Supporting Nonprofit Accountability—a community-based solution

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

While many foundations require financial accountability, oversight and good governance practices, here’s one innovative foundation that actually makes it happen! 

Recently, we had the opportunity to present our 501(c)(fit!) Financial Leadership Training Seminar in Wytheville, Virginia, an old place with new ideas for promoting a thriving community.  In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wytheville is an historic town with a vibrant Main Street, of independent businesses, shops and eateries.  You can feel the town’s modern spirit, not only within the business community but also among the dynamic nonprofits that serve the area. 

Many of the area’s nonprofits benefit from the support of the Wytheville-based, Wythe-Bland Foundation, dedicated to the belief that well-managed and resourced nonprofits are vital to the region’s quality of life.  The Foundation encourages the community’s nonprofits to cooperate, coordinate and collaborate to achieve better outcomes and accountability. 

But they provide more than just encouragement.  The foundation helps its charities meet today’s expectations with its progressive Financial Capacity Building and Bookkeeping Program.  Through a local charity, HOPE, Inc., a number of local community services organizations receive quality financial accounting and reporting support.  Imagine—a foundation that covers your finance function!     

In line with their support for nonprofit accountability, HOPE, Inc. and the Wythe-Bland Foundation brought the 501(c)(fit!) Financial Leadership Seminar to Wytheville to benefit the nonprofits that serve their community.  Nonprofit leaders from health care, educational opportunity, public safety, community development and faith-based organizations services gathered with us to share ideas and learn more about financial leadership concepts, including financial accounting and reporting, controllership and communications. 

We shared a number of ideas for streamlining accounting processes, while maintaining effective internal controls to protect their organizations from fraud.  Our participants were especially interested in discussing governance issues, as well as budgeting and financial projections.  Possibly, the favorite session was the one on reviewing form 990.

It was a privilege to be part of strengthening so many good nonprofits that we would not have otherwise been able to reach.  Imagine what your nonprofit community could do with this kind of support!

I’m excited to follow the progress of HOPE Inc.’s next project, the Open Door Café, Virginia’s first donate-what-you-can restaurant.  That could be the subject of a future FIT! TIP.  

501(c)(fit!)—Empowering Nonprofits, one community at a time.

New to overseeing the finance function?  Gain a practical overview for nonprofit emerging leaders in our live two-day seminar, Financial Leadership Training for Emerging Nonprofit Professionals coming up in May 2019 in Alexandria.  We’ve got a helpful session on The Power of Financial Reporting—making your finance function work for you.

Find out more about the importance of financial oversight in our FIT! TIP, The Blindsided CorollaryUnfortunately, surprise is a common theme in stories of nonprofit closures.  Many of these nonprofits lacked the resources for timely financial oversight and never saw it coming.

Learn more about financial sustainability in our next-level seminar, Raising the Bar – Preparing for Higher Expectations; Continued Financial Leadership Training for Emerging Nonprofit Professionals.  We’ve got a helpful session called Risk Assessment and Your Reserve—focus on financial sustainability.

Get more FIT! TIPS.  Join our 501(c)(fit!) community.

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