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Supporting Nonprofit Organizations

By Susan Levi

A key to success in any business, for profit or nonprofit, is determining what you need to do to be successful and focusing your efforts on achieving those objectives. For most nonprofits, that means focusing on their mission and delivering results that will satisfy those invested in the company – government, foundation and other private funding sources, regulatory and oversight agencies, board members and consumers of the organization’s services. Many evaluators of nonprofits as well as nonprofit boards and executives focus on the percentage of time and money directly related to the program itself. As a result, there are implied or actual constraints on what the organization can spend on general and administrative purposes and fundraising.

It is not unusual for support departments - accounting, human resources, information technology and development – to be thinly staffed, particularly in smaller agencies. Nor is it unusual for one person to wear a number of these hats. However, nonprofits, like any other business organizations, have a range of needs. In accounting, for example, they’ll frequently need the services of clerical talent to process receipts, disbursements, and payroll. They’ll need an accountant or assistant controller to perform or assist with the month end close and troubleshoot problems as they arise. They’ll need a controller or CFO to interact with the board, negotiate contracts, develop budgets, and work with bankers and funders to ensure the business has the capital it needs to deliver on its mission. The range of needs in other departments is similar. Except in the largest nonprofit organizations, few nonprofits can staff for all of these needs.As a result they are using expensive talent for clerical functions or stretching the capabilities of inexpensive talent to perform higher level functions.

Donnelly-Boland and Associates is structured to provide an alternative solution to these challenges. We have the skills and personnel to provide the range of services nonprofit organizations need. We can deliver those services on a fully or partially outsourced basis, in transitional situations when a key employee must be replaced, or on a project basis for special situations that involve a high volume of work within a limited time frame.

Scaling Up

We have worked with a number of human services organizations for extended periods. As those organizations have evolved and grown, their need for our services has changed. Revenue sources move from government funding to a more diversified base creating a need for contracting, budgeting, and billing services. Program activity and employment increase, requiring additional time for processing payroll and disbursements. This growth, then, puts a strain on the organization’s human resources function and its technology systems, diverting program personnel to address those needs or creating a need to staff that function. We can provide the assistance needed on a scalable basis to ease the growing pains and allow the human services professionals to focus on delivering their core services. Our mission is to help you achieve yours.

Scaling Down

We have also worked with organizations that have undergone staff reductions or are winding down operations. As an endgame becomes apparent, it becomes difficult and more expensive to retain staff as they focus on their future. Our professionals can step in without that distraction. They have a full-time job and can assist organizations that are experiencing a downturn or even winding up their affairs knowing that when that assignment is complete they can move on to the next. As the organization’s affairs wind down, so do our services making it a cost-effective solution to managing an exit strategy.

Project Work

Social services and nonprofit organizations also need help from time to time with major projects, but cannot afford to hire permanent staff for a temporary problem. We have assisted organizations in eliminating backlogs in grant billings, account reconciliations, and tax and regulatory filings. We have organized and updated filing systems and then converted them to electronic systems to simplify file storage, record retention, and data retrieval. We have provided supplemental staff during conversions to allow the organization’s staff to focus on learning and implementing the new system. We maintain the exisiting system until the conversion is complete and the existing system can be abandoned.

If you’ve experienced any of these situations or are anticipating one or more of them in the near future, we can provide you with some options that may make the situation more manageable. Don’t hesitate to give us a call!