Not-for-Profit Governance & Management Resources

Quick Reads

Quick reads are blogs or short-form articles that deliver actionable information in a "quick read." They are unlocked and available to the public.

Why Cyberdefenses Are Worth the Cost
The potential for devastating damage posed by data breaches means that not-for-profits and other organizations shouldn’t pinch pennies in this area. These tips can help reduce the risks.

Bitcoin Basics for Nonprofits: Accepting and Valuing Gifts of Cryptocurrencies
Has your nonprofit received a donation in cryptocurrency yet? This article outlines the basics for accepting and valuing donations of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and highlights some important considerations for holding and transacting these assets.

Strong Policies Make for Effective Boards
Getting started is half the battle when it comes to creating or updating policies. The steps discussed in this article can help you get the ball rolling.

Rethink Your Not-for-Profit Chart of Accounts
This two-part series focuses on looking at FASB ASU 2016-14 implementation through the lens of your chart of accounts and offers actionable recommendations to help nonprofits prepare for the impacts of the new guidance. 

NFP Governance and Management FAQs 
As with most any industry, there are certain aspects of not-for-profit governance and management that tend to draw frequent questions. This article addresses questions commonly asked by NFP management, board members, or industry accounting personnel.

10 Steps to a Successful Audit
If preparing for your upcoming audit seems daunting, you're not alone. Many of us feel a sense of dread at fiscal year-end. Read this article to learn about our 10 best tips to help you have a smooth audit.

Not-for-Profits Teaming Up to Fulfill Missions
Have you considered a merger or joint venture? This case-study-focused article describes how, through mergers and collaboration, nonprofits are discovering ways to more effectively and efficiently achieve their missions.

RFP Dos and Don’ts for Nonprofits Seeking New Auditors
NFPs can maximize the efficiency of the RFP process and save themselves, and the firms invited to propose, precious time by following a few key “dos and don’ts.”

5 Ways a CPM Tool Can Improve Nonprofit Budgeting and Forecasting
Does an inefficient, mostly manual process prevent you from being able to access real-time budget data when you need it? This article explains how corporate performance management (CPM) software can help inform, enhance, and streamline your budgeting process.

How to Give a Brilliant Board Report
When communicating financial data to board members, there is an art to striking the right balance of information that is meaningful and, at the same time, comprehensive and concise. This article provides tips on how to deliver a brilliant board report.

Top 3 Tips to Get the Most from Banking Relationships
Getting the most from any professional relationship starts with the approach. Do you view your banker as a vendor or a business partner? Read this article for advice on optimizing your banking relationships.

5 Reasons Your Organization Needs an Audit Committee
In this article, learn how not-for-profit organizations can access expertise and more successfully fulfill their strategic goals using the knowledge and experience of audit committees.

Benefits of Budgeting for Results 
Impact-driven not-for-profit donors want to see concrete results that their funds are put to good use. Beginning the budgeting process with detailed, specific and predictable outcomes can help donors understand their impact.

Governance Structure and Responsibilities

Board Designations and Delegations: Important Considerations and Sample Policies
Do you have board designation and delegation processes in place? Are they documented? When were they last reviewed? In this article, you will learn more about these and other important considerations and be able to access sample board designation and delegation policies.

Board Orientation Puts Not-for-Profit Directors on Path to Success
A board orientation is important to help new board members quickly assume their roles as partners in shared leadership. This article offers tips on how to put your new directors on a path to success.

A Guide to Board Orientation (PDF)
A board orientation is important to help new board members quickly assume their roles as partners in shared leadership. In addition, there are potential legal consequences for directors who fail to fulfill their governance responsibilities, and an orientation equips them with the knowledge needed to undertake their new duties. This guide provides suggested practices and tips to put your new directors on a path to success.

Board Responsibilities: An Overview (PDF) 
An organization's governing body establishes strategic objectives, provides guidance, and helps an organization achieve its mission. Along with this responsibility comes legal and ethical obligations to an entity. An NFP's board has liability for the organization, and therefore it is the final authority. This article is an overview on basic board responsibilities for those who are new to NFPs, or who just need a refresher.

Board Structure (PDF) 
It is vital to establish a governance structure that provides the level of checks and balances appropriate for the organization's purpose, size and complexity. This article provides an overview of board structure for those charged with governance of an NFP. 

How to Evaluate the Independent Auditor of Your Nonprofit
Access helpful tools to assist boards and audit committees with this important responsibility.

Strategies for Maintaining an Effective Board 
In the absence of competent board oversight, a not-for-profit's mission might be at risk. Here's how to recruit, train and retain great board members who help a not-for-profit thrive.

Risk Management

An Ounce of Prevention: Combating Fraud in Not-for-Profits 
Fraud is a risk in all types of businesses. Unfortunately, NFPs are not immune. View this article for tips to design internal controls to prevent and detect fraud in your organization.

Increasing Risk Awareness in NFPs (PDF) 
Governance reform proponents are calling for more systematic and robust risk oversight processes to strengthen board and senior management oversight of risks potentially affecting NFPs. This white paper provides information about enterprise risk management (ERM) for NFPs.

Not-for-Profit Reputation Risk Management (PDF) 
An NFP's greatest asset is unquestionably its reputation. It is important to proactive address your NFP's reputation using a proven risk management approach that touches all four categories of the COSO enterprise risk management framework related to achieving an organization's objects. This article will help you develop a reputation risk management approach. 

IT Controls for Not-for-Profit Entities (PDF)
Information security is a significant business issue that is only becoming more important as technologies
advance. Information security threats may be external or internal. To protect your organization, consider
implementing these internal controls.

Segregation of Duties Reference Charts for Small Not-for-Profits:

Financial Oversight

Beyond the Debits and Credits: A Management and Governance Checklist for Implementing FASB ASU 2016-14
This checklist addresses the governance side of FASB ASU 2016-14 implementation. What needs to be considered from a process perspective; what needs to be communicated and to whom?

Top 5 Things Your Board Should Know about the New Not-for-Profit Financial Reporting Standard (ASU 2016-14)
View the archived webcast from 9/13/2017 and download the presentation slides.

Gift Acknowledgement Letters: Considerations and Templates 
Written acknowledgments are required for charitable contributions that exceed $250. This article explores some points to consider when developing and sending these gift acknowledgment letters, and also includes templates you can use.

Structural Considerations for Nonprofits Looking to Go Global
Conducting business globally presents unique challenges for NFPs. When a domestic NFP wants to make an international impact, how can it establish a sound structure for this work? Consider two fundamental areas covered in this article: entity governance and global capacity development.

What Nonprofits Should Look for in a SOC 1 Report, and Why
Nonprofit organizations often outsource tasks due to in-house resource limitations, but they are still responsible for establishing effective controls over outsourced activities. Service Organization Controls (SOC) for Service Organizations reporting examinations are intended to provide the assurance needed in this regard. This article discusses the relevant reports within the SOC suite of services and offers tips on what aspects of the reports that nonprofits should focus on to get the most out of their use.

Requests for Proposals (RFPs)
Is your organization looking for a new trusted advisor? Tailor these sample requests for proposals to your organization’s needs and find the auditor, banker, investment advisor, compensation consultant, or payroll service provider that best fits your needs.

Considerations in Negotiating and Drafting Gift Agreements
NFPs and donors alike can achieve clarity by working together to create gift instruments that include the important details on which the parties have agreed. View this article for tips on negotiating and drafting gift agreements.

Managing Donated Funds: How to Review Gift Instruments
As a best practice, NFPs should periodically review recordkeeping systems to ensure that existing procedures and documentation meet the reporting needs of the organization. This article discusses important items to consider when assessing gift instruments.

Controller Toolkit for Not-for-Profit Entities (PDF) 
This Toolkit focuses on the traditional controllership duties of managing the accounting functions of a not-for-profit organization. It includes numerous examples, exhibits and illustrations to assist with recordkeeping, oversight of internal controls, audit preparedness and managing the entity's reporting cycle. 

Performance Measurement for Not-for-Profit Organizations (PDF) 
The development of systems to measure and evaluate performance in NFPs can be a challenging process, yet these organizations face many of the same challenges that others face in for-profit organizations–what are the relevant performance indicators, do they link to strategy, how should they be measured, how should senior management be evaluated etc. This article provides examples of performance measurement systems, best practices, and tools to measure and report performance.

The Life Cycle of a Grant: A Primer on Grants Management (PDF)  
For many NFPs, grants are a significant source of programmatic support. It takes significant time and effort to secure a grant, however, once a grant is awarded it is at risk of being lost in the shuffle. By establishing systems and controls prior to receiving a grant, an organization can reap the benefits of grants and minimize complications. This article describes the phases of a grant and provides guidance on streamlining a grants management system.

When It Comes to Alternative Investments, There Is No Substitute for Judgment
Considering alternative investments? Read this article to learn about due diligence and internal controls.

Committee Resources

Audit Committee Toolkit (PDF) 

The AICPA Audit Committee Toolkit provides illustrative information for board and audit committee members of NFPs; CEOs, CFOs, and other key staff positions of NFPs; and external and internal auditors. 

Determining Whether Your NFP Needs a Financial Statement Audit (PDF)
Many NFPs ask if they need an audit. Once an organization has determined if it meets the federal requirements for an audit, it may still have questions about why an audit may be needed. This article will help you and your organization answer that question. 

Finance Committee Charter (Word)

Sample Governance Policies

The following tools have been created with sample elements that can be used in the creation of your own policies. While you may want to consult additional counsel for assistance in creating policies that are most appropriate for your organization, you may tailor and customize the following documents for internal use.

Designation of Funds Policy (Word)
Delegation of Authority Policy (Word)
Conflict of Interest Policy (Word)
Document Retention Policy (Word)
Gift Acceptance Policy (Word) 
Information Security Policy (Word) 
Operating Reserve Policy (Word)
Social Media Policy (Word)
Whistleblower Policy (Word)
Ethics Policy (Word)

Travel Policy Considerations for Not-for-Profit Organizations (PDF)  
Whether you’re creating a new travel policy or reviewing your existing one, this article details the components you need to consider and questions you need to answer.

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