Tag Archives: financial management

5 Types of Pandemic Volunteers

5 Types of Pandemic Volunteers

Furloughs and layoffs are everywhere, and nonprofits are no exception. But, since you still have a mission to fulfill and services to offer, volunteers offer an interesting opportunity. There are, potentially, more people available, but less time to train, track, and collect volunteers. Sometimes it feels like you need to babysit volunteers. But what if you could look at these prospective free workers like you would consider childcare.

Before we get into the details of the 5 types of Pandemic Volunteers, you need to do a bit of work.

Start by considering what you are not getting done. Then, think about what you are doing that could be done by somebody else (if that person were reliable.) And lastly, how much internal knowledge is required for each task.

Now, consider the 5 types of Pandemic Volunteers:

  1. Mother’s helper is someone who needs specific tasks but may need to ask a lot of questions, at least at first, to learn the ropes. The good news is if the task continues, they will get better and better. This could be a teenager looking for something to do when camp is cancelled or a volunteer who isn’t always super reliable, but you want to keep interested and connected.

    Since you don’t know how much this person will achieve, consider small tasks with short deadlines. A mother’s helper could clean out closets that got left mid-semester or prep materials for your re-opening. Printing, photocopying, and collating are also possibilities.
  2. Babysitter is someone with some experience, needs guidance for expectations on a regular basis but is mostly independent. Each “babysitter” will come with some expertise that you may be able to use.

    For instance, someone who knows Excel can create a list of all current and lapsed $250 donors and provide the lists to “Night Sitters,” “Camp Counselors,” and “Camp Directors.”
  3. Night sitter is someone who can keep things going and is independent after an initial explanation. This person is used to jumping into new situations and can give you the confidence to sleep through the night because the job is getting done.

    A night sitter has been a volunteer for you and/or other organizations and can do things like make calls on your behalf. Provide a script and a list of contacts and that person can help you steward mid-level and entry-level donors while you focus on major donors.
  4. Camp counselor is someone who can rally the troops and is ready for leadership responsibilities, meaningful tasks, and whom you know is reliable. They may have volunteered or worked with you in the past or can demonstrate their expertise.

    Camp counselors can replace you to offer trainings to “night sitters,” “babysitters,” and “mother’s helpers.” And they can be the resource for most questions that would stop other volunteers from moving forward. They can help you steward higher-level donors.
  5. Camp Director is someone who can act as an employee or colleague. They have the skills that you would hire, if you had the money and time. They can supervise for you, explain tasks to others, organize volunteers and staff alike, have specific skills that you are missing, and are 100% reliable.

    Camp directors can help you make sure the trains are running on time. They are volunteers who can help with marketing your services, provide human resource advice, and financial and/or fundraising expertise. You may even rely on these people already. The one problem is that this skill set is hard to find in a volunteer and may have to be a hired as an Interim (aka Fractional) Placement. It would be less expensive than a full-time employee because they could be an independent contractor, but will still add to your costs.

If you would like help thinking through your volunteer strategy, click here to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.

Preventing The Glazed Over Eyes Syndrome during Finance Committee Reports

5 Nonprofit Finance Committee Responsibilities

finance committee

As you can imagine, in my work consulting to a wide variety of nonprofits worldwide, I have attended more than my share of board meetings. Recently, I observed the treasurer of a client organization make the monthly financial report.  As the finance committee chair presented his well-illustrated PowerPoint, I watched as most board members’ eyes glazed over.  Clearly, these people had no understanding of the cash flow analysis, the report of actuals against budget or the fully-allocated, program-by-program statement of projected revenues and expenses for the balance of the year. Or why it was essential to understand these reports.

These reports should provide the members of the board with visibility into the financial management of the agency and the knowledge that is needed to make strategic decisions for the future of the organization’s programs and the people who benefit from them.

How do you prevent the surge of discomfort? Educate every board member in basic financial literacy. This will assure that all board members can function effectively in their fiduciary role to ensure the fiscal health of the enterprise. And, if board members understand what they are seeing, they are less likely to allow their attention, and eyes, to drift during these essential reports..

What are the five responsibilities of the finance committee:

    1. Assure the maintenance of accurate, complete timely and meaningful financial records and statements
      • Monitor income and expenditures against projections
      • Review and recommend financial policies to the board, including ensuring adequate internal controls and maintaining financial records in accordance with standard accounting practices
    2. Direct budget preparation and financial planning
      • Propose for board approval a budget that reflects the organization’s goals and board policies
      • Ensure that the budget accurately reflects the needs, expenses, and revenue of the organization
    3. Safeguard the organization’s assets
      • Review proposed new funding for ongoing financial implications, recommending approval or disapproval to the board
      • Ensure that the organization has the proper risk-management provisions in place
    4. Ensure compliance with federal, state, and other requirements related to the organization’s finances
      • Ensure that organization maintains adequate insurance coverage
      • Ensure that the IRS Form 990, other forms, and employment and other taxes required by government are filed completely, correctly, and on time
    5. And, above all, help the full board understand the organization’s financial affairs
      • Ensure that board members are well informed about the organization’s finances
      • Educate the board to enhance each members financial literacy

That last point, “educate the board members,” is the key to it all.  Not everyone who serves on a board has the same financial acumen.  For the board to function well, serve the organization it leads and provide the financial oversight required, the finance committee must be sure that all members of the board see clearly and understand the finances of the agency.  Providing brief educational segments to develop board members skills at every board meeting about key aspects—including financial management—of the organization’s operation should be standard operating procedure for the well-run, well-funded nonprofit.