Not-for-Profit Governance & Management Resources
Strong ethical and fiduciary oversight by those charged with governance of a not-for-profit entity (NFP) is imperative to maintaining the public’s trust. An NFP’s governing body has the overall responsibility to set and oversee the implementation of strategic objectives for the organization to accomplish its mission. It must also ensure that the organization maintains its federal tax-exempt status and meets its ongoing legal and compliance responsibilities.
Looking for something in particular? Try the search filters on the left to narrow your search. The types of resources you will find under "by document type" include background papers, practice guides, sample policies, and more.
The following resources are created and intended as an individual benefit of AICPA Not-for-Profit Section membership. The materials are copyrighted and may not be used without permission this includes any further distribution of the materials (including posting on a website).
These resources are designed as educational and reference material; they do not establish standards or preferred practices, and they are subject to change. Where specific permission is granted for use (not distribution or posting), users are responsible for final content; please review those resources carefully and make any changes necessary for your specific use.
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.
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.
Governance Structure and Responsibilities
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.
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.
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.
Outsourcing Your Back-Office Functions to a Third-Party Provider?
Many nonprofits are turning to third-party solutions for back-office support. In this article, learn how to use service organization control (SOC) reports to mitigate risks.
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, or investment advisor who 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Get the targeted learning you need to perform highly effective audit engagements. The AICPA offers CPE-eligible courses developed by leading experts in coordination with the NFP Section's technical staff. Section members receive an exclusive 20% discount on continuing education and other not-for-profit products offered by AICPA. Learn more about the exclusive discounts available for our member community.