Waukegan, IL--July 1, 2014 – Thinking about internal planning, setting a strategic financial direction and best practices for annual budgeting may strike fear into some nonprofit organization leaders' hearts. But it's probably the most foundational and important activity to ensure that missions don't suffer from money woes.
So stressed Hilda H. Polanco, CPA, Founder and Managing Director of the FMA Institute, an organization that helps nonprofits strengthen their financial and operational health, recently, as she re-grouped the leaders of about 15 nonprofit organizations as part of a two-stage financial management training event organized by The Lake County Community Foundation.
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Attended by a variety of Lake County nonprofits in different stages of organizational maturity, the second and final workshop focused on strategic financial management for long-term sustainability – a natural outgrowth of the first training session, which taught effective techniques for telling a compelling financial story.
Polanco mentored attendees in the nuances of seeing annual budgets as measuring sticks against which progress can be assessed, re-assessed, communicated and used to strengthen the ongoing work of an organization.
Covering nuts and bolts such as industry-standard definitions for sometimes-foggy terms like "internal controls" and "risk management," Polanco helped the community leaders approach financial planning from the perspective of overall organizational governance.
"What I get asked most often is 'What should we as the staff of the organization be talking about with board members?'" Polanco said. "It's so important to evaluate that for each individual organization – we always want to make sure we're moving in the right direction and coming to our boards with the right questions and not with issues that are beyond the board's control or too "in-the-weeds.""
Maggie Morales, Manager of Community Engagement for The Lake County Community Foundation said that providing top-notch expertise in complex subjects like building organizations' financial strength is one of the most important ways in which the Foundation builds capacity among the county's nonprofit organizations.
"When we're able to provide that bedrock on which organizations can thrive and grow we move these safety net organizations that much closer to making an ever greater impact on Lake County's most vulnerable residents," Morales said. "The Foundation is here to convene and strengthen community partners and we're responding to a steep demand for more capacity building workshops."
For more information about how community foundations, like The Lake County Community Foundation, an affiliate of The Chicago Community Trust, make an impact on your region go to http://www.lakecountycf.org/about/what-is-a-community-foundation.
About The Lake County Community Foundation
Since 2003, The Lake County Community Foundation, an affiliate of The Chicago Community Trust, has partnered with donors to leverage and guide their philanthropy to help transform the lives of the most vulnerable people across our county. Together, we have contributed over $2.5 million to 80 nonprofit organizations that support basic human needs, community development, education and health throughout Lake County. By connecting the generosity of donors across Lake County with the most pressing needs of the community, we ensure that our county thrives today and for generations to come.
GROWING PHILANTHROPY, BUILDING COMMUNITY