Cash Flow on Steroids: 4 Uncensored Secrets Every Small Wobbly Nonprofit Should KnowPosted: November 5, 2013
Why does your small wobbly nonprofit struggle with cash flow and what can be done about it? I already know what you are thinking. You just can’t seem to come up with enough funding. Times are tough. It’s out of your control and not much can be done.
Case closed. Or is it? Not in my book. That rationale just doesn’t register with me. Face it- you have tested positive. Now it’s time to fight clean and address those performance gaps before you take a real shellacking.
Inject Discipline. Put an immediate stop to impulse buying. Is the authority and procedure to purchase clearly spelled out in your organization? Have you shopped around? Can you get the item used? Do you have an alternative stashed away in your inventory? Have you tried to request an in-kind donation? The services of a volunteer? Checked with a larger purchasing group like NJPA? If you haven’t taken steps like those first, please don’t shamelessly request contributions. On the other side of the coin, if you have taken those preliminary steps and the need is critical, your nonprofit has a strong case for funding.
Understand when to save and when to invest. Yes, for every thing there is a season. But being penny-wise and pound-foolish is a smug management approach. Don’t offend staff by telling them there is little funding for pay increases or program activities while enriching management behind the scenes. Don’t cut back on volunteer recognition because you overpaid the contractor who is a friend of a Board member. Don’t save money on insignificant office supplies while at the same time clearly overspending on big-ticket items. Do invest in your people, your vision and the activities that can truly make a difference.
Avoid future shock. Monitor your cash flow carefully and regularly. Missing data, inaccurate information or just no data at all can prove to be catastrophic to a small wobbly nonprofit. Do you know how much unrestricted cash you have on hand at this very moment? How much do you expect to have next month or next year at this time? If there is a hole in the boat, fix the leak before it sinks.
Don’t let budgets vaporize. They are real and serve a purpose. A lack of accountability can result in overspending. Expecting the arrival of a bonanza at your doorstep to pay for it is foolish, risky thinking.
Stewardship is a serious undertaking. So face the music now. Be transparent. Be ethical. Be reasonable. Be balanced. And always be vigilant.
Get your free copy of the Multiplying Good blueprint at Wobbly Nonprofit.
- 3 Budget Boo Boos your Nonprofit Can’t Afford to Make (wobblynonprofit.wordpress.com)