Still, creating a solid nonprofit budget is an essential foundation for being a financially healthy organization and having the basis you need to go about advancing your mission. Remember, your budget is a living document that may need to change as the year goes on! Most budgets need at least a few minor adjustments, even in entirely predictable years. Create a schedule to review your budget and compare it to your actual fundraising and cash flow throughout the year.
Good communication between the program, finance, and development departments and the board is key to monitoring the budget during the year. An inclusive budgeting process can certainly be challenging and messy and with a great deal of debate. However, this approach to budgeting presents a great opportunity to bring in and unite various perspectives.
Which budgeting method should I use?
This is also a prime opportunity to clarify the annual goals from the strategic plan. Excel is another popular tool for creating nonprofit budgets due to its ease of use and plethora of useful features. Using Excel, you can create tables that display the organization’s finances over time. budgeting for nonprofits A budget is a planning tool that reflects an organization’s programs, mission, and strategic plan. Now that you’ve got your template, organizational goals, and financial data, it’s time to start building your budgets. Remember, each program or department should get its own sub-budget.
- A well-formulated nonprofit operating budget allows for the best use of limited nonprofit resources and focuses on the primary goals and objectives of the organization.
- For example, if the goal is to increase access to services, then a greater proportion of funds should be allocated to program expenses.
- Some nonprofits choose to update their budgets mid-year no matter what, which can be helpful.
- It’s important to budget because it helps the organization manage its funds in a more effective way.
- Warren Averett is a top accounting firm providing audit, tax, accounting and consulting services to companies across the Southeast.
- Having a carefully thought-out budget is one great way to get your organization going in that direction.
This template provides an accurate picture of your nonprofit’s budgeted operating costs and all-around fiscal health. There are several ways to manage budgeting for nonprofit organizations. There are lots of budgeting templates available online or you could create one of your own. Budgeting for nonprofit organizations should always be in alignment with your strategic plan, and it should help to further your nonprofit’s goals and objectives.
Board Management Software Solutions Assist in Budgeting for Nonprofits
For more on start-up and small business budget templates, see “Free Startup Budget Templates” and „Free Small Business Budget Templates“. List program expenses (staff salary, insurance, supplies, fundraising fees, etc.) to see your total nonprofit program expenses vs. your actual revenue. Grant-makers have the potential to contribute large sums to nonprofits and board directors should ensure that they meet the grantor’s requirements to qualify. Donors expect to know how their donations are helping the organization so boards need to consider how they can communicate this information to donors. Under the heading of expenses, boards need to focus expenditures on their programs and activities. Expenses include direct costs, such as the cost of hiring new staff, ordering supplies, providing brochures or other publications, ordering supplies and travel.
If your desired outcome is to pay down debt, part of your financial strategy could be to increase reserves over time, resulting in carrying a larger bottom line over several years, instead of breaking even. Beginning from when the Board of Directors needs to approve the final budget, work backwards to set internal deadlines for preliminary drafts. Learn how to create a donor acknowledgment letter that creates a connection—and helps your nonprofit stand out from the crowd. Senior Content Writer @ Capterra covering software trends and stories of small business resilience. In Foreign Affairs and Middle Eastern Languages from the University of Virginia.