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Voter Poll Shows Strong Support for Fair and Equitable Public Policies42591GP0|#af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e;L0|#0af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e|Advancing Philanthropy;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​Nearly eight in 10 voters in a <a href="https&#58;//independentsector.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/IndependentSector_PollingResults_December2021.pdf" target="_blank">new poll</a> said it was important that public policy solutions were fair (86 percent), proportionate (86 percent) or equitable (80 percent). Additionally, framing such policies as “fair” tested highest across all political affiliations.<br> ​<br> These and other results come from the poll conducted in early December by TargetPoint Consulting on behalf of Independent Sector, a membership organization of made up of representatives from nonprofits, foundations and corporate giving programs. The poll surveyed 1,094 registered voters nationwide. Other notable findings include&#58; </p><ul><li>A large majority (88 percent) expressed support for making the universal charitable deduction permanent for all taxpayers. The $300 individual/$600 joint deduction for taxpayers, whether they itemize their deductions or not, was instituted as <a href="https&#58;//www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2020/12/22/new-bigger-charitable-tax-break-for-2021-in-year-end-spending-package/?sh=5aaa630d5710" target="_blank">part of the 2020 CARES Act</a> pandemic relief bill and updated for 2021.<br><br> </li><li>Many of the voters polled (72 percent) believe the federal government could better serve communities if charities and nonprofits were represented in the administration. <br><br></li><li>Nearly nine in 10 voters (87 percent) support local charities educating policymakers and businesses about their communities. </li></ul><p>Read more about <a href="https&#58;//independentsector.org/resource/new-poll-voters-want-nonprofits-to-be-engaged-and-resourced/" target="_blank">the survey and its results</a> at Independent Sector’s website. </p>Wallace editorial team792022-01-26T05:00:00ZThe findings from Independent Sector, a membership organization of people working in philanthropy, also support expanding charitable deductions for all taxpayers2/3/2022 3:07:40 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Voter Poll Shows Strong Support for Fair and Equitable Public Policies The findings from Independent Sector, a membership 480https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Six Tips for Writing about Research42549GP0|#af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e;L0|#0af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e|Advancing Philanthropy;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>It can be difficult for reporters who write about schools to know what to think about education research. Not all studies are created equal—so how can busy journalists make the best use of their time when considering whether to cover one?</p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Ed Pauly" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/ED_5991.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;251px;" />This problem isn’t academic for The Wallace Foundation, given that disseminating key research findings from the work of our grantees is central to <a href="/how-we-work/the-wallace-approach/pages/default.aspx">the foundation’s mission</a>. That’s why Edward Pauly, our director of research, was happy to provide some practical suggestions at the Education Writers Association’s National Seminar this year. He also used the opportunity to explain a little about how and why the foundation conducts research. </p><p>Pauly was joined on the panel by Denise-Marie Ordway, an award-winning reporter who runs the <a href="https&#58;//journalistsresource.org/" target="_blank">Journalist’s Resource</a> project at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. She is also on the EWA board of directors.</p><p>While the audience was journalists and communications professionals, the experts’ advice also holds true for many other users of education research, including nonprofit and advocacy organizations that use research of any kind. Further, the advice offered by Ordway and Pauly can be applied to studies on topics other than education.</p><p>“If a study seems too good to be true, it probably is,” Pauly warned. “Most research findings are not that surprising&#58; They have ‘face validity.’ If you’re startled and shocked, that’s probably a good reason to be skeptical and be careful.”</p><p>Ordway cautioned reporters not to assume that a research study is high quality based on the institutions of the people involved&#58; “It isn’t bullet proof just because it’s from Harvard or Stanford.”</p><p>Among other helpful points, she steered reporters away from spending too much time on the study’s “abstract,” which summarizes its conclusions. What researchers consider the important takeaways don’t always match what might interest a reporter, she said, explaining that “golden nuggets” of interesting facts and data points are often found deeper into a report. </p><p>Pauly summarized his recommendations into six tips for writing about research&#58; </p><ol><li>Look for “literature reviews” of all high-quality research on a topic. Peer-reviewed journals such as <em>Review of Educational Research</em> synthesize the best studies on a topic. Evidence from many studies is more meaningful than evidence from a lone study.<br><br></li><li>Find an unbiased, “in-the-know” academic source to share the study with and ask what seems important, reliable, special and valuable about it. What does it add to what we already knew—and why should we believe it?<br><br></li><li>Spend more time on studies that are reliable and broad&#58; major, multi-site studies rather than single-site studies, and studies with a “control” group that allows comparisons to be made and differences to be attributed to the program or intervention being evaluated.<br><br></li><li>Check out the ranking of a journal to determine its reliability. For example, many journals have Wikipedia articles that provide these rankings.<br><br></li><li>Make sure that the study considers alternative explanations for its findings and is clear about its limitations.<br><br></li><li>Consider the type of study—student outcomes, implementation of a program or initiative, opinion survey—and evaluate whether the claims it makes are consistent with that kind of study.<br></li></ol><p>In determining what research would be relevant to their audiences, education journalists can ask their sources, “What is it you don’t know that, if you knew it, it would enable you to make a breakthrough in your work?” and then track down the best studies on those important topics, Pauly said. </p><p>And, he noted, that’s exactly how The Wallace Foundation decides how to make its grants, seeking to produce answers to big questions that would benefit the field.</p><p>You can watch the full EWA session on this recorded <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/EdWriters/videos/10156295484842836/" target="_blank">Facebook Live</a> session and see the PowerPoint presentation below.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 1bbea260-a3da-4777-9946-7ba2855f7053" id="div_1bbea260-a3da-4777-9946-7ba2855f7053"></div><div id="vid_1bbea260-a3da-4777-9946-7ba2855f7053" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p>&#160;</p> Wallace editorial team792018-06-18T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.6/20/2018 9:00:25 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Six Tips for Writing about Research Wallace’s Director of Research, Ed Pauly, Offers Guidance for Reporters on Using 1371https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Charting a Careful Course in Public Policy Engagement23726GP0|#af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e;L0|#0af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e|Advancing Philanthropy;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#6b3d2eef-1f47-4b7e-b105-bd18b7e1c384;L0|#06b3d2eef-1f47-4b7e-b105-bd18b7e1c384|News<p>T</p><p>he Wallace Foundation has a sizable endowment, but it's not large enough to fund all <a href="https&#58;//nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/overview04/tables/table_2.asp" target="_blank">93,000 public schools in the U.S.</a>, all <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/Update-Thriving-Arts-Organizations-Thriving-Arts.pdf" target="_blank">48,000 nonprofit arts organizations</a> or the thousands of organizations offering expanded-learning opportunities for children. We therefore work to develop and share credible, useful knowledge that can help others who may never get a grant from us.</p><p> While most of our efforts have been focused on helping share lessons to improve practice, we’ve recently sought to strengthen our approach to sharing lessons with policymakers, as well. </p><p> We are dipping our toes deeper into the waters of policy engagement because we think the evidence we’ve developed can, when it is sufficiently strong, lead to more effective policies, should policymakers choose to incorporate it. But what might that look like? </p><p> If a state were considering changes in policies about school principals, for example, its lawmakers might benefit from becoming familiar with <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/default.aspx">the substantial body of evidence</a> we have collected about what works and what doesn’t in promoting more effective school leadership. Our goal would be to introduce credible information and ideas to legislators so they could devise school leadership policies with the greatest likelihood of improving teaching and learning in schools.</p><p> But we’ve also acknowledged that there are risks to policy engagement. In other words, these waters can be choppy. U.S. law prohibits philanthropies from influencing legislation. And riptides exist even within the firm confines of the law. Policy engagement could pull a foundation into caustic partisan politics, distract it from core areas of expertise or create adverse unintended consequences for those it seeks to help. </p><p> How can a philanthropy navigate such treacherous waters—and manage risk? Kenneth Austin, general counsel at Wallace, recently shared Wallace’s approach to considering and managing the risk to foundations of policy engagements at the <a href="https&#58;//www.cof.org/2018-public-policy-summit" target="_blank">Council on Foundations' Public Policy Summit</a> in Philadelphia.&#160; He laid out the rationale for Wallace to undertake policy engagement, the risks we see in the endeavor and the ways in which we work to mitigate these risks—chiefly by following the principle of “say more, only as we know more” and by offering options and never prescriptions. He also offered a case study from Florida to illustrate the principles we use to determine when we wade into matters of policy and when we choose to stay dry.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 3ecc5a09-485c-4a7f-ad0c-753f546cedfe" id="div_3ecc5a09-485c-4a7f-ad0c-753f546cedfe"></div><div id="vid_3ecc5a09-485c-4a7f-ad0c-753f546cedfe" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><p> The considerations for thinking about risk and how to manage it may be useful to other philanthropies and nonprofit organizations exploring avenues to inform public policy and legislation. </p><p> You can also download Austin's presentation <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/COF-Public-Policy-Summit-Wallace-Overview-041318-final-rev2.pdf" target="_blank">here</a>. </p> Wallace editorial team792018-06-06T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.6/20/2018 8:34:02 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Charting a Careful Course in Public Policy Engagement How Wallace determines whether and how to weigh in on matters of 913https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
To Widen Their Reach, Social Programs Enlist Partners42585GP0|#af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e;L0|#0af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e|Advancing Philanthropy;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​H igher Achievement provides intensive beyond-the-school-day study and enrichment to&#160;middle school kids in underserved communities. The Campus Kitchens Project serves up nutritious meals to the hungry. And Climate Matters distributes free, research-based videos about climate change to TV weathercasts.</p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Higher_Achivevement_RWK2902(003).jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Higher_Achivevement_RWK2902(003).jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;774px;height&#58;515px;" /> <p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption" style="text-align&#58;left;">​A mentor and student hit the books at a Higher Achievement program in Washington, D.C. </p><p> Three social programs with three different missions—and an intriguing commonality. Each one has successfully widened its reach in recent years by working in partnership with others, albeit in varied ways.&#160;&#160; &#160;&#160;&#160;</p><p>The three are among 45 nonprofits showcased in a recent report on expansion via partnership. In <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-to-scale-up-social-programs-that-work.aspx"> <em>Strategies to Scale Up Social Programs&#58; Pathways, Partnerships and Fidelity</em></a>, authors R. Sam Larson, James W. Dearing and Thomas E. Backer explore this terrain, examining such matters as how partners find one another and the extent to which program creators demand “fidelity,” or faithfulness to the original programming model, vs. valuing adaptation.&#160; </p><p>As a foundation whose work involves testing possible solutions to problems in our focus areas (school leadership, the arts, and learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children), Wallace commissioned the report in part to find out more about how successful nonprofit efforts could expand. Several of the organizations studied in the report, including Higher Achievement, have been Wallace grantees. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Higher_Achievement_RWK9278(1)(003).jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Higher_Achievement_RWK9278(1)(003).jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> </p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption" style="text-align&#58;left;"> Baltimore middle-schoolers backstage at a performance of poetry written by Higher Achievement students</p><p>To be included in the write-up, all the efforts had to have evidence of effectiveness and fall into one of three areas&#58; health, education and youth development. The range of enterprises, however, is wide—from prenatal care for low-income women (Nurse-Family Partnership) to summer learning (Power Scholars Academy, another Wallace-supported endeavor) to business education for entrepreneurs in underserved areas (Streetwise MBA).&#160; </p><p>Whatever their mission, each of the 45 faced a fundamental question before scaling up via partnership&#58; What was the best course to take? In short, the report found three common partnership paths.&#160;&#160;&#160; <br> <br> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Scale-Up_Pathways_Chart2.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Scale-Up_Pathways_Chart2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></p><p> &#160;&#160; </p><ol><li> <strong> Branching pathways</strong> are similar to a business setting up branch offices. The lead partner (the group organizing the scale-up and usually the program creator) opens more sites, with the training and supports of the original. This was the route taken by Higher Achievement, which today works in 17 schools in four cities to provide both school-year and summer supports to put middle school students on a course to success in high school and college.&#160; <br> <br> Like many organizations in the study that took the branching path, Higher Achievement, founded in Washington, D.C., in the 1970s, was well established when it began considering expansion. It opened its first branch in 2009 in Baltimore, later adding Richmond and Pittsburgh—and gathering lessons along the way on everything from how to enlist funders to how to time hiring, according to Lynsey Wood Jeffries, Higher Achievement’s CEO. The partner in each city is a local office established by Higher Achievement. These branches are given flexibility in certain areas, such as the types of elective activities they can offer to the children. But they are expected to adhere strictly to a set of program non-negotiables, such as academic mentoring, as well as the rigor of the program model, which provides on the order of 100 extra school days of learning and enrichment annually to the 1,900 students enrolled.<br><br> Indeed, Higher Achievement chose the branching pathway because the level of control it provides helps to ensure maintenance of the program’s intensity, which the organization considers key to good results for the students. “We couldn’t rely on a less centrally controlled approach to scaling and feel confident that we would produce strong outcomes,” Jeffries says. &#160;<br><br></li><li> <strong>Affiliate pathways</strong> resemble business franchising. Here, the lead partner retains basics—name, content and quality control, for example—but the affiliates are independent, often operating under contracts with the lead partner. <br> <br>That’s how Campus Kitchens operates. Launched in 2001 and originated by DC Central Kitchen, which combats hunger in the nation’s capital, The Campus Kitchens Project has since spread to 63 schools, mostly colleges and universities, in 63 communities, according to Dan Abrams, director of the effort. <br> <br>The heart of the program is that students recover would-be wasted foods, usually from their own dining halls, transform them into tasty, healthy meals, and deliver them to places such as senior housing, churches and youth outreach groups. In addition, each site provides “Beyond the Meal” programming that goes beyond immediate hunger relief and could include health education, community gardens and mobile food pantries, Abrams said. The particulars are tailored to each community.&#160; <br> <br>Partnerships are central to the enterprise. Sodexo Corp., a corporate food service operator on many campuses, helped develop strategies for keeping both food and students safe in the kitchen. AARP funded a report of case studies on Beyond the Meal ideas that help address hunger and poverty for older adults and is available online free to students.<br><br>&#160;“Our goal is to provide the most cost-efficient and effective program for students to take on,” Abrams said.<br><br></li><li> <strong>The distribution network</strong> pathway is akin to supply chain business arrangements, where the lead partner provides the content (the “product”) and a partner with an existing network distributes it to member organizations or individuals. Case in point&#58; Climate Matters, which is based at George Mason University in Northern Virginia and was begun, with the help of a National Science Foundation grant, as a pilot test in 2010 with one weathercaster. Today some 500 TV weathercasters participate, which means the effort reaches 147 of the nation’s 210 media markets. The weathercasters receive a weekly “story package&quot; of broadcast-ready graphics or animations plus background information, often featuring data localized to their media market, that illustrate a current impact of climate change. <br> <br>Edward Maibach, who was in on Climate Matters’ origins, is director of the university’s Center for Climate Change Communication. He describes the partnership driving Climate Matters as “a team effort between three kinds of experts …climate scientists (so we get the facts right), social scientists (so we communicate the facts effectively), and TV weathercasters (who are trusted, have access to the public, and are excellent science communicators).” &#160;In the future, other partners may join in.&#160; Maibach says Climate Matters is working with a diverse group of journalism professional societies to see how Climate Matters materials might help local journalists report on the impact of climate change, and potential solutions, in their community.</li></ol><p>The search for ways to expand that make sense for an organization’s particular context drives home another key point of the report—that scale-up is often not a one-time event. Those doing the work need to constantly re-evaluate pathways, partnerships and fidelity Higher Achievement, for example, has a small pilot underway to test the types of outcomes that a tweaked program model, spread through a distribution network pathway, would have, Jeffries says.&#160; Dynamic change,” the authors write, “is a reality for successful social programs to scale up.” </p>HJ-Cummins802018-04-20T04:00:00ZReport Highlights How 45 Nonprofits Used Three Types of Partnerships to Expand. Read the blog.6/4/2018 6:46:58 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / To Widen Their Reach, Social Programs Enlist Partners Report Highlights How 45 Nonprofits Used Three Types of Partnerships 1361https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
New and Improved Financial Tools Help Nonprofits Stay Nimble42473GP0|#af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e;L0|#0af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e|Advancing Philanthropy;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​Recently, Hilda Polanco, founder and CEO of the consulting firm <a href="https&#58;//www.bdo.com/" target="_blank">Fiscal Management Associates</a> (FMA), talked to us about changes she’s seen over the years in the way nonprofit organizations approach their financial responsibilities. She noted that nonprofits are increasingly accepting the idea that financial planning is a “process that never ends,” one that calls for a nimble response to shifting winds and bumps in the road.</p><p>It’s no surprise then that <a href="/knowledge-center/resources-for-financial-management/SFM2013/Pages/default.aspx">Strongnonprofits.org</a>, the website&#160;we created with&#160;FMA five years ago to help organizations build their financial know-how, has also changed to meet their evolving needs. We asked John Summers, director of consulting services at FMA, to walk us through some of the site’s latest features and updates.*</p><p><strong>What is your process for updating the site? How do you determine when a feature needs updating or there’s a need for a new feature? </strong></p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="jsummers_portrait_72square.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/jsummers_portrait_72square.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />We get feedback from users that will suggest a modification of an existing tool or a totally new tool. They’ll say, “Do you have something that can do X?” Then there’s our own practice. We’re consultants working with nonprofit organizations every day. So, if there’s something we put together for one of our consulting clients or someone we’re doing outsourced accounting for, and it seems like it would be widely applicable, that can become a tool on Strongnonprofits. </p><p><strong>What is the new or updated feature on the site that you’d most like to highlight?</strong><br> <br> Cash flow projection is one of the backbones of financial management in any organization. The <a href="/knowledge-center/resources-for-financial-management/SFM2013/Pages/Cash-Flow-Projections-Template.aspx">cash flow projection tool</a> on the site was originally a 12-month calendar, but the modifications we made allow users to update it each month, so they can see how much they have actually spent and what remains in their budget and have a better sense as the year goes on of what their cash position is going to be and answer questions like, “Are we going to have enough when we need it?”</p><p><strong>You’ve created narrative guides to show how individual features of the site can be used in combination. What is the advantage of using the tools this way?</strong></p><p>If you’re doing some annual task like budget development, there’s pretty close to a comprehensive package of budget development tools on the site. The <a href="/knowledge-center/resources-for-financial-management/SFM2013/Pages/Topic-Area-Guide.aspx">narrative guide</a> is an attempt to pull those together and give an outline&#58; If you use these tools in this order that’s going to help you produce your organization’s budget, from figuring out who should be involved in the process all the way through planning your expenses, planning your revenue, looking at cash flow, presenting it to the board. There are resources for each step that, together, can be a do-it-yourself guide to budget development. We’ve got guides for budget development, auditing, financial reporting.<br> <br> <strong>Is there anything else that regular users of the site should keep an eye out for the next time they visit? </strong></p><p>We’re not finished. Within the next few months, there will be new tools on there, including a tool to establish operating reserves. Just keep checking back.</p><p>*<em>This interview has been edited and condensed.</em></p> Wallace editorial team792018-01-04T05:00:00ZNew and Improved Tools to Help Nonprofits Build Their Financial Know-How5/2/2023 4:30:04 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / New and Improved Financial Tools Help Nonprofits Stay Nimble Updated Website Features “Do-It-Yourself Guide” to Budget 1405https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
A New Year’s Resolution for Nonprofits: Get ‘Fiscally Fit’42451GP0|#af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e;L0|#0af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e|Advancing Philanthropy;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​It’s never too early (or too late!) to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. For many nonprofit organizations, getting a better handle on finances will top the list.</p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/resources-for-financial-management/SFM2013/Pages/default.aspx">Strongnonprofits.org</a> is a Wallace Foundation website designed to help nonprofits do exactly that.&#160; It offers more than 60 tools, how-tos, articles and other features to help organizations build their financial muscle so they can fulfill their missions and deliver the best services possible.</p><p>We talked to Hilda Polanco, founder and CEO of <a href="https&#58;//www.bdo.com/" target="_blank">Fiscal Management Associates</a> (FMA), the consulting firm that created and maintains the site, about changes in the way nonprofits approach their finances and how they can get “fiscally fit” in the upcoming year.*</p><p><strong>Do you see a change in the way nonprofits approach financial management since Strongnonprofits.org launched several years ago?</strong></p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="hpolanco.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Hilda-Polanco-Strong-Nonprofits-QA/hpolanco.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />In the last few years—and this has been heightened in the last year—the focus has been first and foremost on planning. Organizations are trying to take control of their destiny by having the right financial information. Four areas have become extremely critical. The first is an organization’s ability to understand the full cost of delivering their programs. The second is scenario planning, projecting into the future and thinking about multiple options. The third is managing cash flow. In so many states, payments are being delayed and organizations have gone through their reserves since 2008. The last one is the idea of planning as a process that never ends. Organizations, especially the ones that are successful and scaling, do a five-year strategic plan and put it on the shelf. But stuff changes. The days when boards would say, “the budget is the budget, and it never changes”—that’s not realistic anymore. We have to be more than just sustainable; we have to be resilient.</p><p><strong>What tools and templates on the site have been the most popular with users? What are the greatest needs that the site can help nonprofits address?</strong></p><p>The number one most popular tool is the <a href="/knowledge-center/resources-for-financial-management/SFM2013/Pages/Program-Based-Budget-Template.aspx">program-based budget builder</a>. It can help organizations quantify their costs in a way they can present in their development proposals and articulate when they negotiate performance-based contracts. The second is the <a href="/knowledge-center/resources-for-financial-management/SFM2013/Pages/Cash-Flow-Projections-Template.aspx">cash flow template</a>. I call it the “executive director’s navigation tool” because it gives organizations the ability to project cash flow into the future, manage it and know when they’re going into danger territory. The third is the <a href="/knowledge-center/resources-for-financial-management/SFM2013/Pages/Funding-Opportunity-Assessment-Tool.aspx">“go/no go” tool</a>, which brings together teams to decide should we go for this [funding] opportunity or not. The site is helpful to organizations of all sizes, but for organizations that don’t have a full finance staff these tools have been transformational because they give them the ability to do some pretty complicated thinking.</p><p><strong>Are there any overlooked features of the site that you’d like to encourage users to take greater advantage of?</strong></p><p>One that I like a lot is the <a href="/knowledge-center/resources-for-financial-management/SFM2013/Pages/Revenue-Analysis-Worksheet.aspx">scenario-planning tool</a>. It’s simple. The thing with scenarios is that if you get too complex people get confused.</p><p><strong>Is there anything about the way you work with nonprofits to build financial strength that has changed over the years?</strong></p><p>Each year we work more and more with the senior management team rather than only the finance team, building their capacity to make better decisions, better plans, while also building the capacity of individuals, so that if one person leaves, the structure is there, the next person comes right into their role, and the organization continues. In that context, we’ve also spent more time working with program leaders to make them owners of their budgets and with development leaders, so they can provide better information in the proposals they send out the door and better understand the consequences of the funds they’re raising. Another area where we’re getting frequent requests for help is establishing a board-designated operating reserve. Boards want to make sure they have funds set aside for unexpected events. I find it encouraging that they’re thinking about that.</p><p><strong>What is the most important piece of advice you have for nonprofits looking to improve their financial outlook?</strong></p><p>Face the data. Think about the processes, frameworks, work flows you have in place. Are these systems giving you the information you need to make strategic decisions about current needs as well as the long term? Build your planning muscle. When I ask an organization if they revise their budget, sometimes they look at me and say, “There’s no way I’m doing that again.” If your processes are painful, you don’t have the right tools. Don’t think of planning as compliance, think of it as an opportunity for making the smartest choices. Finally, solidify the partnership between the board and leadership. The world is throwing curveballs. Have the courage to envision what it would be like to respond to a significant shift in your revenue, and as a result, be better prepared.</p><p>*<em>This interview has been edited and condensed.</em></p>Wallace editorial team792017-12-14T05:00:00ZMust-Read Advice From a Nonprofit Financial Management Consultant5/2/2023 4:27:43 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / A New Year’s Resolution for Nonprofits: Get ‘Fiscally Fit Advice From Fiscal Management Associates’ Hilda Polanco 1248https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Proper Financial Management Helps Nonprofits Improve Efficiency42531GP0|#af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e;L0|#0af3e9879-f65e-40d3-8cc6-25ef5b2f858e|Advancing Philanthropy;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Most nonprofits would agree that good financial management is essential for their success and growth. But many small organizations lack the resources and skills necessary to create a healthy financial infrastructure. </p><p> In response to this growing need, we commissioned Fiscal Management Associates, a consulting firm, to create a website that would help nonprofits strengthen their financial management and provide a number of easy to use templates and resources. The title of the site is, appropriately, <a href="/knowledge-center/resources-for-financial-management/SFM2013/Pages/default.aspx"> www.strongnonprofits.org</a>.</p><p> The genesis of the site arose from our work with 26 afterschool programs in Chicago, where it became clear that many of the organizations struggled with financial management. As our president Will Miller told the Wall Street Journal&#58; “It became a theme that the lack of understanding of the financial realities of their own organizations was one of the things impeding them from being sustainable, successful, mission-fulfilling nonprofits.” </p><p> Looking to help train nonprofit organizations become “fiscally fit,” Strong Nonprofits contains a library of resources compiled in partnership with Fiscal Management Associates, which highlight four key elements of strong financial management&#58; planning, monitoring, operations and governance. For each of these elements the site offers a variety of articles, resources and tools.</p><p> <em>The Chronicle of Philanthropy</em> has highlighted the site’s <em> </em> <a href="/knowledge-center/resources-for-financial-management/SFM2013/Pages/Funding-Opportunity-Assessment-Tool.aspx"> <em>Go or No Go questionnaire</em></a><em>,</em> which aims to help nonprofits decide whether or not go through with a proposed contract. This questionnaire serves as a good example of the many interactive tools available on the site. Also popular are the <em> Out-of-School Time Cost Calculator</em> and the <em> Program Based Budget Builder</em> that allows nonprofit staff to allocate their spending by program and personnel. </p><p>The demand for these resources speaks volumes about need. The Strong Nonprofits resources consistently rank among our top monthly downloads. And two of our most downloaded publications of all time, the <em>Program Based Budget Builder</em> and <em> </em> <em>A Five-Step Guide to Budget Development,</em> have accumulated 72,373 and 60,387 downloads, respectively, since they were published in February, 2013. Ultimately, what makes Strong Nonprofits so exciting beyond its ‘nuts and bolts’ subject matter, is its testimony to our research approach. Here, our afterschool work uncovered a gap in financial knowledge across many organizations, which led us to create additional tools and resources to fill this gap. </p>Wallace editorial team792017-09-21T04:00:00ZWallace Foundation’s Financial Management website offers tools and research to help nonprofits manage their money12/4/2017 4:39:21 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Proper Financial Management Helps Nonprofits Improve Efficiency Wallace Foundation’s Financial Management website offers 875https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx