Waukegan, IL—July 1, 2014 – Thinking about internal planning, setting a strategic financial
direction and best practices for annual budgeting may strike fear into some nonprofit organization leaders’ hearts. But it’s probably the most foundational and important activity to ensure that missions don’t suffer from money woes.
- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -
Contact: Sylvia M. Zaldivar-Sykes
847-377-0520 ext. 24
Area Nonprofits Complete First Leg of The Lake County Community Foundation's Two-Part Financial Management Training Initiative
Waukegan, IL-May 29, 2014 - Effective nonprofit organizations not only manage their finances well and use financial information strategically, they're also able to effectively communicate their organization's "financial story."
Learning how to tell a compelling story through numbers was the focus of the first of two financial management training events The Lake County Community Foundation recently held for a variety of Lake County nonprofits in different stages of organizational maturity.
Led by Hilda H. Polanco, CPA, Founder and Managing Director of the FMA Institute, an organization that helps nonprofits strengthen their financial and operational health, the leaders of about 15 nonprofit organizations sharpened their skills in both managing their finances and using their financial data strategically.
According to the Nonprofit Finance Fund's 2014 State of the Sector Survey, the number one concern nonprofit organizations pinpointed as their greatest challenge was achieving long-term financial stability.
Polanco guided her students through the nuts and bolts of financial basics like the main components of an organization's financial audit, and how to use those components to create a plan for bettering an organization's finances as it matures.
"The most important thing here is to learn how to put your best foot forward," Polanco told workshop participants, "You want to ensure that you have a financial script to use as you build your financial story. Whether it's about great growth, having a rough time, or withstanding ups and downs, having a deep understanding of your finances allows you to get ahead of the story."
Crafting a story to potentially interested donors, to funders, or to community stakeholders, Polanco said, is dependent on:
- Understanding your balance of assets and liabilities
- Being able to forecast funding levels
- Managing unexpected declines in funding with versatility
- Clearly and transparently articulating how funds are spent
- Demonstrating how the organization is performing at meeting its mission over time
- Documenting plans for improving any areas in which financial positions require attention
Foundation Executive Director Sylvia Zaldivar-Sykes noted that building financial acumen among the county's nonprofit organizations is one of the best ways to enable them to have a greater impact on the community's neediest residents.
"We know that if we strengthen organizations' ability to practice sound financial management today, will have sustained programs tomorrow," Zaldivar-Sykes said. "And with the ever-increasing needs of a county in which poverty continues to grow, the Foundation is focused on doing everything it can to build that long-term sustainability."
The second and final training will take place on Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 at the United Way of Lake County in Gurnee, IL.
About The Lake County Community Foundation
Since 2003, The Lake County Community Foundation, an affiliate of The Chicago Community Trust, has partnered with donors to leverage and guide their philanthropy to help transform the lives of the most vulnerable people across our county. Together, we have contributed over $2.5 million to 80 nonprofit organizations that support basic human needs, community development, education and health throughout Lake County. By connecting the generosity of donors across Lake County with the most pressing needs of the community, we ensure that our county thrives today and for generations to come.
GROWING PHILANTHROPY, BUILDING COMMUNITY