Notes from the road

Joan M. Renner, CPA, CGMA, Director, 501(c)(fit!)

Wow!  Over the past three weeks or so, I have had the privilege of leading 501(c)(fit!) seminars in Richmond and Alexandria.  I was bowled over by our participants.

I met nonprofit leaders from health care, housing, the arts, from associations and more.  Participants traveled from South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, DC and Maryland.  They were sent by their co-workers and their bosses, and one told me she paid her own way because she believed in our program.

I met new Executive Directors, including one who had to take a few breaks for conference calls.  She said that everything we talked about was literally, just what she was going through right now.  When I thought another participant was bored, looking at his phone, it turned out he was texting ideas back to his CFO!

I met nonprofit COOs, controllers and finance leaders who learned new ways to lead their Board through nonprofit financial statements and the Form 990.  The governance session led to a lot of discussion about Board involvement and tradition vs innovation.

Our participants shared their questions, stories and experiences from Fortune 500 companies, small nonprofit Boards and finance offices and they had amazing stories to tell.  We heard about a visit from a high-profile Presidential candidate.  We heard about struggles to move organizations forward to more structured processes.  We also heard a first-hand account of a nonprofit closure.

When the participants really wanted to talk about something that mattered to them, we took advantage of the moment to share our common experiences about their concern, whether it was an HR issue or something like W-9s and 1099 filings.  The group came up with good solutions to share. 

Everyone went home with some new ideas to implement in their organizations.  Some said they intended to start presenting visual financial reports right away.  Many of our participants said they got the most benefit from the sessions about reviewing financial statements.  One participant said that the session about reviewing form 990 was the best part of the whole program. 

Even in two days, we can’t cover all the relevant topics in detail, so there are still things that participants want to know more about.

How can we keep learning?

Sign up for our weekly FIT! TIPS for useful information and updates on nonprofit issues. 

Learn more about internal controls in our on-demand webinar, You Just Lost $1 million—fraud prevention for nonprofit CEOs.

There’s more information about promoting a positive audit experience in our on-demand webinar, Acing Your Audit.

Learn how to lead your team through a risk assessment process in our on-demand webinars, 501(c)(fit!) NEXT Guided Solutions Risk Assessment series, Your Nonprofit Risk Assessment.

I am grateful for this wonderful experience and the nonprofit leaders who came together and shared and learned.  I look forward to continuing to bring nonprofit leaders together in our 501cfit community.

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