The Latest

Is a Time Sheet Needed for a Salaried Employee?

Is a Time Sheet Needed for a Salaried Employee?

Posted in office operations / executive director / staff team

Its easy to think time sheets are only for hourly employees that work a shift, no more, no less. Salaried employees often have an unwritten expectation to ‘just get the job done’ no matter how long it takes. But that’s a system that favours the employer and can quickly burn out an employee. If...


What should be included in board meeting minutes?

What should be included in board meeting minutes?

Posted in board meeting

Board meetings can be complicated and messy, filled with opinions, side conversations, heated debate, dead silence, …and also all the official decisions the board makes. How do you know what to record in the minutes? Board meeting minutes are the official and legal record of decisions made at...


How to Plan a Board Meeting

How to Plan a Board Meeting

Posted in board meeting

A non-profit board meeting has a lot of components. There are the standing agenda items to be discussed, reports to receive, research to evaluate, and decisions to be made. What goes on behind the scenes to prepare for a board meeting? When do you start planning? What documents do you...


Understand the Basic Financial Statements for Non-Profits

Understand the Basic Financial Statements for Non-Profits

Posted in financial management / bookkeeping

Each month a non-profit executive director will prepare basic financial statements for the board or finance committee to review. The statements need to be approved following the reporting process outlined in the organization’s policy. It is rare for a board to approve the monthly...


A 5-Question Social Media Audit

A 5-Question Social Media Audit

Posted in marketing

Social media is everywhere. It has become a major communication tool both personally and professionally. But with multiple platforms and increasing pressure to be available 24/7, it can be easy for a non-profit to jump into more social media than it can handle. Once the reality sets in...


The Emergency Red Binder – Peace of Mind for HR Emergencies

The Emergency Red Binder – Peace of Mind for HR Emergencies

Posted in office operations / emergency / risk management

What is the emergency red binder? Let’s imagine you’ve just won the lottery (sigh); 60 million dollars in your name, received the very day after the board chair chewed you out over a trivial matter. Think you’ll give two months’ notice before you leave? I think we’re talking more about a text...


Can you describe what your non-profit does, in ONE sentence?

Can you describe what your non-profit does, in ONE sentence?

Posted in operations plan / marketing

Non-profits are complex organizations. There are usually many programs, many services, different clients, and a complicated set of strategic priorities and outcomes driving the work. If you had to condense all of it into one simple sentence, could you do it? Not a marketing ploy. There...


How to debrief, well, …anything

How to debrief, well, …anything

In the heat of the moment, everyone has a comment (or 15) about the workshop/event/meeting they are experiencing (usually about the bad coffee). A week later, at the official debriefing meeting, the comments have dried up and no one really has anything to share. Don’t waste an opportunity for...


What do you do when a board member goes rogue?

What do you do when a board member goes rogue?

Has there been a time when a board member didn’t follow policy and no one, you or other board members, said anything? Has a board member reported tasks that they’ve handled when they were neither asked, nor given the authority, to handle those tasks? Has a board member been making decisions...


The Board Speaks With One Voice

The Board Speaks With One Voice

Posted in policy / board of directors

When a non-profit board is being developed and new members added, there is excitement to embrace the diverse perspectives of a wide range of stakeholders. But having many different voices at the table can sometimes make it challenging for a board to make decisions. If a board doesn’t...


Getting Started with Board Recruitment

Getting Started with Board Recruitment

Posted in board of directors / board committees

Your non-profit has done the work. You’ve got a nominations committee ready and willing to get to work finding new board members. There’s a team of other board members and staff helping to build a list of names of potential nominees and keeping a keen eye out for more names to add. But...


Nominations Committee

Nominations Committee

Posted in board of directors / board committees

On paper, its easy to have a full and complete list of potential candidates to join a non-profit board of directors. Doing the work of speaking to all those candidates can be a challenge. Who takes on this important job? Dumping the recruitment task on the same group of board members each year...


The Board Works for the Stakeholders

The Board Works for the Stakeholders

Posted in strategic plan / board of directors / stakeholders

The nominations committee is hard at work looking for new board members. But there are differing opinions. Some committee members want to look for accountants, and lawyers, and doctors to try and build a board of business professionals. Other committee members want to look to the...


6 Actions to Reduce the Stress of Being a Non-Profit Board Treasurer

6 Actions to Reduce the Stress of Being a Non-Profit Board Treasurer

Posted in board of directors / board positions

Perhaps the most avoided position on a non-profit’s board of directors is that of Board Treasurer. The Board Treasurer is responsible for overseeing all aspects of a non-profit’s financial system, from policy development to internal controls, from budgets to the annual audit, or from...


The Role of a Non-Profit Board Vice-Chair

The Role of a Non-Profit Board Vice-Chair

Posted in board of directors / board positions

A non-profit board has many tasks to handle, and if there is no paid staff team, that list can become quite long. While the Board Chair is the leader of the board, the job is usually too much for one person. That’s where the role of Vice-Chair (Vice-President, etc.) becomes important. The level...


The Role of a Non-Profit Board Chair

The Role of a Non-Profit Board Chair

Posted in board of directors / board positions

Non-profits are complicated entities. There are strategic priorities to fulfill, board meetings that need to follow protocol, and often a team of volunteers who are helping to do the work. In a small non-profit, with few, or no, employees, the Board Chair is a critical position for...


How to Make Non-Profit Deposits Easy and Accurate

How to Make Non-Profit Deposits Easy and Accurate

Payments and registrations are coming in and, frankly, starting to pile up. People will not be happy if their cheques are not deposited right away. A deposit is needed, and some sort of log is required. Writing up the bank deposit page is only one piece of processing accounts receivable. Each...


Learn to Process Hard Copy Mail Efficiently

Learn to Process Hard Copy Mail Efficiently

Posted in office operations

One of the surprisingly intimidating pieces of running a non-profit is the processing of the good ol' hard copy daily mail. It arrives every weekday and is filled with a combination of payments, bills, correspondence, miscellaneous, and junk. Let it go too long, and it can feel like a mountain...


Why a Letter of Employment is Needed Each Year

Why a Letter of Employment is Needed Each Year

Posted in staff team

If your non-profit has employees, whether full-time, part-time, or casual, the nuances of the work arrangement will shift from year to year. It is easy to think the initial Offer of Employment letter will capture enough details for the entire term of employment, but reality tells us that’s just...


5 Decisions Before Issuing Invoices so Everyone Follows the Same Procedure

5 Decisions Before Issuing Invoices so Everyone Follows the Same Procedure

Welcome back to our two-part series on invoices. There are two kinds of invoices a non-profit will encounter when handling bookkeeping. The first invoice is the one the non-profit receives and needs to pay. We talked about this last week and walked through the 4 steps to verify the purchase...


4 Steps Before Paying an Invoice to Ensure Expenses are Legit

4 Steps Before Paying an Invoice to Ensure Expenses are Legit

When a volunteer or employee is new to a non-profit, or new to the world of non-profit bookkeeping, the learning curve can be steep, and everything can feel unfamiliar. In our personal lives, its easy to know if we need to pay the plumber, because we are very likely the one who arranged for...


Cover Pages for EVERY Accounting Transaction Creates Transparency

Cover Pages for EVERY Accounting Transaction Creates Transparency

Digital or manual entry, the accounting for a non-profit will always produce a lot of paper. That paper trail will include the details for each financial transaction, be it an expense or revenue. It doesn’t matter how tidy the accounts are, if the supporting paperwork is messy, it will...


Writing Procedures for Great Board Meetings

Writing Procedures for Great Board Meetings

Posted in policy / board meeting

Meeting procedures is a policy that determines how a board meeting will be handled. It is very common for some meeting procedures to be defined in the Bylaws where the voting membership requires certain minimum requirements. For example: Minimum number of board meetings per year How a...


3 Thing to Do to Start a New Fiscal Year with Tidy Books and a Clear Budget

3 Thing to Do to Start a New Fiscal Year with Tidy Books and a Clear Budget

Posted in annual audit / year end / bookkeeping

We’re into April now and if your non-profit is like mine, the annual audit is complete, and you are well on your way into a new fiscal year. It’s easy to get excited about new programs, and in my area, spring [yay, warmer weather]. But don’t forget about the previous year just yet. Rarely does...


How to Use an In-Camera Session with Confidence

How to Use an In-Camera Session with Confidence

Posted in board meeting

A non-profit board meeting agenda usually includes a portion of the meeting, where the board goes into an in-camera session. In-camera is a fancy way of saying it is a private part of the meeting, giving the board an opportunity to have a discussion without non-board members. When...