Just starting out? Have a small organization up and running but haven’t quite gotten around to writing down a budget? Even if you are just thinking about starting a nonprofit, you can benefit from a budget. A budget is a spending plan, and the most important part about it is the planning aspect, which makes you really think through your potential income and expenses. Here’s some help to get you started.
Over and over, I see job postings from nonprofit organizations that don’t list salaries. Instead they say things like, “Salary shall be commensurate with experience.”, or “The company offers a competitive wage and excellent fringe benefits package including health, dental and life insurance, and tuition reimbursement.” It’s nice to know there are benefits, but the salary range is still the primary piece of information.
Employers have budgeted ranges for each posting, so why can’t they disclose the details? Do they hope they can find someone who will work for less than they budgeted? No one would admit to doing that, but it is likely that some organizations do it. Are they embarrassed by how little they are paying? They need to be up front about it, and then work to change that in the future. Are they just following the lead of corporate job postings? How about doing something different and being transparent about what you are able to pay?
Do you have to pay sales tax if you are a nonprofit organization? If you are in Nebraska, you usually have to. Since sales tax regulations vary greatly by state, I can’t address all of the different types, but I’ll give an overview of what Nebraska requires.
All nonprofits struggle with providing good benefits to staff without breaking the bank. Here’s a few suggestions that are cheap or free and will make employees feel valued. Pay and insurance benefits are always primary, but that’s not all a nonprofit employee wants, as then they’d go find a corporate job!
Starting a nonprofit organization sounds like fun, but the reality is that it takes quite a bit of work. There are legitimate reasons to start a new organization, but your very first step should be extensive research to make sure the need isn’t being filled already by someone with more experience. All too often, I hear about someone starting an organization to help a village in Africa, or to raise money to fight a disease, and I wonder if the time and money could be better spent by joining efforts with an existing group.
Why Your Organization Needs an Interim Executive Director
In any nonprofit organization, the executive director plays a key role. The director is the conduit between the board and staff, the public face of the organization, the person who guides the direction of the organization, and much more. When a long-time director leaves, or when the organization has had multiple directors during a short period of time, the board should consider bringing in an interim executive director to strengthen the organization and facilitate the transition. An interim executive director gives the board time for a comprehensive search for the next executive director, since they don’t have to worry about hurrying to get leadership in place.
Google provides a ton of great resources for nonprofit organizations completely free. This includes their G Suite (Gmail, Calendar, Google Drive), as well as advertising, and video chats. Go to Google’s page for Nonprofit Management Resources and select G Suite for Nonprofits to sign up to use Gmail, Google Drive and many other resources. This program is open to all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, you just need to be registered with TechSoup and Guidestar to qualify. (Not a 501(c)(3) yet? You can start with the paid version at only $5 per user per month and access all the G Suite features.)
You can expect weekly posts on a wide range of topics about successfully running small nonprofits. This will include the areas of recruiting and training board members, online tools to make your work easier, rules and regulations for nonprofits, fundraising, grant writing, event planning, and much, much more!
After 20 years working in nonprofits, I can share a wide range of information that will save you time and energy. For eleven of those years, I was the Executive Director of an organization called Community Crops, in Lincoln, Nebraska, which helps families grow their own food through a network of community gardens. When I started at Crops, it was a project hosted by another nonprofit. Since we had grown larger than that organization, I completed the process of incorporating the organization and filing to be a 501(c)(3). From there, the organization grew to a twelve person team with a $400,000 budget serving hundreds of families. As a result, I have experience with every aspect of running an organization, from the beginning when I did everything, to when I left when I was managing the higher level aspects of the organization.
I’m excited to start blogging to share my expertise with other organizations so they can avoid mistakes and function more efficiently. I’m also available for consultations to nonprofits in the Lincoln area, or elsewhere by phone/e-mail.
I welcome your feedback on this or any other post on the blog.
Be an even more effective nonprofit leader with monthly tips!
Sign up below to receive my monthly email newsletter on nonprofit themes. As an added bonus, you will get a copy of my Succession Planning Guide.