The Latest

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...


Learn How to Make a Board Motion Right from Your First Board Meeting

Learn How to Make a Board Motion Right from Your First Board Meeting

Posted in board meeting

Normally, non-profits follow some sort of parliamentary procedure or Robert’s Rules of Order to conduct an orderly board meeting. It doesn’t take long for a board of directors to become comfortable with making decisions and to eventually embrace having complex discussions. But what if you are...


A Better Way to Address New Business at a Board Meeting

A Better Way to Address New Business at a Board Meeting

Posted in board of directors / board meeting

A non-profit board meeting traditionally has a few recurring agenda items such as approving the previous meeting minutes, committee reports, old business, and new business. The terms old business and new business are closely tied, and confusion can arise trying to figure out what items are...


How to Schedule a Board Meeting

How to Schedule a Board Meeting

Posted in board of directors / board meeting

It can be hard enough to schedule date night for two people already living in the same house. Now consider how hard it might be to schedule a meeting for 10+ people, all with different work schedules, different family demands, different levels of engagement, and…they don’t get paid...


The Room Fell Eerily Silent

The Room Fell Eerily Silent

Posted in board meeting

Minutes are a major pain in the ***. They’re long. They’re tedious to write. They’re need to be typed up either as the meeting is in progress, or immediately after, before the minute-taker forgets tiny nuances, or (in my case) before the minute-taker can’t read her own handwriting! Not all...


One Metric Your Non-profit Should Track

One Metric Your Non-profit Should Track

Posted in strategic plan / operations plan

Maybe you’ve heard the term key performance indicators. Did it make your head spin? Maybe you looked at all the outcomes in your non-profit’s strategic plan and THAT made your head spin. Non-profits need to track stats but when the organization is small, or there is a long history of doing the...


Confidently Monitor Non-Profit Accounts

Confidently Monitor Non-Profit Accounts

Posted in financial management / bookkeeping

Ah, you’ve become a board member and you are learning the ropes. You joined a committee and recently you put up your hand to be added as a signer for the bookkeeping. The trip to the bank was easy enough, and maybe you thought you’d sign a few cheques, maybe a few deposits, but the signing...


Easily Create Evaluations Questions for Your Non-Profit Programs

Easily Create Evaluations Questions for Your Non-Profit Programs

Posted in strategic plan / operations plan

Does this sound familiar? You’ve got a great program that’s about to wrap up. Maybe this is a program you’ve offered a few times over the years. You start wondering if the program was successful. You collect a few pieces of information about the program, such as participation numbers,...


Board Members Can Only Wear One Hat at a Time

Board Members Can Only Wear One Hat at a Time

Posted in board of directors / board positions

The board of a non-profit does its job by taking a strategic leadership role, not an operations role. That doesn’t mean a board can’t also handle the day-to-day work if there are no paid staff. Confusion happens because its hard to understand how board members are both strategic leaders...


Easy Non-Profit Financial Filing System

Easy Non-Profit Financial Filing System

Posted in financial management / office operations / filing

It’s a typical non-profit office day and you are working on the accounts. Let’s imagine you’ve paid a bunch of bills, entering each one into your accounting software. Let’s also imagine you’ve opened the mail and there are a few receipts as well as a grant payment. And finally, you create a...


Two Documents to be a Stronger Board Member

Two Documents to be a Stronger Board Member

Posted in board of directors / board meeting

The holidays are a great time to relax and unwind with family and friends. But if you’re a non-profit board member, it can also mean an extended period that you are away from a regular board meeting. Governance skills can get a little rusty. When a meeting is finally called, and maybe the...


Back to Work After the Holidays Without the Overwhelm

Back to Work After the Holidays Without the Overwhelm

Posted in vacation / staff team

The holidays are over. If you haven’t returned to the usual work week, that will likely be happening very soon. Its no fun when the holidays come to an end. Navigating those first few days back after a holiday can be a little depressing and a lot overwhelming, with all the paperwork, emails,...


Snow Day

Snow Day

Posted in emergency / staff team

We are in the middle of a big windstorm as I write this. I understand the wind will bring a blizzard overnight. I’m doing my best to try not to think about power outages, no heat, no internet, and all the panels the wind is ripping off my patio cover. The flickering lights and the on/off...


Don’t Hate Everyone at the Same Time

Don’t Hate Everyone at the Same Time

Posted in executive director / self care

Let’s get real for a minute. Sometimes the work of an executive director means you hate everyone – your team, your board, your clients. The trick is to not to hate everyone all at the same time. Last week was a rough one for me. People were NOT happy, and they clearly blamed me. It doesn’t...


I’m Sorry, John Doesn’t Work Here

I’m Sorry, John Doesn’t Work Here

Posted in staff team / stakeholders

This is the season when most non-profits will begin to think about strategic planning for the new year. One of the key components in any strat plan is a review of what’s going on with stakeholders. But we spend so much time staying in touch, monitoring trends and needs, that we can often forget...


Quick Win – Don’t Let Luck Determine Your Success

Quick Win – Don’t Let Luck Determine Your Success

Posted in programs and services

Have you ever attended an event (virtual or in person) that seemed to go off without an issue? Maybe discussion seemed to flow naturally, or maybe the presentations seemed to really connect with the audience. How does that happen? It isn’t a secret. Its planning, planning, and more planning....


Busy Week

Busy Week

Posted in hiring / executive director / self care

I’m having such a busy week and it isn’t even half finished. Sometimes balancing the job and home life can begin to feel frenetic. So, I did something this week I don’t normally do. I hired help. Weird thing is that in my work as an executive director we hire help all the time. We have a...


Care

Care

Posted in executive director / self care

Not my usual post this week. I wanted to take a moment to check-in with you. To see how you are doing. With everything going on these days, it can be pretty hard to get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes I forget with all the rush of the day-to-day operations of a non-profit that needs to...


Stale-Dated

Stale-Dated

Posted in financial management / annual audit / bookkeeping

Last week we talked about using a spreadsheet to keep track of the accounting for a smaller non-profit. This week let’s talk about a common bookkeeping challenge you might face when working on your non-profit’s accounts, the stale-dated cheque. Regardless of the bookkeeping method you...


Is Your Strategic Plan a Little Dusty?

Is Your Strategic Plan a Little Dusty?

Posted in strategic plan / operations plan

Have you ever wondered how a non-profit’s strategic plan ties into its operations plan? Where does the information come from? How does it all tie together? Would it surprise you to learn that a non-profit’s strategic plan and operations plan are pieces in the circle of data flowing through...


The Executive Director's Private Notes

The Executive Director's Private Notes

Posted in executive director / year end

Executive directors take a lot of notes. It might be notes at a staff meeting. It might be notes at a training session. It might be the handwritten notes at a board meeting. It might be notes when meeting with a funder. What do you do with all those notes? Well, I’ll share what I do with mine....


Anatomy of a Policy

Anatomy of a Policy

Posted in policy / risk management

Operating policies are the rules required for a specific task in how your non-profit will be run. You don’t need to have operating policies for every operational task, only for required tasks. Some of those required tasks might include, handling cash, cell phone etiquette, branding rules,...


Who Takes the Minutes

Who Takes the Minutes

Posted in board meeting

Who takes the minutes at board meetings? This sounds like a simple question, but the answer is… it depends. There isn’t a rule that is set in stone. The minute-taker is likely different at different non-profits. When deciding who should take minutes, or if you are evaluating what you are...


Orientation Plan

Orientation Plan

Posted in hiring / staff team

I started a new (virtual) employee this summer and because it was a very busy time, I created a very detailed orientation plan. It was very successful, and I thought I would share with you how I structured that plan. We are a virtual team so everything we do is handled by distance. But it...