getting my organization off the ground. Is this something you can help with or do you only work with established nonprofits?”
Our CEO’s response: “Yes, our team would love to help! Tell me what you’ve completed so far and we can go from there.”
So, where do you begin? How do you start a nonprofit organization from scratch? First: make sure you have a working coffee pot! Then start to check off this list:
Here are 3 of our favorite resources to help as you work on crafting the bylaws, mission, vision, and setting up your founding board:
WANT TO KNOW A SECRET?
Our CEO loves to work with ‘nonprofit-preneurs’ in the start-up phase. Why? Because our team of nonprofit gurus can help set up back office operations in the most efficient manner, with the latest technology, right off the bat. This means that our clients are free to focus on strategy, fundraising, marketing, program development, team-building, event planning, and all the things that they do best!
If you are starting a nonprofit, give us a call and let us get your sorted! Schedule a chat with our CEO, email us at email@example.com or call (321) 233-3311.
And above all, thank YOU for your dedication to serving others!
Our Latest Picks for Nonprofit Tools, News & Resources!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit www.YourBlueFox.com.
Dates Apply to QuickBooks Payroll Users Only
Our friends at QuickBooks just sent us this list of important deadlines to remember for QuickBooks payroll service users. You're welcome! And as always give our team a call if you need assistance preparing for any financial-related deadline! Bonus: If you're not yet a QuickBooks user, feel free to take advantage of the discounted rate available to our clients and friends. 50% off is not to shabby, right?! We're a proud QuickBooks Ambassadors!
January 10, 2020:
W-2 forms become available in your product and will be mailed to your employees by January 31, 2020.
January 28, 2020, by 5 PM PT:
If using the Intuit 1099 E-file service, this is the last day to submit for timely mailing of contractor 1099s.
January 31, 2020:
Last day to provide 1099-MISC forms to contractors.
Last day to e-file 1099 forms for timely processing with the IRS.
DID YOU KNOW:
The IRS has released a new W-4 form? Learn more about what's changing, who it affects, and when the new form will be available in your account.
For the complete year-end payroll checklist, visit the Year-End Center.
Sheehan will speak on how to have meaningful financial conversations with a nonprofit board of directors.
Melbourne, FL (December 19, 2019) – Chantal Sheehan, Founder and CEO of Blue Fox was recently named a speaker for NTEN’s 2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference (20NTC). The conference will take place March 24-26 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland.
Dubbed by her clients as a nonprofit numbers guru, Sheehan will speak on how to have meaningful financial conversations with a nonprofit board of directors using the latest and greatest financial technology. Her presentation, 4 Strategies for Meaningful Money Conversations with Your Board, will introduce actionable strategies for nonprofit executives to use in the board room: financial dashboards, reporting tools and visual conversation starters.
[Related: How to Wow at Your Next Board Meeting: 4 Tips for Meaningful Money Conversations]
She explains, “Discussing financials with your board can be stressful. You’re often met with blank stares, irrelevant questions or surprise concerns. There has to be a better way. A better way to guide financial conversations. A better way to present the data. A better way to tap into the knowledge, experience and leadership that sits around your board room table. And, a better way to show your board that you are responsibly steering the ship.”
With over 2,000 attendees, NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference gives nonprofit leaders the opportunity to learn how technology can help them more efficiently serve their communities and create change. Organizers explain, “20NTC is designed to help you reinvigorate your work and bring that renewed passion back home.”
Sheehan is a nonprofit organizational leadership expert and financial management coach with over 15 years executive-level experience across the private and public sectors. She guarantees 20NTC attendees a fast-paced session loaded with takeaways.
As an avid blogger she spices up the topic of financial management in publications for Bill.com, Bloomerang, and Hive. Her company blog at www.yourbluefox.com features content aimed to educate and empower nonprofit and social enterprise professionals. From QuickBooks hacks to advice on how to talk finance with a board of directors, the Blue Fox blog has it all.
A recovering nonprofit executive director herself, Sheehan started Blue Fox in 2015, and the company has doubled or tripled in size each year in response to high demand. For more information about Blue Fox call (321) 233-3311, email email@example.com, and visit www.yourbluefox.com.
ABOUT BLUE FOX: Blue Fox provides customized financial and back office services for social impact organizations (nonprofits and social enterprises). Services range from standard bookkeeping and payroll services, to coaching and consulting, to full-blown virtual CFO services. The Blue Fox 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit www.yourbluefox.com.
A Story About How We Serve Clients…
When Bill.com calls to interview your CEO, you jump at the opportunity! Especially when they mention that your CEO is viewed as an industry-leading financial services provider and they want to share her expertise. And, now we’re blushing!
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE:
Blue Fox, AI, and Maximizing Value for Accounting Clients
Our CEO, Chantal Sheehan has first-hand experience with the challenges that nonprofit face and has structured Blue Fox services to support those unique challenges. In this interview, she explains how Blue Fox takes advantage of Bill.com’s AI-powered Intelligent Virtual Assistant to most efficiently serve clients.
One of our favorite quotes from the interview is when our CEO, Chantal Sheehan said, “We focus on leveraging technology like AI so that we can apply human time where it counts for clients.” This is part of the Blue Fox philosophy and why we work so hard to provide the latest and greatest technology solutions for our clients.
If your nonprofit or social enterprise is looking to professionalize your back office operations, give us a shout any time at (321) 233-3311 or email@example.com.
Why one of 2020’s hottest nonprofit trends will continue to be the rise of the virtual CFO.
CFO. Chief Financial Officer. Head Honcho of All the Numbers.
If you’ve ever met one, your mental picture of a traditional CFO is likely one of a middle-aged white guy wearing glasses, khakis, and a button down shirt hunched over a computer with paperwork all over his desk. Let’s call him Bob.
We’re happy to report that, while Bob lives on in many businesses, a growing trend in finance is about to disrupt the C-suite for good. Enter the outsourced, virtual CFO, or vCFO.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, vCFOs may be called outsourced, part-time, or fractional CFOs. Google those terms and be amazed at the number of results. We think that 2020 will be another banner year for outsourced CFOs everywhere, so we thought it might be time to break it down for you.
Here’s what you need to know:
vCFOs may either be a firm or an individual. Usually they are CPAs, senior accountants or bookkeepers, or other experienced and educated individuals who’ve held CFO or senior finance or accounting roles in the past. Likely female (more than half of all accountants in the US are women), these folks are highly skilled numbers nerds who can fill the CFO role just as well as (better than?) Bob.
What does an outsourced CFO do? She may be charged with a variety of tasks including bookkeeping, accounting, month-end closes, payroll, and financial reporting. But the real leverage in a vCFO is the strategic guidance and financial planning she provides. Interpreting financial data in a way that makes sense to other members of the C-suite is job #1. The rest of the job is to take a proactive approach to finance with sustainability in mind. A vCFO helps organizations streamline its financial systems and processes, develop strategic budgets, manage financial risk, raise capital, and figure out exactly what is needed to get from where your business or nonprofit is today to where you would like it to go.
A growing number of nonprofits and social enterprises turn to vCFOs for these reasons:
When to hire a vCFO is something we’ll cover in a future blog, but a different type of when question we get about Blue Fox is: when can we call you? The answer is: anytime. One big bonus of a vCFO is that, in most cases, they are available to support you, ask questions, present at meetings, and generally do whatever you need them to do anytime. 100% uptime, to poach a tech industry phrase. That’s because vCFO firms like ours pair a bookkeeper and a senior accountant on each client’s work. You can always reach someone on your virtual finance team and you’re never left in the lurch. Again, our singular agenda is: support you and your organization to the best of our ability at all times.
(5) WHERE & HOW
This is an easy one – outsourced CFOs can be remote and tend to deliver their services through cloud-based technology. It’s actually the recent evolutions in cloud-based accounting tech that make what we do possible – 10 years ago, the tech just wasn’t there. But now we can work with any client anywhere at any time. As a vCFO client, that also means you can pick from the nation’s top service providers, rather than just your local market. You can source vCFOs who specialize in your industry, and they can work for you from anywhere. Video and conference calls bridge the communications gaps, and our cloud-based tools allow us to securely exchange data and provide live, real-time accounting information all day long.
Hopefully, now you can see why one of 2020’s hottest business trends will continue to be the rise of the virtual CFO. Your nonprofit or social enterprise can be an early adopter. Start the new year off with fresh and clean books, and the leverage a vCFO can provide to ensure you lead with 20/20 vision for this year and beyond!
Author: Blue Fox Founder & CEO, Chantal Sheehan
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!
Dear COVID-19, I'm Breaking Up With You
The Latest COVID-19 Resources for Nonprofits
10 Reasons to Outsource Your Nonprofit Accounting
6 Step Guide To Build Donor Trust
Our Favorite Resources for Nonprofit Fundraisers
3 Vital Resources for Nonprofit Start-ups
2020 Nonprofit Trend: The Virtual CFO
How to Make Your Nonprofit Recession-Proof
What Nonprofits Need to Know About the New Overtime Ruling
Double-entry Accounting Made Easy - Essential Desktop Guide, Free Download
Blue Fox CEO Named
As Keynote Speaker for Nonprofit Hub's Cause Camp 2020
The Ultimate Nonprofit Finance Checklist for Giving Season
5 Steps to Solving Complex Workflow Problems
The Hidden Cost of Wearing Too Many Hats
The Key to Workplace Success - Investments in Professional Development
Accounts Payable Made Easy - The Marriage of Bill.com and QuickBooks Online
Nonprofits - It's Time to Automate Your Back Office
How to Engage Your Board of Directors in Financial Conversations
How to Join the Social Enterprise Movement
Kindness Leads to More Profit & Productivity
Don’t Ignore This Nonprofit Management Advice
Building Blocks for A More Just, Equitable, and Inclusive Work Environment
QB Tip of the Month: How to Use Classes for Painless Grant Writing
Nonprofit Leaders - Talk Finance and Empower Your Staff
When to Hire An Accountant for Your Social Impact Org
Why Outsource Your Accounting?
That Time I Went to Cause Camp
Impact Investments in Yourself
Are You Paying Too Much for Payroll?
Financial Dashboards - Capture Attention, Create Conversations, Drive Results!
Don't Let FinTech Scare You - Our Top 4 Back Office Tech
The Wonderful World of Micro-Donating!
The Case for Kindness in Business
How Nonprofits Build Donor Trust: Be Transparent
5 New Year’s Resolutions for Sustainable Nonprofits
Why We’re on a Mission to Help Conservation Organizations
Money Matters - So Why Aren’t More Nonprofits Talking About It?
Tips to Get You A Clean Audit Every Year
Blue Fox Teams Up With Bloomerang to Develop Nonprofit Resources
Blue Fox Earns Better Business Bureau Accreditation
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Blue Fox - The Origin Story