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Nonprofit Board Presentations | Supporting Strategies


5 Tips for Presenting Financials to a Nonprofit Board


Are you ready to empower your nonprofit’s financial presentation to your board of directors? Improve how you tell your nonprofit’s story with these 5 tips.

Delivering a meaningful financial presentation to a nonprofit board is a balance. Your information must be comprehensive enough to provide essential data, yet shared in a way that board members can understand, even if they lack a financial background.

Here are five tips for using bookkeeping to deliver the board-ready financial presentations you need.

1. Make sure your financial data is accurate and up to date.
This is easier said than done at any organization, but especially at a nonprofit. The list of specific (and unforgiving) requirements for maintaining tax-exempt status and allocating grants is long and daunting. If you're not already using a professional bookkeeping service, you need to start. Immediately.

2. Follow fund accounting best practices.
This is another suggestion that falls into the "Don't try this at home" category. In order to institute nonprofit bookkeeping best practices that provide the level of transparency, real-time expense categorization, enhanced controls and streamlined processes that today's nonprofits demand, you need the appropriate bookkeeping technology — and someone with the expertise and experience to implement it.

3. Preview financial presentations with the board treasurer or finance committee.
Good communication is vital at any organization, but doubly so at a nonprofit — and triply so when financials are involved. As you prepare financial data for presentation, bear in mind that some board members have a higher degree of involvement in the nonprofit's finances than others. You owe them the courtesy of a heads-up, particularly if your numbers aren't meeting projections or need to be placed in context. You don't want to put anyone associated with the organization's finances in the position of stumbling through an explanation that they were unprepared to deliver.

4. Get to the point.
That's not as obvious as it might seem. You need to explicitly tie budgets and financial results to your organization's "why" — both its overarching mission and its annual objectives. Explain the historical context of the numbers as needed, but don't bore your board with excessive details. Leave plenty of time for questions; that's when you can get a little more granular as the answers require. And remember: Board members come and go, so some may be getting your contextual presentation for the first time. They'll be grateful if you spell things out for them in a clear and concise way.

 5. Add visuals!
Not everyone processes information in the same way. If you're concerned that your numbers might go in one ear and out the other, try tailoring them for the eyes instead. Things like pie charts and graphs can add a lot of impact. You want your financials to tell a story. That story will be easier to follow if you illustrate it.

Nonprofit Board Support Is Mission-Critical
Your nonprofit’s board members provide high-level oversight for your nonprofit. Delivering financial presentations that tell your company’s story and are rooted in rock-solid bookkeeping will give your board the insight they need to help you reach your nonprofit’s goals.

Learn More About Nonprofit Bookkeeping Best Practices

At Supporting Strategies, our experienced, U.S.-based professionals use secure, best-of-breed technology and a proven process to provide a full suite of bookkeeping and controller services. Are you ready to learn how you can move your business forward? Contact Supporting Strategies today.

Dee Johnson


Dee Johnson

Dee Johnson is Managing Director of Supporting Strategies | Chicago Northwest Suburbs. Supporting Strategies provides outsourced bookkeeping and controller services.

Legal and Tax Disclaimer

This website is created by Supporting Strategies to provide general bookkeeping and accounting information only. Supporting Strategies does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice, and the information contained herein is not intended to do so. As such, the information provided should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, legal, and accounting advisors, and you should consult with a tax, legal and accounting professional before engaging in any transaction.