Financial Advice for Nonprofit Leaders


image credit: Clara Natoli

Being a good leader at a nonprofit comes down to more than having good ideas and fighting the good fight. On a practical tip, it also means that you need to know how to handle money. One can’t live on good will alone. It’s something that those that know might not tell you because nonprofits need folks with passion and enough hutzpah to get them over one thousand obstacles. But without money you’re not going to get very far.

The job market is full of visionary people hoping to find a job at a nonprofit.

They are idealistic young people who envision jobs that are the perfect nexus of “helping people” and using what they have learned in their academic studies. They are nurses who hope to run free clinics and fine-arts majors who want to start community theaters.

And they are sometimes for-profit employees looking to make a career switch or nonprofit professionals looking to start or move up in an organization.

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Original article, “Learning About Finance: Advice for Nonprofit Leaders,” posted on the Chronicle for Philanthropy on August 17, 2011 and written by Dione Alexander.


  1. More to your points, Armanino McKenna LLP has taken the lead and given some key insights for people working with non-profit financials. They’ve written and posted a series of articles and resources that are of value to financial organizations right now. They’ve outlined some of the critical components of the non-profit audit and financial statement, demonstrating how they can be used to help and organization’s leadership guide future decision making.

    In a nutshell, they describe how a non-profit’s financials can differ from for-profit, how to use financial statement to investigate variances, and how Benchmarking can identify an organizations strength and weaknesses.

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