The Development Conundrum

Development Conundrum
I recently heard from a nonprofit leader who wished to hire a Development professional but was held back by a struggling financial status. However, the leader didn’t have enough time to devote to development activities personally.
It is worth exploring your organization’s financial status…exploring whether you can free up the capital to bring in a development manager or director.
From the perspective of the accounting department, common reasons why nonprofit organizations suffer financially include:
GRANTS/EXPENSES
  • overspending of grants >>> arises from no one giving you real-time financial clarity to manage grant spending
  • grant expenditures being denied by the grantor >>> arises from you not receiving receipts and other expense documentation in real time
  • portions of salaries being denied by the grantor >>> arises from no one knowing how to (or having the time to) allocate salaries and document the rationale for that
  • salaries unreimbursed by the grantor >>> arises from no one knowing how to efficiently create a clear, formal method for allocating salaries to grants
GRANTS/INCOME
  • grant money coming in too many days after grant funds were spent >>> arises from no one with the time to place follow-up calls to grantors
  • invoices to grantors sent out too many days after the grant funds were spent >>> arises from not having the information that you need in real-time, such as expenses incurred during the month
DAILY SPENDING
  • unauthorized spending >>> arises from lack of policies and/or not keeping the conversation of fiscal responsibility alive and vibrant with employees with organizational credit/debit cards, and/or lack of real-time monitoring of spending
  • overspending >>> arises from lack of real-time clarity regarding how much is available
PLEDGES
  • not materializing >>> arises from no technology being used to automate payments, pledges receivable not being tracked anywhere, and/or no one tasked with following up on pledges receivable
RISK
  • don’t feel like you’re getting an ROI from each team member >>> arises from misaligning salary structure and salary level with job duties/job performance/job level
  • theft >>> arises from weak internal controls, which are policies and procedures designed
TIME
  • Good people are not fulfilling their roles >>> arises from higher-paid employees spending time on tasks that could be delegated to a team member who costs less…or delegated to technology…or avoided altogether if steps hadn’t been skipped or done incorrectly in a process
  • Overpaying hourly employees >>> arises from weak internal controls over documentation of the number of hours actually worked

Will 2016 Be Your Best Year Ever?

If you want 2016 to be better than 2015, you have to do something differently in 2016 than you did in 2015. It’s a simple but profound realization. Change brings the opportunity to make things better; it can be scary yet exciting at the same time.

Ask yourself what you are going to do differently to have your best year ever. Here are some questions and exercises to consider:

Clarify Your Vision
What does the world look like after it’s consumed your product or service? A vision statement for a company helps to keep everyone on track and seeing the bigger picture of what they’re accomplishing day after day. How is the world smarter, more beautiful, happier, healthier, or wealthier after they’ve left your business?

If you haven’t written your business vision and mission statement, consider this exercise for 2016.

Create New Habits
What habits are holding you back? Which ones are propelling you forward? Choose one habit that’s costing you the most and make a commitment to drop it from your 2016 repertoire. Conversely, identify the habit that is brining you happiness and wealth and multiply it.

Let Go
Sometimes we need to let go before we can move forward. What do you need to let go of? Are there customers or employees in your life that sap your energy or your bank account?

Build Your Support Structure
Are you short-staffed? The way you manage your time has everything to do with your success or the lack of it. If you are taking up your time with a lot of low-dollar tasks, it’s going to be hard to boost your income and get ahead. Surround yourself with support to do everything that can be delegated, including personal tasks such as grocery shopping, housekeeping, cooking, and lawn maintenance as well as tasks such as filing, bookkeeping, appointment scheduling, and routine customer service.

Make a list of areas where you could use support, and fill these gaps. In today’s world, you don’t need to hire full time people to fill these slots; you can simply get responsible contractors, other small businesses, and virtual assistants to build your support team.

Focus
What project or task would make a huge difference in 2016 if you could pull it off? Focus on the high payback projects and commit to one, even though it might be out of your comfort zone. Imagine the difference in your business once it’s completed, and get inspired to get started.

Choose just one of these areas to start your 2016 out with hope, intention, and excitement.