Writing, Personal development

Four things the figures reveal about your charity

Spreadsheets can tell a revealing story about your charity..

Understanding your charity’s finances are crucial to attracting funding, planning projects and fulfilling your legal obligations. You don’t have to work in finance to get to grips with your organisation’s figures. Genny Jones, who runs our popular  Finance for Non-Finance Mangers course, lays out the key reasons you need to be paying attention to those spreadsheets.

Have we got the money we need to do what we planned and want to do?

“Thanks to your charity my child is really coming out of his shell and now really looks forward to coming to the sessions each week”. Great feedback for our charity, but how do we ensure we are able to continue this much needed work?  That is where budgets and cash flows come in, the figures in these reports help staff and boards plan and monitor projects and activities.

Is the organisation sustainable and well managed?

Sustainability is all about the ability to continue operating. Do we know how much we need to meet our commitments in the short, medium and longer term?  Reserves policies and reserve levels are important issues to consider when looking at sustainability. Considering your reserves provides you with a “bridge” when the unexpected happens or funding gets delayed.

Are we operating efficiently and thus able to attract funding?

Organisations need to understand what their costs are, which costs are “fixed”, not varying with levels of activity and which are not.  These figures are important for project managers and decision makers when reviewing project performance and linking these with the overall aims and objectives of their organisation. Funders are keen to ensure that the organisations they fund are managing their finances well.

Are we meeting our legal obligations relating to finances?

Certain funding is provided for specific purposes only. As staff and board members it is important to know that we have done what the agreement with the funder requires. Figures setting out such restricted income and what it was used for is key to this. Charity law also requires us to report on income, expenditure and resulting surpluses/deficits each year. Staff and management therefore need to establish reports that provide this information, so that the reports that need to be filed with the relevant regulator (Charity commission) are submitted on time and are accurate.

Finance for Non-Finance Managers will be running throughout 2018 at DSC. Get to grips with the figures and book your space here!