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What's a budget really worth?

A budget is, among other things, an estimate of income and expenses for a set period of time.

We help many of our clients tackle this process on an annual or sometimes more frequent basis as needed.

So how helpful are they? Are they really worth the time and effort and sometimes heartache of whittling away at the numbers until they're something a Board of Directors can feel good about approving?

We say yes, but what you decide will be based on your lens and what you see.

As this video from Nonprofit Assistance Fund in Minnesota shares here, a budget is a lot of things:

•a plan
•an idea of future likelihood
•a wish list
•numbers that reflect program & management priorities
•a set of assumptions about the year (a narrative - budgets are more than just numbers, believe it or not!)
•the allocation of resources among alternative choices
•a best guess working draft for the future

Quite a lot more involved here than just numbers on a page, wouldn't you say? We think so, too.

Important parts of the process include communicating priorities and information, understanding past data, developing new financial initiatives, drafting income and expense plans and then eventually actually implementing and monitoring the information that was created (why, hello there, monthly financial reporting packages from Imagine New!).

The process can often seem overwhelming, but doesn't have to be. Working from a plan and within an established set of deadlines and decision making can really move the process along and make it less painful for all involved - and more effective!

If you are a current client and want to discuss options for your next budget cycle, reach out to your client contact. If you're not currently a client, please reach out using the contact info at the right of each page here on our site and we will follow up with you to answer any questions you have.

Here's to collectively avoiding that old saying, "failing to plan is planning to fail."



Spotlight: Nonprofit Treasurers

The Treasurer role in a nonprofit organization is one requiring a specialized aptitude, if not skill set. It is an important appointment that impacts many pieces of the organization as money touches all edges of a nonprofit.

Over the years we have worked with many Treasurers, some of which had passion and skill for the organization that blew us away and some of which we were especially grateful to be a part of the organization’s financial picture because it didn’t appear the Treasurer had a desire or ability for the oversight that was his/her responsibility in the position. We enjoy being a resource to and for smaller organizations with Treasurers that have a direct almost weekly role in the finances and also organizations on the other end of the scale, where Treasurers only need to review and discuss the financial reporting package we provide on a monthly and quarterly basis (and of course also those that fall somewhere in the between the two!).

While this article from Blue Avocado specifically addresses eight Treasurer responsibilities for an all volunteer organization, we thought the detailed list of expectations was a good starting place for any nonprofit Treasurer position evaluation. Take a look and see if you agree or can think of other ways your Treasurer is especially helpful in governing your nonprofit.

What are you most grateful for in your nonprofit’s current Treasurer?