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Is Your Favorite Charity's 2020 Budget in Order?

The Community Foundation of Western Nevada budget process for the 2020 year begins toward the end of summer and by fall we are putting our financial plans and goals for 2020 in order. As with most charities, building a budget starts with a review of our mission and goals, so the year’s budget supports our primary work and mission. We review our strategic plan progress and look at how closely we are meeting our goals. Then we prioritize our expenses. The budget is used strategically to support our staff structure and responsibilities, Community Foundation marketing, and in our internal systems.  It helps to use a zero-based budgeting system, to recreate what allocations are needed each year, rather than simply adding inflationary increases to existing expenses. We identify the activities that are not producing results, we look at what is most effective and can be improved or expanded, what is essential but needs to be improved, and what is not needed and can be cut.  The Community Foundation involves all staff, first by proposing 2020 budget income and expenses, then by working together, as a team, to balance the budget.  This results in a tight plan with buy-in by all staff. After staff creates a balanced budget, it is reviewed by the Board Finance Committee, and subject to their questions and changes, then goes to the Board Executive Committee for review, and finally is reviewed and adopted by the Board of Trustees. The entire process is managed by CFO Melissa Tschanz. It has proven to be a very effective way of developing not just the budget for the coming year, but the work plan for the staff as a whole, for individual team members, and for board committees, and helps us achieve the Board’s adopted goals for the Community Foundation. Next week I will share information about how the Community Foundation’s Nonprofit Academy is helping executive directors of local charities learn effective ways of managing and budgeting. The Community Foundation’s mission promotes effective philanthropy. Creating and following a solid financial plan is essential for success. Chris Askin, President, and CEO